This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Columbia Academy Elementary & Middle School5
Posted March 23, 2015
- a parent
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.
My son attended Jr. K and K at Columbia Academy, and we had nothing but positive experiences. The teachers and staff are wonderful, a great balance of young enthusiastic teachers, and older experienced ones. The before and after care was a lifesaver! They are open until 6:30pm, and stayed open for non-academic days on snow days and holiday breaks so parents are still able to get to work. They were able to provide a lot of individualized instruction and fantastic field trips. I was able to spend time in the classroom, the children were happy, well behaved and respectful. If we had not moved across the country I would have loved to have kept my son there for first grade.
It is simply by luck that my son is only 5 years old and I began to realize how horrible this Columbia Academy school is! My son has been in the Columbia Academy preschool for more than 2 year. The teachers are OK, but the management is plain horrible! They are arrogant, have no idea how to run a school, and just blame on others to cover their own incompetence. Especially for the 2012 new management, they messed up their billing system and said that I should pay my son's tuition by week and lunch by week! seperately! We never had this type of problem before! we never know this change and they want us to pay the so called late fee no matter how hard we tried to explain to them it is not our fault! I mean, I understand that maybe one or two teachers might not be good enough, but if the management is this incompetent and arrogant, this school has simply lost my trust and respect becase you cannot trust they will make any good adjustment! I have transfered my son out of this school immediately and my family and friends will stay away from Columbia Academy as far as possible1