Columbia Independent School

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Columbia Independent School
Motto "Per Educationem, Sapientiem, Civitas"
Established 1998
Type Private College Preparatory
Principal William C. Rowe
Students 350
Grades Pre-K–12
Location 1801 N Stadium Blvd.,
Columbia, Missouri, USA
Coordinates 38°58′26″N 92°22′18″W / 38.97381°N 92.37162°W / 38.97381; -92.37162Coordinates: 38°58′26″N 92°22′18″W / 38.97381°N 92.37162°W / 38.97381; -92.37162
Campus Suburban
Colors          Blue and Gold

Columbia Independent School (CIS) is a private school in Columbia, Missouri that serves 350 students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. The school's curriculum puts a unique emphasis upon "global studies".


Columbia Independent School began in the fall of 1996, inspired by a group of families led by Justin Perry. The families sought to provide a unique educational opportunity for the growing community in Columbia, Missouri. Perry envisioned "a new independent, non-sectarian, academically challenging college preparatory school."[citation needed] The school's focus would be on academic achievement and personal excellence. By the end of 1996, 32 families committed to becoming founders of the new school.[citation needed] The next year was spent researching other independent schools, securing a location in Hickman Hall at Stephens College, hiring educators, and selecting a Head of School. Dee Corn, former principal at Hickman High School in Columbia, was selected as the Head of School and also functioned as the Director of the Upper School.[citation needed] A committee of founders selected the name "Columbia Independent School". Prospective students were given the opportunity to choose the mascot and school colors. The students chose the lion, a symbol of strength, pride and leadership, and the colors blue and gold.

In the fall of 1998, CIS opened its doors to 55 students in grades six through nine and a faculty composed of 16 teachers. Students and teachers attended a three-day retreat at the YMCA Trout Lodge in southern Missouri before school began. The retreat offered students informative sessions about expectations at CIS, mixed with bonding activities. Speeches and the release of balloons as everyone passed under the arches marked the first official day. In each additional school year, a grade was added until the high school was complete. In the spring of 2002, CIS celebrated its first graduating class.

With the success of the Upper School campus and the support of a group of the original founding families, the administration and Board of Trustees decided to launch a kindergarten through fifth grade campus. In the summer of 2002, CIS opened its Lower School program in the previous Sacred Heart Parish School. Barbara Savage, an educator since 1972 with an emphasis in gifted education, was appointed director and established the current reputation of excellence for the Lower School.

In April 2008, CIS acquired the rights to a 62,000 sq ft (5,800 m2) building at 1801 N Stadium, Columbia, MO. The former office building of Salton/Toastmaster was renovated to house CIS beginning in the 2009-2010 school year. This effectively doubled the space CIS previously occupied and brought all of CIS together under one roof. Scott K Gibson was appointed Head of School during the transition to the new faciity.


The upper and middle schools at Columbia Independent School organize students into "prides." Each pride has approximately 12–15 students with a teacher acting as "Pride Leader". During this fixed period, 5th hour students hold meetings and engage in community-based projects. CIS Prides generally meet 4 times per week.


Columbia Independent School is a member of the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA), which governs the athletics of most schools within Missouri. The school's teams are designated the "Lions." Sponsored sports include cross country, tennis, basketball, track and field, golf, and co-ed soccer. Due to size constraints, MSHSAA allows CIS students to participate in athletic programs of nearby public schools if that particular sport is not offered at the CIS.

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