Superintendent's Blog

  • 5Essentials Survey opens for Parents  

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 11/21/2019 8:00:00 PM


    One of the most crucial components to a child’s education involves receiving valuable feedback from parents and families on how to improve our schools. The annual 5Essentials Survey for parents is a tremendous tool in this regard, and we welcome the detailed input we learn from the survey results.


    I am urging all of the parents in Peoria Public Schools to take the time this winter to complete the survey. It will only take about 10 minutes to finish, and the link can be found here:


    The 5Essentials Survey, administered by the Illinois State Board of Education and the University of Chicago, is a diagnostic assessment that measures 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:

    • Effective Leaders
    • Collaborative Teachers
    • Involved Families
    • Supportive Environment
    • Ambitious Instruction
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  • Caterpillar donates time and treasure to Manual Manufacturing program

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 11/7/2019 8:00:00 PM

    About two dozen Caterpillar Inc. employees spent three days at Manual Academy last week working with manufacturing teacher Andrew Rice to make the school’s workshop cleaner and more efficient and introducing students to the manufacturing concept of Rapid Improvement Workshop (RIW). To top it off, at the end of the week, Building KK Facility Manager John Downey surprised Mr. Rice with a check for $1,500!


    An RIW is much more than just decluttering and cleaning. With the limited 45-minute high school class time, getting students quickly engaged and working in a hands-on environment can be a struggle if the learning space is not organized. In a manufacturing environment, RIW is used to reach quality management goals and is a hallmark of Six Sigma. RIW seeks to achieve change quickly so benefits are immediately visible and keep participants – in this case Manual Academy students -- engaged in the change process so they feel invested and in control. 


    Manual Academy principal Devon Hawks noted that watching Caterpillar professionals come in each day and work with the students was uplifting. The end result of a transformed shop was amazing, says Rice. “But it also taught my students valuable skills: they know they can work to their full potential to accomplish their goals and how important it is to sustain an efficient and organized workspace.”


    Rice plans to use the donation to purchase additional equipment for the shop, allowing the program to accommodate more students in coming years. Manual Academy’s manufacturing program began accepting students district-wide starting this school year.


    Andrew Rice, John Downey, Caterpillar employees


    Peoria Public Schools and the Manual staff, students and community are truly grateful for the support of Caterpillar and its employees.

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