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Superintendent Kherat delivers State of the Schools address

Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat presented the 2019 State of the Schools address to the Peoria Chamber of Commerce on May 1. The event, with over 250 guests attending, was sponsored by Commerce Bank.


Reviewing successes of 2018-2019 and plans for 2019-2020, Kherat asked the audience to Reimagine school.

  • AlignPeoria’s See It. Be It. initiative introduced over 5,000 kindergarten through fifth-grade students to a wide variety of career pathways through guest speakers and field trips. Also, as part of the See It. Be It. initiative, Advanced Medical Transport (AMT) and CEO Andrew Rand, is providing eight paid internships to high school students interested in pursuing careers in emergency services or medicine.
  • AlignPeoria is also introducing Read Peoria – Turn the Page program to ensure that all Peoria Public School students are reading at grade level by grade three. As part of this program, Little Free Libraries, designed and built by Woodruff Career and Technical Center (WCTC) Construction Trades students, will be installed at each PPS primary school this month.
  • Peoria Public Schools is taking bold steps in helping students discover their interests and talents to provide an interest-based system of educating and to help them develop skills for their career interests. Xello software help students identify their interests and track their progress in those areas.
  • Peoria Public Schools give students a voice in their education. Three high school seniors serve on the PPS Board of Education each year. The Superintendent’s Roundtable, a group of 50 students, meets quarterly to give administrators feedback on their educational experiences. Recently, PPS initiated Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) Promise clubs, an offshoot of Sandy Hook Promise, to change school culture through student leadership. Through SAVE Promise clubs, 51 students have been trained to be cultural leaders in their buildings.
  • PPS Online Academy, launched in January, high school students are earning their diploma faster and one middle school student is taking algebra and geometry simultaneously.
  • Nineteen students have been accepted as the charter cohort of the D² program, allowing them to earn a high school diploma and an Associate of Arts degree from Illinois Central College (ICC).
  • Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Education Center implemented two dual-language pre-school classrooms in 2018-2019. The classes contain native-English and native-Spanish students who are learning in both languages. Next year the dual-language program will be expanded for kindergarten students.
  • Thirty-three Peoria-area employers are providing internships or employing Peoria Public School students. Over 101 students participate in internships, earning 172 certifications or credentials to prepare to enter the workforce directly from high school.
  • In 2019-2020 Mark Bills Middle School will introduce customized learning tailored for each student. The school will have a strong focus on careers. Opportunities to job shadow and career-focused classroom speakers will be embedded in the curriculum. The school will include a makerspace to help students use technology in new ways to design and build.


Kherat presented Innovation Awards PPS community partners to:

  • Robert Swegle, training director, Mid-Central Illinois Regional Council of Carpenters, for providing curriculum and access to internships.
  • AlignPeoria Executive Board
  • Tom Hammerton
  • Brent Eichelberger
  • Sid Ruckriegel
  • Laraine Bryson
  • Martin Hightower
  • Cheryl Sanfilip
  • Thom Simpson
  • Midstate College, Meredith Bunch, president and CEO, for providing free tuition to eight Manual Academy students.
  • AMT, Andrew Rand, CEO, for providing paid internships to Manual Academy students
  • ICC, Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey, for leading as change partners.


Click here to view State of the Schools address slides.

Click here to view AlignPeoria Read Peoria Turn the Page video.

Click here to view Peoria Public Schools Did You Know? video