Discover One Caring Community at Columbia Academy
At Columbia Academy, the student pathway to achievement is carefully guided and nurtured in a family-like community that provides a strong curriculum, character building, caring and experienced teachers, individualized instruction, and a diverse environment. These attributes combine with enriching experiences that foster a love of learning and an enthusiasm that Columbia Academy students exhibit on a daily basis.
The private school community is comprised of four Columbia Academy Preschools at Maple Lawn, Kendall Ridge, Kings Contrivance, and Thunder Hill; as well as the Columbia Academy Elementary and Middle School. The schools serve students from six weeks in age through the eighth grade, fully preparing them at every stage for their next steps in education.
At all of Columbia Academy’s schools, a strong curriculum teaches students the fundamental skills they need to achieve academic excellence. In their preschool years, students progress through The Creative Curriculum® Teaching Strategies, a nationally respected early learning program that combines dedicated lessons with hands-on learning. That same hands-on learning approach is echoed in the Columbia Academy Elementary and Middle School where students are challenged to think critically and collaborate with one another on problem solving. Their teaching strategies utilize the latest research and best practices, and of course, plenty of encouragement.
While academic achievement is paramount, it’s not the only priority says Patti Kincaid, Columbia Academy President and Owner. “Students are challenged not only through tests and projects, but they are encouraged to exemplify character building into their academic day,” Kincaid explains. At the Columbia Academy Elementary and Middle School, students create their own skits acting out a different “virtue” each month. These virtues aren’t just for show. The students practice kindness and respect towards each other, and their behavior is both recognized and rewarded by their teachers. Mentorship among students of all grade levels happens on the playground, in the hallways, and even in the classroom with older students serving as academic aides in the younger classrooms. It is the school community’s belief that establishing core character principles in their students leads to strengthened relationships with others, a greater feeling of belonging, and improved leadership skills.
The classrooms at Columbia Academy are comprised of caring and passionate educators who love what they do. Their passion is reflected back in their dedication to foster each child’s love of learning, helping them find joy and excitement in every subject. The teachers truly care for their students as if they were their own children. It’s not uncommon to have a teacher check in on a student when they are home sick, or to wish them a “happy birthday” years after they’ve left their classroom. Strong bonds are formed between the teachers at Columbia Academy, their students and parents. One example of this is the unique structure of the Infant program at the Columbia Academy Preschools where the same caregiver stays with the infant from the age of six weeks until the child transitions into the Two-Year-Old program. This structure provides a strong sense of stability and security for new parents leaving their child in someone else’s care for the first time. At the Elementary and Middle School, students often have the same teacher for multiple subjects and will sometimes remain with that teacher as they advance to the next grade level. Again, it’s this type of consistency that gives teachers a chance to really know their students well.
One of Columbia Academy’s greatest advantages is its small class sizes. The intimate settings allow teachers to not only bond with their students, but to assess each student’s strengths and weaknesses and tailor lesson plans to best meet each student’s unique needs. The schools’ individualized instruction approach benefits all types of students. “It gives teachers the flexibility to provide greater challenges for students who perform above grade level, while allowing time for remedial support for those who may need a little help in a certain area,” Kincaid explains. Columbia Academy teachers work closely with parents, providing regular communication about what their child is working on in the classroom so they can continue to practice these skills at home. The parent role in education is a vital one that is viewed as a partnership by Columbia Academy teachers and staff.
Another vital component to the success of Columbia Academy is its diversity. Students of many backgrounds and ethnicities find a home at Columbia Academy where all cultures are not just accepted, but celebrated. In the school’s Spanish curriculum for example, children are taught the language but they are also educated about the different cultures of Spanish-speaking countries. This is the type of perspective that gives students a valuable worldview that extends well beyond the classroom. Columbia Academy fosters a strong sense of appreciation and respect for all people — a critical skill in today’s global society.
While being fully cognizant of the skills needed to excel in today’s global world, Columbia Academy offers everything students need to successfully progress into high school and beyond. A very positive difference between Columbia Academy and other schools is that it truly is one caring community; a community where students, teachers and administrators know the names of every student in their school; a community where everybody belongs and everybody is given the tools they need to succeed.