BPA State Preparation


Prairie teachers weren’t the only ones working on President’s Day, nearly 80 Prairie High School Business Professionals of America (BPA) state competitors were busy completing open event tests prior to attending State Competition February 22-24.  Prairie is eager to get to Des Moines and make a strong showing in hopes of qualifying many for nationals.  National Competition takes place May 6-10 in Anaheim, CA.

Energy Efficiency Benefits District

Energy-efficiency projects in New Elementary Building Benefit College Community Students and the District


L-R: Chris Tompkins, Alliant Energy key account manager and John Speer, College Community School District superintendent.

Reading, writing, arithmetic and energy efficiency? The new Prairie Elementary School in the College Community School District (CSD) is using energy-efficiency technology to enrich students’ learning experience.

College CSD recently completed several energy-efficiency projects of the new Prairie Elementary School. Projects included the installation of a geothermal heating and cooling system, alternative heating, ventilation and air conditioning system lighting controls and energy-efficient windows. With these upgrades the school district is expected to reduce energy usage and increase cost savings.

“Working with Alliant Energy has saved, and will continue to save, our school district and tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life span of a building,” said College Community School superintendent John Speer. “Alliant Energy is a great partner in helping our school district find energy efficiencies when constructing new buildings.”

The projects were part of Alliant Energy’s Commercial New Construction program. College CSD expects to save a staggering 711,000 kilowatt-hours per year, totaling more than $100,000 per year in energy savings. The energy savings are equivalent to removing approximately 103 passenger vehicles from Iowa roadways or the amount of carbon dioxide sequestered by nearly 402 acres of forest in the United States.

In addition to the anticipated energy and cost savings, the College CSD received a rebate of $125,863.

“This project was a great example of how we can work together to reduce energy costs and the impact on the environment while providing a great learning environment for our young people,” said Chris Tompkins, Alliant Energy key account manager. “The College Community School District is providing its students, and our future generations of leaders, with an opportunity to learn in a place that promotes learning and is environmentally responsible.”

The Commercial New Construction program is available for businesses and organizations that want to reduce energy usage and save money on new buildings.

Prairie Names Football Coach

Prairie Names Mark Bliss as Head Football Coach


Prairie High School Athletic Director Rocky Bennett announced the hiring of Mark Bliss as the head football coach pending board approval. Bliss comes to Cedar Rapids Prairie from Ozark High School in Ozark, Missouri with 26 years of experience in education and athletics. Bliss succeeds Mike Morrissey who resigned after four seasons.

“On behalf of myself and my family I want to thank the College Community School District for giving us this incredible opportunity to be a part of their family,” said Bliss. “After thorough research and input from close family friends who live in the Cedar Rapids area, I have no doubt we are moving to a community that prides itself on providing essential resources for all of its students to attain a quality education. I look forward to getting started and it will be our mission to build a program that will compete at the highest level and give the Prairie community something to be proud of.”

Bliss, a native of Medford, Oklahoma, is an accomplished veteran of the sideline with a variety of coaching experiences both at the high school and collegiate level. Bliss has been a head high school football coach for 19 years posting a 159-57 record. His accomplishments include 4 State Championships, 2 Semifinal appearances, 9 District Championships, 8 Conference titles and was a vital part of a 62 game winning streak at Conway Springs in Kansas. His most recent stint was at Ozark High School where his teams made it to the playoffs for three consecutive years including 2014.

“We are extremely excited that Coach Bliss is taking over our football program,” said Bennett. “He is a man of integrity and has many years of very successful coaching experiences. His ability to relate with people and kids was evident throughout the interview process and we are confident that he will continue to grow our Prairie Hawk Football program to championship levels.”

Bliss played football for Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas where he led his team to the 1984 National Semifinals and two conference titles. Bliss graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and later earned his Master’s Degree in Secondary Administration from Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

Bliss and his wife Jill, have four daughters Ashlie, Emile, Caylie and Natalie.

Squawk The Bird Show to Perform

Squawk The Bird Show to Perform
Sunday, March 29th, 2015 at Prairie Concert Hall

Squawk The Bird show has performed on America’s Got Talent, Animal Planet Pet Stars, and on David Letterman. This is a must see show for all ages. Watch as birds do impressions, answer math questions, do card tricks, and read minds. This 60 minute show also features a Q and A session after the show. Video Clip – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxN7q4w6UgQ

For tickets please call 319-846-5224 or go on line at http://www.etix.com/ticket/online/performanceSearch.jsp?performance_id=5337289

Ticket proceeds benefit the Prairie School Foundation. Since the beginning of 2003, the Prairie School Foundation has provided students and educational programs with more than $200,000. By supporting the Prairie Foundation, you will be supporting all areas of the district: student programs, scholarships, technology, curriculum, library and academic program enhancements.

Math Students Receive Recognition

In November, 2014, fifteen Prairie High School students participated in the High School Mathematical Contest in Modeling (HiMCM). Last year, all teams received recognition.

This year, we are again extremely pleased with the results!  The HiMCM is an international contest sponsored by the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications.  The contest is also supported by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences.

In the contest the students compete on a team and use applied mathematics to solve a real world problem.  Teams have 36 hours to develop their mathematical model and write a paper detailing their methodology, explaining the math model they created, and examining the assumptions their model makes and the accuracy of their model.  At the end of their 36 hours they submit their solution paper which is evaluated by a group of experts that rate their work.  The results of those ratings were just released.

The team of Austin Schrader, Ben Boldt, Austin Fisher, and Mitch Lorenz earned a Meritorious rating, which places them in the top 25% of the hundreds of entries submitted worldwide.  The team of Breanna Dykstra, Hannah Halstead, and Billy Aiello earned Honorable Mention.  Two teams were noted as Successful

Participants in this very rigorous contest, they were Kelsey Levi, Jason Niccolls, Katie Gilbertson, and Paul Danker as well as Hailey Moore, Ryan Roltgen, Hannah Gregor, and Calvin Wong.

Special thanks to Dr. Rick Spellerberg from Simpson College and to the Prairie Coaches; Nate Miller, Brooke Silbernagel, and Lori Danker.



Limited Seats Available


Limited Seats Available for Prairie Fest 2015

Seats went fast for Prairie Fest 2015! As of Monday, February 9th, we reached our seating capacity, however, we have been working with our hosts and have been able to add some additional seats. Join us March 28th for dinner, dancing and the opportunity to bid on hundreds of items in our live and silent auctions. Last year’s event raised over $60,000 and we hope you will join us to make this year’s event an even bigger success.

A limited number of tickets will be available starting at noon on Friday, February 13th at www.prairiefoundation.com on a first-come, first-serve basis.

If you have questions, please contact Prairie School Foundation’s Operations Manager Kathy Waychoff at 848-5224.

History Night at Point


The English 9 Oral History paper asks students to interview a family member or individual from the community about an event in that has affected them, and write a first or third-hand account from that individual’s perspective. On Tuesday, February 3 students were able to share their paper and research during Oral History Night.

The freshmen class covered many historical events, including The Great Depression, WWII, the Korean War, JFK’s assassination, and 9/11. Students also captured such life-changing events that included overcoming disabilities and cancer, losing a loved one in a tragic event, and surviving car crashes.

Pride of Prairie Nominations

Prairie School Foundation EMB v2 outlines

Nominate Someone Today Who Represents the Pride of Prairie

This prestigious award is presented annually to recognize and show appreciation for the individual(s) who exemplifies spirit and commitment to Prairie Schools.  The Pride of Prairie Award is presented at Prairie Fest, which will be held on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at The Hotel – Kirkwood Center on the corner of 76th Ave and Kirkwood Blvd.

To nominate someone, submit a letter or email listing your name and contact information along with the name of the nominee(s). It is important that you state why this person or persons are deserving of the Pride of Prairie Award and how he or she has shown spirit and commitment to Prairie Schools. The Pride of Prairie Selection Committee will chose the recipient of the Pride of Prairie based on your words.

All nominations may be mailed or emailed to Foundation Operations Manager, Kathy Waychoff at kwaychoff@prairiepride.org.   Nominations are due Friday, February 20, 2015 at 9:00 am. 

Past Pride of Prairie Award Recipients

2014   Kathy Waychoff
2013   Greg and Debbie Erenberger
2012   Charter Foundation Members
2011   Al Soukup
2010   Julie Farmer
2009   Patti Jo Scheel
2008   Marilyn Miller
2007   Tom & Linda Carver
2006   Craig & Karen Vondracek
2005   Ken Hanzlik
2004   Vicki Hyland
2003   Mick Starcevich
2002   Becky & Roger Neuhaus
2001   Glenn Selzer
2000   George Chadima
1999   Pam & Larry Langton
1998   Phyl Britcher
1997   John Randles
1996   Sandy Flatgard
1995   Bonnie Becicka
1994   Joanne Chadima
1993   Ed Hielers
1992   Florence & Bill Glass
1991   Ron Nove
1990   Nancy Cook
1989   Larry Hardin
1988   Jack Hayes
1987   Joyce Anderson
1986   George Joens
1985   Mary Hynek

Prairie Fest 2015

2015 Fest Logos-01 (1)

It’s time to register for Prairie Fest 2015!  Join us for a night full of fun on Saturday, March 28th at the Hotel at Kirkwood Center. This year’s theme for the Prairie School Foundation sponsored event is Saturday Night Fever so come dressed in your favorite 70’s attire and get your groove on with Unique Events DJ. Last year’s event sold out so purchase your tickets now!

Click Here to purchase your tickets!

Proceeds from the event support the Prairie School Foundation and their efforts to enhance educational opportunities for all Prairie kids!


The latest news from College Community Schools.