Get Schooled

By Jenna Allen

A look inside Columbia public and private education

Excellent education and emphasis on its importance are staples of the Columbia community. Students excel in their classrooms and in their postsecondary education careers, whether they attend public or private school. Both systems equip students with the tools necessary to succeed —it’s just a matter of finding the right fit for your family and, most importantly, your child. Explore key components of Columbia public and private schools below.

Columbia Public Schools

Accredited with distinction by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Columbia Public School District includes 21 elementary schools, six middle schools, four high schools and additional educational centers, which makes it the seventh largest district in the state.

In 2016, CPS had an enrollment total of 17,213 students and a student-to-teacher ratio of 18:1. The same year saw a rise in graduation rates, with almost 72 percent of graduates entering a four-year college or university, a two-year college or a postsecondary technical institution.

CPS professional staff had, on average, 12.4 years of experience — slightly higher than the state average — with 71.3 of staff possessing an advanced degree of some sort, a rate vastly higher than the state average.

To learn more about CPS, visit

Private Schools

Within Columbia’s borders, there are 15 private schools that serve more than 2,000 students.

One of these is Christian Chapel Academy, a college preparatory school that educates students based on biblical teaching. CCA offers a nursery program for children 6 weeks to 2 years old, a preschool program, and an elementary and middle school program for children in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Shannon Fox, CCA enrollment coordinator, says private schools in Columbia provide students with smaller class sizes and more individualized attention. In addition, because parents are investing financially in the school, Fox says she’s found they are more likely to be involved in the learning process, which allows for a family atmosphere that promotes learning and care for the students.

“CCA is truly a family,” Fox says. “Our parents are able to reach out to families that have students both younger and older than their children to learn from and provide advice for each stage of life their children go through.”

To learn more about CCA, visit

School Pride

Easily identify Columbia high schools by reading about the colors and mascots of each below

Battle High School

Colors: Navy blue and gold

Mascot: Spartans

Douglass High School

Colors: Royal blue and white

Mascot: Bulldogs

Hickman High School

Colors: Purple and gold

Mascot: Kewpies

Rock Bridge High School

Colors: Green and gold

Mascot: Bruins


Columbia Independent School

Colors: Blue and gold

Mascot: Lions

Heritage Academy

Colors: Maroon and blue

Mascot: Warriors

Christian Fellowship School

Colors: Red, black and white

Mascot: Knights

Father Tolton Catholic High School

Colors: White and Columbia blue

Mascot: Trailblazers