Grand Prairie School —
Creating a Safe Educational Environment by
Changing Lives One Day at a Time
Our privatized school with highly structured and differentiated classrooms has a 12-month schedule, which allows students to enter school during any month of the year. In addition, students receive extra support services from the behavioral specialists, school therapist and social worker. These services include individual work, social/emotional group sessions and positive reinforcements throughout the day.
Students receive instruction in study skills, life and career planning, drug and alcohol prevention, and sexuality, as appropriate for age and grade.
Highly qualified staff strive to provide a safe, multicultural learning environment to ensure a quality education for all students. We achieve this by teaching to each student's strengths and learning styles, and by using differentiated instruction with individualized planning.
- Grand Prairie School is nationally accredited through the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA-CASI), an accreditation division of AdvancED. NCA-CASI provides nationally recognized accreditation, the purpose of which is continuous school improvement focused on increasing student performance. To earn accreditation, schools must meet NCA-CASI's high standards, be evaluated by a team of professionals from outside the school, and implement a continuous process of school improvement.
- Our School Principal, Sandra Krekeler, is an Educational Specialist in Leadership Development, Master of Special Education, and Master of Education in Communication Disorders. In addition, her undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree is in Elementary Education. She has worked in four different states and Europe in grades K -12 with regular and special educational students.
Grand Prairie staff are comprised of 11 certified and 12 non-certified personnel. Teaching staff are special education certified, and licensed by the Illinois Department of Education. Along with a special education certification, most are also dually certified with general education certification. Three educators hold Master's degrees. Our teaching staff includes the following experts:
- Assistant Principal
- Special Education Teachers
- School Therapist
- Industrial Arts
- School Social Worker
- Art Teacher
- 2 Behavior Specialists
- Our curriculum provides challenging and higher level classes which meet the skill needs of the students on an individual basis. In addition to the core classes of the middle and high school; Writing, Literature, English, Math, Social Sciences, Science, Health, and Physical Education, we have electives in the fine arts (art, ceramics, music) and industrial arts (woodworking, carpentry and auto repair). Our Language Arts electives include Journalism, Speech, and Debate. Additionally, our Consumer Education class offers real-world experiences such as writing resumes, job applications and college applications, which are placed in an individual portfolio.
- Courses are aligned with the Common Core Standards, as well as with the Illinois Course Codes. Each student follows the graduation requirements of their home school district.
- Middle school courses taught include Reading, Spelling, English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Current Events, and Health.
High school courses taught include English I-IV, Journalism, Writing; Remedial Math (containing Algebra and Geometry Concepts), General Math, Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II; US History, World History, Government, Greek Mythology, Current Events; General Science, Earth Science, Physical Science, Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry; Keyboarding, Microsoft Office, E-Learning (encompasses a variety of on-line courses to allow for additional support and variety); Industrial Arts: Woods, Auto; Consumer Education, Careers, Life Skills, Study Skills; Art: Weaving, Sculpture, Ceramics, Painting, Drawing, General Art; Physical Education, Weight Training, Health; Cooking; Photography; and Driver's Education (classroom portion).
Work opportunities are also available through employment of the Cornerstone Café and the Onarga Academy kitchen. Students at the senior level have the opportunity to participate in online dual credit courses with Parkland Community College.
- Credits are earned at Grand Prairie School, can be transferred to Grand Prairie School, and transfer to future schools. Students may earn up to 4 credits per semester and up to 2 credits during the extended school year. Students also have the opportunity to participate in up to 2 dual credit courses each semester in conjunction with our partnership with Parkland Community College. Some students are also eligible to attend Iroquois West High School's regular classes.
- Classroom placement is determined by record/transcript review, as well as cooperation with the student's home school district.
- Classroom ratio is 1 professional for every 5 or less students in each classroom.
- Grand Prairie School provides educational services to students with a variety of needs and diagnoses. All classrooms provide differentiated instruction to meet the needs of each student.
- All credits earned at Grand Prairie School are transferable to any school within the United States, due to Grand Prairie School being accredited through North Central Accreditation.
- Education and supply costs are covered by the tuition rate allocated by the state. This is the rate the school districts pay for each student per day.
- Family involvement is important to all students of Grand Prairie School. Parents/guardians are encouraged to communicate with Grand Prairie School staff at any time. An educational surrogate is assigned to DCFS wards. The educational surrogate attends all IEP meetings to ensure their student is receiving appropriate services and support. The educational surrogate also receives written information regarding a student's progress, such as report cards. Regardless of whether an educational surrogate has been appointed, the parents/guardians are invited to attend all IEP meetings, as well as receive written communication, such as report cards.
- Our online site facilitates parents' ability to have up-to-date knowledge of a student's academic standing. Grand Prairie School utilizes the educational website, mystudentdata.com to post on-line student grades, schedules, and transcripts. This site is updated on a weekly basis to ensure the most current information is available. When a student is enrolled in Grand Prairie School, they are automatically set up with a “mystudentdata” account, and a letter is sent to all involved parties with the account information. If you have any problems accessing information you can contact Jessie Marquis, the Assistant Principal, at 815-268-4001 to help obtain a password.
- Extracurricular activities are offered to all Grand Prairie School students through the Illinois Inter-Agency Athletic Association (IIAA) intramural program.
- One of our unique educational opportunities during the school day is the vocational department basic home skills classes in which students have the opportunity to learn practical skills in the use of tools, home repairs and maintenance. In addition, students are immersed in the ‘real world of Business' through employment at the Academy's Cornerstone Café & Gallery. Students enjoy the opportunity to gain valuable business operations knowledge and experience, while building customer service, community relations and marketing skills.
- Community school attendance is a possibility for students who are meeting behavioral and educational expectations in a satisfactory manner both in the educational and residential settings. Students are nominated each semester for attendance. The educational and residential teams meet to discuss each student's ability to attend the local public school. The team looks at educational abilities, behavior, and treatment progress. For those students selected to attend the local public school, they start out with 2 academic classes in the afternoons. In each semester review, students also have the opportunity to have courses added to their attendance.
- Experiential college courses are available to students who have earned a GPA of 3.0 or higher and are a senior. Grand Prairie School has developed a partnership with Parkland Community College to provide identified online courses for the chance to earn dual credits.
- Disciplinary concerns are handled through the administrative team at the school in conjunction with input from the residential program.
- The parent, surrogate, or school district, in accordance with the Nexus policy and procedures, can file educational grievances.
- Graduation is based upon students meeting the educational requirements of their home high school. The IEP team convenes in the student's final year of high school to review educational performance and receive approval for graduation. Students receive a certificate of completion from Grand Prairie School and a high school diploma from their home high school. A graduation ceremony is held at the end of the school year, typically in May at Onarga Academy. Parents, Guardians, Educational Surrogates, and any other person involved in the student's educational process are invited and encouraged to attend.