Welcome New Staff

Prairie Ridge would like to welcome three new teachers for the 2020 – 2021 school year. Please join us in welcoming…….

Mrs. Pickering – 3rd Grade

My name is Chris Pickering and I am very excited to be on the 3rd grade team at Prairie Ridge. This is my 21st year of teaching at a variety of grade levels (18 years at 5th-6th grade and this will be my 3rd year at 3rd grade). I received my BS degree in Elementary Education from the University of Northern Iowa and my Master’s Degree from Coe College.

I am married to my husband, Mike, who is a Business Development Manager at ESP in Cedar Rapids. I have two boys, Andrew and Jacob, who both graduated from Prairie. Andrew went into the military but has since finished his service, moved back to Swisher, and purchased a home. This summer he finished up his 4-year degree in Business Finance and is getting married in January. Jacob also went into the military. He recently returned from a 1-year deployment in Iraq/Syria with his Military Working Dog, Barbi, who is a bomb dog. Jacob and Barbi are stationed in Kentucky. I enjoy family time, boating, riding motorcycles and snowmobiles with my husband, and being in the outdoors. I have two hunting dogs, Sadie and Jaxson, which I treasure.

I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the Ridge staff. I’m looking forward to a fantastic 2020-21 school year!

Mrs. Lair – 4th Grade

  My name is Mrs. Lair and this will be my third year teaching at College Community School District and my seventh year of teaching overall. The past two years I taught 6th grade Literacy and Social Studies at Creek. Before coming to CCSD, I taught various grade levels at North Cedar Community School District including 3rd, 4th, 5th, and At-Risk. I attended The University of Iowa for my Bachelor’s Degree (Go Hawkeyes!) and earned a Master’s Degree from Drake University.

At home, I spend a lot of time with my daughter, Millie, and my husband James. We have a cat named Figg and a dog named Phoenix. They are both named after characters in the Harry Potter series, my all-time favorite books! I love to bake and cook, go on walks, and cheer on our favorite teams the Hawkeyes and St. Louis Cardinals. I am so excited to continue my journey at CCSD at Prairie Ridge!

Ms. Patrick – Special Education

My name is Marley Patrick and I am heading into my first year of teaching! I graduated from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. After graduation I moved to Iowa City and completed my student teaching in the College Community School District as well as the Cedar Rapids Community School District. I am extra excited to be at Ridge Elementary School this fall because Ridge is where I completed part of my student teaching! I was with Mrs. Viet in her amazing Kindergarten classroom last fall and it was the best eight weeks of my life!

On top of getting the opportunity to be back at Ridge this school year I will also be one of the 9th Grade Volleyball coaches at Prairie Point. Volleyball has always been  a huge part of my life and I am so excited to see where this coaching journey takes me! I can’t wait to get to work with fall with the Ridge staff and students!



Student Material Pick-Up

Dear Ridge Families,

Thank you for your patience as we planned the safest way for families to collect student materials from school. The designated day for Ridge families to pick up student belongings and memory books is Thursday, May 28 during the following times:

9:30 – 11:00

2:00 – 6:00

We will follow a “curbside pickup” model at two separate entrances based on student grade level. To ensure smooth traffic flow, please see the attached Ridge map for route information.

  • PreK, K, and 1st grade: southwest doors (main school entrance)
  • Grades 2, 3 and 4: east doors (facing the transportation department building)

If you have students in multiple grade levels we ask you to please go to both pickup locations.

To minimize the risk of contagion, we also encourage the use of masks.

When you pull up, please stay in your car and display a sign with the following information so a staff volunteer can bring your child’s materials to you:

  • Child’s last name
  • Grade
  • Child’s teacher

If you would like to donate your child’s school supplies to Ridge, please add “yearbook only” to your sign and we will happily put them to good use.


Please bring any library books your child has at home and be ready to hand them over to the staff volunteer when he/she gives you your child’s materials. 


Please bring any classroom books your child borrowed from his/her teacher labeled with the teacher’s name (including K Reading Rocks and 1st Grade RIOT books).


With his/her materials, fourth graders will also receive a special t-shirt gifted by our PTO and a certificate of promotion.

Materials Pickup Route Map


Elementary Optional Learning Opportunities

On Friday, April 17, Governor Reynolds announced the extension of the school closure through the end of the school year.  As you know College Community Schools has outlined our plan for instructing our students during closure. At this time, all learning for students who attend Prairie Ridge would be considered voluntary. This means that students are not required to complete work or attend online meetings.

Prairie Ridge will be  providing you with the materials needed to help your child engage in learning during this time.  Therefore, your student(s) teacher will be:
  • Sending you a link to a math and reading video each week.
  • Holding a meeting once a week with students to “check in”.
  • Having packets available for students at meal pick up sites.
  • Emailing you links to education resources.
  • Below is link for printable packets

Elementary Learning Opportunities

News from Mrs. McDermott’s class

Second grade received an awesome gift of STEM bins from PTO to utilize in our classrooms this school year. The idea behind the STEM bins is that students have the ability to think in ways they are not used to in order to design and construct different objects. We were lucky enough to receive enough bins that each 2nd grade classroom is able to have their own set. 

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. These bins allow opportunity to collaborate with peers, use higher order thinking, incorporate writing skills, use background knowledge, ask questions, etc. 

These STEM bins allow us to combine many literacy, math and science concepts. For example, we recently began our Solids and Liquids science unit. Part of studying solids involved learning about and constructing towers and bridges as solid structures that can withstand wind. Students were then given materials to plan and construct their towers in small groups. Students reflect on their initial plan after the challenge is complete and respond to whether their initial plan/blueprint worked or if they had to adjust their design. Not only are the bins a great way to connect to our units but they are also a lot of fun!

A HUGE thanks to the PTO from Mrs. McDermott’s class and the entire second grade team!


News from Mrs. Anderson’s TAG class

Currently, the fourth grade talented and gifted group has diligently put their creative and critical thinking into Future Problem Solving for the past several months.  The qualifying bowl will take place on Monday, January 13th at Crest.  All fourth-grade teams will be given a future problem, ‘the scenario’, and collaboratively work together to recognize challenges and solutions. Once the teams have agreed upon a strong solution for the underlying problem an action plan is developed.  If students qualifying for the state bowl, teams will travel to Ames and be given another future scenario.  We wish all FPS teams LUCK as well as STAY CALM AND PRAIRIE ON!!
Team Rad Rescuers.JPG
Team: Rad Rescuers
Team Darkness Destroyers.JPG
Team: Darkness Destroyers
On another note, the third-grade P.A.C.E group has been reading The Wild Robot Escapes, a sequel. Through novel engineering, the children have begun the Engineering Process, prototyping.  During the novel, the robot is refurbished and has been given a new programming database.  We discussed “what if…” we did something similar to a toy that is no longer used or works by them could we modify or combine parts.  In partnerships, diagrams have been mapped and discovery with LittleBits and Makey-Makeys have been helpful for their engineering process.  We are thrilled about the challenge and will be on the GWAEA Think, Make, Innovate in the upcoming months! So stay tuned!!
PACE STEAM prototyping.JPG
Lily and Addison prototyping their design for the repurposing toy.
The third-grade P.A.C.E math group is coding Ozobots for zookeepers challenge that entailed multiplication, research on biomes, and budgeting money.  Since our return from winter break each student has designed a 3-D zoo with the information about each habit for his/her animals of choice.  The coding challenge is to be able to feed each animal habitat WITHOUT stopping.
Desmond has familiarized himself with the code blocking and is ready to test it out on his 3D zoo!
ZooKeeper Challenge.JPG
Mason’s creative design has been any awesome Makerspace opportunity!

News From Mrs. Heckart’s Class

With this week including Veterans Day, our class took time to reflect on what it means to be a veteran. We read the story, What is a Veteran, Anyway? By Robert C. Snyder (recipient of Notable Social Studies Trade Book Award) to understand that Veterans Day is a wonderful holiday for citizens to recognize the brave men and women who keep us free. It gives the perspective of what veterans go through on a daily basis, and alludes to their sacrifices during both wartime and peacetime.

After brainstorming ways to show appreciation to veterans, the third graders chose to write letters to veterans (both families and friends) to thank them for their service. It provided an authentic opportunity for the students to learn how to write a letter and create a message to thank a veteran from the heart.

After last year’s Veterans Day Celebration, Prairie Ridge Veteran, Ben Winborn, (Ridge parent of Colin, Zach, and Thomas) was asked to share his story of why he chose to serve our country and what that has meant to his family. His story is now displayed on the Service Stone in the courtyard/garden area. A special thank you to the Winborn boys for designing the images for the stone, Senora Rolfes for painting the stone, and CR Signs for donating the sign with Mr. Winborn’s story. If you are at Ridge, be sure to check it out!

At Prairie Ridge on Veterans Day and other days of the year, we thank those who have served or continue to serve, while sacrificing so much for America to remain the land of the freed and home of the brave.

Ben Winborn’s story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpVw3FsS7cQ

BOX TOP have gone digital!!

 Download the app from your App store, & under settings you can select Prairie Ridge. You can see what items earn box tops, scan your receipt & earn WITHOUT CUTTING A THING!!
Despite the changes with the app, original Box Tops are NOT obsolete.  Participating products will still feature a Box Tops for Education label and traditional clip during the transition to the app — and “most participating brands” are allowing supporters to “double dip” by submitting both the digital and physical versions of the Box Top, so schools can get double the support.
If you have any questions or issues, please feel free to contact April Haven:

News from Mrs. Heggen’s class

Fourth grade is off to a great start! You may hear your child mention Blended Learning when they talk about their school day. Fourth grade teachers have participated in several days of training about Blended Learning through Grant Wood Area Education Agency. Blended Learning is an educational approach that focuses on personalized learning where students are encouraged to take ownership of their learning. Blended Learning combines face-to-face traditional methods of teaching with online educational digital content, collaboration with peers, and opportunities to communicate and create in a variety of ways in order to demonstrate understanding of content. Teachers use data and assessment to design learning opportunities in which students are able to work at their own pace, place, and path. We have used Blended Learning primarily in reading and math, and are designing learning experiences in other subject areas, as well. It is exciting to see the increase in engagement as students participate in Blended Learning!

News From Miss Klekar 

In our class meeting last week, we focused on Kindness. We reflected on questions such as:  What does it look like and sound like? How does it make us feel? How does it make others feel?   Does it cost any money or take much time?

We watched a short video about a girl that starts passing a post-it note that said, “You are amazing.”  As the video goes on, we see how the post-it gets passed around the school. Each person that finds it needs a little ‘pick me up’ after a struggle they faced in the day such as: sitting alone at lunch, feeling sad about a broken arm, receiving a bad grade, or lacking a sense of connectedness at school.  Everyone who finds the post-it and reads it smiles immediately. We discussed how being kind is usually free and doesn’t take much time. It can be as simple as a smile or a hello. It can be an action like helping a friend pickup their spilled crayons or asking someone on the Buddy Bench to play with them. In the video the post-it note makes it way back to the same girl who started it to stress that kindness will always return to you if you send it out.       

Along with this video we watched, Kindness Boomerang.  The video begins with a construction worker who helps a boy up who had fallen off his skateboard, who in turn helps a lady carry her groceries across the street.  The boomerang continues as you see how each person who had kindness shown to them shows kindness to another person. The video ends with the same construction worker getting a free cold glass of water from a waitress.  Kindness spread throughout the city block within minutes as one act of kindness led to another. 

The next morning, students came into the classroom with a post-it on their chair with a handwritten affirmation from myself.  Students asked if they could have post-its to write on and then place them in different areas of the school (on staff’s doors/desks or in each others mailboxes).  If you see post-its around the school, know it is a simple act of kindness. Read the post-it but don’t keep it, pass it on! Spread kindness around Prairie Ridge and throughout our community.  Look around; everyone needs a little bit of kindness.  


We Rise By Helping Others

Kindness Boomerang


The latest news from Prairie Ridge Elementary.