The Prairie community grows closer even when apart.

“The people make Prairie, Prairie.”

It’s one of Dr. Coffman’s favorite sayings. And at a time when pandemics and Stay at Home orders have necessitated lessons and projects from living rooms and kitchen tables, never has this been more apparent.

Even during time apart Prairie has found ways to grow closer together.

This has always been a school focused on building relationships. From mentors impacting mentees, to colleagues learning from one another, to big and little buddies bonding across divisions, ours is a school committed to knowing, valuing, supporting and challenging each other. This spring, as we introduce you to the People of Prairie, we look forward to telling you some of the stories and sharing some of the relationships that help define our community.

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Sure, mission statements are created to guide institutions as they progress through the years. However, no one could have predicted just how prescient the second line of Prairie’s mission statement would prove in the spring of 2020.

Our community of students, faculty, and families works together to create a collaborative and supportive culture grounded in human values – celebrating both our differences and commonalities.

Never has the need for a collaborative and supportive culture proven more necessary than the past couple months. While other schools here in Southeastern Wisconsin and across the country struggle to stay connected to students, Prairie has once again proven what we know to be true – this is a special place filled with special people.

It’s Dr. Jean Weaver, Director of Math, Science and Engineering, hosting a Kahoot Trivia party for members of her Science Olympiad team on a Friday night.

It’s Kelsey Cassidy ending every one of her Early School lessons with a yoga pose so Prairie’s youngest learners learn the importance of staying happy and healthy.

It’s the Prairie Art Department kicking off their Show us your heART campaign as a way for students to remain engaged and creative during a mundane and uncertain time.

Small gestures with residual impact. Now, more than ever, these are important for kids, and perfect examples of the care and compassion Prairie’s teachers routinely exhibit outside of the classroom…even when they’re not in a classroom.

This isn’t to say it’s been easy. It’s taken intention and collaboration. Students miss their friends, teachers miss being in the classroom, and parents miss the days when they didn’t have to explain math. And yet despite all of this, the community has come together to ensure continued learning and growth from home.

“I’ve been really impressed with our community and how everyone has dealt with it in their own unique way,” said Dr. Coffman in his latest video to parents. “I’m proud of our students for working hard, I’m proud of our teachers for building the program, and I continue to be impressed by parents’ ability to juggle everything – work, kids, pets, weather, just, everything.”

Earlier this month an email arrived in our inboxes. It was a from a Middle School mom who felt compelled to comment on what she’d witnessed with her family’s Distance Learning experience.

Dear Prairie Staff and Teachers, 

I am reaching out to you to give a HUGE thank you for all that you are doing to keep school up and running. This has been a strange and uncertain time, but having Prairie as a reliable place of structure for our children is comforting and hopeful. 

My child, like many, does better when she has structure in her life. Since Distance Learning began again this week, she is happier, more talkative, more focused, and motivated. I have seen improvements in how she takes care of herself too – eating better and working out. For a teenager, this is huge! 

I know kids preschool through 12th grade are all benefiting from your efforts and we are so thankful. This is a time of year teachers look forward to. A time when classrooms are like well-oiled machines – you know your students, what makes them frustrated and what makes them excited, and you are preparing to watch them leave your classrooms for the summer as smarter and more mature individuals. 

As parents, we empathize with how hard this must be and we are thinking of you. The difference you make in our children’s lives is immeasurable. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

A Grateful Mom

That is support. That is relationship-building and collaboration. That is Prairie.

Our campus remains closed as students participate in distance learning. Click here for all COVID-19 resources.