Peoria Public Schools

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  • Warrior Way Café menu highlights students' award-winning skills

    The Warrior Way Café will serve it's final lunch of the year on Thursday, April 25 with menu choices demonstrating the skills of WCTC Culinary Arts students. The WCTC Culinary Arts restaurant management team is preparing to head to Washington D.C. in May to compete in the Natinal Restaurant Association Pro-Start tournament. Make your lunch reservation today and enjoy a lunch prepared by champions!

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  • Welcome Spring and Arts in Education!

    The Gerald M. Brookhart Arts in Education Spring Celebration starts this week at the Peoria County Courthouse Plaza. Fourteen Peoria Public primary, middle and high schools will participate.

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  • PPS summer school

    Fourteen Peoria Public School buildings will offer summer school programs. Contact the school principal for details.

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  • Peoria Zoo, School Spotlight events introduce kindergarten

    On Your Mark! Get Set! Get Ready for Kindergarten! Bring the whole family to Kindergarten Roundup, Saturday, April 27, 2019, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Peoria Zoo in Glen Oak Park

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  • Manufacturing pathway opens to all PPS students

    The Manual Academy Dual-credit manufacturing pathway will be availabe to all PPS high school students beginning in the 2019-2020 school year. The program is a coordinated in conjunction with Illinois Central College (ICC) and Caterpillar, Inc., a longtime supporter of the school's industrial technology program.

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  • Volunteer mentors inspire academic excellence

    Peoria Public Schools is seeking volunteer mentors to participate in Making the Grade Conferencing events, February 19 - 21 and April 29 - May 1. Making the Grade Conferencing pairs community volunteers with 6th and 7th grade students to meet one-on-one to review their latest progress report. Making the Grade Conferencing is a great way for members of the community to reach out to our young people to inspire them to pursue academic excellence.

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  • Those Who Excel nomination packets available

    The nomination packet for the 2019 – 2020 Those Who Excel Awards including the Donald M. Phares Classroom Teacher of the Year award are now available. The deadline to submit nominations is Monday, March 25, 4 p.m.

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Superintendent's Blog

  • Learning targets spell out expectations and plan of action

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 3/29/2019 12:00:00 PM

    Educators know which specific skills students must master each step along the way from kindergarten to high school senior. To be successful, however, we also must make our expectations and our plan of action for each grade level clear to parents. When parents know which specific skills their children must master, they become partners in their student’s success.


    To that end, Dr. Sandra Wilson, Associate Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, and Lisa Gifford, literacy/social studies coordinator, have produced the English Language Arts Learning Targets publication, which lists exactly what skills PPS students are expected to acquire in grades K through 8 in reading, writing, speaking and listening and language.  These detailed lists will help parents determine whether their student is falling behind or excelling past grade-level expectations in a particular area, and by working closely with their teacher, can help their student build skills to the appropriate level or devise content that will keep them stimulated and advancing.


    Here is an example of how reading skills progress from kindergarten to grade 8:

    • Kindergarten – I can listen to a story and decide which parts are the most important to use when I retell the story.
    • 1st grade – I can explain how the key details reflect the central message or lesson.
    • 2nd grade – I can determine how a story, fable and/or folktale helps teach a lesson, moral or central message.
    • 3rd grade – I can use key details from a story I recount to determine the message or lesson and explain how it is conveyed in the text.
    • 4th grade- I can refer to explicit details from the text to explain and support my inference or conclusion.
    • 5th grade – I can determine the theme of the text using key details to support my thinking.
    • 6th grade – I can describe how the plot of a story or drama unfolds in a sequence of events and explain how the characters change as the story moves toward resolution.
    • 7the grade – I can explain how the contrasting points of view increase the complexity of the story but may limit the reader’s identification with (or sympathy for a single procrastinator.
    • 8th grade – I can use details from the text to determine the central ideas of a piece of informational text, analyze the development and relationship to supporting ideas, and provide an objective summary of the text.

    The English Language Arts Learning Targets publications are available at your student’s school or at or you can pick up a copy at your child’s school.


    Soon PPS curriculum administrators will post similar publications to list expectations for math and other subjects.


    By giving parents a comprehensive list of learning expectations, we empower them to become an even more important advocate for their student.

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  • Manufacturing pathway opens to all PPS students

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 3/22/2019 11:00:00 AM

    Peoria Public Schools will open the Manual Academy Dual-Credit Manufacturing Pathway to all district high school students beginning in the 2019-2020 year. Thanks to the investment of state-of-the-art equipment from Caterpillar, Inc., our partnership with Illinois Central College (ICC) and the work of Industrial technology teacher Andrew Rice, the manufacturing education facility at Manual Academy is second to none. This pathway offers outstanding opportunities for our students. 


    For example, a student who wants to be a welder – a skill that is in high demand – will learn industry compatible MIG, Stick and TIG welding through this program and earn ICC credit for those courses. After high school and further education at ICC, that student will enter a profession that, according to the Association for Manufacturing Technology and U.S. Labor Dept., anticipated five percent growth through 2026, with salaries that will provide a solidly middle-class lifestyle. Because the student earns college credit while attending Manual Academy, they will enter their profession with minimal or no student loan debt.


    For students who wish to continue to a Bachelor’s degree, the earning potential is even greater. The skills learned in the Manufacturing Pathway can lead to even greater income potential.  For example, a production manager or plant engineering manager can expect to be earning a six-figure income after completing a bachelor’s degree.  They will graduate from high school knowing how to use computer-aided design software (CAD) and three-D printing and with college credit, which will reduce the cost of continuing their education.


    Finally, students in the Manufacturing Pathway can possibly pursue a one-semester internship at a Cat facility during their senior year to earn academic credit and an hourly wage.  This is invaluable hands-on, real-world experience.


    Our country’s manufacturing workforce, like our skilled trade workforce, is aging and retiring. We will need skilled and trained young people ready to fill those positions.


    Peoria Public School administrators, high school principals and Mr. Rice will host two information meetings for parents and students on Wednesday, April 3 in the Peoria High School library from 6 – 7 p.m. and another at the Richwoods High School library on April 4 from 6 – 7 p.m. We highly enourage you to join us at those sessions.


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  • Parent University: A Literacy Feast

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 3/18/2019 10:00:00 PM

    Peoria Public Schools will host its final Parent University of the school year on Thursday, March 21 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Peoria Public Library Main branch.  Parent University gives parents and students the chance to visit Peoria-area cultural and recreational venues together and participate in workshops to enhance student achievement and family well-being. 


    This month’s event, entitled Literacy Feast, will be an evening of family engagement featuring presentations by community partners as well as reading and writing workshops by favorite children’s authors and storytellers. 


    Families can take buses beginning at 4:45 from Trewyn School, Manual Academy, Peoria High School, Glen Oak Community Learning Center and Woodruff Career and Technical Center (WCTC).  We will be providing a free dinner featuring walking tacos and winning healthy Tex-Mex recipes from our recent Future Chef competition.


    Families will rotate through a series of presentations including:

    • Erin’s Law by Starshe Richards of The Center for Prevention of Abuse
    • Wraparound Center by Derrick Booth, PPS Director of Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
    • Newly introduced Crisis Go app by PPS Public Safety Director DeMario Boone
    • AlignPeoria’s Literacy Committee focus on helping students read by the third grade by Executive Director of Primary Schools, Dr. Nicole Wood
    • Peoria Public Schools Online Academy by Director of Innovation, Dr. Susan Grzanich
    • Snack-A-Demics, by Sodexo and Future Chefs

    Families and students also can participate in reading and writing workshops featuring these authors from around the state:

    • Natalie Rompella (for students in PreK through grade 2)
    • Sarah Aronson (for students in grades 3 through 7)
    • Bradley James Webber (for students in grades 3 through 5)
    • Alexandria LaFaye (for children in grades 6 through 8)

    To top it off, guests can see Expressive Voices, an exhibit of artwork by PPS students in the art gallery, enjoy musical entertainment by Peoria High School Preparatory School for the Arts (PSA) students, and students can have their photo taken with Clifford the Big Red Dog, Dora the Explorer or Dr. Suess!


    All students who attend the Parent University will receive a uniform-free pass for Friday, March 22. 


    PPS families can make reservations for Parent University at


    I hope to see many of our PPS families on Thursday, March 21.  

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  • Celebrating achievements of PPS students and staff

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 3/8/2019 4:30:00 PM

    Every day, Peoria Public School students and staff members celebrate achievements. Some victories may be barely noticeable but truly life-altering – the second-grade student who cracks the code of reading comprehension or a middle-school student who successfully masters self-regulation, one of five Social Emotional Learning (SEL) core competencies. 


    Other achievements are more public and this week I offer congratulations on some recent accomplishments by students and staff.


    Two Peoria Public School students competed in the IHSA State Speech tournament. Manual Academy senior Tyra Johnson, competed in the Prose Reading, placing 5th and in the Poetry Reading events. Richwoods High School senior Lily Mura competed in the Impromptu Speaking event.


    The Woodruff Career and Technical Center (WCTC) Culinary Arts restaurant management team, placed first in the Illinois Restaurant Association ProStart Tournament. This is the second year in a row the WCTC Restaurant Management team, coached by Chefs Jitske Miedema and Kevin Roecker, have taken the top prize in Illinois. The team advances to the national tournament in May in Washington D.C. Team members are Gabriel Hernandez, Peoria High School, Timia Weldy, Richwoods High School, and Keshawna Sledge, Richwoods High School. Each student won a $20,000 college scholarship.


    Congratulations also to the Richwoods High School Swim and Dive Team and Coach Lynn Thompson on their 2019 IHSA Sectional Championship. Six team members advanced to the IHSA State Finals: Blake Torrey, Jared Aviles, Jacob Greenan, Zack Dollman, Yohan Bopearatchy and Daniel Matlock.


    At last week’s board meeting we recognized the top-scoring readers in the district’s winter break Accelerated Reader (AR) competition. Our primary school winners for participation and percentage of students passing AR tests with over 85 percent were Charter Oak, Kellar and Whittier. The middle school winners were Von Steuben, Mark Bills and Washington Gifted. Harrison, Lincoln and Trewyn were the top scoring K-8 schools.


    We also recognize recent achievements of PPS staff members.


    Mrs. Diane Hines, a staff member at Knoxville Center for Student Success (KCSS), was recently inducted into the African American Hall of Fame Museum.


    Lindbergh Middle School Principal Sue Malahy was one of eight Illinois finalists for the Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Leadership. The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership honors exemplary performance in school leadership by a principal or head of school who has had a significant and sustained positive impact on the school, created a culture of inclusivity, and delivered dramatic student growth.


    Finally, six Peoria Public School teachers recently earned National Board Certification, a rigorous and challenging professional accomplishment.  Congratulations to Dee Hagen, Katie Hobin and Susan Martin, all of Northmoor Primary School, Ashley Naleway and Beth Perce, Rolling Acres Middle School.

    Kudos to our remarkable students and staff!


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  • Peoria Public Schools invites community to tour the Wraparound Center

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 3/5/2019 4:00:00 PM

    The Peoria community is invited to an open house at the Wraparound Center on Thursday, March 7 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.


    The Wraparound Center, located on the Latrobe Street side of Trewyn School, opened its doors last October. The one-stop shop provides greater Peoria individuals and families support systems and resources within their community. The goal is to keep individuals from transitioning to a higher, more intensive level of care or to successfully transition from a higher level of care back to stability.


    Currently the Wraparound Center has eight community partners:

    • The Center for Youth and Family Solutions
    • Chestnut Health Systems
    • Family Core
    • Hand Up
    • Juvenile Probation
    • OSF (STRIVE) Trauma Recovery Program
    • Positive Health Solutions
    • Unity Point Methodist
    • HULT Center for Healthy Living


    Through these partners, Peoria residents can access counseling services, substance abuse services, a food pantry, financial education and counseling, STI/HIV/AIDS testing and counseling, and much more. In addition to these in-house partners, Wraparound Center case managers connect individuals and families with external community services and resources.


    The Wraparound Center evolved from Peoria Public Schools’ focus on the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) needs of our students, and the vital mental, emotional and physical health and safety needs of our community, particularly the 61605 zip code. Many of the services we offer were unavailable to neighborhood residents with limited transportation options.


    We believe the services offered at the Wraparound Center are a necessary first-step in strengthening our community and achieving our vision: educating and graduating each student to be prepared and inspired to contribute to the world.


    Please take the time to visit on March 7 so we can share this community resource.


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  • Grow Your Own Peoria fundraiser

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 2/25/2019 8:40:00 AM

    On Monday, March 11, from 4 to 7 p.m. Grow Your Own (GYO) of Illinois and The Peoria Federation of Teachers Local 780 will host a fundraiser at Mariachi Mexican Restaurant, 1818 W. War Memorial Drive. Twenty percent of the sales from food and beverages will support GYO initiatives in Peoria.


    GYO partners with school districts, colleges and universities, and community organizations to support parents, community members and paraprofessionals in becoming highly qualified teachers. GYO seeks to address the shortage of teachers, particularly teachers of color and from underserved communities, so that the teachers in our schools are as diverse as our students and the families we serve.


    GYO provides vital support for aspiring teachers, helping them overcome financial, academic and social hurdles as they pursue their teaching license. In return, GYO teachers agree to teach in our local public schools.


    In Peoria, Linda Wilson, the technology teacher at Trewyn School, coordinates the district’s GYO efforts with support from the Peoria Federation of Teachers Local 780.


    Wilson grew up in Peoria and attended public schools. She attended Illinois Central College (ICC) but with young children and a job as a teacher’s aide, she was limited to taking classes sporadically.


    “In 2008, the district began participating in GYO,” says Wilson. “They encouraged non-traditional students to apply. GYO was a godsend. I had amazing mentors and support from my fellow students who were also juggling school, families and jobs.” The Urban League was instrumental to those early GYO candidates, lending tutoring services and a meeting space. GYO ended up financing Wilson’s education through stipends and forgivable loans.


    Wilson now holds a bachelor’s degree from Bradley University in early childhood education, a Master of Science degree from St. Xavier University in curriculum and instruction, and a Master of Arts in educational administration. “I’m interested in helping the GYO effort to increase minority recruitment,” says Wilson. “PPS has about 13,000 students. Fifty-seven percent of our students are African-American, 21 percent are Caucasian and about 11 percent Hispanic, yet only 6.7 percent of our teachers are African-American and less than three percent are Hispanic. We also need more men of color teaching in our schools.”


    Please mark your calendar for March 11. Enjoy a delicious dinner and support our efforts to bring new highly-qualified teachers to the Peoria Public Schools. For more information, contact Linda Wilson at To make a donation online, visit


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  • Align Peoria seeks mentors for Connecting Champions

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 2/8/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Think of somebody that was instrumental in your life as a child – someone who cared about you, pushed you and looked out for you. They were a mentor, and in all likelihood, you couldn’t imagine where you’d be in life without them.


    All children should have a mentor to guide them through those day-to-day challenges and to show them that they matter. But research shows that one in three young people will grow up without this critical asset.


    Our students in Peoria Public Schools should all have access to mentors, and Align Peoria has developed a pilot mentoring program called Connecting Champions to supply those mentors.


    The numbers are eye-opening. According to, young people who are at risk of falling off track but had a mentor are 55 percent more likely to go to college, 78 percent more likely to volunteer, 90 percent more interested in becoming a mentor themselves and 130 percent more likely to hold leadership positions.


    Connecting Champions will provide students with customized support and coaching from mentors in the community. Align Peoria is seeking mentoring candidates to fill the following categories:

    • Team Mentoring – A team of five to six adult mentors meeting with a group of 15 middle school students on a weekly basis at two schools (Von Steuben and Lincoln)
    • One-to-one Mentoring – One-to-one mentoring for 15 adult mentors and fifteen middle school students meeting on a one-to-one basis at two schools
    • Internship Mentoring – One adult mentor supporting up to ten high school students in internship experiences. Mentors will be expected to commit one hour of time per week, develop supportive relationships with students, share life experiences, teach essential (soft/employability) skills, and encourage/reinforce academic, social/emotional, and career goals and successes. Mentors will receive training and ongoing support.

    For those interested, you will need to complete a mentor application by Friday, February 15 and turn it in to the Office of Innovation at the Peoria Public Schools administration building. Once accepted into the program, the mentor will attend training, participate in weekly mentor sessions at school with the assigned mentee or group and use the curriculum learned in training sessions.


    For more information or to receive an application, contact Dr. Susan Grzanich at


    Change the life of a child and be a champion to a future champion.

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  • Learning Anywhere and Anytime redefines snow days

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 2/1/2019 10:20:00 AM

    Because of the inclement weather in recent weeks and the possibility of severe weather every winter in central Illinois, Peoria Public Schools is re-defining the snow day with the debut of Learning Anywhere and Anytime throughout the district.


    • Roosevelt Magnet School second graders’ list of assignments included writing a word problem using two-digit by two-digit addition; read for 20 minutes and taking a 10-minute break for stretching and pushups. They had 12 assignments to complete for the day.
    • Roosevelt 8th grade students could choose 12 assignments out of 24 for the two snow days. Choices included a worksheet on the area of triangles, research on Pythagoras; a two-paragraph essay on Charles Darwin; drawing a sketch of a snow scene from their bedroom window and 30 minutes of reading. 
    • In addition to more traditional assignments, Richwoods High School biology teacher Kathy Morton conducted science experiments in her backyard and posted the videos on Twitter. At an air temperature of -18 degrees and wind chill of -51 degrees, a raw egg and a can of cold soda sitting outside will explode after approximately 50 minutes.
    • Richwoods principal Brett Elliott used Twitter to ask students to reflect on their post-high-school goals and how they intended to achieve them and to post their answers.


    Students across the district completed similar assignments during the two snow days this week. Learning Anywhere and Anytime is allowable under the Illinois Board of Education (ISBE) waiver for flexible days. Students who return to school with assignments completed will be counted as present for the two days that school was not in session. Teachers were available to answer students’ questions via email from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on both days. While many high school assignments could be completed online if the student chose to do so, most assignments did not require internet access to be completed.


     Learning Anywhere and Anytime helps our students stay on track academically and allows the District to avoid extending the school year in late May. 


    Because of the severe danger in venturing outdoors this week, Peoria Public School staff members were also given the choice of working from home and completing professional development activities assigned by program coordinators and supervisors.


    Learning Anywhere and Anytime is also an example of strong collaboration between district administration, principals, teachers and staff members at all levels to react quickly to a developing weather situation and implement an innovative program for students. We also must thank Peoria Public School parents, grandparents and caregivers for supporting our effort to keep students learning from home during these two days. A learning-from-home program could not be successful without support from the entire Peoria Public Schools family.

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  • Evidence-based Funding elevates the learning journey

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 1/25/2019 2:00:00 PM

    Evidence-Based Funding is filling a variety of needs in Peoria Public Schools. First and foremost, it continues to serve as the catalyst and inspiration to elevate the learning journey. This includes providing supports to schools that are interested in implementing a student-focused and career-focused vision, expanding technology, hiring social-emotional teacher aides and raising starting salaries of teachers.


    Peoria Public Schools has a goal of being one-to-one, where a computer or tablet is provided for every student. Thanks to Evidence-Based Funding (EBF), the district is much closer to that goal. As we prepare our students for the 21st Century, a critical skill is the ability to use multimedia.


    Providing more academic and social-emotional supports in the classroom for students is also important for our district. Peoria Public Schools invested EBF dollars into hiring 13 Social Emotional teacher aides at the elementary and middle schools. The SEL aides assist with de-escalating students so that they can get back on track and access more instruction.


    A third need EBF helped fill is raising the starting salaries of teachers, which will increase by 15.2%, from $35,902 to $41,375, next year. EBF is also instrumental in making it possible for our district to fund a number of teacher recruitment initiatives, such as bonuses, referrals and exceptional placements to help offset the national teacher shortage problem. Like many school districts, Peoria Public Schools has been affected by the teacher shortage, in part, because the starting salary lagged behind similar-sized districts. About 37 vacancies currently exist.


    EBF has helped Peoria Public Schools begin to improve its financial position and invest in innovative and meaningful instructional strategies that will help prepare students for productive and prosperous lives.  For us, this is a very welcome change.

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  • New diploma/degree program offers exciting opportunity for our students

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 1/14/2019 8:00:00 PM

    Peoria Public Schools is proud to announce, in partnership with Illinois Central College, an innovative new program for academically motivated current high school sophomores. 


    The D² Diploma/Degree pilot program will provide students the opportunity to earn their high school diploma at the same time they earn an Associate of Arts degree during the last two years of high school. A student participating in D² will accelerate their completion of a Bachelor’s degree, and families will receive significant cost savings as the district will pay the full Illinois Central College tuition rate. 


    Students who have completed the D² program will be better prepared for college and beyond, and their credits will transfer to all 4-year institutions in the state of Illinois. Though it is a rigorous course of study, both Peoria Public Schools and Illinois Central College are fully prepared to provide the necessary support to our students during their two years in the program. 


    Students entering their junior year in the fall of 2019 are eligible to participate in the first cohort. Families of current sophomores who are interested in the program can hear more about it during the informational meetings in the coming weeks. The schedule for those meetings is as follows: 


    • 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16 in the Manual Academy Auditorium 
    • 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16 in the Peoria High Library 
    • 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17 in the Richwoods High School auditorium  
    • If you cannot attend those informational session, one last meeting will be held at the district's administration building at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24.

    For more information, contact Tracey Jones at 672-6768 or 

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