Peoria Public Schools

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  • 5Essentials survey open for parents

    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 survey solicits teacher, parent and student feedback on five essential factors: Effective Leaders, Collaborative Teachers, Involved Families, Supportive Environment and Ambitious Instruction.

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  • 8th grade auditions for PSA held at middle schools this week

    Peoria Public School eighth-grade students will be offered the opportunity to audition for the Preparatory School for the Arts (PSA) at Peoria High School November 13 - 16. PSA performing arts faculty -- Jason Warner, orchestra; Maura Shepherd, band; Simon Webb, drama and choral; Alaina Rice, dance -- will visit each Peoria Public School middle school to conduct auditions. Visual arts faculty Joseph Orteza, Carmen Sanchez-Lorente and Xavier Tiernan will review portfolios of visual art students.

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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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  • Alignment Peoria, PPS Foundation bring speakers to K-8 classrooms

    Kindergarten through fifth grade students learned about a variety of career areas as Alignment Peoria's College and Career Awareness K-5 program began its tour of schools last week.

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  • TJ teacher wins WHOI-TV One Class at a Time

    Thomas Jefferson Primary School teacher McKenna Harless was awarded a WHOI-TV One Class at a Time $1,000 grant today. Harless teaches pre-K and kindergarten students with severe and profound special needs. The story will air Wednesday, October 10 at 5:30 and 10 p.m. Congratulations, McKenna Harless!

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  • $50K grant provides new grandstand bleachers for Manual Academy Russell Field

    Manual Academy’s new grandstand bleachers opened to the public on Monday, October 1. The Chicago Bears through the National Football League (NFL) Foundation Grassroots Program and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) provided a $50,000 grant to install the new Russell Field football grandstand bleachers.

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  • Eighth-grade students welcome new citizens

    Peoria Public School 8th grade students from six schools watched this week as 685 people from 80 countries became United States citizens at a naturalization ceremony at Bradley University's Renaissance Center.

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Superintendent's Blog

  • 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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  • Parents key to student achievement

    Posted by Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 8/27/2018 3:00:00 PM

    Research proves what school principals and classroom teachers know first-hand: students achieve when parents or guardians are actively and consistently involved in their child’s school. Like a mirror, your child will reflect the value you place on education.


    When parents are engaged, students achieve greater success! Here are ways parents can help their students:


    • Remember the importance of attendance -- every student, every class, every day. Peoria Public School principals and teachers build creative, positive incentive programs for high attendance rates, but the real incentive comes from home. When you make sure your student gets a good night’s rest and wakes up each day in time to prepare for school and catch their bus or walk, you let your child know that their education is a top priority.

    • Read with your students. Studies have shown that literacy skills are strongly correlated with academic success, and reading aloud to very young children can help promote kindergarten readiness. Of course, reading is important for students of all ages. Survey findings from Scholastic show kids of all ages want books that make them laugh, so ask your child’s teacher or a librarian for fun recommendations.

    • Attend your child’s Back-to-School night. Over the next month, each Peoria Public School will host a Back-to-School night. If you haven’t already, make the time to meet your student’s teachers, guidance counselor and principal. Learn about your student’s behavior and academic expectations, and how you can help them succeed.

    • Get involved in your school’s Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO). Involvement in your school’s PTO makes everyone’s jobs easier – your job as a parent and our job as educators. Parenting is full of challenges. Forming friendships and being allies with other parents will make your job easier. PTOs also are an invaluable source of help and support for school staff. Your school PTO will begin meeting in coming weeks, and our district-wide PTO Council will meet Tuesday. Take the time to attend meetings and events and interact with your PTO through social media.
    • The Peoria Public Schools Foundation offers ways to take school involvement to another level. PPS students need real-world career information from adults in a wide variety of professions. Horizons Program mentors spend 60-to-90 minutes meeting with groups of students during lunch time sharing their professional stories. Through the PPS Foundation Adopt-A-School program your business, employer, civic group or faith organization can partner with your student’s school. The Adopt-A-School coordinator will work with you to design a partnership that fits your resources and the school’s needs, whether a one-time event or an ongoing program.

    Finally, the first Parent University for 2018-2019 will be Thursday, September 27, 5 to 8 p.m. at Tanner’s Orchard. Watch and the district social media for details in coming weeks. 

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  • Team work helps schools meet First Day Compliance challenge

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 8/21/2018 2:00:00 PM

    Making sure Peoria Public School students have met all medical requirements by the first day of school is a challenge for our school staff, particularly nurses, principals and assistant principals and for busy parents. Here is a note a received this week from one of the school nurses on our PPS team.  

    Dr. Kherat, 

    My name is Sheri Buskirk and I am the school nurse at Peoria High School. I am writing you this note because I cannot ignore the outstanding leaders you have at my school.


    I was hired towards the middle of last year, therefore, this is my first go around with medical compliance, as I spent my first 22 years as a nurse with a cardiovascular surgical group in Peoria. It has been a learning curve transitioning to a high school setting.


    Little did I know, I would not be tackling this task on my own. Dr. Annette Coleman and her assistant principals are amazing. Not only with students, but their parents and anyone who enters Peoria High School. Including me!  They have helped, called, visited homes and offered any assistance possible to me in spite of their already overwhelming schedules.


    Although I have only met you in passing, thank you. Thank you for leading this district and thank you for employing outstanding individuals who will do whatever they can to make the students of Peoria Public Schools a success. 

    Sheri Buskirk, RN, BSN
    Peoria High School

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  • Lessons from the "Bad Kids" by Pernille Ripp

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 8/17/2018 4:00:00 PM
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