Prairie Crossing School

This is Prairie Crossing Charter School—a free public school with admission by application and lottery, serving the Fremont (#79) and Woodland (#50) school districts. Prairie Crossing Charter School is an innovative public charter school offering students an academic curriculum centered on the environment. PCCS is the only free public school in the state of Illinois with such a charter.


Any student enrolled in the Fremont or Woodland School district is eligible for admission on a non-discriminatory basis with respect to race, ethnicity, and religious preference. Services include but are not limited to:

Transportation needs of all its students are met.

A full complement of services for students with disabilities and students with Limited English Proficiency.

Instructional fee waivers are available for families who qualify.

Our story begins with a passionate group of community members, led by Prairie Crossing Founder Vicky Ranney, looking to provide a choice for public education in Lake County. The opportunity arrived in 1996 when the Illinois Charter School law passes the General Assembly and was signed by Governor Jim Edgar. In 1999, Prairie Crossing Charter School was approved on appeal to the Illinois State Board of Education after being denied by their local districts.

Initially a K-3 school, each year PCCS expanded to meet the needs of those who wanted a choice for their child’s education. In the school’s short history, we have grown significantly in school size as well as within our campus.  In 2004, based on the increasing demand of parents choosing Prairie Crossing Charter School, the Comstock Building (1st LEED Certified school building in Illinois) was built and ready for students.  Two years later, PCCS fulfilled its campus growth plan by adding a Gym and the Carson Building.

Since then, our charter was renewed in 2004 and 2009 by the Illinois State Board of Education and underwent its third renewal in 2014 with the Illinois State Charter School Commission. Today, we remain a premier choice for public education in Lake County. We serve up to 432 students in grades starting at Kindergarten through 8th grade. Thanks to a strong community of parents, staff and students, PCCS has received numerous awards and recognition throughout our short years.


Contact the school by website at:, by telephone: +1 847-543-9722 , or by email: