In K-12 education today, most schools are designed to teach students how to answer standardized test questions, produced by for-profit companies, to insure that every child reaches a minimum score.
The Prairie School is designed to teach students how to ask questions, find or create the answers to those questions, and share those answers across a range of mediums. We believe that our mission’s focus on the whole child and the development of their character and creativity is the best way to prepare our students to be leaders in a world where change is a constant and the competition is fierce. As Karl Fisch noted, our students are preparing for jobs that do not yet exist, that will use technologies that have not been invented, to solve problems that we don’t even know are problems yet. That is a daunting task, but our students are truly prepared to meet these unknown challenges. Here they learn to communicate effectively, creatively approach and solve problems, evaluate evidence, understand bias, and, most importantly, to ask questions. Many answers are out there, but it is tomorrow’s leaders that will frame the inquiry and we are preparing our students to be those leaders.
Our selective admissions program allows us to focus on motivated, above-average students with supportive parents who want to do more than just reach proficiency. Our college preparatory program is a balance of tried and true methods of instruction, with bold and new pedagogical innovations. All of our students are challenged and supported every day, to grow and improve, by a nationally recruited and experienced faculty. All of our seniors are accepted to selective four-year colleges and universities where they thrive.
Our students thrive in college and as adults because they are highly skilled, self-motivated learners who know how to succeed both individually and as a part of diverse teams. They know how to take action, build relationships, collaborate and communicate. Here, they have learned a myriad of important interpersonal and technical skills within the context of pursuing academic, personal, and collaborative excellence. At The Prairie School we also set aside school time for community service and to study current events to promote active citizenship.
For over 50 years, excellence has permeated everything we do and I hope that you enjoy exploring our website. You will find valuable insights about our program and how we prepare our students to succeed at selective colleges and as adults by focusing on each student growing and thriving. You will also get a glimpse of what makes our school truly exceptional: the quality of the people who work here and the families who enroll their children. However, to truly see what makes this school an exceptional place for talented, creative, and motivated students you need to visit in person.
Nathaniel W. Coffman, Ed.D.
Head of School
Dr. Nat Coffman
- Headmaster at York Country Day School in York, Pennsylvania
- Dean at Bishop School in La Jolla, California
- Executive Director at the FXW School Chicago, Illinois
- Dean, Faculty Member & Coach at The Latin School in Chicago, Illinois
- Class Dean, Faculty Member & Coach at Fenwick High School Oak Park, Illinois
- Director of College Counseling, Faculty Member & Coach at La Lumiere School, LaPorte, Indiana
Educational Leadership Philosophy
“As a school leader it is my duty to: Build a community where students and teachers feel a sense of ownership and responsibility and are empowered to pursue excellence as learners and leaders.” (Read More …)