Although most families send their kids to Columbia Public Schools, about 1,500 students will attend one of Columbia’s eight private independent or religious schools this academic year.
These schools range in size from about 50 to 600 students. Student-teacher ratios tend to be on the low side, ranging from 4-to-1 at Stephens College Children’s School to 15-to-1 at Columbia Catholic School.
Six of the eight private schools are either a ministry of a local church or are affiliated with a religious denomination.
Columbia Catholic School
Contact: Patricia Kirk, principal
Affiliation: A ministry of Our Lady of Lourdes, Sacred Heart and the Newman Center
Scholarships: Parishioners tithe to support the ministry. Financial aid is available to non-parishioner students.
News: Columbia Catholic School has added a third pick-up/drop-off location in anticipation of the Stadium Boulevard/Interstate 70 reconstruction slated to begin in 2011.
Columbia Independent School
Contact: Scott Gibson, head of school
Affiliation: Independent Schools Association of the Central States, National Association of Independent Schools
Scholarships: Available based on gross household income and administered through the National Association of Independent Schools clearinghouse. Thirty-eight percent of students receive financial aid.
News: Columbia Independent School students will get to sleep a little later this year. Based on a parent survey and recent research in education, the school day will begin at 8:30 rather than 8:00 a.m.
Some students will participate in an exchange program with students from a school in Manchester, England this year. The school has an ongoing exchange program with another in China and is working on exchanges with Mongolia, India and Ireland.
Columbia Christian Chapel Academy
Contact: Art Morgan, principal
Affiliation: Sponsored by Christian Chapel Church, the Association of Christian Teachers and Schools.
Scholarships: Financial aid is available.
New this year: Computer instruction has been enhanced through investment in technology.
Good Shepherd Lutheran School
Contact: Robin Hardesty, financial assistant
Affiliation: Missouri Synod
Scholarships: Reduced tuition available based on need
News: Good Shepherd Lutheran School has a new principal, Craig Busseau, who comes from Jackson, Ill.
College Park Christian Academy
Contact: Sandra Blackburn, principal
Affiliation: Seventh Day Adventist international education system
Scholarships Available to members of Seventh Day Adventist congregation
Activities: Students in the eighth and ninth grades will plan and raise money to take a history trip to Boston.
Christian Fellowship School
Contact: Scott Williams, principal
Affiliation: Ministry of Christian Fellowship Church
Scholarships available: About 20 percent of families receive tuition assistance, ranging from 5 percent to 75 percent.
News: Christian Fellowship School will begin a long-range planning process to increase its school size in future school years.
Stephens College Childrens School
Contact: Leslie Willey, director
Affiliation: Stephens College
Scholarships available: Financial aid is available and based on household income, the size of family and number of children enrolled.
News: Stephens College Children’s School celebrates its 85th anniversary this school year. An alumni reunion and other events are planned for the spring.