Check out our September/October newsletter for the latest updates, photos, and helpful information.
- Have you heard about our "Knights Power Hours"?
- Did you see updates about our 2020 Move-A-Thon event?
- Read about our current School Board members!
God continues to bless Columbia Christian School.
October 19, 2020
Support your favorite PreK-5th grade student as they participate in our 25th annual "Move-A-Thon" this week. The kids are gathering pledges to raise funds for campus projects, and they are tracking their hours of fitness activities. You can read more on the flyer - check out the winner of the drawing contest for the event!
Questions can be directed to Development Director Jason Housley: firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 14, 2020
Our Limited In-Person Instruction (LII) program continues to be a successful addition to our Comprehensive Distance Learning this year. Starting in September 2020, our students were blessed with the opportunity to come to campus for short sessions in small groups with their peers and teachers.
October 2, 2020
Columbia Christian was featured in a story that aired on KGW8 this week regarding our Limited In-Person Instruction. Their news crew came out to interview our students, teachers, administrators, and parents about the success of the program so far.
September 24, 2020
We are pleased to welcome small groups of students back to campus for "Knights Power Hours" Limited In-Person Instruction (up to 2 hours per day). This on-campus time is introduced after three weeks of successful Comprehensive Distance Learning and is an excellent complement to that program. Students and teachers are benefiting from these opportunities to build relationships and focus on social, mental, and spiritual health together.
September 16, 2020
We are scheduled to start offering limited in-person instruction next week. These opportunities are called Knights Power Hours, and we are excited about the ways our students will benefit from this quality time together!
We are using these two-hour segments very intentionally — to build the relationships needed for success:
- Relationship with God
- Relationships with Teachers
- Relationships with Classmates
Many children in our local community are struggling right now. In addition to the stresses of the pandemic and the wildfires, they are dealing with feelings of isolation and emotional health needs. We want to address those concerns and provide support and encouragement.
Through our comprehensive distance learning program this fall, we have been able to continue academic progress as well as spiritual formation and the development of Christian character — the very mission of Columbia. We know that our in-person sessions will greatly enhance this growth for our students.
It's not too late to join in! We have some classes with open spots remaining — even while maintaining social distancing requirements in our classrooms. We also still have some financial aid available.
Contact us today to learn more and discuss your next steps! 503-252-8577
September 10, 2020
The health of our students and faculty is of utmost importance at Columbia. As part of our reentry plan for this fall, we installed ultraviolet germicidal irradiation lights in secured areas of the school's HVAC systems.
They are doing much more than creating a blue glow! According to the CDC, these types of lights are one of the most promising decontamination methods, and they are hard at work clearing the air in our buildings.
The school was blessed with grant funding to cover the cost of these system upgrades, and our facilities team worked quickly to get it all installed before our students were back on campus this fall. We are grateful for cleaner air in our classrooms!
The middle school years can be a challenging time of growth and development for many children. At Columbia, we are blessed with an excellent team of faculty to guide and mentor our 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students.
Do you know someone looking for a positive junior high experience for their child? We have a few openings remaining (even with social-distancing requirements) and we would love to share more about our program. Have them call us to get all their questions answered: 503-252-8577.
August 28, 2020
Columbia elementary and middle school students and families were given the opportunity to visit with our faculty and staff this week in several outdoor sessions. It was a great time to get to know one another and make plans for the great year ahead!
High school students and parents, get ready for your events next Tuesday, September 1!
Check out our July/August newsletter for the latest updates, photos, and helpful information.
- Did you catch the latest about our "blended learning" opportunities this fall?
- Have you heard about our students serving this summer?
- Read about our response to the COVID-19 pandemic!
God is faithful in blessing our school.
Our faculty, staff, students, and families are excited to count down to our first day of school on Wednesday, September 2. We are all looking forward to a wonderful year ahead!
It's not too late... We have some classes that still have spots available - while maintaining social distancing and safety requirements as outlined in our operational blueprint for reentry.
If you have a friend or relative who is uncertain about what is best for their child educationally in these challenging times, we can help! Have them call us to schedule their no-obligation Educational Success Consultation with President Ami Vensel (in person or by Zoom) to have all their questions answered: 503-252-8577.
August 17, 2020
Columbia’s operations plan (blueprint) was submitted to our local health agencies and the Oregon Department of Education this afternoon. The blueprint outlines essential procedures to ensure the health and safety of all members of the community while keeping with our mission to provide academic excellence.
You can view the blueprint, along with other health-related resources, on our COVID Response page.
Thank you for your support in the implementation of Columbia’s plan. Together we can ensure a safe and successful academic year.
August 14, 2020
Columbia’s Operations Plan (blueprint) is in its final stages and will be shared with our community and with our local health agencies on Monday, August 17. The blueprint outlines necessary procedures to ensure the health and safety of all members of the community while keeping with our mission to provide academic excellence.
What to expect:
Columbia will begin school on September 2nd in Comprehensive Distance Learning with plans to implement limited in-person instruction. The guidance for limited in-person instruction was just released this week from Oregon Department of Education. The in-person option allows us to bridge comprehensive distance learning with in-person instruction for several purposes.
Columbia will provide families with choice. We understand that when Multnomah County comes into compliance with the county metrics (which would allow Columbia to bring all students back to the classroom for 5-day-a-week instruction), some families will want to continue with distance learning. We support this choice and will provide synchronous learning for those students and families who choose to continue with comprehensive distance learning.
Kindergarten through 3rd grade will likely be able to return to in-school instruction earlier under metric allowances. It is understood that younger students need access to in-person instruction to build literacy and numeracy skills critical to their continued learning.
Classroom accommodations have been made to meet the various needs of class size and quality instruction in support of the 35 square-feet per person requirement. This means that some of our teachers have moved classrooms. Columbia is dedicated to providing a quality learning environment for the students and families we serve.
Teacher professional development has taken place throughout the summer to best prepare our faculty for comprehensive distance learning. Trainings have been specifically targeted toward practical skills and knowledge to effectively meet the critical needs of educators and students.
Click here to read the full statement from Columbia Christian administration.
August 6, 2020
President Ami Vensel shares an important and encouraging message regarding plans for the upcoming school year.
July 20, 2020
Columbia’s fall operations plan (blueprint) is currently under construction and will outline necessary procedures to ensure the safe return to campus while maintaining academic excellence and ensuring the health and safety of all members of the community. At this point, Columbia will be entering school in September at a Campus-Wide Leveled Response Level 2.
We know that the campus facilities will receive increased levels of cleaning and sanitizing, as well as increased containment of groupings of students (cohorts) for the purposes of contact tracing, which may be required at any time during the school year. However, the disruption to typical classroom routines will be minimized to the greatest extent possible in order to support student and staff socio-emotional health.
We recognize that with our return to campus we will operate a bit differently. Nonetheless, while implementing public health recommendations and with God as our refuge and strength, we will continue to deliver an exceptional Christian-based education for all students.
Click here to read the full statement from Columbia Christian administration.
July 15, 2020
Columbia Christian School offers a variety of AP (Advanced Placement), College Credit Dual Enrollment, and Honors courses for high school students. We are glad to report the success of our AP English Literature students from this past school year! Our participants had a pass rate of nearly 90%!
English instructor Mrs. Wetzler shared with the students: “Your hard work, perseverance and dedication over the last quarter of the school year have paid off. Passing the AP Lit test is no small feat, and I am thrilled for your success. You have demonstrated beyond doubt that you are ready for the rigors of college academic writing and analysis. To put this into perspective, of the approximately 334,000 students who took the test globally, only 60% passed the test. I hope this achievement brings you confidence as you continue your academic pursuits.”
To learn more about academic offerings at Columbia Christian, schedule your no-obligation "Educational Success Consultation" with President Ami Vensel by calling 503-252-8577 today!
The results are in! We enjoyed all the fantastic pieces submitted by our middle and high school students in our Virtual Art Show. Thanks to everyone who participated in viewing and voting for the collections. Check out our winners and all the submissions!
July 14, 2020
We are pleased to announce Jared Valentine as our new Athletic Director. Jared has a Master's degree in Education and 12 years of experience as a college administrator. He served most recently as head coach for Warner Pacific University's men's basketball team. Jared was selected from a pool of 10 applicants for the AD position, and he is excited to serve alongside our staff and faculty at Columbia Christian. Please help us welcome Coach Valentine to the Columbia family!
Our May/June newsletter has the latest updates, photos, and helpful information.
- Were you part of our graduation celebration this year?
- Have you seen the mess in our gym?
- Read what our parents are saying!
God continues to bless our school.
May 1, 2020
Our hearts are full after seeing so many of our students and their families at our "Drive-Thru Reverse Parade." ❤️ It was a blessing to be able to stay connected and encouraged in a safe way during these challenging times. Many thanks to everyone who participated in the event!
Check out the March/April newsletter for information and photos from this spring. Did you hear about our surprise Circus Literacy Day? What about the News Channel 8 feature with our teachers? We continue to experience God's blessings!
It's not too late to support our Auction 2020 campaign - providing resources for students to experience excellence at Columbia Christian!
We grant over $300,000 in tuition assistance each year to families from a variety of backgrounds; your gift makes it possible for more children to experience excellence at Columbia Christian.
If you missed our live event, on Saturday, April 25, you can still watch it online:
April 9, 2020
Many of you heard the latest update from Governor Kate Brown that has closed K-12 school campuses in the state of Oregon through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. At Columbia, our administrators and faculty have been tentatively planning for such a decision, and we are confident that we are equipped to continue guiding our students through “At-Home & Digital Learning” to finish out this fourth quarter. Though the situation is far from ideal, we are making the best of it and pressing on.
There are many folks at Columbia who deserve our appreciation as we have navigated through these challenging times. Our teachers were recently recognized in a segment on KGW News Channel 8 as well as a radio interview by President Ami Vensel on 104.1 The Fish. In both features, Columbia was highlighted as a school that responded quickly and effectively to distance learning. We have witnessed our faculty working tirelessly to adjust to new methods, create new content, engage their students, and continue providing excellence in faith, character, and academics. None of our success would be possible without their dedication and love for our children!
Finally, our biggest thanks go to our students and their families. It is no small task for kids to adapt to significant changes – like suddenly moving all of their studies out of their classroom and expecting them to utilize new learning methods. Many of our parents/guardians are also dealing with job fluctuation – whether that means unemployment, working remotely, or serving on the “front lines” as essential workers. The impact of these transitions can only be magnified by the fact that it’s all taking place in the midst of a great time of stress for our communities, our country, and our world. Your resilience is commendable.
We are reminding ourselves and one-another to “take things one day at a time” and praying that we can glean the blessings from this experience. As we shared in our last message, we find comfort in Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” We are in this together and God is doing good things.
Click here to read the full statement from Columbia Christian administration.
April 5, 2020
Columbia's elementary faculty were recognized on KGW News for their "At-Home and Digital Learning" methods. You can watch the clip on the Channel 8 website.
March 30, 2020
We hope that you had a restful Spring Break and that you were all able to find moments of joy. We are collectively adapting to our circumstances and learning how to navigate the current directive: “Stay Home, Save Lives.” This looks very different for each individual and family; we pray daily for God’s wisdom and peace through it all.
At Columbia Christian School, we are blessed:
- to have a network of alumni, donors, churches, and friends who support the school with their prayers, efforts, and finances
- by a School Board comprised of members who are involved, responsive, and dedicated to furthering the mission of Columbia – even in challenging times
- through a strong team of faculty members who are equipped, actively collaborating, and devoted to excellence in education
- with students who are growing, learning new skills, and cultivating resilience in unprecedented circumstances
- and most importantly, by parents and guardians who are engaged in the learning process and prioritizing a solid, faith-based academic foundation for the children in their care
In the midst of many uncertainties, we find comfort in Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” We are in this together – prioritizing the mission of our school: to provide a Christ-centered education focused on excellence in faith, character, and academics. God is doing good things.
Click here to read the full statement from Columbia Christian administration.
March 20, 2020
Our prayer is that you are surrounded by the peace that only God can provide as we navigate together through this challenging experience. Updates related to the COVID19 pandemic are constantly changing and we are dedicated to following the directives and guidelines as they are presented by the health authorities – to protect our community, school, and homes.
Many of you heard the decision from Oregon Governor Kate Brown this past Tuesday, to extend the closure of K-12 school campuses until April 28. This adjusts our original plan to resume on-site classes at the beginning of April. At this time, and until further notice, we anticipate welcoming our students back on Wednesday, April 29.
While we await approval for our students to return to our physical campus, we want to offer our thanks and appreciation for your support of our temporary “At-Home/Digital Learning”. It is truly a blessing to be able to seamlessly continue the education of our children and to keep them on track in their classes. We are grateful for our teachers – preparing materials, evaluating progress, and communicating frequently. We are impressed by our students – embracing new methods and adapting to big life changes. And we are pleased to partner with you as parents and guardians – you are the ones who are making this program work in amazing ways.
Click here to read the full statement from Columbia Christian administration.
March 13, 2020
In response to Oregon Governor Kate Brown's announcement to close K-12 schools in the state, Columbia Christian School students will not meet on campus through the month of March. Our goal is to continue pursuing excellence and minimize interruptions to the learning process - despite not being able to gather together in physical classrooms during this time.
Our administrators and faculty have been working over the past several weeks to prepare for a situation like this. We are pleased to share the following plan:
- K-7th grade students are receiving learning packets, and teachers will communicate with parents daily through email
- 8th-12th grade students will have digital learning starting on Tuesday, March 17
Click here to read the full statement from Columbia Christian administration.
Our January/February newsletter has the latest updates, photos, and helpful information. Did you hear about our surprise at Homecoming this year? What about our yo-yo assembly? God continues to bless our school year together.
February 25, 2020
Hello Columbia Families,
It is good to be a part of the family at Columbia Christian! God is richly blessing the work and ministry at Columbia and I am excited to reflect and share with you some of the great accomplishments from second quarter.
The Columbia Way
Our faculty and staff continue to be dedicated to the daily integration of Columbia’s core values that begin with fostering a community of relationships. Families who come to visit routinely comment about their experience while on our campus; here’s just one example:
"When we visited Columbia, as soon as we got to the school, we can honestly say we felt the presence of God. We were treated as if we were VIP guests and immediately embraced as family. For us, it left us in awe of how we experienced the heart of God towards us through every individual we encountered. Columbia made us feel like we were home and that we belonged."
A Heart of Service
November brought opportunities for our students to serve and be thankful. We were blessed to honor Veterans at our annual Veteran’s Day program where students of all ages shared scripture, read poetry, and sang songs in honor of those who have served our country. Being thankful also included the kindergarten, first, and second grade classes sharing a Thanksgiving feast. Young Pilgrims and Native Americans gathered at the Eastside church to share gifts and to give thanks for a bountiful meal.
Elementary and middle school students welcomed the Christmas season by presenting a Charlie Brown Christmas choral program that included telling the story of Jesus and his birth. We are grateful to have such talented performers and creative teachers! The Christmas season also provided opportunity for students to serve – collecting warm clothing items and packing shoe boxes with toiletries and school supplies, to bless families in need.
Our own Cameron Lewis (sophomore) led fellow troop members in building two octagonal picnic tables for middle school students to enjoy in the courtyard by the Outlaw Center. Cameron has worked diligently over the past several months to complete his Eagle Scout project, and his labor of love is much appreciated by students at Columbia. Thank you, Cameron!
Columbia teachers remain steadfast in their professional training that equips them to embed all subjects in biblical worldview and mentor students in Christian faith. Marquita Moss (of Brentwood Christian), and Paul Fisher (of Harding Academy), are leading our three-year biblical worldview training program. We are celebrating the work we have completed so far with personal mission and philosophy as well as core content mission and philosophy statements. We are now in the process of writing curriculum standards and indicators in biblical worldview. Pursuing Christ-centered instruction that produces excellence in faith, character, and academics is at the heart of Columbia’s mission.
ACSI accreditation is a highly effective way for a Christian school to evaluate itself in light of its unique educational mission. In the fall of 2020, Columbia will go through the re-accreditation process that includes a self-study, which guides our school to evaluate and reflect on 1) academics, 2) skills for living, 3) biblical worldview development, and 4) personal character and spiritual formation.
This self-study process includes a school profile (history, demographics, student achievement, mission, vision, core values, survey results, and supporting evidence). We are excited about Columbia’s growth over the past five years and are looking forward to welcoming the accreditation team on our campus this fall.
Beyond the Classroom
It’s exciting when our students step out into our community to put learning into action! High school students in our pre-engineering class recently visited the Multnomah County Bridge office in downtown Portland. Students were able to view technical drawings, as well as learn the history and mechanics of bridge building. They explored the Morrison Bridge tower viewing deck where they observed an actual bridge lift, and then were led down inside of the bridge to view all of the mechanics. Mrs. Hall was thrilled to offer an experience her students will never forget! This is just one of the many field trips our students have enjoyed this year to enhance their education.
Thank you for your prayers, support, and partnership in the mission at Columbia Christian! God has blessed Columbia in so many ways – we are grateful!
For Our Students for His Glory,
Ami Vensel, President
Check out the November/December newsletter for information and photos from our time together this year. Have you heard about all the improvements in our gym? What about our various student activities and events? The 2019-2020 school year is full of blessings!
Join us on Sunday, February 9, at 2:00PM to learn more about our programs, growth, and changes.
December 9, 2019
Greetings Columbia Families,
In the midst of these very chilly fall days, I would like to extend to you a warm welcome into the family at Columbia Christian. Fall is a great time of year at Columbia as we launch a new school year and welcome new families into our community. I am blessed to serve as your school principal and am grateful to be in partnership with you in educating your children spiritually and academically, and in the training of minds, hearts, and souls.
I’m happy to share with you some highlights since we began this year together, starting with our amazing faculty who continue to focus on integration of Biblical Worldview into our curriculum. This is an intentional work which has included significant professional development time and growth across all of our disciplines: math, science, social studies, language and literature, the arts, and Bible. We are devoted to having God’s truth permeate everything we do.
Pursuing academic excellence is paramount at Columbia. In support of this effort, our students have ongoing opportunities to participate in MAP testing (Measures of Academic Progress). MAP provides teachers with current and relevant data to personalize instruction for each student. High school students also completed the PSAT (Preliminary SAT Test) administered by College Board. The PSAT helps our students prepare and better understand the SAT which they will take as part of their college and career plan.
Let me also draw your attention to recognizing the following achievements:
- Our elementary students participated in the 24th annual Jog-A-Thon event. We were blessed to raise a record amount of $15,000 through donations and sponsors.
- Thanks to the help of many volunteers and shoppers, our fall Book Fair earned over $1,900 for new materials for our library and classrooms.
- Our annual Grandparents Day in October brought many family members and special friends to the campus for breakfast, tours, visiting classes, project showcases, and an enjoyable collection of student performances. We love having these relatives share in our ministry.
- In November, we paused to recognize veterans. Our Veterans Assembly was attended by many guests from the community and included songs performed by our students in honor of our service men and women.
As we pursue our mission of excellence in faith, character, and academics, I am proud to share with you that our chapel worship continues to be an integral part of the Columbia experience for elementary, middle, and high school students. These weekly gathering times are dedicated to worship, Bible lessons, devotion, and encouragement. In the high school, our student body Religious Activities Coordinator, Cameron Stark, has worked diligently to plan chapels, arrange guest speakers, and personally share messages. Once per month, our entire student population enjoys gathering as a united group for “all-school” chapel. What an encouragement it is to see children from PreK through 12th grade joining in praise.
Our faculty and administration are involved in the early steps of our self-study for school accreditation. Columbia has been dually accredited by ACSI and AdvancEd since 2000; our renewal occurs every five years. The reports being compiled now will be presented to the accreditation team that will be onsite for our evaluation in October of 2020. We covet your prayers and support in this process.
It is my pleasure to serve at Columbia, and to partner with you and our students in continuing to grow Columbia Christian. We rely foremost on God’s leadership and then on the support of families like yours. In addition, we are blessed with academically strong and faithful faculty, and a team of dedicated staff. With these elements combined, we are fulfilling our mission to help students become leaders and shapers of culture – living faithfully under the Lordship of Christ. We look forward to more great things through this school year.
Joel B. Davis, M.Ed.
The September/October newsletter shares some of our fall activities and highlights several of our important supporters. The 2019-2020 school year is off to a great start!
We appreciate the grandparents and other special friends who joined us for our annual Grandparents Day event. Your support means so much to our school and our students. Thank you!
Greetings from Columbia Christian School,
We are a month into classes and enjoying another great year. It is a blessing and an honor to serve as your school president in the mission of providing a Christ-centered education focused on excellence in faith, character, and academics.
I believe God is doing a great work at Columbia Christian, such as the prophet Isaiah proclaims in Isaiah 43:19, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” This great work has taken many forms and I would love to take this opportunity to allow you to perceive it!
1. We as an administration and school board are committed to the Columbia Way which celebrates each child as significant, valuable, and uniquely created in the image of God. We recognize and appreciate that each student and family comes to us with a distinct background and history that enhances our culture and blesses our school community. The Columbia Way provides the assurance that our faculty and staff are faithful to a language and practice that reflects Christ and honors God.
2. God has blessed us with the addition of 85 new students who desire a Christ-centered education in a community where relationships are fostered between students, staff, and families. It is through relationship that we build trust, form partnership, and embark on the journey of raising up children to know and love God. We are excited to welcome these families into the Columbia community!
3. Three new high school Bible teachers join our faculty from local Churches of Christ with a desire to be a part of the mission and vision of Columbia, investing in the lives of young people and equipping them in faith and character. Matt Wojcik is the new preaching minister at Metro Church of Christ and is thrilled to be a part of discipleship at Columbia. Steve Haney, an alumnus of Cascade College, is the youth minister at Oregon City Church of Christ and is excited to be back on campus working with teens in the classroom. Anna Carter, daughter of Morgan Outlaw (our late Chancellor Emeritus) is a graduate of Columbia Christian, and has raised her children and grandchildren in the school. Mrs. Carter is passionate about teaching the Word of God and encouraging young people to develop and grow a faith walk.
4. We are excited to highlight Columbia’s Core Values that speak to the heart of Columbia’s mission:
Fostering a community of relationship – We are more than just teachers, staff members, and administrators; we are mentors and change-agents. We use the ultimate example of Jesus Christ as our guide to building positive Christ-centered relationships. We want every student to feel loved, encouraged, and inspired during their time at Columbia.
Pursuing Truth – Believing that all truth comes from God, we are committed to integrating a Biblical worldview in all areas of faith, character, and academics.
Devoted to Excellence – As a faculty and staff, we pursue excellence in all that we do to glorify God and to serve others.
Abundant Living – Christ came so that we may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). We encourage students to love God and love others. Developing an attitude and posture of service, we encourage students to impact peers, families, churches, communities, and the world for Christ.
5. Our school culture continues to warm the hearts of all those who interact with our campus. We witness students stepping into leadership roles, welcoming new peers into classes, and encouraging one another in academic rigor, sports competitions, and chapel worship. I love to tell stories of our students – your children – doing amazing things!
We are keenly aware of, and actively pursuing, our vision to lead an ever-growing number of students in the greater Portland area to know and love God, to equip them with a Christian Worldview and a strong academic foundation, and to enable them to discover and develop their God-given gifts for abundant living and life-long Christian leadership and service.
It is a privilege and a blessing to serve and to be a part of what God is doing here at Columbia! We are thankful that we get to partner with you in equipping your children both academically and spiritually for a lifelong walk of faith.
Blessings of peace and joy,
Our school was featured in the national Christian Chronicle for service work our students completed in Summer 2019. Several of our middle and high schoolers participated in local volunteer projects including building and grounds work at the Agape Village – a "tiny home" community designed to combat the homeless epidemic in Portland. You can view the story and the KGW8 news clip on the Christian Chronicle website.
If you want to visit us at Columbia Christian, but you don’t have an appointment, it’s no problem! Visitors are welcome to drop by any Wednesday between 9:00am and 4:00pm to learn about our programs, tour our campus, and see first-hand what makes this community so special. President Ami Vensel offers free, no-obligation Educational Success Consultations to discuss the goals for each child. We’ll see you next Wednesday!
We look forward to seeing you! Click to purchase tickets.
Columbia Christian middle school and high school students gathered with staff and faculty at the central courtyard flagpole to remember and pray over the tragic events of 09/11/2001.
New families: This is an event you won't want to miss!
Dear Columbia Families,
Honor Night, Banner Night, and graduation ceremonies are over for 2018-19; it’s time to look to the future.
With that in mind, I have a question for you: What do you dream for your children? Do you have a vision for the lives of your sons and daughters after they march across the stage to receive their high school diplomas?
If so, we are dreaming right along with you. Our dream is that Columbia graduates will be equipped for the abundant life, the life that will be “immeasurably more than all they ask or imagine.” 1
What does “abundant life” mean? While academic preparation and skill development to the limit of each student’s God-given potential is essential, that’s just the beginning. Acceptance at the college of choice is important, but again, it’s just a preliminary to life. The most important things we dream for our students go beyond a career that pays well and a beautiful home.
At Columbia, we dream that our graduates will experience the joy and beauty of:
- The abundant life found only in Christ
- Life-long marriage to a husband or wife who is one’s closest friend and Christian companion
- A church family to love and support through all the challenges of life
- Children and grandchildren who also know the Lord
- Meaningful work that brings out all the potential God has supplied, provides for home and family, and makes going to work a joy
There was a time that most Christians took this vision for granted, but no longer. More than 30 years ago, Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family warned that nothing short of a great civil war of values is raging today throughout this country. Lined up against the Christian vision of the good life is a solid front of well-organized and well-financed groups that start with the assumption that God doesn’t exist.
As a result, the Christian foundation on which our legal and political system and our system of public education were built is disintegrating, replaced by intolerance for every precept and practice of Christian faith, celebration of immoral behavior, proliferation of violence, growing cynicism and selfish disregard for others – accompanied by hopelessness and an alarmingly high rate of suicide.
While this battle may seem to be new, it’s only the latest skirmish in a war that began when Satan convinced Adam and Eve to turn their backs on God. The Apostle Paul described this battle in Ephesians 6:12: “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Arming God’s people to win this battle is why Jesus came into the world. “I came that they may have life,” Jesus said, “and have it abundantly.” 2 He also warned, “In this world you will have trouble; but take heart! I have overcome the world.” 3
But what about education, you ask? Research shows that the kind of Christian education that Columbia offers and continually strives to perfect also results in high academic outcomes, critical thinking skills, and preparation for rigorous colleges more often than public schools. Students who graduate from a Christian school are three times more likely to obtain a college degree.
The periodically administered Cardus Education Survey, the benchmark for data on independent Christian Education in North America, also shows that Christian education has a significant positive impact on public service, marriage and family life, generosity, and faithful Christian living.
As we look to the future, we are taking steps to make sure Columbia students are grounded in the only vision that gives life meaning and purpose, a reason to get up in the morning, and that results in joy in the journey of life.
Our faculty is continuing a three-year program on teaching across the curriculum based on the biblical worldview. We are doubling down on academic testing outcomes to determine where each student is strong and designing strategies to strengthen areas of weakness. We are continuing to pursue training, such as the recent Neuroeducation Workshop, to learn and put into practice what the latest research reveals about how students learn.
When students return in the fall, we at Columbia will be better prepared than ever to help them grow with excellence in faith, character, and academics.
May God grant you and your family His grace and peace this summer!
President1 Ephesians 3:202 John 10:103 John 16:32-33
This summer, Columbia is hosting three Art Camps, each a week long. Please click here for the brochure and registration information.
Are you a high schooler interested in interning? Click here for the application.
The Fine Arts Festival will be held at the Eastside Church of Christ on May 23, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.
David Spirlin is coming 'home" as the new Head Coach of the Knights Girls Basketball Program. Coach Spirlin is a graduate of Columbia Christian College, having played basketball under long-time coach Jim Flint. Spirlin earned a degree in Physical Education and a teaching license for his work at the college, and has been teaching and coaching in the area ever since. He currently is in his 19th year of teaching in the Vancouver School District. He has had stints as the head basketball coach at Scappoose HS, Hudson's Bay HS, Camas HS, and even spent some time as an Assistant Women's Coach at Clark College.
Coach Spirlin is excited to be back at Columbia and to take on the challenge of developing the girls basketball program. He commented, "I'm thrilled and blessed to be given the opportunity to coach these young ladies and look forward to making a positive impact on their lives. I am also excited to be coaching in the gym I played in."
Columbia Christian Begins Initiative to Reduce Bullying —Parents Hold the Key
Anti-bullying expert Paul Coughlin will be speaking to parents and other community members at Columbia Christian School on Monday, May 20, at 7 p.m. in the campus gym.
May 8th is "Bring a Friend to School Day" at Columbia Christian! Middle school and high school students are encouraged to invite a guest to participate. Click on the flyer below to go to the registration page or click here.
Join us for our Annual Family Fun Knight!
Friday, May 3rd from 5pm-8pm.
Dear Columbia Families,
Before sharing an update with you about the last quarter, I want to take a moment to ask you to reserve Monday evening May 20 for a very important service that Columbia is offering our students, our families, and our community:
Columbia is partnering with The Protectors, an internationally recognized freedom-from-bullying organization, to train students, faculty, and parents to address this dark phenomenon. More than a school problem, bullying has become a national scourge, but one which can’t thrive when parents and schools equip students to respond to it.
Studies tell us that when our children witness bullying (this includes nearly all school-age children) and do not respond in a pro-social way, their capacity for courage, sympathy, and related virtues actually decreases in the future. They are less likely to be the kind of children we want them to be.
But the opposite is also true. When our children respond to bullying in a strong and non-violent manner, their capacity for courage, sympathy, and related virtues increases then and on into the future. They literally become more righteous than before, and the courage they gain will help them become greater leaders now and into adulthood.
Sessions with the Protectors are planned for students during the school day on May 20, after school for faculty, and in the evening for parents and friends. You will receive more details in the coming weeks.
As I think about Columbia’s third quarter ending and the final quarter getting underway, our talented students are the first delight that comes to mind.
Fine arts are blossoming all spring this year, with music at all levels and middle school drama for the first time in a while: Danielle Valentine is our full-time drama/choir teacher and Jan Farnsworth is our part-time early elementary music teacher.
If you haven’t seen the spring musical, Into the Woods, yet, I hope you will see it this weekend. Drama and music combine into a highly professional performance that, yes, I admit, put a lump in my throat and brought tears to my eyes last weekend. From the smallest cameo performance to all the leading players, I was impressed. But the actress who really stole my heart was third grader Emrie Riske as Little Red Riding Hood. Creative directing by Mrs. Valentine drew both raucous laughter and quiet contemplation from the audiences.
Not to be outdone, the elementary Mary Poppins Extravaganza combined songs and scenes from the classic Disney film against backdrops created by the high school music class to win the acclaim of all who attended. Directed by Mrs. Valentine and Mrs. Jan Farnsworth, the musical showcased elements of singing, choreography, acting, and simple musical instruments.
Beyond the arts:
The campus is a hive of activity, with the school hosting an Easter egg hunt for the Montavilla neighborhood on Sunday afternoon and the Sola Scriptura life-long learning class exploring the history and importance of the Bible on Tuesday nights, seniors planning a Disney trip, middle school planning its Washington, D. C., trip, athletes competing in track meets, spring soccer, and golf events, and the whole campus getting ready for Family Fun Knight on May 3.
Of course, the biggest happening of the last quarter:
The school board announced that our principal Ami Vensel, will be our next president. In that role, Mrs. Vensel will be responsible to the board for the total operation of the school for everything from campus management to fundraising and development. I am excited about the future under her leadership when she takes office on September 1. Meanwhile, we have initiated a search for her replacement as principal, the person responsible to the president for the academic program. We will keep you informed as that effort moves forward.
We are so glad that you are part of the Columbia family! I will miss this close-knit fellowship when I go back to Texas this fall. God has blessed Columbia in so many ways – dedicated and caring teachers, a large and beautiful campus, a proactive school board, and so much more!
It’s a great time to be a Columbia Knight!
Columbia families and guests are invited and encouraged to read our latest newsletter.
Click on the thumbnail for dates and showtimes.
Musical held at Eastside Church of Christ
FREE Easter Egg Hunt on April 21stsponsored by Gresham Ford and Montavilla Initiative
Columbia Christian is hosting a 6-week CITE course. The course is Sola Scriptura: The History and Importance of the Bible. Follow the link below to visit the course page and learn more about this exciting educational opportunity.
Sola Scriptura: The History and Importance of the Bible
A CITE Life-Long Learning (L3) Class
Hosted by Columbia Christian School
INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Darren Williamson
DATES: Tuesdays, 6-9pm; April 16 – May 28, 2019
COURSE FEE: $30 (+$5 for Continuing Education Units)
Visit http://www.cite-osucc.com/courses/fall-2018/sola-scriptura/ for a course description and to register.
Columbia Christian School Names New President
Portland, OR (March 29, 2019) –The Board of Columbia Christian School has selected Ami Vensel as the school’s next president.
Board President Dr. David Tucker announced Mrs. Vensel’s selection on the Friday before spring break at a meeting of the faculty and staff. Mrs. Vensel will assume the new role September 1.
In that meeting, Dr. Tucker said, “After an extended search and much prayer, the Board came to the conclusion that the best person for this job was already on our staff. Mrs. Vensel has the academic background and spiritual depth to thrive in this position, and we believe she is the one to lead Columbia Christian into a better future. She has exciting plans for our school, and the Board looks forward to working with her.” ...[Read more here]
Tickets for our Spring Auction "Bloom Where You Are Planted" are for sale online and in the Sanders Office. This special event includes dinner, silent and live auction, and is our biggest fundraiser of the year. Click the bold text below to be taken to the auction webpage.
Columbia families and guests are invited and encouraged to read our latest newsletter. This edition includes fall registration information for new and returning families, basketball season recap, student achievements, and spring events to plan for.
Columbia Christian will hold an Open House on February 24, 2019 at 2pm. Prospective families interested in learning more about the school should mark their calendars to come and see all that Columbia has to offer. There will be many incentives for attending, incuding prizes and a registration fee discount, good for that day only. If you have any questions, please call Admissions Director Carrie Rude at 503-252-8577.
Columbia families and guests are invited and encouraged to read our latest newsletter. This edition includes a Quarter 1 recap, important events, and inspiring stories.
Dear Columbia Families,
Geese are on the soccer field and beautiful red leaves are falling to the ground in piles – sure signs that Columbia’s second quarter is now in full swing. This month’s all-school chapel and yesterday’s high school chapel seemed to exemplify so much good that is going on at school, that it prompts me to offer you a First Quarter Report.
A sweet spirit is pervading the campus. What could be sweeter than watching older students escort their chapel buddies into the auditorium? Together, all our students from PreK through 12th grade “lifted the rafters” with enthusiastic and joyful singing, led by Mr. Rude and three senior high boys. At high school chapel, Mr. Wagner asked if any students were brave enough to admit that sin is destructive and painful from their own experience. Immediately, about a dozen students stood up, inspiring all the other students to join them. What an example of the power of leadership!
Helping students grow toward spiritual maturity and academic excellence are high priorities at Columbia. This commitment is the reason for several major initiatives we outlined back in the school’s August newsletter. I want to give you an update on three of these initiatives.
- Our new achievement testing program is helping teachers alter instruction to address any gaps in student learning. The MAP test not only allows students to demonstrate what they know, it actually adjusts as students take it. Correct answers prompt harder questions, challenging the student and seeking to really measure his or her knowledge and skills. Wrong answers prompt an easier question to help relieve test anxiety and to determine where a student needs help. Within 24 hours of the test, teachers are able to review testing data and begin adjusting instruction to meet student needs. Faculty training in the use of test data to enhance and inform instruction has been a key element in this process.
- Project 117 is helping our faculty focus our curriculum on a solid biblical understanding of the nature of truth. Last spring and through the summer, each teacher spent more than 70 hours in training sessions, worldview reading, and online dialogue and reflection regarding the worldviews that influence curriculum and instruction, as well as daily living. Since August, teachers have been working on vertical teams in the areas of math, science, history, English, and fine arts to re-think course philosophies, missions, and goals from a biblical point of view.
- Enthusiasm about our added AP and college credit courses instituted this fall provide a good indication that many students are eager to get the most out of their high school instruction. We are offering six AP or college credit classes, four of which are new this year, and we are pleased to report that half of our high school students are enrolled in two or more of these higher-level courses. Work done to improve mathematics instruction last year and increased participation in rigorous classwork may account for the 58 point (or 6%) increase in average SAT scores for the class of 2019 over the previous class, with 85% of the students having completed the exam so far.
Over the past 40 years, I have seen that helping students develop a comprehensive biblical worldview through everything they study and a strong commitment to excellence goes hand in hand with high SAT and achievement test scores. These commitments put feet on Columbia’s mission to provide a Christ-centered education focused on excellence in faith, character, and academics.
We are thankful that we get to partner with you in equipping your children both academically and spiritually for a lifelong walk of faith.
Grace and peace,
Marquita Moss, President
Purchase tickets online now for our fall production (six showtimes offered in November!): https://secure.qgiv.com/for/colchrsch/event/795616/
Tickets can also be purchased at the office in the Sanders building.
Once you purchase your tickets, you will receive an email with directions to reserve your seating. Seat reservations are based on availability. Before you complete your transaction, please confirm your show date/times.
*PreK, Elementary & Middle School Only*
Please invite your Grandparents or Special Friends to join your student for breakfast and a special program at Columbia Christian on Friday, October 19, beginning at 8 A.M. Details below.
Parents and MS and HS students: Plan to come to Back to School Night on 8/30 to hear important new information regarding the upcoming school year. Please see the attached photo for all the details and direct any questions to email@example.com or call 503-252-8577.
A generous grant from the Cox Foundation has been given to Columbia Christian to issue free iPads to all High School Students. More information can be found here.
Columbia families and guests are invited and encouraged to read our latest newsletter. This special administrative edition is full of important information needed for the 2018-2019 school year.
Youth Golf Camp
June 19-21, 2018 , 10:00am - 12:00pm
The camp will be held at Glendoveer Golf Course (14015 NE Glisan St. Portland, OR) with Aaron Johnson, PGA Director of Instruction and Player Development and Tom Hamilton, Columbia Christian Golf Coach. The cost is $55. Players will learn basics of grip, stance and swing, chipping and putting. There will also be fun contests and education on rules and etiquette along with on course experience. Golfers will receive a glove and rules book.
Sign up with coach Tom Hamilton by calling 971-235-0206 or email firstname.lastname@example.org by May 31, 2018. Checks should be made out to Glendoveer Golf and Tennis, payable on the first day of the camp.
"STEAM" (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Summer Camps at Columbia Christian:
JUNE 18TH – 29TH: ANIMATION STUDIO
JULY 9TH – 20TH: MAD SCIENCE
JULY 23RD – AUGUST 3RD: PATENT PENDING: INVENTIONS
AUGUST 13TH – 24TH: READY FOR TAKEOFF: AIR & SPACE
Your child can participate in our exciting summer camp program: “Discover STEAM.” We offer a safe, fun environment for children to explore, play, learn, serve, & grow. We keep children active through innovative learning and fun activities. STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics as access points for guiding inquiry, dialogue, & critical thinking. The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process. These are the innovators, educators, leaders, and learners of the 21st century!
Who can come?
We offer four 2-week camp sessions especially designed for 1st-6th graders. Each camp session is unique, so students can attend one or more for a fun-filled summer.
What are the hours?
The camp sessions will run from 8:30am to 3:30pm each day. Drop off as early as 8:00am and pick up by 4:00pm.
How much is it?
Each 2-week Session: $250 • Weekly Charge: $150 • Daily Charge: $40 • Field Trip Charge: $5-$8 IMPORTANT: A $25 DEPOSIT PER CAMP SESSION WILL RESERVE YOUR CHILD’S SPOT.
What can we expect?
The program will include field trips & other fun outdoor activities. Students will need to bring their own lunches and a daily snack will be provided. How do we register? Detach and return the form below to either school office, along with the deposit.
Click here to print the registration form. Return it to the school office, along with your deposit to reserve your child's spot. If you have any questions, please email Director Pearl Howarth at email@example.com
Shop for annuals, perennials, vegetables, hanging baskets & planters
• Locally grown
• High quality plants
• Reasonably priced
• (for more info see https://newleafgreenhouse.com)
We accept cash, card or checks (payable to Columbia Christian Schools)
To reserve plants or for more details, contact:
Lisa DiVincenzo at firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text 503-891-1728
The Fine Arts Showcase is Monday, May 21 at Eastside Church of Christ, from 7-8pm. Artwork from middle and high school studenst will be showcased after the performances in the basement of the church. Come and support our fine arts programs!
Please join us this Friday evening for Family Fun Knight! Invite your friends and others in the community to come and enjoy bounce houses, face painting, obstacle courses, bottle toss, hole in one, cake walk, BINGO!... and so much more. Rain or shine, join us for family fun on campus from 5-8pm.
The Columbia Christian High School Drama Department is excited to announce our spring musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
You can purchase tickets by calling 503-252-8577 or coming into our school office during office hours.
Tickets are also on sale at the door beginning an hour before the performance.
The 5th and 6th Grade classes at Columbia Christian took a journey through the book A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. After each class finished the novel, they took a field trip to the theater to watch the Disney version of the story.
Columbia's boys basketball team brought home the 1st place trophy for Oregon 2A schools and we couldn't be more proud. Read the full story here!
Association of Christian Schools International regional director Dr. Deborah Miller, announced the appointment of Columbia principal Ami Vensel as the new District 2B representative for ACSI.
“In my short tenure as Regional Director and previously when I had student teachers in my Multnomah program in her building and then as a fellow administrator while at WCHS, I have found Ami to be energetic, optimistic, service-oriented, collaborative, honest, visionary, and godly,” Dr. Miller said in announcing her appointment. “I am thankful to have her leadership in our region.”
ACSI is the largest private school accreditation body in the world. Columbia Christian is accredited by ACSI and AdvancED, and has been educating students in northeast Portland and beyond for over 70 years. They have a current enrollment of 320 students in grades PreK through 12th.
Columbia president Marquita Moss commended Mrs. Vensel on her appointment, noting that she has served on accreditation teams at other schools and has demonstrated her commitment to high accreditation standards and excellence in education.
Columbia Christian is pleased to offer two options for Kindergarten students in 2018-2019. Click here to read more about the full-day and half-day options!
Read about Coach Valentine and the success of our boys varsity basketball team in the Portland Tribune. Go Knights!
Connor D, 8th grade student at Columbia Christian School, performed at the Hult Center in Eugene as a member of the 2018 Oregon Music Educators Association's Middle School All-State Honor Band. Connor was selected from among hundreds of applicants as one of the top middle school band musicians in Oregon. While he was in Eugene, Connor played in a band with 165 student-musicians from schools across the state, directed by renowned conductor Cheryl Floyd (Austin, Texas). Though the students received the sheet music in December, and had been practicing since then, the conference was full of several more hours of rehearsal, training in technique, and culminated with the All-State Middle School Honor Band Gala Concert on Friday evening, January 12th. The Honor Band performed at the beautiful Hult Center for the Performing Arts.
Connor began playing a basic clarinet in 2014 as part of Columbia Christian’s 5th grade Band program. As Connor's musical skills improved, he discovered that he would need a better instrument to continue his advancement. Through his own efforts, Connor got a job and began earning money to purchase a professional clarinet. Connor’s dedication to the arts is inspirational! After school, Connor can often be found on campus at the top of the dining hall stairs playing his clarinet. Connor says the acoustics are amazing there!
Columbia's own Elijah Munyan, freshman basketball player, was highlighted as "Athlete of the Week" in the Portland Tribune in January 2018. The Knights are enjoying another successful basketball season!
The Columbia Christian Board of Directors this month voted to add CCS parent Anne Deidrich as the newest member of the board. An experienced leader, Anne is the national compliance reporting manager for Kaiser Permanente. She has more than 15 years of experience in project analysis and management, quality implementation, and customer requirement implementation.
Anne and her husband Brian have two children attending Columbia, Montgomery in third grade and Hudson in first grade. Both have attended Columbia since PreK. Anne is a graduate of Cascade College and has a MBA from Regis University. She previously taught several business courses at Cascade College and Warner Pacific College.
Anne said that she is excited about serving on the board and believes that her role with Kaiser has equipped her to be a contributing member. At Kaiser, her work with audit and regulatory processes enabled her to contribute to strategic initiatives that increased effectiveness and efficiency.
Known for building and fostering relationships, Anne says she loves the school and has a deep faith in the value of Christian education. With young children at Columbia, she has a vested interest in the future of the school. “With the growth currently occurring at Columbia, it feels like the right time to join the board, roll up some sleeves and get to work,” she explained. “It is the perfect time to help partner on strategic decisions and the future direction of Columbia.
Other members of the board include David Tucker, chair, and Paul Baldwin, Arleen Barnett, Doug Hanna, Julian Hess, Chuck Lawrence, Mike Lawrence, Craig Moody, and DeAnn Womack.
Our 2017 Homecoming celebration will be held on Saturday 12/16 at 3:00pm in the gymnasium. A bake sale sponsored by the PTF will be taking place in the lobby before and during Homecoming (2:30pm-6pm). If you haven’t been to this annual event before, here is an idea of what to expect:
- The coronation program typically runs 25-30 minutes and will conclude by 3:30 PM.
- Students from 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade will participate as the “candle lighters” for the ceremony
- Six princesses from our high school will be introduced with their escorts
- These ladies were chosen by their peers to represent our core values: Faith, Character, and Academics.
- One princess will be crowned queen at the end of the program (as selected by fellow students)
- Cost to be admitted is the standard admission fee for basketball, students may enter free with student ID card
- A section of the bleachers will be reserved for parents of the court
The boys varsity game vs. Life Christian will begin at 4:00pm