What Makes Us Special

It's a great day to be a Columbia Cougar!

Columbia Elementary is a small school, with a big heart. Our little nook in the town of Annandale, Va. is a warm and caring community of learners. We are a diverse and supportive professional learning community where academic, behavioral, and social learning is delivered with kindness and patience. We are proud to be the home of students and families that speak over 29 different languages. Building relationships with our families and local community members is vital to our success. Historically, we are an academically high-performing school and we are proud of the extensive and meaningful professional development provided for all staff. Columbia Elementary School is a special place to learn and grow.

    Columbia Elementary

    Unique Programs at Columbia

    Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts Integration, and Math (STEAM) Lab

    Here at Columbia, we have a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts Integration, and Math (STEAM) Lab.

    In STEAM education, students combine Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics to learn, explore, and solve problems in new ways. Why the A? STEAM includes the “A” for Arts practices and principles. STEAM takes STEM to the next level by emphasizing innovation, design, and aesthetics.


    Foreign Language in the Elementary School (FLES)

    The Foreign Language in the Elementary School/Language through Content (FLES/LTC) Program helps students learn a world language through Science and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics) integrated content. The program provides language learning opportunities to all students in an elementary school from grades K through 6th.

    1:1 Technology for All Grades

    Columbia Elementary is an FCPSOn school. In FCPSOn schools, each student receives an FCPS-issued laptop to access dynamic resources and participate in learning tailored to the student’s individual needs. Students will have access to the device at school, and in some schools and grade levels, they will also be able to take their device home.

    Responsive Classroom

    At Columbia, we use the Responsive Classroom (RC) approach to create a safe, welcoming and culturally inclusive school community. RC is a research and evidence-based approach to education that is proven to increase student achievement through improved teacher effectiveness, while generating a warmer, more nurturing school climate.

    RC focuses on increasing teacher competency in three key areas. Teachers create and deliver engaging academic lessons for all students. Teachers and staff foster and maintain a positive community in the classroom which resonates throughout the building. Lastly, teachers and staff utilize an effective, orderly management repertoire for the students throughout the school.

    Advanced Academic Enrichment and Local Level IV Program

    Advanced Academic Programs at Columbia ES provide challenging learning experiences that are designed to meet the unique learning profile of a broad range of advanced learners. Through a continuum of opportunities, students engage in complex subject matter, problem solving experiences and thinking routines that prepare them for more challenging and rigorous classes as they advance in grade level.

    Portrait of a Graduate Presentations of Learning (POG POL)

    Presentations of Learning give every learner multiple opportunities to demonstrate growth toward grade-level expectations for Portrait of a Graduate outcomes.

    Global Classroom Project

    Global classrooms provide students with opportunities to collaborate on authentic tasks with peers from around the world on global challenges, while increasing content knowledge and developing Portrait of a Graduate skills.

    Young Scholars

    The Young Scholars (YS) Model identifies and nurtures advanced academic potential in students from historically underrepresented populations.

    Active and Committed PTA

    The CES PTA is an active and committed group of parents, teachers, and students. Our PTA organizes a strong corp of volunteers to enhance the educational opportunities that afford each student the chance to prosper now and in the future. PTA programs enhance the educational opportunities of our school and support students, programs, activities and staff. With the help of volunteers and donations, the PTA is able to sponsor events such as picnics, Bingoween, family nights out, an edible community garden and much more!    

    Engaging Student After-School Program

    • Cougar Fit is a student favorite after-school activity program supported by our Columbia teachers and staff. The after-school program consists of active games designed to move our bodies.  Games are intentionally chosen to support building collaboration, social-emotional wellness, physical wellness, and friendships.  Cougar Fit is typically held in the Fall and Spring.
    • Chess Club provides students K-5 the opportunity to learn the basics of Chess and play amongst their peers. With the support of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Chess Club students, our Columbia Cougars challenge themselves to become a better chess player each session!
    • STEAM Club explores science, technology, engineering, arts, and music through activities and exploration for students K-5. With the support of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, our Columbia Cougars engage in STEAM related activities and exploration.


    Community Engagement

    Previous events and opportunities

    • Family Heritage Night
    • Language Arts and Math Curriculum Night
    • Family Learning Nights
    • Float in Annandale Parade
    • Special family breakfasts
    • Health and Wellness Family Night

    Student Council Association (SCA)

    Columbia's Student Council Association (SCA) is made up of four officers and representatives from all classrooms in Kindergarten through 5th grade, along with staff sponsors. The president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer are elected each fall by their peers. Our SCA leaders strive to be strong leaders who represent their school with pride.

    TJHSS&T Buddy Program

    The Buddy Program at Columbia ES is a partnership with Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSS&T). High school students partner with Columbia ES classrooms to promote a culture of learning. TJHSS&T buddies visit every Wednesday to support learning.

    English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

    Elementary ESOL Services are individualized to meet students' English language development needs. ESOL teachers work directly with English Learners (ELs) to advance English language development by building academic language and content understandings in tandem. ELs develop English language proficiency through engaging in reading and writing tasks and academic conversations.

    Special Education Services including Noncategorical Special Education (NCE)

    Columbia provides many programs that support the implementation of evidence-based practices to increase the academic achievement and the social and emotional competence of students based on individual needs.

    Student Leadership Opportunities

    Students can assume a variety of leadership positions at Columbia:

    • Elected SCA Officers/SCA Classroom Representatives – Students work with adult sponsors to provide special school activities, initiate projects and community service experiences.
    • CES TV News Team Anchors - Students broadcast morning announcements and student-related news on a rotation basis throughout the year.
    • Patrol Officers/ Walking and School Bus Patrols - Under the direction of adult sponsors, these students provide supervision for students traveling to school. 

    Early Childhood Special Education

    Columbia is home to two early childhood special education programs.

    Early Childhood Class-based services provide instruction in a classroom setting and are located in a number of elementary schools within FCPS. The curriculum is language rich and emphasizes communication, early literacy, social development, and development of other skills as designated in the student’s IEP.

    Preschool Autism Class (PAC) services are designed with a reduced adult to student ratio and provide systematic instruction in a highly structured setting to maximize learning. The program uses Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Verbal Behavior (VB) to foster communication, social skills, appropriate behavior, and development of other skills as designated in the student’s IEP.


    Safety Patrols

    Safety Patrols play a vital role in daily life at Columbia ES, helping students arrive safely each morning and depart safely each afternoon.

    School-Age Child Care (SACC)

    School Age Child Care (SACC) is a Fairfax County Office for Children program for children in kindergarten through sixth grade and is available at Columbia Elementary. SACC is a program run by the Fairfax County Government.