Columbia Independent School

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Columbia Independent School
1801 N Stadium Blvd.
Columbia, Missouri
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
Type Private College Preparatory
Motto "Per Educationem, Sapientiem, Civitas"
Established 1998
Headmaster Adam M. Dubé
Grades Pre-K–12
Enrollment 300+
Campus Suburban
Color(s)          Blue and Gold
Mascot Leo Lion

Columbia Independent School (CIS) is a private school and a prep school in Columbia, Missouri that serves over 300 students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. The school's curriculum puts a unique emphasis upon global perspectives.


Columbia Independent School began in the fall of 1998, 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."[1] 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.[2] 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. For the choosing of the mascot, the other option was a frog.

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. This became a tradition, the Balloon Launch, in which at the beginning of every school year, all students release either a blue or gold balloon into the sky. 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. In early 2016, some eighth grade students from the school launched a weather balloon. The balloon reached the stratosphere, and students were shown footage from the weather balloon's camera. The balloon also had a bag of potato chips on it. The remains of the balloon, which popped, are kept beside the Cube classroom. More info about the balloon can be found here: [3]

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 the 2013-2014 school year, Chris Sayers replaced Beth Gardner as Lower School Director.

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.[4]


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, and 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 CIS.


In spring 2016, the school is to begin work on the Athletics and Arts Center. This will be a large new addition to the school, which will add many things, among them, the school's first real gymnasium. Before this, the students used the playground, the fitness room, and the playroom for P.E. More can be found on the Center here.[5] Before the 2014-2015 school year started, the school underwent some renovations. This renovation turned one of the old PreK rooms into the Cube, also known as CI3. This meant both JK classes were combined, and one of the old JK teachers became the science teacher for grades PreK-3, 2 kept their positions, and one was fired.


  1. ^ "Inside CIS: School Profile" (PDF). Columbia Independent School. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "Teaching With Pride". Columbia Independent School. Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  3. ^ Dostaler, Alex. "Columbia students study data after launching balloon". Retrieved 2016-04-01. 
  4. ^ Emmett, Caitlyn. "Columbia Independent School opens new campus". The Missourian. Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "The Athletics and Arts Center | Columbia Independent School". Retrieved 2016-04-01. 

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