Peoria Public Schools

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District News

  • Peoria Public Schools Board Member Dr. Bob Davison-Aviles Submits Resignation

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  • Online registration for 2019-2020 now open!

    www.peoriapublicschools.org/enrollment

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  • Don't delay! Make appointments for immunizations and check-ups

    Peoria Public Schools requires all students to be in full compliance with health, dental and eye exams and immunizations on the first day of school, Wednesday, August 14.

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  • Scouts give Whittier Outdoor Classroom an upgrade

    A group of Whittier alum, all members of West Peoria Scout Troop 11, spent today giving back to their primary school. The Whittier Primary School outdoor classroom, located across the street from the school, is being upgraded as Richwoods High School senior Alex O’Shaughnessy’s Eagle Scout project. Today the students, many of whom now attend Richwoods High School and Manual Academy, weeded and cleaned existing beds, planted a new butterfly garden, installed planter boxes, a weather station and picnic tables.

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  • Over 1,000 students register for summer school

    Over 1,000 Peoria Public School students are registered to participate in summer school this year. Programs are being held at 17 schools and offsite locations. Many schools are offering instruction to bolster students’ reading and math skills. At the June 10 Board of Education meeting Associate Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Sandra Wilson presented a summary of summer school programming for the district.

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  • Free summer meals for kids

    Peoria Public School's partner Sodexo is providing free breakfast and lunch for children under 18 at a number of locations throughout the city. Some meal sites are open to all children and some are open only to children registered for the site programming. All PPS summer school sites provide breakfast and lunch for students attending summer school.

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  • PNC First Grant applications available for teachers

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Superintendent's Blog

  • Recent Peoria High School graduate honored

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 7/18/2019 7:00:00 PM

    This week I wish to recognize a very special young man who just graduated from Peoria High School. Andrew Conton was recently named the 2019 Mentee of the Year by 100 Black Men of America, Inc.

     

    In honoring Conton, his mentor, Aaron Kilgore described him as a leader with a vision of the future and what he wants it to be.

     

    Conton graduated in May from Peoria High School with a 3.8 GPA while participating in a variety of extracurricular activities including the Peoria High School band and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) student chapter. He has been recognized by the National Urban League Tomorrow’s Scientists, Technicians and Managers and is a member of State Senator Chuck Weaver’s Youth Advisory Committee.

     

    Conton, a saxophone player, also has won awards and accolades for his musical talents. He has been recognized by the Illinois Music Educators Association and was chosen to perform with the Bradley University Honor Band and the Eastern Illinois University Honor Band.  Peoria High School band director Maura Shepherd says Conton is one of the kindest, most respectful, motivated students she teaches.

     

    In 2018 Conton was part of a Peoria team (with Richwoods High School students Cory Hightower and Roderick Bland) which won 2nd place nationally in the NSBE Technical Innovation competition. I was not surprised to learn that their winning project, a water purification system, has the potential to bring life-altering solutions to a problem plaguing communities worldwide. 

     

    In August, Conton will begin studying music business at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina. I am looking forward to watching this amazing Peoria Public School student continue to personify the mission of our District: prepared and inspired to contribute to the world.

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  • Get back to school healthy and first day compliant for the 2019-2020 school year

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 6/12/2019 12:00:00 PM

    Even though it seems as if the summer has just begun, it’s not too early to start thinking about the first day of the upcoming school year – especially when it comes to being up to date on physicals and immunizations.

     

    In Peoria Public Schools, all students must be first day compliant. That means every student must be up to date on all on all medical, dental and vision exam requirements as well as all immunizations on the first day of school, which is Wednesday, August 14.

     

    A full list of requirements broken down by grade level can be found on the home page of the district website at www.peoriapublicschools.org.

     

    If you have not already, please schedule an appointment with your physician as soon as you can. The summer months are a busy time in doctor’s offices and appointment availability is always at a premium.

     

    We also offer other alternatives for our families to get their students first day compliant. Our UnityPoint Health Clinic in Trewyn School is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Wednesday, from June 3 to June 27. Please call ahead at 671-0550 to schedule an appointment.

     

    Heartland Health Services will also have walk-in hours for school physicals and vaccinations from July 22 to August 30 at their two clinic locations – on the East Bluff at 2321 N. Wisconsin Ave. and in South Peoria at 1701 W. Garden St. Call 680-7600 for more information.

     

    Finally, our registration hubs at Harrison Community Learning Center and Peoria High School in July and August will offer a variety of ways to get first day compliant in addition to helpful representatives to guide you through the process. The hub days this year will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on July 25 and August 7 and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on August 10. Backpack Peoria will also offer resources on physicals and immunizations from 9 a.m. to noon on July 27 at DreamCenter Peoria.

     

    We are grateful to our families for promoting the health of every student in our district in order to ensure that learning happens on day one of the 2019-2020 school year.

     

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  • 2019 Mayor's Youth Program offers summer internships for 22 high school students

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 6/5/2019 12:00:00 PM

    It’s officially summer, and for many of our high school students that means securing a summer job.

     

    Starting this week, 22 Peoria Public Schools high school students will begin a summer program that will expose them to new career pathways and employers in Peoria, allow them to develop relationships with their peers across the city, and provide civic improvements throughout the community – all while receiving a paycheck.

     

    The 2019 Mayor’s Youth Program began with a press conference and opening event on Monday, gathering together high school students from Richwoods, Manual and Peoria High to kick off their eight-week summer internship program with the City of Peoria. Mayor Jim Ardis introduced himself to the group of students and gave them a preview of how their summer would unfold over the next two months.

     

    Students will work six hour shifts from Monday through Friday. Four of those work days will be devoted toward the beautification of different parts of the City, where the students will work together in teams completing a number of projects.

     

    The fifth day of each week will give the students a chance to explore different career opportunities through tours of different Peoria employers and educational sessions with representatives from Peoria businesses. Those tours will include visiting Caterpillar, the Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center at OSF, Bradley University and many more.

     

    This program represents a tremendous opportunity for students to experience learning outside of the traditional classroom setting and to receive a first-hand look at careers. The program aligns with Peoria Public Schools’ efforts to ensure that all students are able to pursue their passions and interests.

     

    The Peoria Public Schools Board of Education will hear from these students and their experiences at a future board meeting once the internship is complete. We can’t wait to find out more about the remarkable things they will accomplish this summer!

     

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  • Class of 2019: prepared and inspired to contribute

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 5/31/2019 12:00:00 PM

    Congratulations to the over 700 students who graduated from Manual Academy, Peoria High School and Richwoods High School on May 18.

     

    The graduates from our three high schools earned a combined $9.2 million in college scholarships and grants!  I am impressed with our students’ hard work and dedication in achieving this impressive feat. I am also grateful for our teachers, guidance counselors, administrators, and of course parents, for helping them every step of the way.

     

    As I listened to salutatorian and valedictorian speeches last Saturday, I was also impressed by the wise words of these young people.

     

    • Both Manual Academy valedictorian Tyra Johnson and Richwoods High School valedictorian Lawrence Lin spoke of the importance of taking chances. Johnson expressed gratitude for learning to “Be comfortable with being uncomfortable because that is what it takes to be your best self.”

    • Similarly, Lin credited Wayne Gretsky’s famous quote -- “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.” -- for convincing him to move beyond his comfort zone. “The fear of failure held me back,” Lin told the crowd gathered at Bradley University’s Renaissance Coliseum. “Now I’d rather take a leap of faith and fail because every chance becomes a lesson.”

    • Johnson and Manual Academy salutatorian Trinity Smith spoke of the need to defy others’ expectations of Manual Academy and Peoria’s south side. Smith, her mortar board decorated with the University of Illinois logo, urged classmates, “Let’s be the ones to break the negative stereotype about Manual Academy and the south side of Peoria.” Johnson echoed her sentiments, “I believe Manual is the best school in District 150. The amount of time, dedication, passion and pride I see throughout the building is truly amazing.”

    • Students also spoke of the importance of accepting themselves and others, despite differences. Richwoods valedictorian Razan Naffakh, spoke of growing up in Peoria as an “Arab-Syrian-Muslim girl.” She spoke of the Richwoods community’s diversity and the overwhelming respect and support of her friends, peers, teachers and faculty. “My labels should never restrict me but should empower me,” she said. Peoria High School valedictorian Olivia Streeter expressed a similar thought, “Our differences make us who we are, and we cannot compare ourselves to one another.”

     

    The Peoria Public Schools vision is to graduate each student prepared and inspired to contribute to the world.  I am confident that the class of 2019 is well on its way to making that vision a reality. 

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  • Little Free Libraries at 14 Peoria Public Schools

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 5/22/2019 9:00:00 PM

    The “Read Peoria” initiative started by Align Peoria, Peoria Public Schools and the Peoria Public Schools Foundation is proud to announce the unveiling of Little Free Libraries at our district’s 13 primary schools, plus the Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Education Center, on May 17.

     

    This effort supports the ultimate goal of Read Peoria – ensuring that all students are reading at grade level by third grade. Third grade marks a crucial inflection point in a young child’s academic career, when coursework shifts from learning to read to reading to learn.

     

     An effective – and simple – way to accomplish this goal is for parents and family members to read to their young student 20 minutes a day. Those 20 minutes a day translate to a child being exposed to 1.8 million words per year. Furthermore, 96% of all children who read on grade level by third grade will graduate on time.

     

    We implore the whole Peoria community to participate in this Read Peoria campaign, whether it is donating books to our Little Free Libraries, or advocating to every young child in your life to read 20 minutes a day. This effort is a major step in preparing our kids for a productive and successful adult life.

     

    Check out the new Little Free Libraries, designed and built by our Woodruff construction students, at these schools along with each library's donor:

    • Hines Primary - The Book Rack
    • Lincoln K-8 - Dr. Kherat's Superintendent Cabinet
    • Whittier Primary - Moss-Bradley Residential Association
    • Charter Oak Primary - Dr. Thom Simpson
    • Glen Oak Community Learning Center - CEFCU
    • Franklin Primary - Shaun and Reggie Livingston
    • Trewyn School - Melvin Burch Bynum
    • Harrison Community Learning Center - Dr. Kherat
    • Kellar Primary - “Lunch Bunch”: Cindy Morris, Trish O’Shaughnessy, Cheryl Sanfilip, Cathy Wiggers, Jeanne Williamson
    • Northmoor Primary - Jayme and Jeff Bailey
    • Roosevelt Magnet School - The Rotary Club of North Peoria
    • Thomas Jefferson Primary - Bill and Amanda Campbell, Sally Snyder
    • Dr. Maude A. Sanders Primary - Relevant Church
    • Valeska Hinton Early Education Center - PNC

     

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  • Thank you Peoria Public School staff members

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 5/9/2019 8:00:00 AM

    This week Peoria Public Schools observed Staff Appreciation Week to coincide with Teacher Appreciation Week, which is observed the first full week in May throughout the country, and School Nurse Appreciation Day, observed annually the Wednesday prior to May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday.

     

    As adults, we look back at our own childhood and can identify teachers who had a positive effect on our life – perhaps inspiring us to pursue a professional direction or helping us face challenges and setbacks with determination and patience. Frequently we remember other adults – a school secretary, custodian, athletic coach or guidance counselor – who served as a role model, gave encouragement, lent a listening ear or simply made us laugh.

     

    Peoria Public Schools employ just over 2,800 people including part-time staff and substitutes. Just over one-third of staff members are full-time teachers. Each and every one contributes to the success of our students.

    • Our students learn in buildings and ride school buses that are clean and in safe working condition.
    • Our staff, students and parents use technology chosen, installed and maintained by outstanding information technology experts.
    • Last week, a group of PPS administrators enjoyed a presentation by Sodexo food service general manager Mark Streamer and assistant director of food service and warehouse operations Gabriele Klein on improvements and menu choices for students’ breakfasts, lunches and after-school meals. Sodexo staff at every level know their work keeps our students, many of whom come from food-insecure homes, healthy.
    • One-on-one guidance provided by speech and language, occupational, physical, art and music therapists and therapy assistants, school social workers, guidance counselors and school psychologists contribute to the success of hundreds of PPS students.
    • Finally, with over 13,000 students and over 30 buildings, dozens of support staff keep the district operating smoothly every day.

     

    Undoubtedly, most PPS staff members would find success in the private sector but choose to pursue their career in the service of our city’s children. Please join me, my administrative team and the Board of Education in thanking them for their contribution.   

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  • Customized learning gives student space to explore passions; ignite creativity

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 5/6/2019 9:00:00 PM

    Note: This letter was written for the Superintendent’s annual State of the Schools address this week.

     

    I sense the urgency that is needed to re-imagine Peoria Public Schools as our world continues to experience significant and rapid change. I agree with the 1,500 executives who reported that creativity is the most important leadership skill.

     

    We are being tasked with preparing our students for a future that will transform in ways we can’t fully predict right now. For our students to succeed in this modern era of innovation, we need to give students the space to pursue their passions and interests, which will unlock a customized learning plan for each student that will heighten engagement, ignite curiosity and accentuate each student’s true talents.

     

    Instead of the same report card template that has existed for decades, I envision students being assessed on their progress on the 21st century skills:

    • Complex problem solving
    • Critical thinking
    • Collaboration
    • Communication
    • Creativity

     

    Forty percent of our schools will be fully one-to-one at the start of the 2019-2020 school year, which means that every student in those buildings will be able to work on a laptop device – a significant number for a district of our size. With this technology in our classrooms, students will be able to harness their personalized learning in a way that reflects our modern world.

     

    A key building block in preparing our students to be career ready will involve our new approach to teaching reading. The approach is called balanced literacy instruction, which includes reading, writing, speaking and listening through the lens of student engagement and instructional support. The goal for this new literacy blueprint calls for every student to be reading at or above grade level by third grade.

     

    Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Education Center currently has two Two-Way DualLanguage classes. Students are learning English and Spanish in content areas to promote biliteracy. The classes contain native English and native Spanish speakers. We will expand the dual-language program for kindergarteners at Whittier Primary School next year.

     

    Finally, we ask that you review the Career Development handout at your seat. Review the options and fill out the form to let us know what type of career experiences you can provide to our remarkable students.

     

    Thank you for the tremendous and ongoing support of Peoria Public Schools.

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  • Learning in many languages

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 4/29/2019 12:00:00 PM

    In September 2018, the Board of Education awarded the Remarkable Spirit award to Rolling Acres Middle School science teacher Lacy Haefli.  When a new student arrived from Yemen speaking only Arabic, Haefli found an online translation program to translate her assignments and content so her student could succeed despite the language barrier.

     

    Of the 13,222 Peoria Public School students, about 780 are English Language Learners (ELL).  

     

    Our students come to us speaking 35 native languages other than English. Eighty-two percent of Peoria Public School ELL students are Spanish-speaking. The most common languages after Spanish are Arabic, French, Vietnamese, Pilipino, Cantonese, Mandarin and Gujarati.

     

    More and more educators must meet the needs of ELL students, not only helping them linguistically to become proficient readers, writers and speakers of English, but helping them learn across all content areas.

     

    Many Peoria Public School teachers and teacher aides are trained in The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) model. According to the Center of Applied Linguistics (CAL), SIOP is a research-based and validated instructional model designed to meet the academic needs of English-learning students.

     

    The SIOP model consists of eight interrelated components:

    • Lesson Preparation
    • Building Background
    • Comprehensible Input
    • Strategies
    • Interaction
    • Practice/Application
    • Lesson Delivery
    • Review & Assessment

     

    This year, Peoria Public Schools launched three dual-language immersion pre-kindergarten classrooms at Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Education Center. Pre-school is an ideal age to learn a second language. According to PPS ELL coordinator Anna Rose, students who learn a second language show cognitive advantages including increased retention. Students who are bilingual, bicultural and biliterate develop increased cultural awareness and sensitivity. As adults, being bilingual is a professional advantage and, according to some studies, can even provide a buffer from cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. We are excited to expand the dual-language program for kindergartners at Whittier Primary School next year.

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  • RHS principal Brett Elliott honored by IJEA

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 4/12/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Congratulations Richwoods High School Principal Brett Elliott on being named Illinois Journalism Education Association (IJEA) Administrator of the Year.

     

    The award was announced by Richwoods students in the broadcasting program, the Excalibur yearbook staff, The Shield newspaper staff and Richwoods media advisor Dr. Dan Kerns.

     

    Since 1995, the IJEA has honored administrators who:

    • demonstrate commitment to scholastic journalism and a free press
    • recognize outstanding performance in student media
    • and cultivates and maintains positive working relations with student journalists and the adviser

     

    The IJEA Awards Committee noted that Elliott, “provides a nurturing environment for student growth, for all students, in all endeavors from academics, athletics, to extra-curricular activities. He allows the print and broadcast students the freedom, with responsibility, to be the best that they can be.”

     

    Elliott will receive his award in June at the Illinois Press Association headquarters in Springfield.

     

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  • Lindbergh principal Sue Malahy awarded Golden Apple

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 4/8/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Congratulations to Charles A. Lindbergh Middle School Principal Sue Malahy, who was awarded the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership last week in a surprise ceremony at the school. In her six years as principal at Lindbergh, Malahy has worked to create an ecosystem of support between teachers, allowing educators experienced in working with challenging students to guide and mentor peers with less experience.

     

    This mentorship and support model also enriches teaching practices throughout the school. Malahy recruited leaders in each content area, creating vertical teams which use peer observation and regular discussions to understand and implement best practices. She is a proponent of using data to see how Lindbergh students perform compared to their peers nationally. As a result, teachers make data-supported decisions for students. Two years ago, Malahy introduced Leader in Me, a program based on Stephen Covey’s Seven Habit of Highly Effective People, which helps school staff build leadership qualities so they, in turn, can help students develop the same skills.

     

    Malahy’s use of comparative date also helps students develop a more comprehensive awareness of their academic progress. This is just one of many ways Lindbergh students, under Malahy’s leadership, take ownership of their learning.  A portfolio system, student-led parent-teacher conferences and the Leader in Me program help students become proactive participants in their education. As a result, they can take advantage of before-school Spanish and high school Enriched Algebra and online courses for remediation and enrichment.

     

    Golden Apple is a leading Illinois nonprofit committed to recognizing exemplary educators and developing future educators. This was the first year that school leaders from all of Illinois were eligible for nomination. Leadership award nomination increased by 42 percent and were received from 28 Illinois counties. 

     

    Peoria Public Schools is fortunate to have dedicated and passionate educators like Sue Malahy.

     

     

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