Lincoln Prairie School opened its doors to students in early childhood through seventh grade for the first time in September 1999. This beginning brought to fruition two years of visioning, planning, and collaborating among students, teachers, parents, administrators and community members. The 2000-2001 school year brought the addition of eighth-grade students and the first graduation class of Lincoln Prairie School.
The Design Team was established to create a philosophical framework for the School of Choice. The efforts of the team were geared toward a school where parents could choose to have their children attend, where district standards and the needs and interests of students and parents are the driving force for the curriculum. The School of Choice is designed to be a school where innovation, differentiated instructional practices, and risk taking are supported.
An innovative group of students, teachers, parents, administrators and community members dreamed of a school that was responsive to the needs of all learners, was respectful of its environment, would provide meaningful, real-life learning experiences, and would give students an opportunity to explore their particular areas of interest. It was through this dreaming, and through our district’s commitment to choice, that Lincoln Prairie was born.
The School of Choice is founded on the following essential components:
Students and teachers work to find out how each student is smart through a variety of activities focusing on learning styles and multiple intelligences. Our emphasis is on building relationships with students to increase our understanding of all aspects of the whole child.
Best Instructional Practices
District 54’s core curriculum is the foundation of Lincoln Prairie’s curriculum. Students engage in a variety of interactive projects and activities, which support both the Illinois Learning Standards and District 54’s goals and objectives. Instruction is thematically organized using authentic, integrated curriculum studies.
An all-school yearly theme is emphasized to help students make meaningful connections. An emphasis is placed on balancing both the process and products of learning. Multiage classrooms allow students to be grouped and regrouped based on the students’ developmental readiness for a particular activity or unit.
Students also receive Spanish instruction once a week through our Foreign Language in the Elementary School Program. Our gifted resource, special services and extended day programs provide additional support to further meet the needs of our students.
Collaboration and Diversity
Lincoln Prairie is a diverse community of learners. Classrooms are arranged in neighborhoods to promote interaction among different age groups, as well as with peers of one’s own age group. Students can act as both learners and leaders depending on the situation. Collaborative relationships between students of different ages and a sense of community are fostered through many Lincoln Prairie programs.
Family and Community Centered
A home-school partnership is encouraged through parent participation. Parents can be involved through a variety of activities, such as classroom curricular events, parent education workshops, conference attendance and the annual “Big Event.”
Evidence of children’s learning and accomplishments may take many forms. The product of a hands-on activity, like weighing and measuring, may be reported orally, illustrated, described in writing or presented through a project. Brainstorming sessions may be recorded on charts or made into classroom books, which are used as reference materials for the classroom. Writing is considered a process, which may take days or weeks before bringing a product through all stages of publication. Frequently, the children’s works are displayed in school rather than taken home.
Student assessment is accomplished by a variety of means: teacher observations, individual reading and writing conferences, samples of student work, performances, peer and self assessment, rubrics and ongoing continuums in the areas of literacy and mathematics. The aim of the program is to continually question and hold conversations with students in order to understand and extend their thinking. Teachers observe, collect, and record information over time to reflect each student’s individual growth.
A modified transportation option is available. Community bus stops are organized regionally to transport students to Lincoln Prairie. Parents are also encouraged to carpool.
Mascot: Mighty Prairie Dogs
Colors: Forest green and tan