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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
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
PPS families struggle, especially during the holidayPosted 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!”
Celebrating the holidays and practicing gratitudePosted 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.
Sex Ed. Curriculum reviewed with BOEPosted 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.
Come to high school curriculum fairs next weekPosted 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 www.peoriapublicschools.org/registration.
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!
Lincoln K-8 girls complete after-school etiquette classPosted 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 ClassActEtiquette.com. 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, ClassActEtiquette.com, 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.
STEM Saturday programs attract over 100 PPS middle school studentsPosted 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.
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.
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.
Principal For a DayPosted 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.
3rd & 6th grade students offered Saturday UniversityPosted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 10/11/2017 12:00:00 PM
This month Peoria Public Schools introduces Saturday University, a new learning program for third and sixth grade students. Beginning October 21 and meeting from 9 a.m. to noon on 20 Saturday mornings through April 14, Saturday University will be open to 100 students. The program will be held at Glen Oak Community Learning Center and bus transportation will be provided. Bradley University students and Caterpillar Inc. volunteers will work with students, as well as certified teachers and teacher aides. The program will include field trip opportunities, prizes and other incentives.
Springboard, is designed for third grade students who want extra instruction focused on reading and math. Instruction will combine reading and math online programs to build independent learning skills and small group learning. 50 third grade students will be accepted.
Math-Tastic is designed to strengthen the math skills of sixth grade students. This program will also use online and small group learning. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in math competitions. Math-Tastic will enable more PPS sixth grade students to prepare for the rigors of eighth grade algebra and subsequently pursue higher level math courses in high school. 50 sixth grade students will be accepted.
Saturday University is open to all Peoria Public Schools students in third and sixth grade, but parents are advised that the programs will not include services to meet IEP minutes and there will not be a nurse on duty to assist with medical needs.
Students will do their work on Imagine Learning and Power My Learning systems. Teachers and tutors will work with students in small groups to build learning strategies and skills students. Eureka Math will be used in small groups. MyOn learning will also be used for online reading. All students will be exposed to learning mental math strategies
More details on Saturday University, including a schedule of meeting dates, will be sent home with third and sixth grade students.
Parents of third grade students can register for Saturday University Springboard at: www.peoriapublicschools.org/SU3
Parents of sixth grade students can register for Saturday University Math-Tastic at: www.peoriapublicschools.org/SU6
God Bless AmericaPosted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 9/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat was the keynote speaker on September 20, 2017 at the Naturalization Ceremony for 689 new U.S. Citizens. Following are her remarks:
Good morning to all, including the congressional and senatorial representatives, state court and federal judges, President of the Federal Bar Association Melissa Schoenbein, Henry Vicary from Caterpillar, Peoria Public Schools students and teachers, naturalized citizens and their families and friends.
To our newly naturalized Citizens, I would like to say Congratulations - My Fellow Americans!
Please give the person next to you – a high five!
When Judge Shadid asked, I checked and realized that I became a US citizen on May 1st 1987, 30 years ago, here in Peoria. Oh my goodness, I did not realize that it has been that long. Becoming a citizen, was part of the process for getting my teaching license after I graduated from Bradley University in 1986.
I grew up in St. Croix, a territory of the U.S. I remembered my mother saying “God Bless America.” I heard those comments time and time again. As a child, I always thought, “God Bless America for what? I thought you blessed people not places or things!” It did not make sense to me at the time. My mother was very patriotic and continued to say “God Bless America!”
In the early 70s when my mother moved from Dominica, West Indies to St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. On St. Croix, she worked as a chef at a high end restaurant. At that time the borders to other countries were open. If you had documentation to prove you were gainfully employed and a burden on the government, you were in good standing to live and work in the U.S. territory, whether is was St. Croix, St. Thomas or St. John. I remember hearing my mother talking about having to get her bond renewed. I believe this legal arrangement was called a bond and the permit had to be renewed either every six months or annually.
(The Virgin Islands are located in the Caribbean just 40 miles east of Puerto Rico and 1100 miles southeast of Miami, Florida. In recent weeks, those islands have been battered by hurricanes Irma and Marie.)
Once Dominica received its independence on November 3rd 1978, somehow the family was eligible to apply for the green card and we received the green card.
I spent my first nine years in Roseau Dominica, then moved to St. Croix, where I attended middle and high school. After graduating from high school I came to Peoria to attend Bradley University in 1983 and I have been here ever since.
Before I move on I want to have a conversation about accents -- our accents. Some people have accents and some don’t. In some cities, accents are considered to be cute and attractive.
Growing up, I was aware of different accents. St. Croix is a melting pot with people living from all over -- especially from the Caribbean -- St. Lucia, Antigua, Barbuda, Trinidad, Tobago, St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla, Montserrat and many more.
My mother had a strong accent that never seemed to bother her. I remember my brothers mimicking her behind her back, of course. She was witty and confident as can be. I really respected her for that.
As new Americans, a good number of us have accents. The question is, do you think one can ever lose his or her accent?
I would say that it's entirely possible to continue to have an accent after spending several decades in a different country and mastering the language.
When everything is said and done, I think it's a very individual thing how much accent a person will retain. Much depends on when he or she started learning the second language and also how much the person is subjected to the language in everyday life. Some people seem to hear the subtle differences in accents and can mimic them, while others don't.
If you have one, do not let the accent bother you. Be yourself!
Over the years, I have since come to realize what my mother meant when she said “God Bless America.”
Eventually, she owned her own business and built the house of her dream.
“God Bless America” to her was a land where you get rewarded when you work hard.
She believed that being American is to waking up and giving your best and realizing your ultimate dream.
She believed that America is a place where you can be yourself; where you may or may not be accepted.
She realized that “an American” is not just about race, culture, or skin color but it is about making a positive change in the community.
Being American does not mean you have to be born in America.
Being American is waking up, walking down the streets and seeing different faces, clothing, culture, music and people.
“God Bless America” because America is a whole bunch of cultures in one.
My mom realized that America is about people from different cultures. “God Bless American” meant accomplishing big dreams and that America gives you the setting to achieve your dream.
As new citizens, you are officially making America more diverse, more dynamic and more competitive.
Most of us are aware that Americans are more racially and ethnically diverse than in the past, and the U.S. is projected to become even more diverse in coming decades.
You may hear different views regarding immigration particularly concerns or threats regarding other religions. These views are mostly driven by political agendas.
We all know that our diversity is our strength.
Nearly 59 million immigrants have arrived in the U.S. in the past 50 years, mostly from Latin America and Asia.
Today, a near-record 14 percent of the country’s population is foreign born compared with just 5 percent in 1965.
Over the next five decades, the majority of U.S. population growth is projected to be linked to new Asian and Hispanic immigration.
I must say that American attitudes about immigration and diversity are supportive of these changes, for the most part.
More Americans say immigrants strengthen the country than burden it, and most say that our increasing ethnic diversity makes it a better place to live.
I thank you for the privilege of speaking with you today. We have to be upbeat and hopeful as Americans.
To our 8th grade students here from Mark Bills, Rolling Acres, Lindbergh, Sterling and Calvin Coolidge Middle Schools…I want to thank you for the letters that you were so kind in writing to our newest fellow Americans.
Each of the 680-some new citizens here today will receive one of your letters. I have had the privilege of reading your letters and many of you talked about many places these new citizens can travel or your own favorite places they can visit while here in Peoria. Some of you talked about your own families being naturalized citizens. Thank you students and teachers.
To our new American citizens, by taking your oath, you’re exhibiting the ability to embrace your new homeland: Not an easy thing, but so rewarding.
Today, I also want you to think about your responsibilities as new citizens.
In light of the turbulent events regularly in our country, which play out as part of political campaigns and are characterized by sometimes ugly, divisive, demeaning words and hate-filled, name-calling, your responsibilities as new citizens have become more important than ever.
You will now be called upon to do your part to help build and maintain our country’s best values, highest principles and historic traditions.
As new Americans, you are adding to every aspect of the American life, work, worship, and play. Let’s keep America as the place of hope and opportunity.
So, I hope you will appreciate and exercise your right to vote.
God Bless America, the beacon to all willing to stake their post here and strive for their dreams for a better life and a better America.
We are a nation built by immigrants, the original dreamers, and today you continue to refresh America’s original promise.
God bless you and God Bless The United States of America.
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