The Prairie School

Racine, Wisconsin

T he Prairie School’s Center for Developing Excellence addresses the national concern with the quality of, and interest and participation in, upper level high school math and science course work. In Racine, Wisconsin the problem is particularly acute. Distressingly few public school students pursue math beyond algebra 2, limiting their access to post-secondary and university study and later career choices in the hard sciences, engineering, health sciences, and domestic and international business.

As an independent school, Prairie can provide leadership by providing educational programs to the community that actively address such inadequacies, thereby demonstrating the public purpose of private schooling. The Prairie School’s Center will provide a four-week, summer enrichment program featuring practical, measurable and challenging math and science experiences for incoming 8th, 9th, and 10th grade students who attend area schools. A “Science Saturdays” program will be implemented throughout the regular school year to maintain Center students’ interest and engagement. We also will provide ongoing mentoring and a math and science blog that will introduce engaging topics and questions to keep Center students “in the sciences”. The Center will provide an innovative, multi-dimensional program designed and taught by “anchor” teacher-leaders from prairie and partner private, parochial and charter schools. This faculty team will experiment and innovate together to create a summer program that both inspires and prepares its students for advanced math and science study. As a result of their instructional experience at The Center, those teachers will bring fresh thinking and new, engaging teaching strategies back to their classrooms each fall. Our target audience: students in their late middle and early high school years whose interests are still formative, who might well prove to have the ability to study math and science at the AP or IB level in high school if encouraged and motivated, and whose chance of receiving the requisite foundation, enrichment and skills is limited by either their surroundings or previous educational opportunities. A generous financial aid program will make it possible for many to attend each summer. Long-term, we expect that many Center graduates will return to Racine after university, providing leadership to the health sciences and business communities, and strengthening the local educational environment and the local economy for years to come.

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