Peoria Public Schools

Peoria Public Schools

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District News

  • Public forums on school start times scheduled

    Peoria Public Schools families, staff and students: The School Start Times Committee will hold three public forums in the coming weeks to present information and solicit feedback on proposals to alter school start times throughout the district. The committee values the feedback from all Peoria Public Schools stakeholders and encourages everyone to attend.

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  • Richwoods Activity Day: the cure for cabin fever

    Richwoods High School Habitat for Humanity student chapter will host an Activity Day for K - 4 students, Saturday, February 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Activities will include bowling, dodgeball, basketball and crafts of all kinds. Admission is just $5 for one student and $4 for each additional student. All proceeds go to support Habitat for Humanity.

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  • 5Essentials survey deadline extended

    The window to complete the 5Essentials Survey The window to complete the 5Essentials Survey has been extended to March 15, 2019. The survey is also now open to students, parents and teachers from Knoxville Center for Student Success, Jamieson School, Trewyn Therapeutic Program and Woodruff Career and Technical Center.. The survey is available in English and Spanish, and only takes about ten minutes to complete. Parents, teachers and students in grades 4 through 12 can take the survey.

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  • March 21 Parent University to feature children's authors

    Don't miss Peoria Public Schools Parent University, Thursday, March 21, 5 - 8 p.m. at the Peoria Public Library, Main and Monroe in downtown Peoria.

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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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  • Glen Oak students research, produce Black History Month PSAs

    Seventh and eighth grade students particpating in the 21st Century Schools afterschool program at Glen Oak Community Learning Center have researched and written scripts for Remarkable Local History, a series of public service announcements (PSA) on historically significant African-American Peorians. The PSAs, ranging from three- to five-minutes in length, will be broadcast on WTVP during Black History Month in February.

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Superintendent's Blog

  • 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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  • Students visualize success from Peoria area guest speakers

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 12/17/2018 12:20:00 PM

    Champion athletes often mentally visualize themselves making the perfect jump shot, line drive or tennis serve. They know that visualizing success can make success a reality. The same concept drives Align Peoria’s See It – Be It K-5 Career Awareness pilot program. As the first semester of the pilot winds down, See It – Be It is helping Peoria Public Schools’ kindergarten through 5th grade students visualize career success.


    Through See It – Be It, guest speakers representing manufacturing, engineering, health and fitness, government and business visited 4,612 kindergarten through 5th grade Peoria Public School students in 285 classrooms. Over three-quarters of PPS K-5 students learned about each professional’s day-to-day job responsibilities, educational background and the multitude of jobs available in central Illinois. Field trips to Peoria City Hall and Jump Simulation introduced students to the workplace environment. For example, students learned how game designers at Jump Simulation create programs to train prospective surgeons.


    See It – Be It demonstrates the positive impact of community synergy. We really can accomplish wonderful things for students when we work together! In this case, Align Peoria recruited volunteers from Caterpillar, Peoria Park District, Bradley University, Farnsworth Group, Advance Medical Transport of Peoria (AMT), Morton Industries, Peoria city and county governments, HRFit, Jones Bros. Jewelers and Jump Simulation. Peoria Public Schools Foundation staff and board members then worked with principals, teachers and the PPS Transportation department to coordinate speaker visits and field trips. The generosity of our community is clear in the many volunteer hours contributed and the transportation costs of field trips which were underwritten by AMT, the OSF Foundation and at-large city council representative Sid Ruckriegel.


    The work continues next semester with classroom presentations and field trips focusing on careers in agriculture, media and communications, medical professions, natural resource management, education and training, and information technology.


    Children visualize and imagine their future through play and pretend. This program helps them visualize a stimulating, rewarding and well-paying professional future. Cheryl Sanfilip, a PPS Foundation and Align Peoria board member believes the See It – Be It Career Awareness program is bringing life-changing experiences to Peoria Public School students. The future for our students grows brighter by the day from the generosity of the community, and we thank all of those people who have shared their time and energy in support of the children from Peoria Public Schools.


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  • Remembering Chase White

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 12/11/2018 10:00:00 AM

    Peoria Public Schools would like to honor the memory of Chase White, a deputy U.S. Marshal and Manual graduate who was killed in the line of duty in Arizona on November 29.


    Chase, a Manual alum from the Class of 1995, made the school's honor roll his senior year and also garnered all-area honors as a football player that year. He had retired from the U.S. Air Force and served as a Lt. Colonel for the Air Force Reserve.


    We as a school district extend our condolences to Chase's wife, four children, friends, and his mother, the Rev. Lynnda White.



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  • Peoria Public Schools Online Academy offers more choices

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 12/7/2018 2:00:00 PM

    Peoria Public Schools Online Academy, offering virtual learning coursework, will launch in January 2019. Through Online Academy, Peoria Public School middle and secondary coursework will be available online to current Peoria Public School students and to home-schooled students, students enrolled in parochial or private schools and even to students residing outside the district’s geographical boundaries.


    Students enrolling in Online Academy will receive Peoria Public School credits for completing online courses, just as students enrolled in traditional classes. Virtual learning experiences offer exciting opportunities to students in a variety of circumstances. For example:

    • Students can work at their own pace. A class that might traditionally require a full academic year to complete could be completed more quickly.
    • Students can take extra electives that may not fit into their class schedules.
    • By completing coursework online, students can pursue internships, community service opportunities, travel opportunities, part-time employment or attend to family responsibilities.
    • Home-schooled students taking Peoria Public School online courses can earn a high school diploma which can be an advantage in college admissions and scholarships.
    • Middle-school students can use Peoria Public School online courses to get a head start earning high school credits including algebra or languages.

    Each Peoria Public Schools Online Academy class will be monitored by a certified teacher and students will be able to access one-on-one or group tutoring if necessary.


    Peoria Public School Online Academy does not conform to the school district academic calendar. Students can enroll and begin classes any month of the year.


    Details on Peoria Public Schools Online Academy are available at


    Dr. Susan Grzanich, innovation and grants officer, will hold information meetings for parents and students on Monday, December 10; Wednesday, December 12 and Tuesday, December 18 from 9 – 10 a.m., 1 – 2 p.m. and 5 – 6 p.m., and on Friday, January 4 from 9 – 10 a.m. and 1 – 2 p.m.


    To RSVP for the parent meeting or if you have questions, please call Dr. Grzanich at 309-672-6758 or email


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  • Custom-designed education: one size does not fit all

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 12/4/2018 9:00:00 PM

    Peoria Public Schools continues to change the high school experience in dramatic and exciting ways. Next year high school students will be able to pursue two new career pathways which will enable them to enter Illinois Central College or an Illinois state university with a semester’s worth of credits already earned, saving them time and tuition costs.


    The Computer Coding pathway includes 12 semester hours of dual-credit web development, HTML, cyber-security and advanced computer science courses. The classes will receive Illinois Central College credit, and these students will be well on their way to high-paying jobs in a profession expected to experience huge job growth in the next decade.


    Similarly, the Teacher Education Pathway, offers dual-credit courses including Intro to American Education, psychology, field experiences in education and Teaching Diverse Populations. Again, students completing these courses will enter college a semester ahead of many of their peers. Peoria Public School guidance counselors are identifying students interested in pursuing careers in education to guide them toward this outstanding opportunities and high school are forming after-school clubs for future educators.


    Soon we will launch Peoria Public Schools Online Academy which will allow middle and high school students to take online classes. This exciting development will serve the needs of so many young people:

    • Middle school students can get a head start on secondary math, science or language classes;
    • High school students can take extra electives, moving forward at their own pace;
    • Students with family responsibilities can complete graduation requirements in the evening and on weekends.

    While students will complete classwork online, they will have regular contact with course teachers and testing will be completed with a teacher supervising.


    Currently, a Manual Academy senior is attending Midstate College on a scholarship during the day and completing her high school Spanish and AP biology classes online. 


    This is just one example of how Peoria Public School career pathways and Online Academy will make custom-designed education a reality for all students.

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  • Giving thanks for all who support Peoria Public Schools

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 11/15/2018 5:00:00 PM

    November is a time when many of us pause to reflect and give thanks for the blessings we have in our lives.


    I am thankful that Peoria Public Schools had a great start to the 2018-2019 academic year, and I appreciate the hard work of the students, staff and administrators who made the start of our year so strong.


    I am thankful that we have such amazing support from our community. Our partners at Alignment Peoria are doing remarkable work, engaging business leaders and stepping up to ensure all of our students are exposed to a variety of potential future careers. The Peoria Public Schools Foundation continues to support teachers and classrooms with grants; provide student assistance through the Uniform Fund and scholarships; build school-community partnerships through the Adopt-A-School program; and educate students on possible future careers through Horizons.


    I am thankful for the many community partners who are part of the Wraparound Center. They are helping to connect our students and their families with vital resources, supports and services, strengthening our focus on educating the whole child.


    Most of all, I am thankful for our remarkable Peoria Public School students. They are at the center of everything we do, and I am grateful that we have the chance to support them every day.






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  • 5Essentials survey open for parents

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 11/6/2018 5:00:00 PM

    The annual 5Essentials survey is a diagnostic assessment of a school's culture and climate. It is designed to identify organizational strengths and areas of opportunity on the five essential factors that drive school improvement.


    The parent survey is open now and will remain open through Feb. 15, 2019. Parents can access the survey here:


    The survey solicits teacher, parent and student feedback on five essential factors: Effective Leaders, Collaborative Teachers, Involved Families, Supportive Environment and Ambitious Instruction.


    It is important to have a high level of participation in the 5Essentials Survey. Parents, teachers and students in grades 4 - 12 take separate components of the survey. The survey is available in English and Spanish and can be accessed on a smart phone. The 5Essentials for Parents takes only about 10 minutes to complete. Parents with more than one student can participate multiple times whether they have more than one student in the same school or students in more than one school. Only one parent per household may participate. In coming months, schools will make computer time available at school so parents can take the survey.


    I urge Peoria Public School parents to take the time to respond to the 5Essentials survey. Your responses will help Peoria Public Schools dig into data, formulate strategic actions and track improvement.


    Teachers and students will be able to complete their components of the 5Essentials survey Nov. 15, 2018 through Feb. 15, 2019.

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