Peoria Public Schools

Peoria Public Schools

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From the Superintendent
July 2016

Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat  
In my first year as Superintendent, the Peoria Public Schools have benefitted from a new spirit of collaboration, increased parental engagement, community outreach and innovation that is critical to catapulting our District to the next level.

Guided by a new five-year strategic plan which was formulated with significant community input, our team and numerous volunteers, introduced ambitious initiatives to address the District’s challenges. The District’s progress in achieving the goals set forth in the strategic plan is being meticulously tracked through a scorecard and will be reported to the community throughout the coming year. The scorecard strengthens the change process because it keeps us intentionally focused on results. We are paid to produce results and the scorecard helps us track our progress.

In 2015-2016, Peoria Public Schools accomplished the following:
  • In December, Peoria Public Schools renewed the Peoria Pathways joint resolution with the CEO Council, the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council, Focus Forward Central Illinois, Peoria Federation of Teachers and Illinois Central College to expand the path from high school education to employment in Peoria.
  • In January, more than 200 Peoria business leaders and concerned citizens gathered to learn about the Alignment process which is currently streamlining public education and community resources in communities across America. By April, an Alignment Peoria Governing Board and Operating Board began to take shape, putting the Alignment process in place. It is anticipated that the Boards will be officially seated at the beginning of the new fiscal year and that the hiring process for an Executive Director will be initiated soon after.
  • We worked diligently to be intentional with our Reduction-in-Force and hiring processes to reduce staff turnover and fill open positions with the best applicants we could find at colleges and universities across the state as early as possible. Moving forward, Associate Superintendent for Human Resources, Dr. Alexander Ikejiaku, will focus on hiring and retaining superior certified staff members for every classroom. While this is a challenge during a time of national teacher shortages, reducing staff turnover will bring significant cost savings to the District. 
  • With a commitment from the Junior League of Peoria, the Peoria Public Schools Foundation is reinvigorating the District Adopt-A-School program, to deepen the commitments of current partners and bring new partners into the program.
  • A newly-formed Office of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is being led by its first Director, Mr. Derrick Booth. Seeking grant opportunities, Mr. Booth is already working with many community partners. Together, they will confront and address fundamental issues of ongoing trauma for many Peoria Public Schools students resulting from severe poverty, community violence and unstable family environments. 
  • Adopted by the Board of Education this spring, a reconfiguration of Peoria Public School’s grade transition structure will provide increased consistency and stability for students and more wisely use the District’s physical and transportation resources.
  • Caterpillar Inc. continues to provide ongoing support to the school district in a variety of ways.
  • Adopted by the Board of Education this spring, a reconfiguration of Peoria Public School’s grade transition structure will provide increased consistency and stability for students and more wisely use the District’s physical and transportation resources. 
  • We are developing and nurturing relationships with businesses in our community, including Caterpillar Inc., which continues to provide ongoing support to the school district in a variety of ways.
  • In conjunction with the reconfiguration, the Peoria Public Schools injected new vigor into its Fine Arts programming led by veteran fine arts educators Taunya Jenkins, Mary Jo Papich and Sharon Reed. Roosevelt Magnet School prepared to return to a more intensive fine arts focus for its 5th through 8th grades. A community-supported used instrument drive, sponsored by the Manilow Music Project and Kidder Music, generated over 100 musical instruments for Peoria Public School students. 
  • In an unprecedented program, rising 4th through 9th- grade students are spending eight weeks this summer in an intensive musical theater program through The Lion King Experience. Through funding from the Community Foundation of Central Illinois and the Maggie Bertram Foundation, these students are spending four days each week learning both onstage and backstage crafts as well as team work and discipline. The Lion King Experience is an example of outstanding community collaboration. 
  • Peoria Public Schools administrators reached out to parent leaders at each school by initiating regional Parent Teacher Organization meetings, giving PTO officers the opportunity to share ideas, solutions and form supportive relationships. 
  • Effective July 1st, Peoria Public Schools students will have a greater representation with the addition of three high school non-voting members to the Board of Education. 
  • For some students in the 6th through 9th grade, student attendance is a better predictor of dropping out of school than test scores. To address what may be an overlooked opportunity – that of improving attendance – I recruited two expert volunteers, retired District administrators Dr. Thom Simpson and Cheryl Sanfilip. Leading a committee of District staff, representatives from the Peoria County Regional Office of Education and community volunteers, Simpson and Sanfilip are encouraging a research and data-driven district wide attendance plan to improve attendance from kindergarten through high school. 
  • Finally, many of these accomplishments focus on embracing our community and our community embracing our district, accomplished through a rebranding effort. We are proud to be Peoria Public Schools and are excited about the possibilities. I believe we are in a good place and we are extremely hopeful about the future. 
In my 2016 state-of-the-schools address to the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, I referred to three “wicked problems” facing the Peoria Public School and its students: Poverty, Mental Health and Finances. In spite of these daunting challenges, with continued collaboration and the strength, support and resources of the Peoria community, we intend to defy the odds. We have the discipline to intentionally pursue the goals outlined in our strategic plan and a scorecard to measure our progress, I have no doubt that the Peoria Public Schools will achieve its mission of ensuring that each student reaches his or her full academic and personal potential and is a well-balanced citizen.

Serve Passionately,
Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat

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Peoria District 150 will provide a rich learning environment that centers on students, meeting developmental needs, acknowledging individual differences and honoring all styles of learning. Building on the strengths of each student, District 150 will set high expectations for all in an atmosphere that is nurturing and respectful. Students will be actively engaged in the learning process, develop skills for independent learning, and learn to set and assess their own learning goals. The goal of District 150 is to take an integrated approach to learning by addressing academic disciplines and basic skills through broad themes, projects, and authentic real-life experiences. Students will focus on the knowledge, skills, and understandings needed to prepare them to be members of a rapidly changing and increasingly interconnected world of the 21st century. In short, District 150s principles and practices will be based on proven understandings of how students may best learn what they will need to know in order to succeed throughout their lives.


staff photo
Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat
Contact Information
Location: Administration Building
 Phone: (309) 672-6768
Fax: (309) 672-6708
As Superintendent, I expect all staff members to research new ideas, propose methods to improve practice, and explore new and innovative ideas while sustaining the key ingredients of proven practices. I recognize that if our collective ideas help students learn and achieve, we all benefit.  I expect enthusiasm, hard work, recognition of our challenges, and sincere acknowledgment of all achievements. It is not all right to do what has always been done because it is easier and faster.  As a district, we all need to do whatever we can for the children we serve and do it well.
Last Modified on July 8, 2016