Superintendent's Blog

  • May 20th Message from the Superintenent

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 5/20/2020 4:15:00 PM

    Peoria Public Schools families,


    While our No. 1 focus these past few weeks has been finishing this year as strongly as we can, we have our eyes and plans on returning to school in the fall.


    With this note, I’m sharing our thoughts and advance planning already underway by our Return to School Committee, which has met three times so far and has been split into six sub-committees.


    My intention is to help you start to plan for this fall and to continue our priority to communicate with you often.


    In anticipation of next year’s reopening, we are pouring over planning and guidance from the CDC, Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and other state plans and professional association guidelines for returning to school.


    My plan is to provide a formal update to you all by June 30, 2020.


    This next item that I am going to share is very important. I would like to announce a survey that we created to gather the thoughts and ideas from our families.


    We will not proceed without careful consideration from you. Please click here to complete the Return to School survey.


    In the meantime, I’m sharing some highlights that I would like you to be aware of and to consider as we prepare for “back to school” in a few short months.


    Our Back to School planning is focused on keeping student learning at the forefront - a safe, healthy, and intentional focus on learning. We are conscious of the fact that there could be further interruptions experienced during next school year due to a resurgence of COVID-19. We are also aware of a subset of our community who may simply refuse to send their children to school for a variety of reasons.


    Generally, we are anticipating three prongs as we return to school:

    • In-Person schooling - with health safeguards. We are waiting for the Illinois Department of Public Health/Illinois State Board of Education return to schooling guidance
    • A Hybrid Approach - some in-person schooling and some remote learning
    • Remote Learning - taking what worked during Remote Learning, what we learned during that time, and input from you to refine and improve Remote Learning


    Some Questions we are working through in order to prepare for the school year 2020-2021:

    1. As information continues to evolve, is it reasonable for our schools to be safely open as normal? What are health and safety protocols that need to be instituted?

    2. What modifications should be made to safely open our schools, and is it possible for our schools to make those modifications? We don’t want to make false promises. We are eager to open but safety and health are #1 priorities and considerations.

    3. What can be different about our attendance policies to ensure that students and staff can act in the best interest of their health and the health of others? We are mindful of the wide breadth of this pandemic and its continued impact on members of our staff, students, families, and the greater community.

    4. How should we modify our “return to work/school” protocols?

    5. What do we do with students or staff that are not safe in returning to school?

    6. How do we determine if learning loss has occurred for some of our students?

    7. How will custodial protocols change to meet current best practice?

    8. If the State does not allow us to begin the school year in person, what does returning to school actually look like?


    Again, we know that the past few months have been challenging. Our students, staff, and families continue to be in our thoughts as we collectively experience this pandemic. I appreciate the support, care, and attention that our staff and you have provided our students during this difficult time. We are stronger when we work together.


    I will follow up with additional communications prior to June 30, 2020.


    With gratitude and thank you,

    Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat


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  • A message from Superintendent Dr. Kherat, May 8, 20209

    Posted by Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 5/8/2020 8:00:00 PM

    Peoria Public Schools families,


    Even though we still have a few weeks left in the current school year, I know there is some anxiety around what schools will look like in August.


    I want to assure you that we are planning ahead to make sure we provide meaningful learning for your children while still preserving their health and safety. As a result, a Return to School committee has been formed, and the stakeholders on this committee are well-represented.


    Our goal is to have a plan, or a series of plans, in place by June 30th.


    Lastly, I want to say a special thank you to all of the mothers who are part of our Peoria Public Schools family. You deserve every bit of love and appreciation this weekend. Happy Mother's Day!


    Thank you,

    Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat


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  • School Kudos

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 4/27/2020 7:00:00 PM

    I love what's going on in our buildings right now and want to highlight the hard work and ingenuity of Peoria Public Schools staff and leadership.


    Whittier - I wanted to give huge kudos to Whittier staff for the amazing job the teachers AND TAs are doing to support learning. There are phone calls, letters, postcards going out continuously along with the two live lessons daily. Relationships with families and students are strong and growing stronger every day.


    Whittier, Kellar, Northmoor, Lindbergh, Von Steuben, and Valeska Hinton all had engagement numbers consistently at or above 80 percent.


    Valeska’s staff also made a video giving virtual hugs to their students for the school’s first week of Remote Learning following intercession.


    Maude Sanders – Teachers and Principal Hiles have found many ways to interact with families through video recordings, including the most recent one from the school’s kindergarten teachers giving instructions on the need for kindergartners to learn how to tie a shoe and zip up a coat.


    Trewyn, Manual and Harrison staff collectively did a SEL neighborhood driving parade through South Peoria neighborhoods last week. The parade was well-attended and was a big morale boost to students.


    Manual, Peoria High and Richwoods all delivered yard signs to the senior Class of 2020 to celebrate their four years in high school.


    Charter Oak hosted a Spirit Week last week with the students dressing up for different theme days while checking in with their teachers with over 80% student engagement.


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  • Superintendent's Message, April 24, 2020

    Posted by Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 4/27/2020 7:00:00 AM

    Peoria Public Schools families,

    We have completed another exceptional week of Remote Learning. I want to thank all of you for being with us every step of the way as learning continues and we finish the school year strong.

    Here are four quick things I would like to share with you:

    1.) Our UnityPoint Health clinic located inside Manual re-opened this week. Not only does the clinic provide routine health services, it will also perform school physicals and shots for next year.

    The clinic is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and appointments can be made by calling 309-495-8509.

    2.) We have quite a bit of Remote Learning resources available to you and your student on our websites, including the newly unveiled Read Peoria Storytime videos. Please visit or click the Remote Learning tab on any of your school websites.

    3.) High school graduations will take place virtually on Saturday, May 16th at noon for Peoria High; 2 p.m. for Manual and 4 p.m. for Richwoods. Please look for more information from your child’s principal.

    4.) May 4-8 is Teacher Appreciation Week, and Peoria Public Schools teachers deserve the appreciation. Please consider sending a positive note of some kind to your student's teachers that week. Don't underestimate the power of positivity!

    Thank you,

    Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat


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  • Manual Academy UnityPoint Clinic reopens Monday, April 20

    Posted by Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 4/16/2020 5:00:00 PM

    Peoria Public Schools families,


    I am thrilled to announce that the UnityPoint Health Clinic at Manual High School is re-opening its doors on Monday, April 20th. The clinic will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Monday through Thursday.


    A family practitioner and a pediatric practitioner will be on site. Appointments can be made by calling 309-495-8509.


    Staff will assess and properly screen the patient over the phone before coming into the clinic. This is a measure to keep everyone safe.


    The clinic will be able to provide services for toddlers to adults as long as they have consent.


    I am grateful to UnityPoint that we are re-opening the clinic so that there is not a gap in medical care for our students.


    Thank you,

    Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat

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  • A message to the Class of 2020

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 4/7/2020 7:00:00 PM

    To the Class of 2020,

    I have been thinking of you during the last month. I know that this has been a very confusing time for our seniors, as we approach the final weeks of your time in high school.

    On the one hand, I know that you are excited about graduating and moving on to the next phase of your promising young lives. On the other hand, I am sure you are disappointed that the rituals and events of those final weeks aren't unfolding the way you envisioned, not to mention the precious time and memories with friends during a normal school week.

    I want you to know that it's okay to be sad, but to also look out for your own health and well-being. Turn to those around you for support - your parents, family members and friends. All of us at Peoria Public Schools are here for you as well. If you have social-emotional needs, reach out to a teacher, your principal or your counselor for support.

    I also want to express how impressed I am at your ability to change and adapt. We are making history at Peoria Public Schools by completely transitioning to Remote Learning, and you are a huge part of that success.

    One positive that will result from this period of virtual learning is that you'll be very prepared for college or a career starting this fall. Continue to check your school emails for TEAMS meetings with your teachers so that you have a strong finish to your final semester.

    Lastly, I know you're concerned about graduation. We don't know how the ceremony will look right now, but we will find a way to celebrate your hard work, dedication and accomplishments from the past four years.

    I am proud to be your Superintendent.

    Comments (1)
  • Statistics illustrate importance of social distancing

    Posted by Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 4/7/2020 5:00:00 AM

    Peoria Public Schools families,


    I want to share with you today a few vital COVID-19 statistics that illustrate our continued need for social distancing.

    • According to statistics from the Illinois Department of Health - to date, 41.2 percent of all Illinois residents who have died so far from COVID-19 are African Americans.
    • African Americans make up just 14.6 percent of the population in Illinois.
    • Another 38.7 percent of the dead are white and 7 percent are Latino.

    We want to stop this disparity by asking all of our Peoria Public Schools students and families to be conscientious and continue practicing social distancing during this time. With nice and warm weather tomorrow, parks and trails should be used primarily for WALKING, BIKING, AND HIKING.

    Sports like basketball, football, or soccer in open space should be avoided for now for the safety of everyone.

    Our strongest weapon against COVID-19 is you. We have to be All In for Illinois. Please stay home and work from home if you can. Hold your family members accountable.

    Thank you,

    Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat

    Comments (2)
  • Help Us Help You Play SAFE and Play SMART!

    Posted by Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 4/4/2020 2:00:00 PM

    Help Us Help You Play SAFE and Play SMART!

    1. Wash your hands BEFORE going outdoors!

    2. Know what SIX FEET looks like… it’s the length of an adult bike, a yoga mat, or two yard sticks end to end… and honor that space!

    3. Go by yourself or with those you live with.  AVOID CROWDED SPACES.

    4. Parks and trails should be used primarily for WALKING, BIKING, AND HIKING. Sports like basketball, football, or soccer in open space should be avoided for now for the safety of our users.

    5. Wash your hands AFTER going inside!


    Our directive has been to keep groups under 10 people and socially distanced to keep us all as safe as possible. 


    Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat


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  • Message from Superintendent Dr. Desmoulin-Kherat

    Posted by Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 4/4/2020 6:00:00 AM

    Peoria Public Schools families,

    I am truly excited for us to begin Remote Learning on Monday. Our principals, teachers and staff have been hard at work preparing for this new journey, and we can't wait to continue your child's learning remotely.


    I have gotten feedback from some of you around grading during this COVID-19 period.


    I would like to share three quick items with you today.


    Item One

    The most important detail I want to emphasize is that a student's GPA or academic standing will NOT be negatively affected or lowered during Remote Learning.


    Item Two

    For grades 5 through 12 - Students' work will be graded. If their work improves the grade, they will receive the improved grade. If their work does not improve their grade, they will receive the grade they had at the end of the 3rd quarter (March 16th). To reiterate, your grade as of March 16th will not be negatively affected by any work during Remote Learning.


    Students who end the 4th quarter with a failing grade will be given an incomplete, and then there will be an opportunity to improve their grade through summer learning options prior to the 2020-2021 school year.


    Item Three

    For grades Kindergarten through 4, students who engage in remote learning will receive an S to signify engagement during the remote learning time, or I (incomplete) for no engagement.


    We are encouraging all students to engage with remote learning to finish this year strong.


    I hope this brings clarity to our Remote Learning practice moving forward. Your school's principal, administrators, teachers and staff will be with you every step of the way to provide continued education and support during this time.


    Thank you,

    Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat

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  • Important and Friendly Reminder about the 2020 U.S. Census

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 4/2/2020 9:00:00 AM

    Peoria Public Schools families and staff,

    I know that our attention has been directed elsewhere by the COVID-19 pandemic, but this is an important and friendly reminder that today is National Census Day.

    By filling out the 2020 Census, you are helping shape the future of Peoria Public Schools and the greater Peoria community. The Census will determine how federal funds will be distributed so that we can continue supporting our students, their families and this community as a whole.

    Federal programs rely on Census Information to guide the distribution of funds to states, counties, cities and households.Those programs include Special Education, School Lunch Assistance, Head Start, After school programs, childcare and Housing. 

    Peoria Public Schools is encouraging 100% of our families and staff to respond to the 2020 Census.

    You can respond online at, by phone at 844-330-2020 or by mail.

    Thank you,

    Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat


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