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  • Parent forum on proposed schedule, transportation changes to be held December 14

    The process of meeting the financial goals of Peoria Public Schools strategic plan involves creative thinking and compromise. Sometimes, a budget-saving measure creates opportunities to enhance the school day for students and staff.

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  • Stay safe on the school bus this winter

    As we approach the shortest day of the year and the weather turns cold, it is important to review rules of school bus safety with your students.

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  • Winter weather, cold and flu season arrive

    This week, Central Illinois saw its first dose of colder temperatures and winter weather, and for some students and staff, cold and flu season quickly arrived with it. While student attendance is important for learning to occur, families are strongly encouraged to assess each child's health each morning and keep ill students home to help them quickly recover and return to the classroom. Students and staff are always encouraged to work throughout the school year, especially the winter, to keep our school environments clean and sanitized.

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  • 5Essentials Survey Now Available To Students, Staff and Parents

    5Essentials is an evidence-based system designed to drive improvement in schools nationwide—it reliably measures changes in a school organization through the 5Essentials Survey and provides individualized, actionable Reports for each school. The 5Essentials system is based on more than 20 years of research by the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research on five components found to be critical for school success: Effective Leaders, Collaborative Teachers, Involved Families, Supportive Environment, Ambitious Instruction. Take the survey!

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  • Join our Remarkable Team as a Guest Teacher

    Peoria Public Schools is seeking energetic, professional, responsible adults to serve as Guest Teachers at all grade levels from pre-K through high school.

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Superintendent's Blog

  • Saturday University includes STEM, comic art

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 12/8/2017 9:00:00 AM

    76 Peoria Public Schools 3rd and 6th grade students are enrolled in Saturday University. Saturday University meets from 9 a.m. to noon 20 Saturdays between October and April.


    This past weekend, the Saturday University students spent the morning at the Peoria Riverfront Museum learning about engineering careers including watching Dream Big Engineering Our World in the iMax theater. The film by filmmaker Greg MacGillivray explores the human ingenuity behind the world’s large and small engineering marvels and reveals what motivates engineers to create better lives for people. 


    Saturday University students at Riverfront Museum   SU student at Riverfront Museum


    Saturday University students visit Riverfront Museum


    When a field trip is not scheduled, students attending Saturday University spend the morning at Glen Oak Community Learning Center participating in a variety of small group activities, online learning activities and in one-on-one tutoring with PPS teachers and volunteers from Bradley University and Caterpillar Inc.  In this initial year of Saturday University, 3rd and 6th grade programs are offered with specific goals. Third-grade students are working on getting reading and math skills up to or surpassing grade level expectations.  Sixth-grade students are focused on building math skills so that they will be ready to tackle first-year algebra in 8th grade. The long-term goal is to add programs for additional grades each year.  Saturday University projects engage students in problem-solving activities and the online components are accessible to students at home as well. 


    Saturday University volunteers work with students one-on-one and in small groups. Having access to professionals from the community is so valuable to students. Guest speakers, including engineers and artists, bring real-world perspectives to Saturday University students.


    Comics and cartooning are a staple for Saturday mornings and Saturday University is no exception. The Saturday University curriculum includes a software program called Comic Life. This innovative program uses children’s natural attraction to comics and graphic novels to strengthen reading and writing skills, enhance lessons across the curriculum, both as a collaborative activity or as an individual project. Comic Life can be used to reinforce lessons in history when students investigate and can visualize dress, architecture, culture and everyday life of historic eras. Similarly, the combination of images and text makes the program a useful tool for science research projects.


    Along with the Comic Life software, Peoria artist J.M. Hunter will work with Saturday University students to create their own comics about academic subjects and career goals.

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  • Achieving a balanced budget

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 12/1/2017 7:00:00 AM

    The process of meeting the financial goals of Peoria Public Schools strategic plan involves creative thinking and compromise. Sometimes, a budget-saving measure creates opportunities to enhance the school day for students and staff. 


    Presentations by the District’s Professional Learning Community (PLC) sub-committee and Transportation Department to the Board of Education and to the PTO Council, demonstrate various measures District administrators are exploring to achieve a balanced budget. 


    One recommendation under consideration re-envisions PLC time for high schools in the core areas of language arts, math, social studies and science.  Currently PLC time occurs daily during the school day.  Under consideration is converting to a before school PLC model three times per week for these core content areas.  To facilitate a 45-minute professional development time for high school teachers in core subjects, all schools – elementary, middle and high schools – would delay starting time by 30 minutes. However, the school day would remain the same length for students.  Such a change, in turn, would align with research and recommendations, including by pediatricians, advocating a later school starting time for teens.  According to the PLC sub-committee, this change could save Peoria Public Schools approximately $500,000 annually. 


    Current School Times

    Proposed School Times

    Tier 1 (most middle and high schools): 7:30 – 2:30

    Tier 1 (most middle and high schools): 8:00 – 3:00

    Tier 2 (most primary schools and K-8): 8:30 – 3:30

    Tier 2 (most primary schools and K-8): 9:00 – 4:00


    The PLC sub-committee, including central administrators, principals and a teacher’s union representative, is now seeking feedback from staff regarding before-school PLC time and from the public regarding delayed start and end times.


    Transportation costs have also been a key focus as my team works to balance the budget. This year, our Transportation Department under the leadership of Josh Collins, has implemented a variety of cost-saving measures including:


    • Using the most fuel-efficient buses for the longest bus routes;
    • Use bulk pricing when purchasing high usage parts;
    • Reducing engine-idling time;
    • Reducing daily bus mileage by 11 percent;
    • Consolidating bus stops and establishing pick-up zones for middle- and high-school routes.

    Moving forward, a Transportation Efficiencies Improvement Committee composed of key staff, parents and Board of Education members will explore district and school demographics and school boundary areas to develop a community accepted plan that will help balance the Transportation and Education Funds by the 2018-2019 school year.  This sub-committee will consider a number of topics to reduce transportation costs by approximately $1 million.  The sub-committee anticipates presenting recommendations by hosting public forums for community input in late January. Dates and times will be made available on the District website in mid to late December.


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  • What's in a school meal?

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat, Superintendent on 11/17/2017 8:15:00 AM

    meal 1

    Our Superintendent's Cabinet meets weekly to review opportunities for improvement and share the great things happening in our district. Recently, our Food Service Department spent some time with us to review what's in a meal for our students and how meals are menued.


    Some of the things we reviewed is that each day, multiple meal options are available for students with five components available. While a fruit or vegetable are required along with two other components, students are encouraged to take all five, which always include 1 grain, 1 vegetable, 1 fruit, 1 milk, and 1 meat or meat alternative.


    The Federal Government highly regulates the way food is served, along with the nutrition content with the expectation that students are served highly nutritious meals. For example, while it may seem breakfast consists of a lot of sugary items such as muffins, pop-tarts and other items, those items are only on the menu because they are unlike any store bought items. They are specially meal2 ordered as multi-grain items. A breakfast entrée typically averages about 12 grams of sugars, the same amount you would find in an apple. Similarly, canned fruits are packed in fruit juice or water, never in any type of syrup.


    I would encourage anyone with questions about breakfast and lunch servings for students to contact our food service provider’s General Manager, Mark Streamer at

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  • PPS families struggle, especially during the holiday

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 11/16/2017 4:00:00 PM

    This week we will distribute 80 food baskets to Peoria Public School families. Here are some of the descriptions PPS principals sent describing the conditions for some of their families:


    “Family members in extended care hospital.  Great Aunt is taking care of student and siblings. Low-income and unable to provide food for dinner. Unable to pay for field trips. The school and child’s teacher provided school supplies and replacement supplies.”


    “This student informed staff that he does not have running water and that his family struggles. He often comes to school in dirty clothes. His family would benefit from a basket.”


    “Her mother has had a loss of income. They have needed help with water and electric bills. The student has a medical condition.”


    “These students come to school stating they are hungry. They take lots of food out of our Little Free Pantry located outside our school.”


    “There are four children in this family with a single parent. The third grade child asks his teacher for food to take home to the family. This family can use all the help we can give!”

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  • Celebrating the holidays and practicing gratitude

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat, Superintendent on 11/16/2017 10:00:00 AM

    As reported last week in Peoria Public Schools District Report Card, 72.7 percent of our students live in poverty.  About four percent, or about 530 students, are homeless.  Our student mobility rate is 19 percent, meaning about one-fifth of students will end the school year at a different school than they began. High mobility rates are frequently a byproduct of poverty, as are family trauma and domestic upheaval. Celebrating the holidays and practicing gratitude is not always easy in these circumstances. 


    That is why I am so proud and so grateful for the giving nature of Peoria Public Schools staff, students and families.  This week students from Manual Academy, Peoria High School and Von Steuben Middle School formed a well-coordinated assembly line and packed 80 boxes containing the ingredients for a complete Thanksgiving dinner – a turkey, dressing mix, corn bread mix, cranberry sauce, vegetables, dessert and more.  The boxes had been decorated by the Manual Academy and Peoria High School Life Skills students.  The bulk of the boxes will be delivered to families by members of our administrative staff and school safety officers.  Others will be raffled off to parents at this week’s Parent University event. 


    This spirit of generosity is on display at Richwoods High School, as the school community has come together to support the family of senior Anthony Weldy.  As many have read in the Journal Star, Anthony not only balances the academic demands of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program and football, he has taken on the role of head of the household, including managing housework and caring for his younger sister, while his mother, Shay Weldy, recovers from a heart transplant. Knowing the challenges Anthony faces, the RHS community has adopted the family for both the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. 


    At the October 20 football game, Knights fans donated $221 for the Weldy family. On Halloween, RHS students could pay $1 to dress in costume, with the proceeds going to help the Weldy family.  In just one day, students donated $752.88. The RHS community has signed up to supply a complete Thanksgiving feast and is now signing up to give Christmas gifts and dinner, as well as to supply everyday needs like money for gas and groceries.  Total cash donations for the Weldy family has grown to $3,173.88 which will be presented to Anthony and his mother this Friday.  People have donated clothing, household needs and much more.


    Those are examples of two short-term projects to help some PPS families.  Concurrently, we must try to devise long-term comprehensive solutions for our families and our students.  In early November, 58 Peoria professionals representing 21 agencies and organizations met at the PPS Administrative Building to discuss the creation of a Student, Family and Community Support Center. We envision a one-stop shop for families in need.  So many of our children face extreme challenges on a daily basis and from a very early age, that academic success may seem nearly unattainable.  By providing students and the adults in their lives support and services to overcome obstacles such as mental health, substance abuse, domestic and neighborhood violence, and debilitating poverty, we can help them make new and better lives.  I was gratified with the response we received during the two-day workshop.  I believe it is one more step toward stronger schools and a stronger, more vibrant community. 


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  • Sex Ed. Curriculum reviewed with BOE

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat, Superintendent on 11/13/2017 10:00:00 AM

    The purpose of sexual health education courses is to promote a comprehensive understanding of the emotional, mental, physical and social responsibilities of sexual health. The district's sex ed. curriculum was reviewed with the Board of Education on Monday night.


    Peoria Public Schools, in close collaboration with community partners, provides sexual health education curriculum in grades 5 – 9.  Our community partners are: Peoria City/County Health Department, Hult Center for Healthy Living and the Center for Prevention of Abuse.


    The curriculum is Family Life and Sexual Health (FLASH). Letters were mailed to all parents of 5-9 grade students at Peoria Public Schools at the start of the school year outlining what to expect as their students participate in the curriculum as well as how to opt-out of the curriculum.


    Illinois State Law states that all sex education instruction is to be age-appropriate, evidence-based, and medically accurate. The National Sexual Health Education Standards were followed in the development of the FLASH curriculum to confirm age-appropriate content. For grade 5 FLASH presents the normal physical, social and emotional changes that occur during puberty.  For grades 6-9, the program includes the prevention of HIV/AIDS, among other topics.


    No student is required to participate in any class on the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV/AIDS; sexually transmitted infections; family life instruction; sex education; preventing sexual abuse programs, if the student’s parent (s)/guardian (s) submit a written objection to the student’s participation in the curriculum.


    Click here for more information on the FLASH curriculum.

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  • Come to high school curriculum fairs next week

    Posted by Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 11/3/2017 3:00:00 PM

    Next week we begin the registration process for the 2018-2019 school year. 


    The Peoria Public Schools High School Curriculum Fairs for the 2018-2019 year will be held:


    • Richwoods High School on Tuesday, November 7, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
    • Manual Academy on Wednesday, November 8, 5:30 – 7 p.m.
    • Peoria High School on Thursday, November 9, 5:30 – 7 p.m.



    The High School Curriculum Fairs are for students in grades 8 – 11 and their parents to plan and register for next year’s classes. You can learn more about the course registration process by visiting



    It is important to speak with your student’s counselor and choose the correct classes for your career pathway.  Each student has received a curriculum guide this week.  Please take the time to review it and talk to your student about their dreams for the future and their options.



    There are several exciting high school curriculum options for next year: First, the AppsCo program will be expanded to Peoria High School and Manual Academy and the course will be implemented during the school day at all three schools.  Three levels of this entrepreneurship, marketing and business management class will be offered, the first – AppsCo I - aimed at next year’s sophomores, AppsCo II will be added in 2019/2020 and AppsCo III added in 2020/2021, all giving students real world experience.



    Second, is the introduction of Teacher Education and Early Childhood Educator pathways.



    Also at the upcoming fairs, students and parents can learn about Equal Opportunity Schools, Early College or dual credit, and AP classes, as well as the expanding programs at the Woodruff Career and Technical Center.


    We look forward to seeing you next week!

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  • Lincoln K-8 girls complete after-school etiquette class

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 10/25/2017 9:20:00 AM

    A group of 6th, 7th and 8th grade girls recently completed an After-School Etiquette program, conducted by Cindy Winkler owner of Winkler and her husband, owners of Peoria Charter Coach, are long-time supporters of PPS Adopt-A-School, working with Glen Oak Community Learning Center.


    When she launched her own business,, PPS Foundation president Cindy Morris approached her to pilot a four-week after-school etiquette program at Lincoln K-8. 


    The classes covered a wide range of behaviors including:

    • projecting confidence through body language and posture;
    • how to greet people with a firm handshake, smile and eye contact;
    • how to introduce people;
    • how to walk, sit and enter and exit a car in a dress and heels;
    • public speaking;
    • proper table manners and how to set a table;
    • how to write thank-you notes;
    • social media and cell phone manners.

    Next semester, Winkler plans to offer a similar class to Lincoln K-8 boys. Morris hopes to expand the program to other schools in the future.  


    Take a look at this video from the girls' graduation ceremony.  



    Lincoln K-8 Etiquette Program
    Lincoln K-8 Etiquette Program

    A group of Lincoln K-8 6th, 7th and 8th grade girls recently completed a four-week after-school etiquette program.

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  • STEM Saturday programs attract over 100 PPS middle school students

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 10/20/2017 12:00:00 PM

    More than 100 Peoria Public School 6th, 7th and 8th grade students took advantage of two wonderful opportunities last weekend to explore STEM career fields. 



    The first event, with 97 Peoria Public School students attending was hosted by Bradley University, Peoria Public Schools and the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP).  Students gathered at Bradley’s Westlake Hall to explore topics such as chemistry, environmental engineering, physics, civil engineering, water filtration and more.  Calvin Coolidge Middle School, Glen Oak Community Learning Center, Lincoln K-8 , Lindbergh Middle School, Manual Academy, Mark Bills Middle School, Rolling Acres Middle School, Sterling Middle School, Von Steuben Middle School and Washington Gifted Middle School were represented with student participants at the event.  Students from Manual Academy and Richwoods High School served as volunteer student leaders for the program.



    Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) is a nonprofit organization with 40 years of experience partnering with universities, training programs, and K-12 school systems in order to connect youth to STEM educational experiences.


    bridge building STEM saturday

    Meanwhile, nine Roosevelt Magnet School 6th – 8th grade students attended an Introduction to Healthcare Engineering Saturday class at the Jump Trading Simulation Center.  Students used 3D printing and molding to create silicone replicas of organs and body parts, including their own thumbs; learned about circuitry and coding, performed chemistry experiments and collaborated with students from other schools in bridge-building activities. 


    Roosevelt students at Jump

    Jump Trading Simulation Center will offer Saturday STEM classes for middle and high school students again beginning in January.  Classes will focus on mini-med-school, biochemical engineering, electronics in medicine and emergency skills.  

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  • Principal For a Day

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 10/18/2017 2:00:00 PM




     I love my community

    I love my district

    I love all of my students and their families

    I love my staff

    I love all of Peoria Public Schools’ Supporters.


    Thank You.




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