PrairieWood Transition Center – Community Based Program to Help Students Reach the Greatest Level of Independence

Kirkwood Transition Center

PrairieWood Transition Center is a hidden gem of the Prairie community. PrairieWood is a hands on, community based learning opportunity for students with special education services at Prairie.  PrairieWood Transition Center is located on the Kirkwood Community College campus.  “We are kind of out of sight, out of mind,” Molly McGaffic, Special Education Teacher at PrairieWood said.

Teacher Molly McGaffic working with a student at the Kirkwood Transition Center

PrairieWood is a system of support for special education students focused on transition. The students have continued need for specially designed instruction in preparation for adulthood and the support is determined necessary to meet post secondary goals.  “PrairieWood provides individualized supports and services to assist young adults with disabilities reach their greatest level of independence in the areas of living, learning and working”, Director of Student Services, Cheryl Kiburz says.

PrairieWood Student is learning how to cook at the Kirkwood Transition Center.

After graduation, a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team may consider continued necessary special education services until age 21. In some cases, students continue until they go off into the community. Although the program is based at Kirkwood, “we are still very much a part of Prairie in the Prairie Pride sense,” McGaffic explained. “One of the focuses for PrairieWood students though, is to have interaction with same age peers. Being at Kirkwood, which mirrors the adult community, students are a part of a postsecondary community similar to the adult community they will transition to in the future.”

PrairieWood student is at a job site learning work skills.

While at the transition center, students learn things from daily living skills to self-advocacy through hands on and community based learning. Students are provided opportunities to get work experiences on site at Kirkwood or in the community. For example, some students work at the Kirkwood Hotel to do laundry or work with the custodial staff to help clean the Kirkwood buildings. They also may go off and do things in the community like volunteering for the Cedar Rapids Public Library.

“We’re awesome people and working hard,” McGaffic expressed. PrairieWood is just one way bringing special education awareness to the community. “Just seeing and experiencing the changes in the way the system responds to learners with special needs, reminds me of the importance of advocacy efforts,” Kiburz states. “We want students to learn how to advocate for themselves while at the center.”

Tammy and Dave Perrin, parents of a student at PrairieWood believe that “having our son participate at PrairieWood helps take some pressure off of us to teach him these much needed skills.” After PrairieWood, students are more prepared and more successful in their life.

PrairieWood students learning about public transportation.

Students may transition to other living arrangements in the community after leaving PrairieWood. Some may live with family or some may live independently or with assistance. The goal is to assist in preparing our students to be contributing members of the community and have opportunities to work, volunteer and be part of the community in which they live.

The program strives to be unique in the fact they are community based as well as having a strong partnership with Kirkwood. PrairieWood provides an alternative educational opportunity for students who may need that extra step to get to their IEP goals as well as those daily living skills that lead to independence and self being.

Article Written By:
Morgan Flynn
District Office Intern
Class of 2019

The Teacher and Student and the Student Art Show

Nicole Miller – Ceramic vessels
John Saikaly – Paper, Canvas, Limestone sculpture

Corner House Gallery is hosting “The Teacher & The Student” art show on Saturday, December 9 from 12:00 – 4:00 pm. The featured artists are 2016 Prairie graduate Nicole Miller and Prairie High School ceramic’s teacher John Saikaly. The Corner House Gallery is located at 3318 First Avenue Northeast in Cedar Rapids. Come see the show as there are many other artists on display as well.

Click here for more information about the art show.

Uthoff Attends World Food Prize’s Global Youth Institute

Beth Uthoff with Doctor Akinwumi Adesina

Congratulations to Beth Uthoff who represented College Community Schools at the Global Youth Institute in Des Moines on November 8-11. Beth will be entering an agriculture major as a senior, and has earned scholarship money through her work with the World Food Prize and Global Youth Institute.

During her time in Des Moines, Beth presented her research, toured facilities, participated in a hunger banquet, enjoyed diverse foods, interacted with students from across the state, listened to inspirational speakers, and met the new World Food Prize Laureate, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina and Ambassador Quinn.

Congratulations to Beth on her accomplishments through the World Food Prize program.  Also congratulations to Sophomore Caden Boyd served as alternate.

Students interested in the World Food Prize should contact Mrs. Danker in the counseling office for more information.

College Community Launches DID YOU KNOW Video Series

College Community Schools is launching a DID YOU KNOW series of short videos to highlight fun facts about our programs and students. Check out the first video produced by Prairie HS senior Cassie Moeller. Cassie is an intern this year with the district office at Community.

Click here for the first 30 second video that focuses on College Community Therapy Dogs


Did you know that breakfast is served daily and is available to all students?

Did you know that breakfast is served daily and is available to all students? Breakfast includes a choice of a main item, toast, fruit, 100% juice, and milk.  Breakfast is $1.50 for students in grades K-12.  Reduced price is $0.30.

Breakfast is served in the cafeteria of each building at the following times:

CREEK breakfast is served from 7:30 am to 8:00 am

CREST breakfast is served from 8:30 am to 8:55 am

HEIGHTS breakfast is served from 8:30 am to 9:00 am

HIGH SCHOOL breakfast is served from 8:15 am to 9:00 am

HILL breakfast is served from 8:30 am to 9:00 am

POINT breakfast is served from 7:30 am to 7:45 am

RIDGE breakfast is served from 8:30 am to 8:55 am

VIEW breakfast is served from 8:30 am to 9:00 am

Parents are always welcome to join their student for breakfast!!  A guest breakfast is $1.75.

Click here for breakfast and lunch menus.

Nutritional Services
College Community Schools

Prairie Creek LEGO League Team Headed to State

Congratulations to the Prairie Creek team “The Prairie Penguins” who qualified for State after competing in the LEGO League regional qualifying tournament on November 11 at Prairie Point. The team received the “Iowa Global Innovation Candidate” award for their project The Water Hawk Super Sensor. They will be competing at the State Championship tournament at Iowa State University on January 14.

Congratulations to the following Prairie Creek team members:

Madeleine Esno
Lilian Jones
Ben Kleiman
Laney Medberry
Dakota Neblock
Katie Sterling
Roby Swartzendruber
Kelsey Taylor
Michael Till
Catherine Yang

Prairie Point LEGO Team Earns Champion’s Award

On Saturday, November 11 Prairie Point’s first LEGO League team earned the Champion’s Award at the Cedar Rapids regional qualifying tournament. The award is given to the team that displays strong core values (teamwork) while achieving excellence in both the robot game and the engineering design project. They will be competing at the State Championship tournament at Iowa State University on January 14th.

Congratulations to the following students, coaches and mentor.

Elliott (George) Bourgeous
Haley Gearheart
Kalirah Hulett
Annika Klemm
Maxwell Quanrud
Noah Reu
Abby Sebetka
Ashley Siech
Sam Smith
Nathaniel Wibowo

Coaches: Jesse Gearheart and Jenny Sebetka
Mentor: Lisa Bourgeous

Prairie High School to Host Second Career Chat

Prairie High School is hosting our second CAREER CHAT on Thursday, November 16th near the high school cafeteria from 10:30am – 1:00pm.  Students visit with corridor area employers and Kirkwood representatives to hear about emerging careers in Transportation, Distribution, and logistics. Kirkwood representatives are on hand to tie in various programs leading to high paying, in-demand jobs.

Parents – please encourage your student to stop by and visit with our community partners as Prairie continues to provide career exploration and education activities.

Special thanks to: Dakota Red Corporation, CRST, International, UPS, Iowa DOT, Kirkwood Community College and Linn County Regional Academy

Successful Weekend for Prairie Poms

Division 1 Award Winners: Emily Sellner, Heavenlei Whitters, Marissa Hernandez, Thea Hahlen, Taylor Johnson

Prairie Poms competed at the ISDTA State Solo Competition at Newton High School. Prairie was in the Class 7 solo category with 80 state solo finalists contestants! Prairie takes home 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th! All soloists received a Division I rating, which means they had to score at a minimum of a 60/70 possible points! We were one of two teams with the most placements in the top 12!

Congratulations to the following:
Junior Thae Hahlen: Division I Rating and placing 19th for her solo
Sophomore Emily Sellner: 6th Place finish in her solo
Freshmen Taylor Johnson: 5th place finish in her solo
Junior Heavenlei Whitters: 4th place finish in her solo
Freshmen Marissa Hernandez for her 3rd place finish in her solo

ISDTA State Solo Class VI Top 12 Award Winners: Marissa Hernandez – 3rd Place, Emily Sellner – 6th Place, Heavenlei Whitters- 4th Place, Taylor Johnson- 5th Place



The latest news from College Community Schools.