Award Year: 2019

Columbus Elementary School

315 North Kansas Street
Edwardsville, IL, 62025-1735

(618) 656-5167

Mrs. Julie Matarelli, Principal at time of Nomination

Edwardsville Community Unit School District 7

School Website

School FaceBook


Columbus Elementary's mission is to educate the whole child, emotionally, socially and academically. Our mission is to prepare students to be productive citizens.

Student Demographics
  • Black/African American: 8%
  • White: 80%
  • Hispanic: 4%
  • Asian: 1%
  • Two or more races: 7%
Columbus Elementary School - Near space weather balloon launch

Columbus Elementary School - Near space weather balloon launch

Columbus Elementary School's motto is "Where Young Minds Set Sail." Each day, committed and dedicated staff take on the responsibility of motivating young learners to dream big by partnering with parents, involving the community, and engaging the local university in promoting and cultivating a culture for life-long learning. We are a community that is devoted to excellence in education.

Columbus Elementary School, located in Edwardsville, Illinois, is a community gem. The building is the oldest in Madison County dating back to 1886, but the staff in this intermediate building uses 21st Century strategies to engage their 3rd- 5th grade students.

Outstanding examples of community partnerships have resulted from the collaboration among Columbus staff, students and community members working in the STEM fields. A weather balloon was launched 76,500 feet in the air and captured high-definition video of the atmosphere. Students collected atmospheric readings of temperature and pressure and utilized geo-mapping in collaboration with our local university. Other projects include students creating solar-powered Barbie Jeeps that were controlled three miles away at Edwardsville High School, the development of a Virtual Reality Sandbox to bring landforms to life for fourth grade students, and a "solar garden" that houses solar yard lights to recharge the batteries used in many of these activities. All of these high interest activities lead to stellar writing examples, a deeper understanding of data collection, the use of advanced science and math concepts, and a love for learning.