We have been with Columbia Academy EMS for two years. It's been a great experience with all of the teachers being very caring, hard working, and dedicated. Every teacher has bent over backwards to help. The administration is approachable and friendly. The director has been there for a long time and knows all the kids by face where that is really rare. The school's head is very dynamic and insures that there's no bullying and that every staff member is accountable and evaluated and the instruction is sound. The communication is the best with newsletters or phone calls and a big Friday email that tells everyone everything that needs to be known. There are never any secrets at CA. It's a great family-like school for kids who need a comfortable atmosphere, no bullying, small class size where the kids needs are known and met, a place to go when other schools won't open for working parents...and they even give every child a tablet. Cost is reasonable instead of paying out 30 grand for a large school where your kid won't be given as much 1 to 1 attention...and then you can't save up money for a high school. It has been a much better option than the public school.
Columbia Academy Elementary & Middle School (CA-EMS) is a hidden treasure in Howard County conveniently located off of Route 32 near 29 & 95. The staff is motivated and committed under the leadership of a fabulous principal. Ratios are low Average 1-10, monthly fieldtrip experience, and an inclusive Parent/Teacher/Student Organization (PTSO) that offers many school community activities. Not to mention the tuition is very fair and you get every penny worth. This school doesn't follow the inclement weather schedule of HCPSS and offers non-academic days when there are teacher planning days since your child doesn't have to find alternate childcare on such days. Definately worth a tour if you are considering private school!
My son has been at Columbia Academy EMS since pre-k. The school has fostered his development of both academic and social skills. Not only is he provided with a firm academic setting, the school also encourages community service projects that benefit the community as a whole. The school has small class sizes that allow students to receive the individual attention that is so important in today's academic environment.
Columbia Academy strives for excellence. My daughter has been at Columbia Academy for 4 years and it seems that it gets better every year. Students feel respected and are treated with their well-being in mind. Columbia Academy provides a clear routine for students and a high level of commitment from teachers. The school creates an environment where students are challenged and want to learn. I highly recommend Columbia Academy. I believe CAs education program builds a solid love of learning that will carry into later grades.
The Columbia Academy preschool locations all feed into one elementary / middle school. Its a nice place, and they have a lot of good resources: library, computer lab, science lab, art studio, music studio, etc. Highly recommended.
After reading the brochures for their summer camps, I enrolled my 6th grader in a week-long science camp - advertised as hands on and collaborative. After the first day, she reported that she spent an hour outside on the playground "hanging out" - no organized games. Then they went to the gym for some organized games. Then they spent over an hour in a classroom doing worksheets that had nothing to do with science and hanging out in the classroom for "free time." She didn't go to this school during the school year, and nothing was done in the way of ice breaking, etc, in a group of middle schoolers). This camp is not cheap and I expected a little less babysitting and a little more science - as advertised. When we withdrew our child after the 2nd day and asked for a refund because this was not the camp that was advertised, I got channeled to the black hole that is the school ownership. It took 6 weeks for the owner to get back to me; he left a voice mail and when I returned his call, I never heard back from him. The ownership of this school clearly values profit over the welfare of the children - and following through on what was advertised to the public.
My child has attended Columbia Academy - Ellicott City (toddler room) for almost 2 years. I must admit that I was extremely happy with this program when he first started. Well currently there has been entirely too much staff turn over. I am aware that inevitably you cannot control who stays and goes, but the people who are leaving are the ones who seem to be the most vested in the students, and the replacements just lack the same compassion, love and structure that was once there. The staff/teachers make a the environment. When my child first attended here, hands down I would have rated this school a five, but today I am giving it 3 stars, and barely. Honestly for the cost I would expect more.
Look the other way. Go public and save money, sanity, and your child's frustration/self-esteem! My daughter was in the Jr. K program and the curriculum was too advanced... Beyond what would be appropriate for challenging children this age. The fact that the class sizes are small did not lead the teacher my child had to differentiate whatsoever. They focused on worksheets and old-school academics. The administration "listens" but not much is ever done. They gave the JR. K (4-5 year olds) a standardized test!!! They expected these children to sit for 4 days for 40 min time periods of no talking! When I asked my child to be exempt, the principal said no... Unless we wanted to keep her home all week. I'm quite pleased to put my child in the HCPSS.
I highly recommend Columbia Academy's Pre-school program. My son attended both the 3 year and 4 year old programs. Initially, he attended the Goddard school in Hanover where I found the program to be very rigid. The biggest difference I found between both schools was that at Columbia Academy my son was learning at a very high rate while having fun. My son enjoys the academic programs and really loves his teachers. He was a 2012 graduate of the 4 year old program (Pre-K) at the Kendall Ridge location. Additionally, the administrators are hands on and also involve themselves in fun classroom activities. Staff is very creative and finds numerous ways to keep the kids stimulated. My son attended the George Washington University Reading Program this summer at the 1st grade Reading level. He just turned 5 (June 2012). I credit his teacher at Columbia Academy Kendall Ridge for his achievements.