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parents quick link

Send the office an email if your student will miss school at ATTENDANCE

Find lunch menus + order forms, Extended Day info BACKPACK EXPRESS ONLINE

Learn how to make a real difference at your child's school at HOW TO BE A PRAIRIE CREEK PARENT

Discover math + language sites for your kids and parenting + education sites for you at RESOURCES

Prairie Creek Community School Family Handbook  for 2017-2018

Get the info here about:
-Student Attendance + Illness
-School-Home communication (Backpack Express)
-Online Resources

Consistent school attendance is important for Prairie Creek’s community life, since each member’s contribution is valued. Regular attendance is necessary to allow our teachers to best meet the needs of each child. It also allows students and families to take full advantage of the creative daily opportunities offered at Prairie Creek.

Parents, your children are expected to arrive at school on time each day, healthy and rested.

Prairie Creek School values regular and punctual attendance for many reasons:

  • Consistent school attendance is important for the community life of the classroom since each member’s contribution is significantly valued. Regular attendance is necessary to allow the teacher to best meet the needs of each student. It also allows each student and family to maximize the daily opportunities offered by the Prairie Creek program.
  • Frequent absences may put the child at a learning disadvantage because it is often difficult to extract a classroom conversation or experience and fulfill that opportunity on a separate or individual basis.
  • Some expectations of routine and structure are important in a child’s life. If there is a problem or concern regarding school, the child’s presence is crucial to pursuing a satisfactory resolution. Families can rely on their partnership with the teacher and the school to handle any difficult situations that may arise.
  • Prairie Creek encourages families to take vacations or leaves from school during periods outside our student contact days. If for some reason this is not possible, please inform the school as soon as possible.
  • Prairie Creek adheres to state laws and guidelines for student attendance. Our complete attendance policy can be found on the school website

What to do in the case of tardiness or absence

  • Children are expected to arrive at school on time each day.
  • Parents must contact the school when children are to be absent.
  • 507-645-9640

In case of illness
Parents, you must contact the school when children are ill and will be absent from school.

We ask that you contact us by 8:15 am on the day of your child’s absence. If your child is sick and out of school for more than one day, we ask that you inform us each day she or he will miss.

Let the Prairie Creek office know the specifics—flu, strep, vomiting, fever, head lice, and so on—so that staff can better track outbreaks and take measures to break the chain. School kids operate in close quarters, especially during Minnesota winters, and it is one of Prairie Creek’s duties to see that contagious illness be curbed. If there has been contact with a communicable illness at school, classroom teachers will send an informational note to parents.

Any child who shows signs of contagion should not attend school.

Keep your child home—no exceptions—if they have symptoms of the flu, serious colds, strep, or other communicable illness. Sick students must stay home for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone, without the use of fever-reducing drugs like Tylenol or Motrin.

If your child has vomited within the past 24 hours, they should not be in school.

Sometimes a child comes to school, feels too ill to stay, and parents must be called. Your child will be sent to rest in a quiet area until you arrive. To avoid this uncomfortable situation, and to avoid contagion, if your child doesn’t feel well enough for school or has not been fever-free for a full 24 hours—without medication—do not send your child to class!

INFO FOR PARENTS: chicken pox
INFO FOR PARENTS: fifth's disease

Should my child stay home?
(Minneapolis Star Tribune article, January 2012)

In the case of head lice, should this be discovered at school, parents will be notified immediately so they can care for their children as soon as possible.

Watch a video about treating and preventing head lice

Parents, the school needs to be informed of any medical condition or allergies your child may have. This information will be recorded on the back side of the Student Emergency Data card that you fill out and the office keeps on file. If there is a need to dispense medicine to your child during the school day, you must complete a permission form, which will also be kept on hand in the office. Please keep Prairie Creek updated on any changes that may occur during the school year.

The Minnesota Department of Health recommends vaccinating all children against regular, seasonal flu. To ensure the health and wellness of our entire Prairie Creek community, please consider getting the regular flu vaccination for your child.


School-Home communication 
The strength and viability of the Prairie Creek community depends on clear and frequent communication. Families are invited to email, call, write, or visit the school in person with questions, concerns, comments, and suggestions whenever they come up.

Questions about a particular classroom are best directed to a student’s classroom teacher. This is the recommended “first stop” for concerns or inquiries about daily education.

Questions of a general nature about the school
are best directed to Colleen Braucher, our office manager, or to Simon Tyler, our director.

Questions about fees and other accounts
are best directed to Colleen Braucher, our office manager.

Backpack Express (BPE)

All students come to school each day with a sturdy backpack—one with plenty of room for a child’s books and food for the day. Prairie Creek provides a Backpack Express folder with two pockets at the start of the school year. This folder shuttles back and forth every day between school and home, and is the traditional way for families and staff to communicate.

We ask that parents check their student’s Backpack Express daily for messages from teachers, school announcements, permission slips, meal menus, order forms, and other need-to-know information. If parents have paperwork for teachers and school staff (for instance, a change of transportation slip or a permission slip), this is almost always the best way to deliver those messages. The Backpack Express allows our community to keep in close touch with each other, without the added expense of postage.

Backpack Express Online (BPO)
It is essential that Prairie Creek parents have an email account to which they have daily access.

In 2011-12, we began the transition to virtual communication—that is, keeping families posted about school-related matters by email and by website announcements rather than exclusively on paper via Backpack Express. As part of Prairie Creek’s commitment to environmental stewardship, we’re is trying to reduce our paper consumption and the cost of all the staff labor involved in printing, copying, and distributing material to 180 students that might just as well be communicated by computer. This will be a gradual transition, with the intention of making the conversation between school and families more convenient, more engaging, more affordable, and more informative.

On this site’s home page, you’ll notice a feature called Backpack Express Online. Here you’ll find various necessary paperwork (things like back-to-school supply lists), announcements (things like Special Person’s Day invitations), Director's Newsletters, and lunch menus. Expect to receive a steady streams of emails with links as new materials get posted on this Backpack Express Online page.

Phone calls + emails
Phone messages for teachers will be passed on, and the teachers will return them as soon as they can. Messages to students will be given to teachers, who then relay them to the students. Please get phone and email messages to the office at least one hour before the end of the school day.

Teachers do not check their email regularly during the school day. If you need a teacher to get information during the school day, please call the office. Your child's teacher will share specific information with parents on Curriculum Night about how best to contact him or her.

Children are allowed to call home with the permission of their teacher or another adult in the school. However, we do not allow students to call home in order to arrange play plans; those plans are best arranged before the children come to school in the morning.

Parent-Teacher communications

Prairie Creek is a community, family-based school. Perhaps its greatest strength is the combination of high-quality teachers and committed parents. Certain approaches and procedures have made this collaboration work very well: Families and teachers get well acquainted during parent visits, at school events, during the three annual conferences, through phone calls and emails, and during spontaneous encounters or beyond-the-building social events. When either teachers or parents are feeling out of touch, it’s probably because it’s been a bit too long between contacts.

It is especially important for parents who have particular concerns to voice them to the teachers as soon as possible, rather than waiting until the next conference date. Speaking about something at the time when it first occurs prevents it from escalating and allows for alterations and corrections if they are seen as necessary.

Sometimes it is most expedient for staff members to call parents in the evening and some may give parents their home numbers or alternative emails in such instances. However, Prairie Creek faculty work very long hours and we ask parents to respect their need for private family and personal time in the evenings and on the weekends.

It probably doesn't even need to be said, but we'll go on record here anyway: expressed concerns or complaints will in no way cost a student’s attention or affection from his or her teacher. Prairie Creek teachers are committed professional educators, and can be counted on to provide consistent support to every child.


Online resources 

On Education

Family Education
extensive links and articles from the people who developed Infoplease and Fun Brain

National PTA
one of the nation's leading advocates for children

National Education Association
great public schools for every student

an amazing program in which students do research and design websites in teams

PBS Parents
put together by PBS in cooperation with the US Department of Education

Guys Read
an initiative to get boys into reading, led by Jobn Scieszka (author of Stinky Cheese Man)

On Parenting

Connect with Kids
online organization that focuses on volunteerism and issues that impact kids' lives

Family Soup
a community of parents supporting each other through chat rooms, bulletin boards, and links

Positive Coach
epicenter of a national movement to encourage positive and supportive parent participation in youth sports

On Health

Kids' Health
loaded with info and ideas about getting kids healthy and fit

Kids' Source
vast archive of education and health info, including product recalls, child development, and social issues