St. Columbkille School has been serving the South Los Angeles community for over ninety-three years. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles established the parish and school in 1923 and in September of that year the school opened under the direction of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. The past ninety-one years have seen a dramatic change in the student make up of St. Columbkille. The school primarily catered to working-class European-American families when it first opened, then shifted to a predominantly African-American student population in the middle part of the last century and now is primarily comprised of Latinos.
St. Columbkille School served students in first through eighth grades until 1969 when the seventh and eighth grades were transferred to the newly established Holy Cross Middle School. In September 1981 a kindergarten class was added.
The closing of Holy Cross in 1998 affected the students of St. Columbkille greatly. Plans began immediately to add a seventh grade in the fall of 1999 and to secure plans and funding for additional classroom space. The first eighth grade class in over 30 years at St. Columbkille graduated in 2001 without having formal classroom space. With the help of the school community, alumni, and generous donors the seventh and eighth grade students moved into their new classrooms in January of 2002.
A Learning Center, which includes a library and computer lab, was also built and was named after the foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, St. Julie Billiart, in honor of their continued dedication and efforts to St. Columbkille. With the help of school parents, Norman’s Nursery, the Shea, Weingart and Doheny Foundations, the original school building was renovated in the Summer of 2011.
The school was accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Western Catholic Education Association (WCEA) in the Spring of 2009 and received a full six-year term of accreditation until the Summer of 2021.