Superintendent's Blog

  • A.J. Guyton leading the charge for K-4 athletics at Peoria Public Schools

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 8/30/2019

    In mid-July, A.J. Guyton joined Peoria Public Schools as the district’s K-8 Director of Athletics.


    This is a tremendous addition to our team. A.J.’s specific focus as he gets started is to bolster our athletics at the K-4 level. Under his direction, primary and middle school students in our district will have a menu of athletic opportunities starting at a young age.


    Guyton graduated from Peoria High School and had a decorated high school basketball career there before going on to play basketball at Indiana University under coach Bob Knight. Since his collegiate days, he has traveled the world during a professional basketball career before serving in several coaching capacities. He was also the diversity and retention coordinator for Illinois Central College. 


    As an educator and a one-time soccer-parent, I have observed how enormously valuable participating in athletics can be to young students. Participating in sports gives young students a way to develop social skills, teamwork, communication skills and cooperation. Practicing to master skills teaches self-discipline and boosts self-confidence.


    And since we’re on the topic of athletics, our fall sports schedule is already underway. On the high school level, boys football, soccer and golf; girls swimming, volleyball and tennis, and co-ed cross country teams are competing almost every day. Students notice and appreciate when adults attend their games and matches. We invite you to take the time to support our student-athletes!



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  • Community partners combine efforts to encourage summer reading

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 8/23/2019 6:00:00 AM

    A variety of Peoria-area organizations came together this summer to work toward one of Peoria Public Schools’ primary goals – that students will read on or above grade level by third grade. Watching the collaboration and teamwork has been amazing.  


    On June 1st, over 1,200 people attended the Slide into Summer Reading kick-off celebration at Owens Center. With help and volunteers from Peoria Public Schools, the Peoria Public Library, Align Peoria and WTVP and many more community partners, the event helped families focus on the importance of encouraging students to read at least 20 minutes a day during summer break.


    About 650 PPS students participated in the Peoria Public Library Summer Reading program, with an overall increase of 36 percent participation above last year. Leading the district with the highest number of students participating were Kellar Primary School, with over 50 summer readers, and Washington Gifted Middle School, with over 40.


    In late May, Little Free Libraries were installed at 13 Peoria Public Schools, Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Education Center and St. Paul Baptist Church as part of Align Peoria’s Read Peoria initiative. Key partners in the initiative are the Junior League of Peoria, the PPS Foundation, PNC and The Book Rack. The Little Free Libraries were stocked with books all summer, giving students and their families a steady source of free books to take, share and return. PPS teachers and school resource officers visited The Book Rack and read to students via social media.


    As the new school year picks up steam, we look forward to keeping up the reading momentum. We have so many opportunities for community partners to impact our kids inside and outside the classroom. If your business, non-profit organization, faith or civic group is not yet a Peoria Public Schools community partner, I invite you to join us in cultivating Peoria’s future leaders and citizens.


    Read more about Align Peoria

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  • Giving students a strong start to the school year

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 8/9/2019 8:00:00 AM

    A new school year is a fresh start. When students get excited about back-to-school, it’s often due to thoughts of new backpacks, shoes, notebooks and school supplies.


    Many Peoria Public School families struggle to provide school supplies and uniforms for their students. Each July, Peoria Public Schools and The Dream Center Peoria host Backpack Peoria to give students backpacks and school supplies.  This year over 1,750 families attended Backpack Peoria and organizers ran out of backpacks with additional families in line. The first 750 families received a voucher to cover part of the cost of a new school uniform from Sam Harris.  It was a great event but clearly there is an even greater need. 


    With that in mind, here are several more ways to help our students this month:


    • The Round Table, a project of Local 6099, collects personal hygiene, nonperishable food and new and gently-used clothing for Peoria Public School students. During the 2018-2019 school year, The Round Table gave to hundreds of Peoria Public School families. The Round Table has a “no questions asked” policy which can make the difference between a student asking for help or going without. Collection bins will be located at each PPS building on August 12 and 13 to collect donations from PPS staff members. Members of the public also can drop off donations during those two days, or anytime at Richwoods High School or the AFT-IFT office, 733 SW Washington St. in Peoria. There is a particularly great need for the following items:
      • Hygiene items: shampoo, conditioner, bath soap/body wash, deodorants, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shaving items, feminine hygiene, brushes, pics, laundry detergent, dish soap.
      • Used but in good condition school uniforms and athletic shoes
      • New socks and underwear – all sizes.

    • Peoria Public Schools Stuff-A-Bus school supply drive continues through Monday, August 12. Donation drop-off bins are located at the Walmart stores on North University and Allen Rd., and in the center court at Northwoods Mall. In addition to community partners, Walmart and Northwoods Mall, we are grateful to Advanced Media Partners (WWCT 99.9, KISS-FM 98.5 and ESPNPeoria 101.1) for their support of the Stuff-A-Bus school supply drive.

    • Join us for a Back-to-School celebration at The Peoria Public Schools Foundation’s Brats & Brew, Friday, August 23, 5 to 8 p.m. at the Peoria Riverfront Museum to raise money for school uniforms. Tickets are $40 and include a delicious brat from Alwan’s, two beers and Kitchen Cooked chips. Music provided by DJ4U. Event sponsors are Associated Bank, Mosquito Authority and the Peoria County Regional Office of Education.  For tickets go to
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  • Registration Hubs open August 7 & 10

    Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 8/1/2019 5:00:00 PM

    Peoria Public School families received enrollment and registration booklets in the mail early this week.

    Next week Registration Hubs will be open two days.

    The Hubs are located at:


    • Kellar Primary School, Kellar Primary School, 6413 N. Mt. Hawley Rd.
    • Glen Oak Community Learning Center, 2100 N. Wisconsin Ave.
    • Harrison Community Learning Center, 2727 W. Krause
    • Peoria High School, 1716 N. North St.


    Registration Hubs will be open on Wednesday, August 7 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday, August 10 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students attending the same school and living at the same address as last year can register online.  All students must be registered by Tuesday, August 13.


    Students also must have turned in required physical, dental and vision exams and immunizations in order to attend school on Wednesday, August 14.  Heartland Healthcare Clinics on Garden St. and on Wisconsin Ave. have walk-in hours for school physicals and immunizations.


    Parents can find complete details on enrollment, registration and health requirements by visiting


    We are looking forward to the beginning of an exciting year of learning!

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