Peoria Public Schools

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District News

  • Reminder: Physical exam and immunization requirements must be complete by August 15

    Students' physical and immunization requirements must be in compliance on the first day of school, August 15, 2018. Make your appointment today.

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  • Peoria Riverfront Museum Quadruples Peoria Public Schools Curricula-based Field Trip Visits  

    The Peoria Riverfront Museum announced an increase from 1,800 to 8,000 Peoria Public Schools students participating in educational field trips at the museum this past school year, as part of the museum’s curricula-based Every Student Initiative program for all Central Illinois students.

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  • Meet the PPL Bookmobile at Peoria Public Schools this summer

    The Peoria Public Library Bookmobile stops at Harrison Community Learning Center, Lincoln K-8, Jamieson School, Hines Primary School, Roosevelt Magnet School, Glen Oak Community Learning Center and Von Steuben Middle School during June.

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  • Join the team at Peoria Public Schools!

    The most remarkable school district in Illinois is looking for 80 remarkable teachers to join our team!

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  • Congratulations Class of 2018!

    Here are links to Peoria Public School Class of 2018 feature, published online by the Journal Star.

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  • Redefining Ready, Personalized Education highlight 2018 State of the Schools address

    Peoria Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat delivered the annual State of the Schools address, Wednesday, May 2 at the Peoria Marriott Pere Marquette. The speech outlined Dr. Desmoulin-Kherat's vision for Peoria Public Schools, "an education that is personalized. One where attainment is built on discovering the individual talents of each child, that puts students in an environment where they want to learn and can naturally discover their true interests."

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  • Dr. Desmoulin-Kherat named Superintendent of Distinction

    Peoria Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat was named a Regional Superintendent of Distinction by the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA).

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Superintendent's Blog

  • Competitions and specialized camps keep students busy in June

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 7/11/2018 12:00:00 PM

    June was busy and rewarding for PPS students, recent graduates and staff members.



    John Marsh, Richwoods High School Class of 2018, represented the RHS speech team at the National High School Speech tournament in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He competed in the final round of the Prose Reading competition, placing 4th in the nation. Marsh will attend Bradley University, competing with its nationally-recognized speech team. 



    After placing first in the state in February and competing in the National Restaurant Association ProStart competition in Rhode Island in April, the Woodruff Career and Technical Center (WCTC) Culinary Arts team traveled to Louisville KY in late June to compete in the Skills USA National Culinary Arts Contest. The competition tests students’ skills in sanitation procedures, organization, cleanliness, safety, attitude and cooking techniques and procedures. Team members demonstrated their skills in nine types of vegetable cuts, butchery, and a total of six cooking techniques for a main entreé, a sauce, a vegetable and a starch.  Following the cooking demonstration portion, they completed a written exam. We are waiting to learn the results of the competition. 



    Meanwhile, two groups of PPS students participated in innovative and creative summer camps. The first, held at Knoxville Center for Student Success, taught students to use cell phone cameras and computer software to shoot and edit videos. The camp was sponsored by Doug and Eileen Leunig and taught by Allison Welsh and Keller Anderson. The students will be able to screen their final projects at the Big Picture Film Festival at the Peoria Riverfront Museum in October.



    At Bradley University, PPS middle school students worked with BU Interactive Media Department for two weeks of game-design camp, learning coding and interactive game design.  The students are all part of the PPS Foundation Horizons program. 



    Finally, a group of PPS staff members also earned honors this summer. The PPS Transportation Department recently hosted the Illinois Association for Pupil Transportation conference, trade show and training. PPS mechanics and technicians have the hugely important responsibility for keeping our school buses running and student safe. During the conference, mechanics from all over Illinois competed during the conference, with a PPS mechanic placing third in the competition.



    In July, students who placed first in the Tri-County Urban League Academic, Cultural, Technology Scholarship (ACT-SO) program, head to Texas to compete in the national ACT-SO competition. We wish them all the best of luck!



    Congratulations to these outstanding PPS students and staff members!

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  • Keep reading all summer!

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 7/2/2018 10:15:00 AM

    Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling said, “I think it’s the books that you read when you’re young that live with you forever.” I have wonderful memories of reading as a child, with favorites like Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.


    As we approach the end of June and the halfway-mark of summer break, please keep encouraging children to read every day. Reading is a crucial investment in the future!


    Here are some tips to help keep everyone reading:

    • Let your child choose what to read. This can include magazines, newspapers, graphic novels, comic books and even audio books, if children follow along with text. You can check out printed books with accompanying audio on CD at the library. Many children prefer to read nonfiction books, including biographies of their favorite athletes or celebrities or books about science and nature. If you have access to a computer and internet, many children’s books, including one of my childhood favorites, Dr. Seuss’ Marco Comes Late can be found on YouTube or myON Online Reading.
    • Make sure your child’s choice is the appropriate reading level. For primary-grade readers, the Child Mind Institute offers an easy way to decide called the “five-finger rule.” Have your child choose a book, read the first page and raise a finger for each word they don’t know. If they have more than five fingers raised at the end of page one, the book is probably too difficult. Your librarian can also help you choose books that are the right level for your student.
    • Make reading an adventure! Pack up your books, a flashlight, a blanket and head to the back yard to read under the stars.
    • Make reading social. Many parents read to their children during their pre-school years but stop once children can read on their own. Reading a chapter book together, one chapter each day, is a joyful experience for a parent, grandparent or caretaker. This is particularly true if a student’s reading skills are behind their maturity level.
    • Be prepared! Errand time can be reading time. Keep books in your car. Or if you ride the bus, have a tote bag with a few books ready to grab as you walk out the door. If your child goes to daycare or day camp, be sure to pack a book or two in their backpack.
    • Create a reading spot at home. Find a quiet corner away from tv and computer screens where your child can retreat with their favorite books.

    I hope all Peoria Public School parents will help their student create great reading memories!


    Peoria Public Library branches and hours

    Main Library

    Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Closed Sunday.

    Lincoln Branch

    Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

    Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

    Sunday – noon – 6 p.m. 

    Closed Wednesday.

    Lakeview Branch

    Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

    Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

    Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.

    Closed Thursday.

    McClure Branch

    Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

    Closed Sunday.

    North Branch

    Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

    Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

    Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.

    Closed Tuesday.

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  • University of Chicago to make ACT/SAT optional

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 6/20/2018 4:00:00 PM

    The University of Chicago announced several significant changes in its admissions policies last week. The new policy will be initiated with the class of 2023 or students who will be high school juniors in 2018-2019.  According to USAToday, the new policy is intended to even the playing field for low-income and underrepresented students.  

    Other changes include providing full-tuition scholarships for students whose families earn less than $125,000 per year, increased scholarships to veterans and children of police officers and firefighters. Applicants also will be allowed to submit a two-minute video introduction instead of sitting for an interview.  

    You can read the complete article here:

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  • STEP-UP fellows build future PPS teaching force

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 6/20/2018 10:00:00 AM

    Currently, Peoria Public Schools has more than 50 teaching positions to fill for the 2018-2019 school year.


    While we diligently pursue meeting our immediate need for teachers, we also are developing connections with future educators through the Peoria Teacher Education Pipeline, a collaborative program with Illinois State University (ISU). 


    This month, through ISU’s National Center for Urban Education, PPS welcomes three Summer Teacher Education Partnership for Urban Preparation (STEP-UP) fellows and five Summer Teacher Education Partnership for Urban Preparation, First Look Experience (STEP-UP FLEX) fellows. The eight ISU students are spending between one and four weeks in Peoria. Residing with host families, the educators-in-training follow a rigorous schedule of classroom teaching in the PPS summer school program, volunteering at community-based organizations, classroom instruction and mentoring from veteran PPS teachers, study and reflection time and explorations of the Peoria community. The program aims to introduce ISU students, many of whom originate from the Chicago suburbs, to Peoria Public Schools and the Peoria community with the expectation that, upon graduation, they will establish successful and fulfilling teaching careers with PPS.


     STEP UP fellow works with students at Hines summer school


    According to Peoria Teacher Education Pipeline associate director Cliff Cobert, many ISU education students come from suburban or rural communities and have minimal exposure to urban schools. In response, approximately 90 courses at ISU have been redesigned to focus on urban education. Through the STEP-UP and STEP-UP FLEX fellowships, ISU students serve in the Chicago Public Schools, Decatur Public Schools or Peoria Public Schools.


    The three PPS STEP-UP fellows – Erika Barber, Traevon Parnell and Ranija Turner – spend mornings teaching at Hines Primary School. In the afternoons, they work on projects for The Dream Center Peoria, East Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Peoria. In the evenings and on weekends, the students work with PPS teachers on such topics as classroom management, AVID and curriculum planning.  During their weeks in Peoria, they also attend a Peoria Chiefs game and tour the Riverfront Museum, Forest Park Nature Center, Springdale Cemetery and Luthy Botanical Garden.


    The Peoria Teacher Education Pipeline is grounded in social justice and intended to cultivate innovative and effective educators for urban schools and their communities.  In addition to working with ISU faculty to integrate experiences of urban schools in education courses, Cobert designs clinical experiences that integrate school and community. For example, during the 2017-2018 school year, an ISU teacher-education class and a Peoria High School literature class worked together, primarily through video-conferencing. The Peoria Teacher Education Pipeline also places ISU student teachers in PPS and coordinates two-year induction and mentoring programs for ISU graduates teaching in PPS.


    Through the work of the Peoria Teacher Education Pipeline and the STEP-UP program, we are making a wise investment in the future of Peoria Public Schools and our community.  

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  • Nurture your child's reading habit

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 6/8/2018 3:00:00 PM

    Reading is a habit.  Just like brushing teeth, household chores and playing video games, once a child develops the habit of reading, they tend to continue. The summer months are a perfect time to build the habit of reading. Reading every day during the summer months is invaluable to children. Reading introduces them to places, experiences and people outside their everyday lives. It builds their imaginations and uses skills they will need to keep progressing in school come August.



    Peoria Public School K – 8 students are participating in The Remarkable Reader program again this summer. By reading for 30 minutes a day and keeping track of what they are reading, students will be eligible to win prizes when school starts in August. 



    The Peoria Public Library Bookmobile will make stops each weekday during June and July, including weekly stops at Harrison Community Learning Center, Lincoln K-8, Hines Primary School, Jamieson School, Roosevelt Magnet School and Glen Oak Community Learning Center. The bookmobile schedule is posted at Make plans to visit one of the Peoria Public Library branches or the bookmobile. Encourage your children and grandchildren to pick up a book every day this summer and watch a lifelong habit take root!

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  • Redifining Ready, Personalized Education highlight 2018 State of the Schools

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 5/7/2018 4:00:00 PM

    This week I had the honor of presenting my third annual State of the Schools address at the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast. While my team and I welcome every opportunity throughout the year to engage with Peoria citizens, the business community and our other stakeholders, the State of the Schools is an opportunity to give you a global view of the direction and progress of Peoria Public Schools. 


    Among the highlights of the past year were:

    • Through the expanded Pre-School for All grant, our pre-K waiting list is down to zero. We have enrolled 200 more students in pre-school this year and are adding two dual language immersion pre-school classes.
    • The Wraparound Center, housed at Trewyn School, and the Trauma Recovery Center, housed at Manual Academy, will provide therapeutic supports and resources to residents of the most distressed area of our city.
    • Through The Every Student Initiative, every one of our K – 8th grade students makes a curriculum-aligned visit to the Peoria Riverfront Museum once a year.
    • Enrollment in Career Technical Education has increased 40 percent in the past two years.

    Recently, a close friend asked me, “What do you envision for Peoria Public Schools?” It is a question I take very seriously and reflect upon at great length. I envision an education that is personalized; one where attainment is built on discovering the individual talents of each child. I envision a district that puts students in environments where they want to learn and can naturally discover their true interests.


    As a district, we are intentionally seeking to redefine what it means to be ready for college, career and life beyond high school. Our pre-apprenticeship work, industry-credentialed work, dual-credit career pathways, service learning, advanced placement and similar efforts are helping us Redefine Ready for our students.


    When students are given opportunities to pursue their interests through choice and learning paths, we are helping to guide them to a personalized educational journey. When we do this, discipline problems will continue to decline, and achievement and graduation rates will significantly improve.


    I extend my gratitude to our countless community partners and the Peoria Public Schools staff for making our progress this year possible.


    Click here to read the State of the Schools transcript.


    Click here to download a special State of the Schools edition of The Remarkable Times. 

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  • Trauma Recovery Center, wrap-around services to bring services to 61605

    Posted by Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 4/13/2018 5:00:00 AM

    At this week’s PPS Board of Education meeting, Director of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Derrick Booth shared the following information about 61605-zip code, the part of Peoria served by Trewyn School, Manual Academy, Roosevelt Magnet School and Harrison Community Learning Center :

    • The median household in 61605 is nearly $30,000 lower than that in the rest of Peoria.
    • Life expectancy for males in 61605 is ten years less than for males in the rest of Peoria.
    • According to the Economic Innovation Group Distress Index only one zip code in Illinois and 48 in the entire nation are more economically distressed than 61605.
    • In 1980, 61605 was home to 26,458 Peorians and the population was approximately half white and half black. By 2014, the population had declined by 12,143, about 70 percent black and 30 percent white.

    In human terms, these numbers translate to chronic trauma for 61605 families and children. The problems faced by families are huge: physical and mental health issues including depression, anxiety and substance abuse; issues of abuse, neglect, lack of love and care, abandonment, homelessness, malnutrition and the inability to access services and resources. As we were painfully reminded last weekend, loss of life from gun violence is real.

    Our teachers see this every day. Trauma impacts children’s ability to concentrate or find joy in learning and achievement. The natural fight or flight instinct brought on by trauma engenders aggressiveness, bullying, disrespect and hopelessness.

    The concept of wrap-around services PPS is establishing at Trewyn School addresses the causes and results of trauma and chronic crisis.  A key component of wrap-around services is a $1.1 million grant recently made to OSF Healthcare from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority to fund a Trauma Recover Center (TRC). Working from Trewyn and Manual Academy, the TRC will serve the trauma recovery needs of victims of violent crime, including PPS students and their families.


    In addition to trauma recovery, Trewyn School, in partnership with 19 (and growing) community organizations, will offer services in a wide-range of areas including:


    • Physical, mental and emotional health and wellness;
    • Basic needs such as food, clothing, housing assistance, access to technology and transportation;
    • Financial education, job-search assistance, adult education, parenting classes;
    • Before- and after-school programs and summer and school intercession programs;
    • College and career transition assistance;
    • Safety and justice services including legal aid, probation/parole services and personal safety training.

    PPS administrators have studied the success of similar trauma recovery and wrap-around community service programs in California and Georgia. By providing workspace at Trewyn for organizations addressing a variety of needs, we will connect families to services quickly and efficiently.  Families in crisis, who frequently do not have transportation, will find help under one roof.  I believe this concept can move 61605 residents to lives of empowerment. 


    It is important to note that the TRC and wrap-around services will not be offered exclusively to PPS families and students. The services based at Trewyn and Manual will be offered to any 61605 resident and residents from other parts of Peoria. 

    For too long our schools have focused on only academic issues but successful adults must have healthy social and emotional skills to manage adversity. The Trewyn Therapeutic Program (TPP), which serves 107 students, is demonstrating how focusing on SEL can transform students’ lives. This program will also grow at the Trewyn site next school year. Check back here frequently for information on our wrap-around services at Trewyn.


    Click here to watch a presentation from SEL Director Derrick Booth gives more details on wrap-around services.


    Click here to download a presentation by Trewyn Principal Reneé Andrews on Trewyn Therapeutic Program (TTP).



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  • VHECEC to offer dual language immersion pre-K classes

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 3/29/2018 6:00:00 PM

    During a meeting this week at Woodruff Career and Technical Center (WCTC), principal Michael Kuhn and his colleagues heard a loud and unusual noise coming from the second floor above his office.  He realized it was children riding tricycles in the hallway. This week WCTC welcomed 54 4- and 5-year old, as Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Education Center (VHECEC) expands with help from a $700,000 grant from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).  PPS building and grounds staff renovated the space on WCTC’s second floor beautifully, including a gross-motor room featuring a slide, climbing areas and tricycles for the hallways.  The WCTC pre-K has space to accommodate 100 children and we expect more students to attend following spring intercession.




    Next fall, PPS will begin offering two dual-language immersion programs for pre-K students. The dual-language immersion program will be housed at VHECEC and accommodate 40 children. It will use a 50-50 model – half of the children will be first-language English and half will be first-language Spanish. Reading will be taught in Spanish to Spanish first-language students and in English to students whose first language is English. Math, science and social studies will be taught in both languages.  Two bilingual teachers will be assisted by two bilingual aides.




    This is an exciting pilot program for PPS. Significant research indicates that students in dual-language immersion gain many benefits. According to The Center for Applied Linguistics and The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, students in dual immersion programs achieve:


    • Better understanding of how language works, an important factor in developing reading comprehension skills;
    • Fared better than monolinguistic students in tasks which required divergent thinking, pattern recognition and problem-solving;
    • Showed a greater understanding, tolerance, appreciation and respect for other languages and cultures;
    • Students in dual-language immersion programs have greater gains in reading skills.

    Becoming proficient in two (or more) languages is unquestionably an advantage in the job market and even, according to research, appears to provide a barrier against Alzheimers Disease and other dementias later in life.  Our two dual-language immersion classrooms at VHECEC is a small first step toward helping students become truly multi-lingual. 

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  • Adopt-A-School program shows two years of growth, innovation

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 3/22/2018 5:00:00 PM

    Two years ago this month, we announced an exciting new partnership with the Junior League of Peoria (JLP) to revitalize Peoria Public Schools Adopt-A-School program. JLP provided a three-year grant to fund an Adopt-A-School coordinator position within the PPS Foundation, which was filled by Sarah Oakford.


    PPS Adopt-A-School has expanded in scope and in the number of partner organizations.  The program currently has 98 community-based partners with 1,396 volunteers serving PPS. The types of programming is as varied as the partners, filling so many needs for our students, from donations of basic necessities like food, clothing and hygiene products to exposure to cultural events to one-on-one tutoring and mentoring for young men in high school.  Adopt-A-School partners have contributed more than $144,000 in in-kind donations and $40,000 in monetary donations in two years. 


    Here is a sample of PPS Adopt-A-School partnerships:

    • Second Chance Church built and installed Little Free Pantries at six schools, allowing the community to give and take as needed. Donations left include non-perishable food, hygiene items and school supplies.
    • Friday Snack-Pack programs, which give students food to take home for the weekend, has expanded from serving 1,300 students per week to over 2,500.
    • Girls Light Our Way (GLOW) hosted a Saturday Financial Literacy Workshop for 49 middle and high school girls.
    • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity members provide a mentoring program for high school boys. Go To High School, Go To College meets twice each month after school and on occasional Saturdays. Recently, boys in the program spent a Saturday volunteering at First United Methodist Church Loaves and Fishes food and clothing pantry.
    • Franklin Primary School 4th grade students are working with WTVP volunteers to develop a leadership/broadcast team.
    • Class Act Etiquette owner Cindy Winkler has taught after-school programs this year at Lincoln K-8. The weekly classes, one for 6th grade girls and another for 6th grade boys, covered manners, social media etiquette, public speaking, dining etiquette and more.
    • Methodist College provides Sterling Middle School volunteer time for mentoring and tutoring as well as in-kind donations for PBIS behavior incentives and staff appreciation events.
    • Recently, leaders of St. Paul Baptist Church visited Adopt-A-School partner Von Steuben Middle School at lunch time with a video camera in hand. They spent time asking students to tell them what they want from their community. Showing the video to their church members turned out to be a great way to recruit volunteers and gave them solid ideas on how to best help the school community.

    I believe that support from the Peoria community, including Adopt-A-School, is resulting in better students and stronger, more successful schools. As reported by the 2017 Illinois school report card, for grades 3 – 8, every grade level and 15 schools showed gains in PARCC assessment scores. The 2018 assessment is now underway.


    More help is needed.  Please consider having your business, civic or professional organization or faith-based community become an Adopt-A-School partner. For information, contact Peoria Public Schools Foundation at or call 309-713-3608.

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  • DAPCEP brings STEM learning opportunity from the Motor City to the River City

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 3/20/2018 3:00:00 PM

    Nearly 100 Peoria Public School 5th through 8th grade students took advantage of an exciting opportunity during February and March.


    Meeting each Saturday on the Bradley University campus, the students participated in the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP).  The DAPCEP STEM Saturday program has served 10,000 students at over ten Michigan college and university campuses.  This is the first time the program has been offered outside Michigan.



    Bringing DAPCEP to Peoria was a combined effort by BU professor Dr. Jacqueline Henderson, BU Caterpillar College of Engineering Dean Lex Akers, BU Alum Stephen Lewis, DAPCEP director Dr. Michelle Reaves and PPS Academic Instructional Officer Dr. Jerry Bell.



    DAPCEP STEM Saturday offered classes in:


    • Fluids & Water System Engineering-the study of open channel flow systems. Students also applied engineering processes to make dirty water into clean drinking water.


    • Engineering in Medicine: Participants explored the integration of engineering and its impact on medical training through patient simulation.


    • Chemistry: Students studied polymers, environmental chemistry, biochemistry, and the chemical of enzymes and living things.


    • Coding: Students explored coding through hands-on interactive tutorials where they learned concepts such as: inputs and outputs, loops, variables, logic, and function.


    Perhaps as important as these specific STEM areas, students learned that following STEM professions can bring about amazing changes in our world.  “STEM areas have transformed this country and the world,” Dean Akers told the students and parents at the closing lunch. “Someone in this room could be on the NASA crew that goes to Mars in 2030.”



    Also speaking at lunch, Stephen Lewis told the students that after earning an engineering degree at BU and an MBA at Marquette University, he spent his career with Ford Motor Co. traveling worldwide.  “I wanted to bring DAPCEP to Bradley University because I want to make sure that children have opportunities to learn STEM areas early and that they have the chance to be on the Bradley University campus,” said Lewis.



    I am so proud of these students for giving up their Saturday’s for this amazing learning opportunity and I appreciate the efforts of Bradley University and DAPCEP to offer STEM Saturdays to Peoria area students. 



    Guided by our strategic plan, we are currently working to develop more STEM opportunities for PPS students, including the implementation of a STEM middle school.



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