I am a former student of Columbia Independent School. They are really great at marketing, and have a clear message that their focus is on an academically challenging curriculum that prepares students for college. They are altogether unable to deliver on this promise. At the high school level, the class sizes are very small. This is not a good thing! The classes may be called "AP" but they are remedial level. The teachers must cater to the lowest common denominator. If the sophomores in AP English struggle to comprehend things written at an 8th grade level, the class becomes an 8th grade English class. Kids at this school develop little more than an inflated ego. Social skills are laughable. Academic ability is pathetic. Both Rock Bridge and Hickman High School have the ability to really serve students of all levels, instead of cramming them into a ridiculously expensive classroom and bragging about small classroom sizes.
My 2 children have been going to CIS for 5 years now. Their lower school programis great, but the middle and high school...not so much. My daughter has been struggling this year a lot. The teaches seem to not care about the students education. One of the teachers keeps making fun of my daughter everyday. Today my daughter was crying because her English teacher assigned her an essay that she didn't teach them how to write. It was a big struggle. That is when i realized we needed to make a change. I've enrolled both my children into Jefferson Junior, and Rockbridge high school. I really am not satisfied with this school lately.
I have been going to this school for 8 years now, since Kindergarten, and I have loved it here! The teachers bring new, and fun challenges for the class every day, and they help every person learn to behave well. The music program is great; there are now 3 levels of orchestra- beginning, intermeditate, and advanced. The Choir program at CIS couldn't be better, the director makes music fun and exciting and lets students bring out the music inside them and share it with the world. Latin is a unique program in the school, and it is taught to the middle school and high school. It helps expand our vocabulary and grammar. The lower school now teaches French and Spanish and my little sisters are enjoying it a lot! With small classes, it is easy to make friends. Every day, when I go through the school doors, I think to myself "Today I will learn something fun and new, and I will go home that afternoon already smarter than I was the night before." I plan to stay at this great school until I graduate!
My son entered 10th grade at CIS this Fall. It has been a life changer. The small classes, dedicated teachers and caring environment have helped him to mature, gain confidence and become engaged in his education. He has the opportunity to participate in many extra curricular activiting includes yearbook, jazz band and basketball. The public school is so large that he would not have had these opportunities in that environment. The teachers clearly care about their students and work to create engaging materials to challenge them. My son has responded to this by taking a greater interest in his education, becoming more responsible and seeking more appropriate feedback. CIS has a strong committment to diversity and global perspectives. Many students travel abroad as part of the curriculm and there are many international students on campus. His classmates have been accepted to selective colelges throughout the U.S., many with scholarships. I highly recommend this school.
Our daughter was bored at the public elementary school in our area, and we had the fortunate opportunity to enroll her at CIS. Since she started attending there, she is again excited about learning. School is once again a place where she learns NEW things! She is much more confident and eager to speak up. This isn't just a school; it is a community that enables each child to perform his/her best, try new things, and be heard. This is an environment in which children don't just learn ... they thrive!
CIS just keeps getting better all the time. I have had children there for six years now, and we are all happily anticipating another. My children have flourished in the small, personalized environment. The teachers have encouraged them to try everything, and they have done sports almost every season, been in school plays, orchestra, jazz band, student council, participated in Science Olympiad, gone overseas with the Latin class, and I don't know what all else. The classes are challenging, the kids are held to rigorous standards, and perhaps best of all, the kids are developing into just plain NICE people. This is not an accident. The example set by the teachers and staff is impeccable. Any infringement of civility on the part of a student is firmly corrected. It is truly a place that nourishes all areas of development.
My daughter is currently a kindergarten student at CIS. I cannot say enough about how much we love this school. The amount that she is learning compared to public school is astounding, currently per teachers in the family doing first grade work 3 months prior to end of kindergarten year. As long as we stay in Columbia and can afford it, it will be impossible for us to consider another place for our child. It would seem like settling for a second-rate education.
I have attended CIS for 6 years now, and I just love it! The teachers are so helpful, they care about whether you succeed or not. The other students are also fantastic and encourage your learning and growth. It's also great that because we are so small, you end up befriending a lot of people you normally would not talk to. I'm glad I was forced to enter CIS in the sixth grade, because it has payed off.
The academic programs at CIS are, without exception, of the highest quality. The curriculum is amazing, truly. It is at least two grade levels ahead of the public schools in the area, which aren't bad themselves. The amazing thing, though, is that while gifted kids get this kind of education in the public schools, here all children are expected to succeed -- and they do! The teachers are the strong point of this school. I have been a little saddened to see curricular changes that limit the students' choices in the fine arts in the upper school since my own child's interests tend to be in music, art, and drama. The school really does foster a sense of community among the students and their families.
Our son comes home from CIS with a great sense of accomplishment. He is motivated to learn. He has fun while learning. The teachers at CIS are amazing. In the sixth grade we saw our son learn how to write from a teacher that is as skilled as any professional. I would compare the Latin Program to something I would find interesting as an adult. The art program is the best in the area. The music program offers two levels of band and orchestra that are led by professional musicians. The children are brought into real world examples by teachers who are part of the bigger picture of improving our world by being exemplary themselves. This years sports program includes an All American teacher. CIS and the strong parent association is bringing our son to a lifetime love of learning. CIS is a model for excellence in education.
Our son started in 6th at CIS Upper School last year, and he's now in 7th. We have been delighted with the academic challenge, the supportive atmosphere, and the responsiveness of the faculty. He has learned an enormous amount in just one year and is thriving on the structure and the encouragement. My husband and I are both extremely pleased with CIS, and we plan to send both our children to CIS through 12th grade.
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