Columbia’s Independent Schools: In Their Own Words

Ben Lippen School
Monticello Road Campus (Pre-K through 12th grade)
7401 Monticello Road, Columbia, S.C. 29203
St. Andrews Road Campus (Pre-K through fifth grade)
500 St. Andrews Road, Columbia, S.C. 29210
(803) 807-4000 

Ben Lippen School is a Pre-K to 12th grade Christian school of over 700 students offering a rigorous academic program anchored in a solid foundation of biblical truth that prepares Christian scholars for the 21st century. Beginning at the preschool level, students are challenged to become critical thinkers and problem solvers, while thinking creatively, working collaboratively and learning to effectively communicate. Typically, 100 percent of the senior class enters postsecondary education. 

Our teaching philosophy emphasizes mentoring and personal relationships. Faculty members serve as club sponsors, coaches, and advisors, as well as classroom instructors. Most importantly, each teacher must make a personal statement of faith in Jesus Christ. The faculty also fosters a community experience where students and families are known by name.

Ben Lippen offers a diverse campus with international students composing approximately 20 percent of the high school population and representing 10 nationalities. With so many nationalities represented, students have the opportunity to learn from other cultures and celebrate our global diversity.

Confidence, personal interests and talents are developed through a wide array of co-curricular opportunities in academics, arts, athletics, leadership, and service opening opportunities to develop spiritually, academically and socially outside the classroom. Student athletes are encouraged to utilize their God-given talents while displaying Christian character both on and off the playing field.

Cardinal Newman School
4701 Forest Drive, Columbia, S.C. 29206
(803) 782-2814
Forming Lives of Excellence in the Catholic Tradition for Over 150 Years Spiritually, Academically, Athletically

We strive to make sure every day is a day to witness amazing transformations as we help children grow into remarkable young adults, great intellectuals and conscientious citizens of the world. Our dedicated faculty members are committed to providing an exceptional academic and spiritually-based curriculum, enhanced by dynamic athletic and arts programs, to students in grades 7 – 12.

Spiritual Excellence

Students learn that God is present in every aspect of life, both inside the classroom and out. In addition, community service and education that emphasizes strong social justice teaching, beliefs, and actions are at the core of our theology program.

Academic Excellence

We offer College-credit, Advanced Placement, Honors, and College-preparatory classes. In 2013, 97 percent of our graduates went on to post-secondary education in some of the most highly-selective US colleges and universities; 68 percent of those graduates received merit-based college scholarships totaling over $3.35 million; seven students were named Palmetto Fellows; and two students received National Merit Scholarship Commendations.

Athletic Excellence

Our student athletes have won both team and individual state championships in numerous sports. In addition, many student athletes are All-Region and All-State players. In the Class of 2013, one student athlete signed to play his sports on the collegiate level.

Glenforest School
1041 Harbor Drive, West Columbia, S.C. 29169
(803) 796-7622

Glenforest School is a K-12 independent non-profit day school. We provide high quality instruction to increase the academic skills and social competence of students with learning differences. Highly trained educators build meaningful relationships with students and provide relevant and rigorous content to ensure that students are prepared to accomplish their post-secondary goals. Student learning is enhanced through the provision of specially designed instruction with needs being met through the delivery of individualized accommodations and modifications. Students increase their social competence through social skills instruction, co-curricular activities and service learning. Partnerships with families are an essential component in creating a healthy and safe learning environment at Glenforest.

Hammond School
854 Galway Lane, Columbia, S.C. 29209
(803) 776-0295

The fact that Hammond School is the largest independent school in the Columbia area comes as no surprise. First and foremost, we take academics seriously, and our track record proves it. But that’s only half the story. Our award-winning athletic department, art department, experiential learning programs, and our commitment to community service help round out the Hammond experience to develop the whole child. Last year, Hammond became the first independent school in South Carolina to incorporate a one-to-one iPad initiative into its curriculum across all grades. The school was recently recognized by Apple as a Distinguished School for its classroom use of technology. 

We believe in five imperatives that form the basis of the Hammond experience:

• Rigorous academic standards that prepare and push

Average SAT score is 1234 •19% of the class of 2013 was named Palmetto Fellows •2013 academic scholarship offerings totaled $7.8 million for a class of 77 students •Class of 2013 boasted a UNC Morehead-Cain Scholar, 3 Furman University Hollingsworth Scholars, 3 Washington & Lee Johnson Scholars, and a Clemson University National Scholar.

• Challenges that build the mind, body and spirit

Recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Youth Group Fundraiser Award for community service. •Recipient of the 2013 SCISA President’s Cup for best Athletic Department •Named 2013-2014 Apple Distinguished School for technology •Select Ensemble sang before Pope Benedict XVI at the 2013 New Year’s Day Mass 

• A culture of high expectation

At Hammond, we expect more of our students and we create an environment that helps prepare them for the journey ahead. Our faculty members and coaches serve as mentors and teachers, always expecting nothing less than a student’s personal best. Whether students are in the classroom, on the playing field, the stage, or performing service in the community, excellence is the norm.

• A meaningful connection to the larger global community

Beginning in pre-kindergarten, every student is exposed to one or more foreign languages and will have traveled internationally by graduation. Annually, the school sends three teachers, one from each division, to a chosen “country of study” for in depth exposure to the culture, language, and landscape of that particular country. This forms the basis for the school’s immersion into year-long global study.

• An environment that enhances, rather than impedes, possibility

We believe establishing an environment conducive to a child’s learning starts in the earliest grades. Hammond has been successful in creating a culture of emotional safety where students are comfortable trying their hand at new and different experiences whether on stage or on our athletic fields. It’s not unusual to see an athlete take center stage at a play or perform at a choral concert with ease. 

Heathwood Hall 
3000 S. Beltline Boulevard, Columbia, S.C. 29201
(803) 765-2309

As Columbia’s oldest age three through grade 12 independent school, Heathwood Hall has provided an immersive, relationship-based education to students since 1951.

The faculty’s expertise (60% hold advanced degrees), coupled with a collaborative approach to learning, results in academics that surpass being rigorous and preparing students for college. Heathwood students are motivated and challenged because the faculty respect their potential and expect the most of them. Going beyond mere facts and memorization to critical thinking and analysis happens everyday, in every grade.

Heathwood is an Episcopal school that takes seriously its tradition of respecting the dignity of every person. Weekly chapel services are welcoming of all students, no matter what their religious beliefs. Community service is a hallmark of the Heathwood experience, as students of all ages participate in projects that benefit the local and global community.

Unique programs during and after the regular school day foster curiosity and expertise among students of all ages. Upper School students follow their interests across the globe for one week each year through Winterim, an immersion in a particular area of study.

The PEAK outdoor leadership program teaches ropes course skills, wilderness self-reliance, as well as canoeing and kayaking on campus and beyond. SEED, the environmental education program, inspires conservation, scientific rigor, and self-reflection. 

Twenty-five different athletics teams, award-winning arts programs, and a multitude of clubs encourage students’ interests and talents beyond academics.

What kind of school do you expect for your child? Come see what you can expect from a Heathwood education.

Saint Joseph Catholic School
3700 Devine Street, Columbia, S.C. 29205
(803) 254-6736

At Saint Joseph Catholic School, we offer children of parishioners and our non-Catholic community a challenging curriculum of academic study and spiritual formation in a safe and loving environment (K4-6th grades). 

Inspiring minds. 

Highly qualified teachers combined with low student-teacher ratios allow our students to thrive. Our faculty goes beyond traditional textbook and lecture instruction to be sure our students are taught in an environment that meets the needs of their individual learning styles. 

Building character.

Woven into each school day are chances for our students to grow from leadership and service opportunities. We strive to ensure our students are prepared to meet the opportunities and challenges they will face in the future.

Living faith. 

We provide an atmosphere of tolerance, trust and love. We acknowledge and celebrate the faiths of all of our students. Our goal is to make every family feel welcome in our church and in our school.

Sandhills School
1500 Hallbrook Drive, Columbia, SC 29209
(803) 695-1400 

A high school freshman at Sandhills School recently revealed that he was both relieved and apprehensive when he was diagnosed with dyslexia and learned that he would be transferring to a new school. He says that, in a way, it was a relief to discover that a learning difference had prevented him from reading and processing written material at a rate commensurate with his very high IQ, and it gave him hope that there was a school that could help him to overcome his academic struggles. Today this student affirms: “I have learned more this year at Sandhills than I did for nine years in traditional classrooms.” His classmates join him in agreeing that they “would rather be here than any other school because we are a community and a family.”

“Sandhills empowers me to teach,” says Donna Coombs a 25-year veteran teacher, “I am able to work with my students in a meaningful and productive way.” Teachers at Sandhills share their pride in each student’s accomplishments, not only for the academic progress they are making, but for the self-confidence they are building day by day.

Since 1970, Sandhills School has changed the lives of young people diagnosed with learning differences such as dyslexia or ADHD. Now serving students in grades 1-12, Sandhills is the only Orton-Gillingham accredited college preparatory school in the Midlands, and one of only nine in the nation. Offering an advanced curriculum and using a multisensory approach to teaching, the faculty helps students to rediscover the joy of learning and to prepare themselves for college and beyond.

Timmerman School
2219 Atascadero Drive
Columbia, S.C. 29206
(803) 787-4241 

Founded in 1954, Timmerman School has provided thousands of Columbia-area children with the city’s finest educational experience. The school offers a phonics-based reading curriculum for the pre-school child and a literature-based reading curriculum for elementary and middle school students. In addition to the core curriculum and advanced academic subjects, the school also provides courses in foreign language, computer, music theory and physical education as well as an innovative national math computer program. Highly-qualified students may earn high school credits in math, science, English and computer. Also, Timmerman features an extensive fine arts program including all genres of dance, music and drama. The students engage in dance productions, recitals, music competitions, dramatic plays and chorus concerts. 

Timmerman provides an on-campus, after-school care program during the academic year. During the summer months, an exciting, full-day care program is offered along with academic and athletic opportunities for all students. Receiving the highest accreditation granted by the South Carolina Independent School Association, Timmerman School is recognized as one of South Carolina’s top academic environments where progress is measured by the Stanford Achievement Test.


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