Facilities Advisory Committee Petitions College Community Board to Call for Special Election

To meet the growing needs of our students, the Facilities Advisory Committee is in the process of collecting bond petition signatures to submit to the College Community School District Board of Directors to call a special election to submit to the voters of the College Community School District.

The district needs approximately 600 signatures from College Community residents to prove community support and allow for the opportunity for a public vote regarding the bond referendum. Volunteers have been circulating petitions to district residents, and petitions can also be found in each school office. Signed petitions will be submitted to the School Board at their December 16, 2019 meeting.

After signatures are presented, the College Community Board of Education will be calling for a special election to be held on March 3, 2020 for the sale not to exceed $54 million. Funds generated from the passage of the bond referendum would help alleviate capacity issues at Point and Creek as enrollment continues to grow.

Voter approval would allow the district to construct a new 5/6 building on 80 acres directly south of Prairie Point and re-purpose of Creek (9th Grade Center and district wide programs). Funds generated would also allow significant renovations to Creek in preparation for our 9th graders and district programs. This project was part of the committee’s original 10 year facilities plan. Taxes will not be increased for these projects. After signatures are presented to the College Community Board of Education, additional information and project details will be provided to families and residents. You can expect to begin receiving additional information in in the upcoming weeks.

The Facilities Advisory Committee, which consists of parents, teachers and administrators has spent many months studying the facility needs of the district. The committee has reviewed enrollment data, county population growth and reviewed the needs of each school building.

College Community continues to grow. Since 2015 enrollment has grown from 5,105 pre-K through 12th grade to 5,800, an increase of 695 students. Enrollment projections adopted by the Facilities Committee estimates that by 2024 the District would exceed 6,000 students. Additionally, several of our communities continue to see growth as new housing developments come online. 

Prairie Students Selected for Honor Band

Congratulations to 18 students from Prairie High School and Prairie Point 9th Grade Academy who were selected to participate in the Northeast Iowa Bandmasters Association Honor Band to be held at Oelwein High School on Saturday, December 7, 2019.

Students from approximately 60 schools in the northeast Iowa region will perform in one of two 125-piece select ensembles. Selection to this group is a great honor as they will rehearse all day highlighted by an evening concert at 7:00 P.M. in the Oelwein High School Gymnasium.  This year’s NEIBA honor bands will be under the direction of Dr. Danny Galyen from the University of Northern Iowa, and Dr. Kevin Kessler from South Dakota State University.

Congratulations to the following students:

Camden Beightler, Freshman-Trombone

Abigail Bell, Junior-Trumpet

Molly Bourgeous, Junior-Oboe (2nd year)

Alyssa Cassady, Freshman-Clarinet

Kylie Cooling, Junior-Flute

Luka Elges, Senior-Tuba

Lilianna Gimse, Senior-Flute

Tu Ho-Senior, Contra-Bass Clarinet

Sydney Hoffmann, Junior-Percussion

Brody Joens, Senior-Bari Sax

Isabella Koch, Senior-French Horn

Jacob Kruse, Junior-Trumpet

Anna Lantz, Sophomore-Bass Clarinet

Hannah Lester, Junior -Flute

Carlie Mallicoat, Sophomore-Clarinet

Abby Sebetka, Junior-Clarinet (2nd year)

Jonathan Servey, Senior-Alto Sax (2nd year)

Emma Svoboda, Senior-Flute (2nd year)

Where Are They Now? Meet 1983 Prairie Grad Tobey Harrison

What year did you graduate Prairie High School? 

What activities were you involved in at Prairie?
I was not involved in activities.

What is your current position?
Police Lieutenant for the City of Cedar Rapids

Where is your place of employment?
Cedar Rapids Police Department

What are your job responsibilities?
I am responsible for the delivery of Police services for the West District for the City of Cedar Rapids.  I have a role in safe neighborhoods, safe streets, crime reduction, reducing calls for service, crime analysis, and work closely with our local schools. 

Describe your career/educational path since graduating from Prairie High School.
After graduating from Prairie I joined the United State Marine Corps Reserve. During this time I was deployed to Persian Gulf during Desert Storm serving in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. In 1987 I joined the Cedar Rapids Police department as an officer. In 1999 I was promoted to Sargent and in 2004 I was promoted to Lieutenant. During my tenure as an officer I served 12 years on the Cedar Rapids Police Department’s Special Response Team which involved dealing with barricaded subjects and serving many high risk narcotic search warrants and arrest warrants. 

I received my Associates Science Degree from Kirkwood Community College and my Bachelor of Science degree from Upper Iowa University.

What advice would you give to today’s high school graduates?
Pick your passion whether it is in the trades or education. Education opens doors regardless of the field you choose. Learn your work.

Anything else you would like to add?
I have a son Caden who is a junior at Prairie High School.

Prairie High School Holiday Concert

Prairie High School Concert Bands will present their Winter Holiday Concert December 12 at 7:00 PM in the Concert Hall at Prairie High School. This concert will be the first performance of the ninety-six member Symphonic Band and the sixty member Wind Symphony during the 2019-2020 school year. 

Included in this performance will be music by Edward Greig, Julie Giroux’s creative arrangement of “Silent Night,” selections from Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Franz Biebl’s “Ave Maria” among others. The concert will close with all one hundred and fifty-six musicians on stage in a grand finale you won’t want to miss!

Admission for the concert is $6 for adults, $5 for students and free for all attendees age 65 and older. Senior Citizens (62-64) who are not residents of the College Community School District will be charged $2. Activity and Golden Hawk passes are accepted. 

Altorfer CAT Hosts Prairie High School Students for Career Event

Prairie High School students had the opportunity to experience a career in the construction industry. On Tuesday, November 12, approximately 35 students visited eastern Iowa’s Caterpillar dealer, Altorfer Cat where they received a tour of the shop and learned about the ThinkBIG internship program.

The tour provided an opportunity for our students to see what technicians do every day. Students observed routine maintenance to month-long projects on some of the largest pieces of equipment in the Caterpillar line. Students also were able to ask the shop managers about careers and projects past and present.

The ThinkBIG internship program partners Altorfer Cat with Illinois Central College (ICC) in Peoria, Illinois. Students partake in eight weeks of classroom learning and eight weeks of paid internships at one of Altorfer’s nine full-service shops. Upon the completion of the program students earn an Associate Degree in Applied Science and potential employment upon graduation.  

Click here to learn more about the ThinkBIG program.

Prairie High School Students Check out Kirkwood’s Auto Tech/Collision Program

Kirkwood Community College provided Prairie High Schools students with a first-hand look at their Automotive Technician and Collision programs.  Students toured Kirkwood’s new automotive repair shop located in the former Midland Forge building.

The program offers students training to learn how to repair all major makes of vehicles. The classrooms are designed to allow for an entire vehicle to be brought in for hands on learning. The crown jewel is the thirty plus bay lab where students work with instructors to perform diagnostics and repairs. Mr. Jorgesen, an instructor with Kirkwood, reported every student that completes their program has at least two employers waiting to hire them as skilled technicians.

The next stop was the auto collision and restoration classrooms and labs. Graduates of this program are in high demand with immediate employment opportunities locally and across the nation.  The collision and repair program is located on the main campus and is slated for a future renovation to meet the growing needs of the program and industry.

Future Ready reports Iowa is in a “workforce crisis” including many of the Kirkwood programs.  By the year 2025, to fill current and anticipated job openings, Iowa will need 127,000 residents to earn post secondary degrees and or other diplomas/credentials.  41,200 of those will come from traditional learners ages 18 – 24 and the rest from returning learners or those ages 25+ who have never attended college. 

The automotive technology along with many other programs at Kirkwood qualify for Future Ready’s Last Dollar Scholarship.  This state – funded program is for Iowans who are new graduates or adult learners returning to college to gain more skills. The program as the name implies, is intended to cover any remaining gap between federal and state grants/scholarships. Unlike many financial aid programs, this is not income dependent.  To learn more about the Kirkwood programs and Last Dollar Scholarship, visit these sites:

Kirkwood’s Automotive Technology Program

Automotive Collision and Repair Program

Last Dollar Scholarship Information

Last Dollar Scholarship College Lists and Programs

Prairie Heights 1st Graders Learn About Citizenship

First grade students at Prairie Heights Elementary School learned about Toys for Tots from Michelle Matt, the program coordinator in Linn County.  Students have been learning how they can be good citizens in their school, their community and globally.  Students have also been learning about wants, needs and citizenship in as part of their Junior Achievement unit.

The goal is to make students aware of needs all around them and to get them involved in an action project for our community. Heights first grade teacher Michelle Faulkner says, “There is no better way to get kids involved in helping other kids through donating toys for the Toys for Tots program.”

Last year Toys for Tots in Linn County served 4,889 children and 19,308 toys were distributed.  The Toys for Tots program is a collaborative effort between the Salvation Army and the US Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program which originated in 1947. Prairie school buildings have been a collection site for Toys for Tots for many years.

Prairie HS Receives Carrie Chapman Catt Award

Congratulations to Prairie High School for receiving the Carrie Chapman Catt Award! As a product of our Social Studies Department First Annual Senior Government Day that took place on October 30, 90% of our students that are eligible voters at Prairie High School are now registered to vote!   We are one of two schools in the state of Iowa that have earned this award! 

Prairie Point FIRST LEGO League Team Earns 1st Place and a Trip to State Championships

Congratulations to our Prairie Point FIRST LEGO League team the GreenSpace Invaders. The GreenSpace Invaders had a great day at the regional qualifier tournament which was held on Saturday, November 23 at Prairie Point Middle School.

The team earned a trip to the state championships at Iowa State University with a first place award for their engineering project and received the Global Innovation Nomination designed to showcase a real-world innovative solution!

Congratulations to the following students and mentors:

Joseph Endicott
Madeleine Esno
Lily Gearheart
Kate Hoefer
Jonathan Reu
Adam Schwertfeger
Rithvika Sivaprakash
Katie Sterling
Roby Swartzendruber
Parker Wheeler

Jesse Gearheart
Ashley Siech
Noah Reu
Alex McBurney

The FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award is designed to showcase the real-world, innovative solutions that FIRST LEGO League teams create as a result of their Innovation Project.

FIRST LEGO League trains kids to think like innovators. The award encourages and assists teams to further develop solutions to real-world problems that demonstrate originality and have the potential to add significant value to the world.

For many teams, the innovative solutions created through their FIRST LEGO League Project have led to some amazing opportunities, like receiving local and national media attention, meeting government leaders, and seeing their invention be brought to market.

November College Community School Board Recognition

Congratulations to Sarah Sellon and the Ely Public Library. They were recognized by the School Board at tonight’s meeting for receiving the Iowa Literacy Award and for their outstanding contributions to increasing literacy at Prairie and in Iowa. Ely Public Library offers a summer reading program for students in our community.

Congratulations to the Prairie High School Social Studies Department who were recognized by the School Board at tonight’s meeting for their efforts in organizing the Salute to Service event honoring the service and sacrifice of our community members that served in the United States Armed Forces.

Congratulations to Peyton and Harper Meyers who were recognized by the School Board at tonight’s meeting for their community outreach project they started called Heat the Homeless. To date, Peyton and Harper have made approx. 300 blankets that they will donate to local organizations that support the homeless.

The latest news from College Community Schools.