It's very unfortunate that this school has such a negative image with some community members. Our children attend elementary school at Fairwood Explorer, and one of the outstanding teachers from that program now teaches at Columbia. She has affirmed for us several times now that the middle-schoolers are sweet, the preschoolers on campus are safe, and that there have been zero incidents of concern in her time there. I trust this teacher's opinion immensely. Stigmas are hard to change.
This school changed me. I started here as a good student good study habits and positive outlook on life. 2 years later I left Suicidal (I attempted 3 times) bullied, hating myself, hating the world, a cutter, depressed, Dermatillomania (Google it) and Anorexic. I think that shows you what this school does to kids.
School appears to be an up and coming school with some significant challenges. However, the staff appears to be committed to utilizing all resources to meet those challenges and the school appears generally safe. I was pleasantly surprised after being invited to walk the campus and meet some of the parents and students of my son's class.
Columbia is NOT the school it used to be. API scores (and all sub groups) have gone up steadily over the past 3 years. It seems that when parents are looking for a school for their child/children the API score is the end all be all...SO not true. The only reason Columbia has what some consider a "low" API score is simply due to the fact that there's a high percentage of English language learners that are still leaning how to comprehend English...this is not an easy task. It takes years to be fluent in English. The principal and staff are obviously doing something right!
I moved to Sunnyvale from East Palo Alto because I just knew that the schools would be better, right? No. We live in the Fairwood area so for 5th grade my son went to Fairwood which is an awesome school. For middle school, the kids from our area have to go to Columbia which is in the Fair Oaks area. The kids can't wear red or blue because of gangs. They don't let the kids wear plain old winter hats. My son went there for 6th grade. It was horrible. I couldn't get him into any of the after school programs designed to help him improve his grades because he knew how to read and knew his multiplication and division. The staff wasn't understanding at all with the exception of Mrs. Carmack. I got my son tested for ADD and I couldn't get any accommodations for him. The teachers didn't want to help him. It was so bad that I considered putting him back in school in East Palo Alto. Luckily I got him into a charter school. This is a horrible school. As a parent, I didn't feel right sending him there and I thank God I got him out.
Columbia is making a come back! Please ignore all the reviews prior to 2009. They were written when the school had a different principal. Over the past few years we have implemented a number of new programs, both educational and behavioral. The dedicated teachers and wonderful students are making huge strides in a positive direction. Our API jumped 20+ points in the 2010-2011 school year! That is a very difficult feat. Most schools increase 5 -10 points a year, if they increase at all. The school has just undergone a complete renovation also. Our classrooms are new, and full of technology. Yes, we have students involved in gangs. This problem is being taken control of, it is NOT apparent on campus. Any school in a similar neighborhood would have similar problems. These students seek gang involvement because a lack of parental involvement in their lives. If you are a parent involved in your students life, you have nothing to worry about, your student will succeed at Columbia. I am a proud Columbia teacher doing my best to give our students the best future possible. Please do not let rumors hinder your student from attending Columbia. Come see us for yourself.
Columbia is a awsome school i go to this school and some people say its an a terrible school but its not. Our school has a coucler which she could help you out. there is only one teacher i hate so much i cant say who he is but i want him fired
Columbia is a great school, it has a bad reputation due to some incidents that have occurred at the school. There are a lot of positive things happening at Columbia and they seem to be overlooked due to the few negative events that have happened here and there. The Music Department is amazing, they are award winning, they travel to Disneyland to perform in front of thousands, and they perform for many City of SV events; the Drama Department is very talented as well, they have a cast of students with awesome energy and charisma. I am tired of CMS constantly being compared to Sunnyvale Middle, FYI, SMS has it's "crime/issues" as well, maybe they keep a little quieter about it, but believe me they have had fights, drugs, graffiti, etc.....please look at the big picture and stop dwelling on the 3% of negative and focus on the 97% good!
Columbia is the worst school in Sunnyvale. I am go to this school and I am constantly getting harassed by the teachers. If you would like your child to succeed, this is NOT a recommended school. Lunch is also highly overpriced.
Columbia is in a low income area. But not all of the families are of low income. I will say that most of these families are have both parents who work. This is limiting the involvement of the parents for extra activities. The students overall are good kids. The teachers try hard. The staff and and Athletic Director, Mr Barelli are great. There are too many kids who go to private schools around here. This drives scores on the 'average' side. My son enjoyed his 3 years at Columbia.