Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Lisa Burrow prays for the Office of Education Staff at the Columbia Union Board of Education meeting

Enrollment Numbers Slightly Down for 2023–24 School Year

Story by V. Michelle Bernard

This school year, staff and faculty across the Columbia Union Conference are serving children and their respective communities in more than 80 early childhood education (ECE) centers, K–8 elementary schools, high schools and higher education institutions.

In his report at the union’s Board of Education meeting, Donovan Ross, Columbia Union’s vice president for Education, noted that during the 2022–23 school year, the union had 100 schools. However, due to the closure of two ECE centers and the reorganization of how ECEs on school campuses are counted, the number of schools have decreased to 81 and the number of students have decreased by 92—totaling 7,997 students.

Ross shared the following enrollment and institutional numbers:

ECE students: 708

PK–12: 5,767

Higher education: 1,502

Ross noted the continuing difficultly of hiring teachers—a common problem in the public school system as well—and shared the office’s priorities:

Discipleship in Schools: 

School Quality and Accountability: 

Curriculum and Instruction: 

Mental Health and Wellness: One of the department’s highlights concerning the support of student mental health is the hope that every teacher in the union will hold a mental health first aid certificate in five to six years.

Leadership Development: The union continues to invest in leadership development. A few ways they are implementing this is through a memorandum of understanding with Andrews University (Mich.), an upcoming principal bootcamp in July 2024, and the Bainum Coaching Program for school administrators. 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: 

Cynthia Poole, the new associate director for ECE, shared a report on the union’s ECE programs, which are currently serving 708 students in 10 centers and 19 preschools. (We will share more about the union’s ECE plans later.)

Committee members discussed potential ways to make Seventh-day Adventist education more accessible in the Columbia Union, including coordinated marketing efforts, among other ideas.

“We’re listening to these ideas,” said Celeste Ryan Blyden, executive secretary for the Columbia Union and board chair, “and will discuss [them] with Ross and his team.”

Add new comment