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Columbia College and Columbia Public Schools join forces

As part of its Partners in Education (PIE) program, Columbia Public Schools (CPS) recognized Columbia College as an official partner April 5 during a celebration held on the Columbia College campus.

“We are more than happy to support Columbia Public Schools,” said Dr. Gerald Brouder, president of Columbia College. “We are truly invested in all levels of education in this community and hope to have a positive impact on students through our various programs.”

The goal of PIE is to bring schools, businesses and the community together to share resources, strengthen school programs and enhance economic growth. The program began in 1984 with a handful of partnerships. Today the program has 145 partnerships and 108 partnership friends.

“Formalizing the partnership between CPS and Columbia College will strengthen our existing relationship as well as provide a means to enhance the educational opportunities available to students at both institutions,” said Dr. Chris Belcher, superintendent of Columbia Public Schools.

Columbia College supports CPS through a variety of initiatives including:

• Sponsoring scoreboards for Rock Bridge and Hickman high schools

• Hosting the annual Douglass High School graduation ceremony

• Sponsoring Friday Folders for the elementary schools

• Providing unique educational opportunities for elementary students through Summer Expeditions and Expanding Horizons

• Mentoring students in reading, writing and science

• Participating in career days at area middle schools

• Providing teacher candidates for field service and student teaching in area schools

• Offering professional development seminars and in-service training to CPS faculty and staff

Columbia College previously had a 22-year partnership with Eugene Field Elementary School, which ended in January 2010, when students and faculty relocated to Alpha Hart Lewis Elementary School, north of the college. The college provided students with individualized reading and pen-pal programs as well as job shadow and college day opportunities.

Yesterday’s event officially reestablished the relationship between Columbia College and CPS.

Founded in 1851 in Columbia, Mo., Columbia College has been helping students advance their lives through higher education for more than 160 years. As a private, nonprofit, liberal arts and sciences institution, the college takes pride in its small classes, experienced faculty and quality educational programs. With more than 30 campuses across the country, 18 of which are on military installations, students may enroll in day, evening or online classes. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Columbia College educates more than 30,000 students each year and has more than 70,000 alumni worldwide. For more information, visit