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Zio Johno’s Fundraiser is a success for
Prairie Ag Education/FFA

The Zio Johno’s Restaurant on Edgewood Road in Cedar Rapids hosted a fundraiser on March 3rd in support of the Prairie School’s Ag Education/FFA Program to be launched this fall on Prairie’s campus.

Zio Johno’s donated a portion of the day’s proceeds from dine-in, carry-out and delivery orders throughout the day. The result was a donation of $400 from the restaurant plus $104 in cash donations made while Prairie students, planning to enroll in the program, were in the restaurant from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm promoting and distributing materials about the program to diners.

Prairie Students were given permission from State FFA Headquarters to wear t-shirts identifying them as future FFA members.Nike Frese provided the t-shirts that were printed by Ironside Apparel for the event. 

The Prairie School Foundation is partnering with the College Community School District to raise funds that will help launch the Ag Education initiative during its first three years. The foundation and the district thank Eli Khairallah, owner of the restaurant, and the Zio Johno’s staff for a very successful event for the benefit of our Prairie Kids.

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Prairie School Foundation Director's Vist to Prairie Delta

There is a new administrator at Prairie Delta. His name is Ian Dye and he invited me (PSF Director Randy Rumery) to visit recently so we could get acquainted and, more importantly, so I could meet some of the students and learn what Delta is all about. If you don’t know, let me share. The Prairie Delta Program is an extension of Prairie High School located on the Kirkwood Community College campus.

The program serves students in grades 9-12 in the College Community School District that seek a smaller learning environm ent than can be found in a traditional high school setting. Today Prairie Delta is serving about 70 students. I was able to observe students in Mr. Bentley’s consumer math class, Mrs. Root’s class where students were working on credit recovery and Mrs. Koranda’s English class. She relayed that the foundation had helped Delta acquire “Turnitin” an online collaboration tool for language arts papers.

As I walked the halls I noticed posters filled with words of encouragement and a section where student quotes were posted regarding what they appreciate about Prairie Delta. A typical posting is reflected in the picture below. Please note that last line, “They won’t give up on us.”  We all could use that reassurance in our daily lives! Thank you Mr. Dye for the invitation. You started my day in a way I will not soon forget. 

Pictured Above: Ian Dye, Prairie Delta Administrator, and Randy Rumery, PSF Director

Allocations Committee Meets

Members of the Prairie School Foundation met with Prairie School Building representatives to review the foundation’s 2019-2020 Allocation Program earlier this fall. 

The foundation board sets aside a block of funds for its Allocation Program annually.  This year $38,500 dollars were earmarked for allocations.  Those dollars are distributed to each Prairie School Building according to the number of students in each location.

Each building has an allocation committee typically composed of 3-4 teachers and an administrator.  The committee invites teachers to submit ideas for the use of their building’s allocated funds.  The committee considers each request based on its direct connection to education, the number of students to be served and the long term impact of the investment programs, equipment or materials.

Some of the items approved to date this academic year include:  Teacher training for yoga instruction focused on Special Education at Prairie Point, 30 dry erase boards for Prairie Creek literacy and science classes, 15 Chrome Books for Prairie Crest, Read for Real, a reading comprehension program, at Prairie Heights, iPads and iPad cases for Prairie Ridge, and an iPad Pro for taking pictures of school events at Prairie View.  

Pictured below: Tina DuBois, Prairie School Foundation's Operation Manager and Tony Gaiffe, Chair of the foundation's Allocation Committee met with Prairie School teachers and staff this fall.

PSF Supports a New Endeavor

Josh Divoky is a reading teacher at Prairie Point for students at the 8th Grade level and he is the sponsor for Prairie’s Ag Club. One of the classes Josh teaches at Prairie Point is Information Literacy.  He has four classes each year and teaches up to 28 students per class. They focus their study on agricultural subjects including food production, livestock issues, and management techniques.

Not all of their learning takes place in the classroom however. They have toured a 2500 cow dairy operation in Blairstown, and another activity included milking goats and then processing the milk. Josh has an incubator in his classroom and that allows students to witness the birth of baby chicks. Another project is the creation of posters that follow the steps in producing a variety of foods like chocolate chip cookies. 

The Ag Club meets during the months of October through March. The Prairie School Foundation provided $3,000 to launch the Ag Club for the 2018-2019 school year and $5,000 for the 2019-2020 school year. 

The Club is open to 7-9th graders at Point and meets one night per week. Typically there are 6 to 25 students in attendance at these meetings.  The Club utilizes the Prairie Point greenhouse, funded by the Prairie School Foundation, for a variety of projects and experiments. They’ve had fun raising vegetables out of season including herbs and tomatoes in January. The students are encouraged to taste the variety of herbs raised. Another interesting project is the hand pollination of Zucchini, raising it to maturity and then tasting the vegetable once prepared.  Many other vegetables have been raised at the same time paying attention to the planting directions on seed packets and testing several methods of watering the plants. Josh and his students are currently working with Amber Osterkamp at Prairie High School starting plants in the Point greenhouse that will be transplanted during a spring project at Prairie View.

The Ag Club is the first step toward a full time Ag Education/FFA Program scheduled to begin in the 2020-2021 academic year. The Prairie School Foundation is also supporting that initiative.

Pictured Above: Josh Divoky, Ag Club Sponsor and Randy Rumery, Director of the Prairie School Foundation review posters made by one of Josh's literacy classes at Prairie Point.

Prairie School Foundation Presents a Big Check

Members of the Prairie School Foundation were pleased to present a check representing $56,500.00 to Superintendent Doug Wheeler prior to the Varsity Football game at this year’s Homecoming.  These funds are dedicated to the enhancement of the excellent educational opportunities at Prairie.

The Foundation provides funding for essential items that are simply not available from the regular school budget.  This year $38,500 has been allocated for requests from the teachers and staff at each of the district’s schools through the foundation’s Allocation Program.  

Funds are also being utilized to support Ag Education, 9th Grade Reading Support, Post Prom, and more.

The Prairie School Foundation would like to sincerely thank the members of the Prairie Community for your generous support.  

Please visit our website, or talk to our staff or board members if you would like more information about the Foundation.

Check Presentation

Gifts of appreciated Stock.  A way to benefit while doing good.

 The Prairie School Foundation processed its first gifts of stock as 2017 came to a close.  Because there are several potential benefits, you may want to consider gifts of stock when you choose to support the foundation and our Prairie Kids.  With U.S. stock markets at an all-time high these gifts are perhaps more attractive than ever.

Generally when stock is transferred to a charitable organization, like the Prairie School Foundation, any appreciated gain with that stock transfers with the shares.  The foundation’s policy is to sell the shares as soon as possible upon their receipt.  Because the foundation is a tax-exempt organization it pays no taxes on any gains. 

Here’s how you benefit:

You may receive an income tax deduction for the full current value of the transferred stock based on how you prepare your taxes. 

You will avoid the capital gains tax on the shares you give regardless of how much the stock has appreciated and the tax bracket you are in.

You may avoid the healthcare tax on net investment income determined by how you prepare your taxes.

Here are some examples of how Prairie schools could benefit:

  • The foundation has worked closely with campus leaders to identify priorities that need funds beyond what the tax base can supply.  Here is a sampling of those needs:
  • Reading and literacy are among the highest priorities.  Several projects have been identified ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.
  • A digital sign for the Prairie Point Campus estimated to cost $50,000.
  • An endowment fund for the Therapy Dog program.  A $50,000 fund would yield about $2,500 per year.
  • Buddy Benches for our playgrounds could reduce bullying and loneliness for about $8,000. 

Seek professional advice before making this decision:

Please remember that the Prairie School Foundation does not offer legal, tax or investment advice.  Consult your professional advisor before taking action with these assets.  The benefits listed above may not be applicable in your particular circumstances.  The determination of tax consequences is a matter solely between you and your tax advisors.  If you do determine that a stock transfer is a good idea for you please contact the Prairie School Foundation’s Executive Director, Randy Rumery for assistance with stock transfer documents for the benefit of the Prairie School Foundation.  

Past Articles: 
Music to Our Ears 2018-2019


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Prairie School Foundation
401 76th Avenue SW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404-7034
Phone: (319) 848-5200 Ext. 2044