Prairie Chess Players Place at US National Chess Championships

L-R:  AJ Kozich, Regan Hodina, Trevor Ciha (11), Andre Vongpanya

The Prairie Chess Club was represented in the High School Division of the National K-12 Championships, held in Nashville Tennessee, May 12-14, 2017. Over 1600 players competed across seven sections. The Prairie Team competed in the largest section of the tournament with 490 players representing 79 school teams. The team of AJ Kozich (9), Trevor Ciha (11), Andre Vongpanya (11) and Regan Hodina (12) finished in 16th place among the 79 school.  AJ also captured individual honors with a 10th place individual finish among the 490 player field.

The Prairie Chess Club has over 80 players from Grades 1st through 12th. The club meets Monday’s after school throughout the school year and participates in scholastic chess events throughout the year. The upcoming Prairie Chess Camp will be held July 17th – 21st this summer at Prairie.

Support for the Prairie Chess Club is provided by the College Community School District and the Prairie School Foundation. For more information on the Prairie Chess Club and the summer chess camp, visit

High School Project: Science Wing – Band and Choir Additions

Science Wing Connected to Fine Arts with Courtyard Overview

Phase I of the high school construction project will begin this summer.  Part of  phase I work includes the construction of a new science wing and band and choir classroom additions.  The additions will be located in the NW corner of the Concert Hall and will connect to our current classrooms.

Larson Construction will begin work at Prairie High School starting this summer. The renovations and additions at the high school will take 3-4 years to complete as we address the district’s enrollment growth and the academic needs of our students.

Band – Choir – Science Additions




High School Construction Project – Cafeteria/Commons

Larson Construction will begin work at Prairie High School starting this summer. The renovations and additions at the high school will take 3-4 years to complete.

The high school project includes additional general classrooms, science classrooms, locker rooms, music classrooms and a cafeteria/commons. The project also includes updating the current library and science rooms, improving the athletic/wellness/locker areas, and improvements in the family consumer science space.

Meeting the academic needs of our students is a priority as we address the district’s enrollment growth. Since 2005-06, enrollment at College Community has climbed 1,600 students.

The following renderings are of the new cafeteria/commons that will be located where the current tennis courts are.

College Community School Board Approves General Contractor

Prairie High School Entrance and Commons

The College Community School District Board of Education, at its May 15, 2017 meeting, accepted a $47,820,000 bid from Larson Construction to serve as the general contractor for additions and renovations at Prairie High School. This is the first project to be undertaken from the District’s 10 year facility plan.

Bids were opened on May 9, 2017 and Larson Construction was the lowest bidder of five proposals.

“It’s an exciting time for our students, staff and parents,” said Superintendent John Speer. “It’s good to start moving forward with major improvements and additions beginning this summer.  We are over capacity at the high school and this project will help us meet the academic needs of our students.”

Voters in the College Community District passed a $49.5 million dollar bond referendum on February 2, 2016 to address enrollment growth and facility needs. These funds along with PPEL (Physical Plan Equipment Levy) and one cent sales tax revenues will fund the District’s 10 year facility plan. Over a five year period, major work will take place at Prairie High School, Crest, Heights and View.

Work at the high school will take 3-4 years with construction beginning this summer.  Phase 1 of the high school work includes:

Now that the high school project has been bid, the District will continue to work with OPN Architects to plan renovation work at our three oldest buildings, Crest, Heights and View.  As outlined in the 10 year facility plan, each elementary will undergo extensive renovation/remodeling within the next 5 years.

For up to date information about the construction projects, please visit click the Construction Central logo on the district homepage. The Construction Central site will serve as a one-stop resource for parents, students, staff, district patrons and the general public to stay informed during all phases of construction projects.

Work Continues on Tennis Courts and Parking

Progress continues on the construction of new tennis courts and additional parking. Eight tennis courts and approximately 80 additional parking spaces are being constructed directly south of Prairie High School. We are anticipating that this project will wrap up by mid-summer. Thank you in advance for your patience during this construction phase.

Ridge Receives Honor and Presents at the Learning Supports Conference

Ryan Wise (IA Dept. of Ed. Director), Amy Beach and Lindsay Shaull

Congratulations goes out to Prairie Ridge Elementary School! Ridge received the Honor Plus Award and was recognized Tuesday, May 9 in Des Moines by the Iowa Department of Education at the Learning Supports Conference for their work with PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports).

In addition to receiving the award, Ridge was able to share their learning and positively promote the District’s work in the areas of SEL (Social Emotional Learning) with other schools from around the state. The presentation focused around their journey of implementation and how structures were implemented to support SEL in their building for both core and intervention. First grade teacher Lindsay Shaull also shared her perspective on how PBIS supported her learning in those first years in the teaching profession.

“This was an excellent opportunity to share our efforts with schools from all over the state of Iowa,” said Beach. “I am very proud of our staff and the PBIS leadership team for their for their continued quality implementation.”

Demonstrating PBIS at Prairie Crest

Prairie Crest Elementary is in our third year of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) implementation. Students at Crest demonstrate ways to be respectful, responsible and safe in common areas such as hallways, restrooms, the cafeteria and playground.

Students are taught through interactive modeling the expectations and what these look like in each area. Classroom expectations are also taught and students practice what it looks like to be respectful, responsible and safe during small and large group instruction, independent work times and transitions.

Students are acknowledged for their achievements through monthly school-wide celebrations. Some activities have included Chalk the Walk where students write or draw things they love about Prairie Crest on sidewalks and the playground, fingerprint designs to be sold at our Prairie Crest Fun Fair, family pre-game football party on the playground, school-wide slumber party and decorating picture frames for each student to take home. We sure had fun this year!  Way to show respectful, responsible and safe expectations Prairie Crest students!

College Community Receives Grant to Support Student Social-Emotional Learning

Congratulations to Prairie Ridge Special Education teacher Stacy Pasker for securing a $1,000 grant from the Rockwell Collins Retiree Volunteers Program for the Reverse Integration Time program at College Community Schools.

Stacy Pasker

The Reverse Integration Time (RIT) is a program in its fourth year at Prairie Ridge Elementary that invites students who may be in need of some confidence building, in need of social skills practice, or need opportunities to be a role model to become peer buddies in a special education setting.  All students in this program gain confidence, friendships, and the ability to be positive role models for other students. This provides an opportunity to teach all students positive social skills, strategies on being flexible thinkers, and how to modify and adapt activities to include all students while building positive peer and adult relationships.

Teachers nominate students Kindergarten through 4th grade who they feel need confidence boosting, need opportunities to be a good role model, or need help with social skills to be peer buddies with students with disabilities. All students in the program are given opportunities to be positive role models in a smaller group setting by practicing specific social skills, building self-confidence, gaining new friendships, and having support from teachers and staff they can rely on.  RIT serves 40 to 50 students each year.  Students attend in small groups of 5 to 10 students for 30 minutes every other week.  At each 30 minute learning session students learn a skill and then utilize that skill during a group activity or game.

“I am grateful for this grant from the Rockwell Collins Retiree Volunteer Program,” said Pakser.  “Students in the RIT program are excited to attend their small group instruction. It is a highlight of their week and an important social-emotional learning component of their education.”

Prairie Electric Car Team Develops Fabricated Vacuum

The Prairie Electric Car Team developed and fabricated a 4’x4′ vacuum former to form nose cones and rear ends out of plastic sheets for their electric cars. With the help of volunteer Paul Sabotta, the students built a wood frame with a sheet metal top. They then installed heating elements, insulation, and duct work to create a functioning vacuum former utilizing the vacuum system in the wood shop to produce the vacuum. Several successful attempts were made in producing nose cones for the Kennedy HS E-car team and a rear end for the Prairie team.

The team got the idea of the former from the Kennedy team, who already have a smaller version. The Prairie team decided to develop a larger vacuum former with idea of ultimately creating body parts to assemble a fully formed body for their car. This would allow them to create a full body without the mess and expense of fiberglass or carbon fiber.

Prairie Hill 4th Graders Present at Tech Fair

On Tuesday, May 2, as part of our Prairie Hill STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math)  celebration, 4th grade students showed off their work on their independent projects. All students in 4th grade had the option of completing a project by themselves or in a group to present at our Hill showcase. Students had the choice of doing a technology project or a science project.

Approximately 30 students presented their work and the top three projects would move on to the ITEC (Iowa Technology Education Connection) Fair in Coralville. Congratulations goes out to Cole Younger, Hannah Hughes, and Jayson Kubik & Drew DeSmidt whose projects were selected.

created an app that teaches about gymnastics. She took her own videos of moves she wanted to teach, designed her own logo, and worked with 4th grade teacher Tricia Ward to put it together.

Jayson and Drew wanted to make a virtual representation of Prairie Hill. They borrowed a Ricoh Theta camera and they took pictures of every area of our school. They put those pictures on a website they made, as well as uploaded them on Google Maps.

Cole made an awesome video game called Run Frog Run using Bloxels. He created 5 levels where the frog is trying to destroy the evil bunnies who have kidnapped his friends. He used both the physical blocks and did a bunch of coding on the iPad app to make this game.

The latest news from College Community Schools.