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Morris County USD 417

Prairie Heights Elementary


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About Our School

801 Center St., Alta Vista, KS 66834
The Twisters
Principal, Valerie Gehrer

Prairie Heights Elementary School (PHES), formerly know as Prairie Heights Middle School, was built in 1986, on the same site as the old Alta Vista grade school. Spacious Campus grounds include: football/track practice area, a baseball diamond, an outdoor basketball court, and playground equipment.

The interior offers students and teachers large classrooms (more than 700 square feet) each equipped with ceiling fans, and air conditioning. A competition size gymnasium provides space for physical education, recess, athletic practices and competitions, all school programs/performances, and a promotion exercise.

Lunch and breakfast are prepared and served in a cafeteria located at the north end of the building. PHES also houses a large libary, vocal music/band room for the popular daily music classes, and multiple laptop carts and desk top  computers.

Prairie Heights has a long record of excellent academic achievement and has small classes with great student to teacher ratios: currently 12:1. It is among the few public middle schools in Kansas to receive a distinguished Great Schools Rating of 9 out of 10. www.greatschools.org. Our students take pride in being Twisters!

2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013
To receive this prestigious award, schools must have achieved the Standard of Excellence in both reading and mathematics. Additionally, the school must have made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in both reading and math and one additional measure. For elementary schools and middle schools, that measure is attendance.

REWARD SCHOOL (High Progress): 2012


•School nurse
•Special services for students with health/learning impairments, gifted students, etc.
•On-site counseling and mental health services
•Speech therapy
•After school program (Kindergarten-6th grade)

•Libraries and technology with the latest software and computers.
•Classroom carts with chromebooks.
•Sport fields.
•Daily music and physical education classes.
•MTSS Multi Tier Support System.
•Differentiated Instruction increases individual attention and creates a learning environment tailored to the student.
•Online Accelerated Reader Program.

- Monthly Art lessons provided by a PTO sponsored instructor

.New Playground equipment


Alta Vista (Population 416) is a very friendly and thriving rural community located off Hwy 177. It is approximately 30 minutes from Junction City and 20 minutes south of Manhattan. The Prairie Heights PTO is very active and involved and has been successful in providing for the Prairie Heights School.

To enroll a student or for more information about PHES, call 785-499-6313
801 Center St., Alta Vista, KS, 66834

Principal – Valerie Gerher vgehrer@cgrove417.org
Secretary – Sheryl Crooks scrooks@cgrove417.org




Notice of Non-discrimination:   USD #417 does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Aron Dody, 17 S Wood Street, Council Grove, Kansas 66846 (620)767-5192