Peoria Public Schools

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District News

  • 5Essentials survey opens for teachers, students Tuesday, December 11

    The 5Essentials survey for students and teachers will be available Tuesday, December 11. The teacher, student and parent surveys will remain open until February 15, 2019 and are accessible at 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.

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  • Peoria Public Schools introduces Online Academy

    Parent information meetings for Peoria Public School Online Academy will be held December 10, December 12, December 18 and January 4. 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.

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  • Southside Mission supervisor Gibson receives Community Contribution Award

    Each week over 70 Peoria students, many from Roosevelt Magnet School, Trewyn School and Harrison Community Learning Center, gather after school at Southside Mission for tutoring and recreational activities. The program is coordinated by Gigi Gibson, children and youth ministry supervisor and this week's recipient of the Community Contribution Award. The Children and Youth Ministry program includes winter basketball and other sports for students ages 6 to 18, a youth orchestra and a summer day camp. Gibson's team also tutors students both in the after school program and during in-school visits.

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  • Holiday concert season begins

    Peoria Public Schools will be bursting with song during December with winter choral, band and orchestra concerts; community choir tours and Madrigal Dinners. On Thursday, December 6, the Manual Academy Choir, directed by Ann Guthrie, will spread holiday cheer to three senior care facilities and to the staff at Peoria Public School Administration Building. The choir will perform for residents at Southside Manor Apartments, Courtyard Estates and Sharon Woods Care Center. The Peoria High School Preparatory School for the Arts (PSA) Orchestra, directed by Jason Warner, will take their music to the community with performances on December 11 at Friendship House, The Dream Center. Children's Home and Crittenton Center.

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  • Severe weather reminders

    The Peoria Public Schools strives to keep schools open for students during the year. In times of inclement weather – primarily snow, ice or extreme cold – the decision to open or close the schools is based on current and anticipated weather and road conditions that will affect families during school hours.

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  • OT team receives Remarkable Spirit Award

    This week a team won the Remarkable Spirit Award for the first time. Occupational Therapist Danielle Walker, and Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants Molly Reeser and Brooke Riley comprise The Self-Regulation Team from Dr. Maude A. Sanders Primary School.

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  • Wraparound Center celebrates ribbon-cutting

    On Wednesday, October 24, Peoria Public Schools and its community partners celebrated the Wraparound Center with a ribbon cutting ceremony and tours of the center.

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Superintendent's Blog

  • 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 Jan. 18, 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 Jan. 18, 2019.

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  • Helping students imagine their futures

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

    Alignment Peoria’s K-5 Career Awareness Framework is bringing new career ideas to Peoria Public Schools’ youngest students. The kids are learning about different fields and possible career paths, sparking their imaginations and allowing them to dream about who they could become.


    The framework highlights specific industries to students at each grade level. The students will take field trips and hear from classroom speakers whose careers match the identified industries. Semester one and semester two will feature different industries:

    • Kindergarten – Emergency Services and Agriculture
    • 1st grade – Entrepreneur/Business and Media/Communications
    • 2nd grade – Health/Fitness and Natural Resources
    • 3rd grade – Government and Information Technology
    • 4th grade – Manufacturing and Medical
    • 5th grade – Engineering and Education/Training


    Many partners have stepped up to help make the Career Awareness Framework a reality. Speakers and field trips will be provided by:

    • Kindergarten – Advanced Medical Transport
    • 1st grade – WTVP
    • 2nd grade – Peoria Park District
    • 3rd grade – City Hall
    • 4th grade – Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center
    • 5th grade – Jump Trading and Simulation Center


    The Alignment Peoria work continues to bring together a remarkable collaboration of businesses, community partners and volunteers. To learn more or get involved, visit

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  • Attendance Counts!

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 10/15/2018 9:00:00 AM

    Research has shown that good attendance is vital to students’ learning. Increased attendance means increased success at school, increased graduation rates and even increased revenue for the school district. In fact, state funding is based in part on a school district’s average daily attendance for its best three months of attendance, generally the first three months of the year.


    For those reasons and more, each of our Peoria Public Schools works hard to promote good attendance. This school year has started off strong with 15 of our 27 schools achieving 95 percent attendance in August and September. That is outstanding! Those schools are: Charter Oak Primary School, Dr. Maude A. Sanders Primary School, Harrison Community Learning Center, Hines Primary School, Kellar Primary School, Lindbergh Middle School, Mark Bills Middle School, Northmoor Primary School, Richwoods High School, Rolling Acres Middle School, Roosevelt Magnet School, Thomas Jefferson Primary School, Von Steuben Middle School, Washington Gifted Middle School and Whittier Primary School.


    Of course, we’re always looking to improve. That’s why we also celebrated the three schools with the top most improved attendance over September 2017 at the October 8 Board of Education meeting. In third place was Von Steuben Middle School, improving attendance by 1.65 percent, from 93.58 percent in 2017 to 95.23 percent in 2018. Manual Academy placed second, improving attendance by 2.08 percent, going from 84.29 percent in 2017 to 86.37 percent in 2018. Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Education Center won the top most improved attendance spot, increasing attendance by 2.20 percent, from 90.55 percent in 2017 to 92.75 percent in 2018.


    Attendance counts. Every student. Every class. Every day.


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  • A note from Dr. Robert Prescott, Bradley University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 9/18/2018 6:00:00 PM

    Dear Dr. Kherat,


    On behalf of our Dean, Chris Jones, and all the LAS leadership team, I’d like to thank you for your participation in our panel discussion last Wednesday night.


    I have heard from many students, faculty, and staff in the last two days, all of whom expressed how grateful they were to be there.  The insights and the personal stories you shared confirmed the most important values that tie us together as a learning community, and they inspired us to return to our daily tasks with a renewed pride in what we do.


    I was especially glad that you shared your passion for finding new ways to offer effective education, including social and emotional education, to all the students of the district.  Likewise, you powerfully illuminated the power of study abroad to be transformative for a student, with lifelong impact.  And by sharing the nature of your friendship with Henry Vicary, and how that collegial friendship helps you both lift up the Peoria community, you demonstrated the importance of inter-disciplinary teamwork to leadership.


    All these things—commitment to community need, engaged learning, the ability to work in multi-disciplinary teams—all are vital elements in our strategic plan, and you vividly illustrated how an LAS graduate takes those experiences and values into the world to make a constructive difference.


    We knew that by bringing the three of you together, good things would happen.  Still, your discussion went beyond our hopes, and you encouraged everyone to recommit themselves to the mission and vision of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


    Thank you again for making time to be with us,

    Rob Prescott

    Dr. Robert Prescott

    Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Studies

    College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

    Bradley University

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  • Making a difference in the lives of students

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 9/18/2018 3:00:00 PM

    Every day, teachers have the chance to make an extraordinary difference in the lives of students. “Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world,” said Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Prize laureate.



    Peoria Public Schools is fortunate to have many remarkable teachers. They are on the frontlines of ensuring that our students are college ready, career ready and life ready. They are helping redefine what ready means, focusing on the whole child. They embody the spirit that Malala spoke of; they know that they can change the world.



    Now more than ever, we need strong teachers in our classrooms. Peoria Public Schools is looking for certified teachers, May graduates pending certification, teacher aides and substitute teachers. Anyone interested in joining the remarkable PPS team is invited to attend a special hiring event on September 27, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Administration Building, 3202 N. Wisconsin Ave., Peoria.



    To learn more about how you can join our team and make a difference in the lives of students, visit or call 309-672-6770.

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  • Get involved in school safety

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 9/18/2018 2:00:00 PM

    With school back in session for the new academic year, it’s a great time for students, parents and community members to refresh their memories about school safety resources and procedures. Safety efforts closely align with Peoria Public Schools’ focus on social-emotional learning and its focus on the whole child.



    No Bullying Zone – In June 2013, the Peoria Public Schools Board of Education updated the District’s bullying policy with recommendations from the Parent/Teacher Advisory Committee. The full policy on bullying, tips on actions students and parents can take to prevent bullying, and other resources and materials, are available on the District’s website. Visit and click on “Students & Parents” to find the No Bullying Zone.



    Tip LineIf you see something, say something! Peoria Public Schools offers a tip line that allows everyone to report possible school safety issues. All personal information is optional and kept confidential. The tip line is a great way to report any concerns, including suspected bullying or anything else that could threaten school safety. Reports to the tip line can be made through the shortcut on the District’s website or by calling 309-606-4877. The District is currently in discussions with Sandy Hook Promise to develop a new tip line; more information on that will be released in the months ahead.



    Safety Drills – Knowing what to do in an emergency can save lives. That’s why it’s important for students and staff to participate in safety drills. Peoria Public Schools holds safety drills in schools and on buses every year. Parents should encourage their students to pay close attention and take these vital safety activities seriously.



    Campus Safety Officers – Peoria Public Schools has an incredible team of school resource officers who take an active role in ensuring the safety of students and staff every day. Everyone is encouraged to get to know these dedicated men and women. They love to build relationships with students, parents and our community, and they are a great resource for any questions or concerns about our emergency preparedness. Follow them on Facebook at



    Peoria Public Schools encourages all parents and community members to take an active role in helping ensure the safety of our students. Together, we can make our schools the safest possible environment for learning.

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  • Alignment Peoria Career Awareness Team issues an Invitation to Participate

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 8/30/2018 4:00:00 PM

    A child’s imagination works a bit like a computer. Its output is based on the type of input it receives. That’s why Alignment Peoria’s College and Career Readiness Action Team is piloting a K-5 Career Awareness program. It’s designed to give children a rich understanding of career opportunities, and it aims to strengthen connections between school and work. When children understand a career, they can imagine themselves doing it!


    The College and Career Awareness K-5 pilot is seeking partners to be career awareness speakers in Peoria Public School classrooms. Peoria Public School children, particularly those in primary grades, need to hear about your experiences and your industry! Your interaction can spark an interest which sets a life plan in motion. The Action Team is specifically seeking partners representing one or more of the following careers:



    • Emergency services
    • Agriculture
    • Business and entrepreneurship
    • Media and communications
    • Health and fitness
    • Natural resources
    • Government
    • Information technology and computer programming
    • Manufacturing
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Education and training



    To learn more, please visit and click the Respond to an Invitation to Participate tab.

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