Award Year: 2013

Prairie Crossing Charter School

1531 Jones Point Road
Grayslake, IL, 60030-3536

(847) 543-9722

Andrea Koeniger, Principal at time of Nomination

Prairie Crossing Charter School

School Website


We are a public school that transforms children through academic discovery and interaction with our natural, ecological, and community resources.

Student Demographics
  • Black/African American: 2%
  • White: 73%
  • Hispanic: 6%
  • Asian: 13%
  • Two or more races: 6%
  • Economically Disadvantaged: %

Prairie Crossing Charter School provides a curriculum centered on the environment. Our track record shows that the natural world is a springboard for learning, sparking children’s natural curiosity. Further, the outdoor classroom in our natural world provides an ideal integrating context for education, as the environment is connected to social and political history, economics, STEM disciplines, and serves as the inspiration for literature and writing. All curricular areas employ various methods of learning (hands-on, problem solving experiences to facilitate inquiry and discovery-based learning) to meet each child’s learning style.

Our education at PCCS is grounded in place-based learning and strives to ensure all students not only have a solid academic understanding of the natural world, but also recognize their own impact on the planet and develop strong relationships with the environment. We approach environmental education from a whole-student perspective, focusing on an academic understanding of the environment, an effective relationship with nature, and behaviors that help the planet.

To impart ecological understanding, the school’s curriculum weaves the environment through multidisciplinary subject areas. Many topics are taught through Integrated Environmental Units, intensive topic-themed units of study that incorporate all core academic areas.

Students also focus on environmental stewardship and behaviors that lessen environmental impacts. The school has a service learning curriculum, which involves meaningful integration of community service and academic learning throughout all grades. Through service learning, students gain self-efficacy and valuable 21st century skills.