Peoria Public Schools

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District News

  • Warrior Way Café menu for Thursday, January 25

    Woodruff Career and Technical Center (WCTC) Culinary Arts students have planned a spectacular lunch for Thursday, January 25 featuring Chicken Cordon Blue.

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  • Carver Center, Bradley University, Methodist College of Nursing and ICC offer SAT prep classes

    Several community organizations are offering opportunities that start soon to assist our 11th grade students prepare for the SAT this spring. The SAT is mandated by the State of Illinois as a high school graduation requirement, and will be taken by all juniors on April 10th. Click on this story to visit links with more information!

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  • Boundary Waiver application available to families January 8 - February 28

    Boundary waivers allow a student residing anywhere within Peoria Public Schools boundaries to apply for attendance to any other school within the District, provided the school hosts his/her grade level. Applications are granted based on the projected number of seats available in the student's grade level at the requested school. High school students (with the exception of those applying and interviewing for a JROTC program) are not eligible for boundary waivers. Boundary waiver placement is a privilege and therefore discipline and attendance are taken into consideration for placement and renewal each year. District bus transportation is not available for Boundary Waiver placements. If boundary waiver students are not able to be at school regularly and on time, they may be required to enroll in the home school based on the family's home address.

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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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  • Presentations scheduled on final proposal for PLC's

    At the Monday, January 9, 2018 Board of Education Meeting, District staff will present the final proposal that will allow Professional Learning Community meetings to continue, although at a reduced number, at the high school level during the 2018-2019 school year. Following feedback from stakeholders, a committee of teachers and administrators formed to change the initial plan while working within some parameters, that included: preserving the PLC concept at the high school level; maximizing consistency as much as possible for students and families; causing the least amount of disruption during the school day; affecting primary and middle schools as little as possible; providing value-added services educationally through the addition of teacher leader positions; and substantially contributing to the financial stability of the district. The final proposal for the 2018-2019 school year will be voted on by the Board of Education at its January 22nd meeting. This story includes a bulleted list of the changes.

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Superintendent's Blog

  • WCTC Salon open to the public

    Posted by Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 1/18/2018 5:00:00 PM

    I frequently speak to students, parents and civic audiences about the importance of preparing Peoria Public School students for professions which do not require a bachelor’s degree but nonetheless will provide a sustainable, middle-income wage.

     

    The Woodruff Career and Technical Center (WCTC) cosmetology, barbering and hair braiding programs are preparing students to work in an industry which analysts predict will see consistent growth in the next decade, with revenues reaching over $60 billion by 2020. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment growth for barbers, hair stylists, cosmetologists, manicurists, pedicurists and skincare specialists is expected to grow by 10 to 12 percent by 2024. 

     

    Currently 133 PPS high school students are enrolled in these programs. While some students pursue a salon career upon graduation, others use their skills to finance post-secondary education opportunities. 

     

    WCTC cosmetology students practice skills

    The WCTC Salon and Barber Shop is open to the public each Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and the first and second Saturday of each month. 

    Hours:

    • Wednesdays and Thursdays: Noon to 3:30 p.m.
    • Fridays: Noon to 1 p.m.
    • Saturdays: 9 a.m. to noon

     

    Services offered are:

    • Hair cuts and hair styling
    • Hair braiding
    • Manicures & pedicures
    • Facials
    • Waxing

     

    Walk-ins are welcome or you can make an appointment by calling 309-282-6644.

     

    These are just some of the services offered to the public at Woodruff. The Culinary Arts program resumes its Thursday lunch special this week, starting the second semester in the Warrior Way Café. The café is open each Thursday school is in session from 11a.m. until 1:30 p.m. with a different menu each week. Menus can be found at www.peoriapublicschools.org/wctc and reservations can be made at warriorwaycafe@psd150.org.

     Here is the Warrior Way Café for Thursday, January 25, 2018

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  • PLC proposal cuts budgets, addresses parents' concerns

    Posted by Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 1/12/2018 7:00:00 AM

    As I have written in recent months, Peoria Public School (PPS) administrators and Board of Education members are focused on the formidable challenge of reducing the district’s budget while providing world-class education which prepares our students to succeed.

     

    To be successful these adjustments must be made with the knowledge, input and support of parents and staff members. Parents’ concerns convinced us to reject a proposal to adjust primary, middle and secondary school-day schedules to reduce transportation costs. Ongoing plans to alter Professional Learning Community (PLC) time generated a proposal which has the support of high school teachers and did not affect primary and middle schools. Academic Instructional Officer (AIO) Dr. Sandra Wilson presented the proposal to the board on January 8. Wilson and PPS high school AIO Thomas Welsh are speaking with each high school PTO over the next week.

     

    AIOs Welsh, Wilson speak with RHS PTO
    AIOs Thomas Welsh and Dr. Sandra Wilson answer 
    questions about the PLC proposal at a Richwoods
    High School PTO meeting.

    If approved by the Board of Education on January 22, the proposed change for PPS High Schools during the 2018-2019 school year will include:

     

    • Core teachers (math, science, social studies and language arts) begin teaching a sixth course in place of current PLC period. With a few exceptions, this will mean that most teachers will teach six courses daily.
    • All teachers will keep a daily prep period, per contract.
    • Students will be dismissed one hour early one day each week.
    • Teachers will meet for one 60-minute PLC each week.
    • Both core and non-core teachers will participate.
    • Monthly after-school Professional Development (PD) meeting may also be used for PLCs.
    • SIP Days may also be used for PLC collaboration.

    There will be no changes to monthly faculty meetings.



    It is estimated that this proposal will save the district approximately $750,000, up from the $500,000 expected savings in the initial PLC plan presented to parents and staff in November.

     

    As we move forward, among the details the PLC committee will manage this spring, include:

     

    • Student academic support and activities during early release time
    • Required district framework for PLCs, providing flexibility to meet the various needs of each school
    • Which day of the week will be used for PLCs that is most helpful for students, families and staff
    • The best utilization of time following students' early dismissal



    High school PTO discussions this week suggested that this plan could have strong positive implications for students and their families, including:

     

    • Opportunities for part-time jobs and internships.
    • Opportunities for study tables and extra-curricular activities staffed by support staff or volunteers.

    Families in which high school students are responsible for after-school supervision of younger siblings may benefit from the extra weekly hour.

    The PLC concept and its benefits to educators is strongly supported by research. According to a study release by the U.S. Dept. of Education, “For staff, being part of a professional learning community reduces teacher isolation, increases commitment to the mission and goals of the school, creates shared responsibility for the total development of students, creates powerful learning that defines good teaching and classroom practice, and enhances understanding of course content and teacher roles.”

     

    Welsh suggests that offering PLC time to non-core faculty, which includes languages, fine arts and career-technical areas, is another advantage to this proposal. 

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  • Make a New Year resolution to partner with PPS

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 1/8/2018 11:00:00 AM

    Happy 2018!  Here is a New Year’s resolution that is much easier and much more enjoyable than losing weight: resolve to become a partner with Peoria Public Schools.

    There are so many ways you and the groups you belong to – a neighborhood association, civic organization, your business colleagues, high school, college, sorority or fraternity alumni group, faith community, even your hobby or reading club – can help Peoria Public School students.  Make a resolution to volunteer for the students of Peoria. Here are some ways you can help:

    Reading Buddies – our Reading Buddy program coordinates groups of professionals from Peoria businesses to meet one-on-one with PPS third grade students once each week to work on reading skills. Because team members rotate their scheduled reading time, most Reading Buddy volunteers need only give one or two hours each month. The Reading Buddy program not only strengthens reading skills, but provides students with an adult who cares about their academic progress. For many students at-risk of falling behind, a consistent relationship with one caring, invested adult is enough to sustain their motivation to be a successful student. To find out more about becoming a Reading Buddy, visit https://www.peoriapublicschools.org/readingbuddy or call 672-6536.

    Individual schools also have unique volunteer needs. For example, you may have seen local news coverage about Franklin Primary School’s After-School Sewing Club. The club, which draws nearly two dozen students, meets twice a week after school. This year students sewed blankets for patients at Children’s Hospital of Illinois Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Franklin students sewed, gift-wrapped and delivered the blankets shortly before Christmas. What a wonderful project! Franklin principal Dr. Ann Bond reports that the Sewing Club needs more adult volunteers as well as donations of fabric, sewing supplies and sewing machines.

     

    Adopt-A-School – become an Adopt-A-School partner. Peoria Public Schools Foundation Adopt-A-School coordinator Sarah Oakford will work with you to define the resources your organization is best equipped to offer and match those with a PPS school. Adopt-A-School partners donate a wide variety of financial and in-kind donations and volunteer time. Contact Sarah Oakford, at 309-282-5270 or email: sarah.oakford@psd150.org.

    Create an internship opportunity for a Peoria Public School high school student. Greater Peoria Works, a project of the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council, can work with your business to coordinate an internship to fulfill your workforce needs while giving a PPS high school student valuable business-place exposure. For information on ways you can create opportunities for PPS students, contact LaMar Anderson at 309-922-5354 or lamar.anderson@psd150.org.  

    Volunteer to be a PPS Horizon Club mentor. A program of the PPS Foundation, Horizon Clubs meet during lunch at each PPS middle school and buildings with grades 6-7-8.  Each month business mentors speak to students about their career field, education requirements, a typical workday, and challenges and opportunities in their field. Most children this age have had very little introduction to the enormous variety of opportunities available in the central Illinois region. Guided by goal-setting instruction and supplies donated by Eureka College, Horizon Club students make connections between mentor presentations and possibilities for their futures. By contributing just one or two lunch hours each year, you can indeed expand their horizons. For information contact, Trish O’Shaughnessy, Community Engagement Coordinator, 309-696-3406 or email: patricia.oshaughnessy@psd150.org. You can also learn more about supporting all PPS Foundation Programs by joining us at the PPS Foundation’s Third Annual 365 Breakfast on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at WCTC – Woodruff Career and Technical Center. The event begins at 7:15 a.m. Thanks to sponsors, there is no charge for the breakfast, but guests will learn how a dollar a day donation throughout the year can help PPS students!

     

    If you just want a great way get out of the house and support a great cause this winter, gather your colleagues and friends and form a team for the First Schoolhouse Open on January 27. This mini-golf meets Warehouse District pub-crawl fund raising event will benefit the work of the Peoria Public Schools Foundation, including classroom grants, student scholarships, emergency funding for PPS families in distress, Horizons Club and much more. Find out more about this fun event at www.peoriaschoolhouseopen.org.  Tickets are $60 for individuals or $240 for a team of four. Registration includes competition entry, two beverage tickets and a t-shirt.

    Finally, if you are a parent, guardian or grandparent of a PPS student, find out about your school’s PTA organization. The meeting schedule is posted on your school’s website calendar and in the school newsletter. Your input, involvement, ideas and energy are needed and welcome at your child’s school.  

    Make 2018 the year you make a personal commitment to be a part of our region’s largest school district – your investment will be immediately appreciated and reap rewards for years to come. 

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  • Happy Holidays from Peoria Public Schools

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 12/22/2017 11:00:00 AM

    On behalf of Peoria Public Schools staff, students, families and Board of Education members, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

    In recent weeks, through the generosity of the Peoria community, Public School students received food and clothing, particularly through The Roundtable, a program of PPS support staff. Located at Richwoods High School and Franklin School, The Roundtable provides food, personal hygiene products, household items such as dish soap and laundry detergent, and clothing to our students.  Another local organization, It Takes A Village, provides a similar service to students and families at Manual Academy.

    Yesterday, representatives of Alliance Benefit Group arrived at Roosevelt Magnet School with gift bags for each of the school’s 580 students. Employees of the Adopt-A-School partner held casual days, 50/50 raffles, bake sales and more to raise over $2,200 to bring the gift bags to Roosevelt students. Other Adopt-A-School partners have provided similar holiday surprises to our students. We are truly grateful for these partnerships.

    Generosity is a two-way street. The outpouring of Peoria Public School administrators, teachers, staff members, students and their families in recent weeks has been amazing.

    This month members of the Manual Academy 7th and 8th grade student council collected 25 milk crates of non-perishable food for Neighborhood House. Similarly, canned food drives at Peoria High School (organized by AVID seniors), Calvin Coolidge Middle School, Mark Bills Middle School, Franklin Primary School, Roosevelt Magnet School, Von Steuben Middle School, Lincoln K-8, Thomas Jefferson Primary School, Rolling Acres Middle School and Hines Primary School have helped stock shelves at Southside Mission, The Salvation Army, Moonlight Coalition Adult Literacy, First United Methodist Loaves and Fishes, and East Bluff Community Center.  Lindbergh Middle School, Sterling Middle School and Woodrow Wilson School collected food for families within their school communities. 

    In addition to canned food drives, here are other PPS holiday-giving events: 

    • Richwoods High School students raised $1,300 for the Southside Mission during Spirit Week in early December.
    • At Peoria High School, the student council organized a sock drive to benefit the clothing pantry at the First United Methodist Church Loaves and Fishes program. PHS AVID students delivered handcrafted ornaments and candy to seniors at Heartland Care Center.
    • Kellar Primary School students held a pajama drive, collecting 112 pairs of pajamas for children. The students will celebrate with pajama day this week.
    • Northmoor Primary School maintained its long tradition of holding a pajama and reading day to raise money for St. Jude Midwest Affiliate, in memory of a Northmoor student who died many years ago. The event raised $550 for St. Jude and students also drew holiday cards to give to children who are spending the Christmas season in the hospital.
    • Northmoor Primary School and Franklin Primary School have Giving Trees in their front office. Students can contribute small items like hats, mittens, socks and lip balm for any other student in the school in need.
    • Fourth grade students at Charter Oak Primary School collected pet supplies for Peoria Animal Welfare Shelter (PAWS).
    • Harrison Community Learning Center staff and students are raising money for Easter Seals of Central Illinois, and collecting coats, hats and mittens for Harrison children.
    • As part of its recent Muffins with Moms celebration, Mark Bills Middle School students, mom, aunts and grandmas, raised $158 for the Journal Star Christmas fund. Mark Bills students also rang the Salvation Army bells at Northwoods Mall.

    It is significant that many of these activities were initiated and organized by Peoria Public School students, often as part of student government activities.  Giving to those less fortunate builds empathy and compassion and engenders in students an awareness of their part of a larger community, a role that carries responsibilities and rewards.  These Social Emotional Learning opportunities will last beyond the holiday season and past graduation.

     

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  • Mid-year time of exciting transitions for PPS students

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 12/15/2017 8:00:00 AM

    A number of Peoria Public School students are working toward the next level of their education this week.  Change can be intimidating for young people, but mastering change builds self-confidence that carries into adulthood. 

     

    Fourth grade students are undergoing the Washington Gifted Middle School application, screening and selection process for the 2018-2019 school year.  All Peoria Public Schools 4th grade students are tested in the fall. Each primary school generates a list of students who have consistently demonstrated exceptional abilities in math and reading on standardized exams and those students’ families were contacted last week. The Gifted Selection Committee will convene in late January/early February to make the final selection and families will be notified in writing in February.

     

    Parents of fourth grade students who did not receive a letter and feel strongly that their child should be considered can submit a referral to the selection committee no later than January 5, 2018.  For information please go to www.peoriapublicschools.org/gifted.

     

    Also this week 8th grade applicants to the Richwoods High School International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme are undergoing their application interviews. Acceptance into the IB programme will be announced in January.

     

    At Woodruff Career and Technical Center (WCTC) high school seniors in the construction trades Work-Based Learning Program will learn this week where they will serve internships from February through May. Since August these students have rotated through eight local trade unions: bricklayers, laborers, steamfitters, operating engineers, electricians, cement masons, plumbers and sheet metal workers. Each rotation includes classroom and hands-on skill practice. Students also have studied Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, blueprint reading, job estimating, resume and cover letter writing, interview skills as well as performing volunteer work for the Midwest Food Bank and Wildlife Prairie Park. In January, prior to their internships, they rotate through a final trade, the ironworker’s local, and have a classroom introduction to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or green building.

     

    Finally, 17 students will receive their high school diploma this week at the Knoxville Center for Student Success (KCSS) mid-year graduation ceremony. This is a particularly exciting moment for these young people who have faced daunting obstacles and challenges in their personal lives but who have been determined to graduate from high school.  Their resourcefulness is truly admirable. 

     

    Each of these transitions provides Peoria Public School students the tools to become well-balanced citizens prepared to contribute to our rapidly changing world.

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  • Make plans to enjoy Thursday lunch at the Warrior Way Café

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 12/12/2017 11:00:00 AM

    Have you tried the Warrior Way Café, located at Woodruff Career and Technical Center (WCTC)? A program of the PPS Culinary Arts program, the Warrior Way Café serves lunch to the public each Thursday when school is in session. This is, by far, the best $5 lunch available in Peoria. Menus are designed, prepared and served by students. You can enjoy your lunch in the former Woodruff High School cafeteria, which has been transformed to an upscale bistro, or you can order take-out for yourself and your entire office!

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  • 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 mark.streamer@psd150.org

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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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