Dear Valued Parent/Guardian and Student:
I am very excited to begin a new school year at Peoria Public Schools. I hope you join in the excitement of a fresh start, new opportunities and additional resources to help your child succeed throughout his or her academic years and the rest of his or her life.
I want to make sure you have the information you need to help your child be ready and prepared for the first day of school on Monday, August 19th, which is a FULL DAY of school. Please read through the information included in this packet and take note of the following announcements and initiatives that will impact our students for the upcoming school year:
1. Backpack Peoria - It was great to see so many students at our annual Backpack Peoria event this year. I was able to meet many students at Dream Center Peoria during this event today. Each year, we typically partner with the Dream Center on the last Saturday in July for this special opportunity. Families have access to community resources, students receive backpacks filled with school supplies, medical providers are available for medical and dental screenings, school and District staff are on hand to answer registration or other questions. If you were not able to make it, please feel free to contact your school or visit www.psd150.org/enrollment for more information and/or for any assistance you might need in preparing for the start of the school year!
2. Registration – Only new students and incoming freshmen need to pre-register for the 2013-2014 school year. Registration dates for these students will be August 8th and 9th for primary and middle school students, and August 13th and 14th for high school students. Contact your new school or visit the school’s website for times. Families of sixth grade students may also turn in physical exam paperwork during this time. Parents and guardians are strongly encouraged to have the required medical documents at the school on the first day of classes.
On August 19th, 2013 (the first day of school – full day for all students), each child who has not completed the registration process will be sent home with a registration packet that will include an emergency contact form, photo release form, internet usage form, District calendar/handbook and information from the student's teacher and school. Families are asked to read through, fill out and sign the forms in this packet and return them to the student's school by August 23rd.
This year, we are excited to pilot an online registration process at Kellar, Lindbergh, Richwoods and Roosevelt. More information will be sent via Skylert and posted to each school website soon. Online registration for these schools begins August 1st. Families at the four pilot schools must have a Family Access account to complete online registration.
3. Family Access / Online School Fee Payments– Skyward Family Access allows families to pay school fees online. Family Access is the only option to make online payments. If your family has not signed up for Family Access, call our Accountability and Research Department at 672-6761 to sign up today! Once your family has a username and password, you can login to Family Access by visiting www.psd150.org and clicking on the “Family Access” icon in the top right corner. Once logged in, families can make payments, check grades, update contact information and more. You can learn more about making payments by reading the information included in this back to school packet. New this year - families are now able to pay for multiple students in one transaction!
4. Compass Learning – By now, I hope families are familiar with Compass Learning, an online resource for students to work on skills that have been identified as “needing improvement” and/or “accelerating” in order to keep the learning process going, even when the student is not at school. If you don’t have a computer or internet access at home, the Peoria Public Library is a great place to encourage your student to get started on Compass Learning prior to the beginning of the school year. This program is also used in our classrooms throughout the school year. It is a fun, interactive tool to help your child improve or advance in different content areas. Compass Learning links to each of our students testing scores (NWEA) to challenge them in the most appropriate areas. All students and parents should have separate logins. More information about Compass Learning is included in a separate sheet within this packet.
5. Parent University/Community Partners – We are excited to expand opportunities for Parent University this school year. Parent University will be held each month throughout the school year. We are excited to partner with the Center for Prevention of Abuse. The Center will be presenting various topics at each Parent University, and is also our partner District-wide to comply with Erin’s Law (an Illinois law passed in January 2013 mandating all public schools provide sex abuse education to all students). Center representatives will be providing more than 500 workshops District-wide to our students about sexual assault prevention. Look for more information from the District and Center for Prevention of Abuse in the coming months.
This year, in addition to our regular schedule of workshops including school and community resources and information, we will offer two tracks for continuous involvement: 1) College Bound Peoria (CBP) will enter its second year and is open for families to enroll throughout August. CBP empowers 9th grade students and their parents/caregivers by tracking and guiding them through the duration of high school to help ensure college readiness for both the student and parent. 2) Parents as Leaders (PALs) helps District 150 parents and community members develop an understanding of the Pre-K through 12 education process. PALs is a formal training program designed to deepen each participant’s knowledge in district operations, while exchanging ideas with staff, board members and state education officials.
For more information on Parent University or either track, call (309) 672-6748 or visit www.psd150.org/parentresourcecenter.
6. Career & Technical, International Baccalaureate (IB), Advanced Placement (AP) and AVID Classes – Peoria Public Schools is excited to once again offer a career and technical education program for high school students and a “Growing Up Ready” component at middle schools (allowing students to increase their awareness of different career areas for them to consider). High school students participating in the career and technical program will have a choice of cosmetology, natural hair care, construction trades, engineering, electrical, health sciences or manufacturing. New this year, students are now able to participate in a barbering program. Most classes are only offered at Woodruff Career and Technical Center.
Charter Oak Primary, Mark Bills Middle, Sterling Middle and Trewyn K-8 continue their pursuit to be recognized IB schools. Each enters its third and final year in the pre-authorization phase. Previously, IB was only offered at the high school level.
All high schools will again offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses. We have worked to continue to provide training to staff members over the summer so that staff can challenge and give students an edge as they look to enroll in college. We are excited to continue to grow and establish AP in all high schools. Last year, the District paid for students to take the AP exam for these courses for a chance to provide college credit!
Finally, we are again expanding the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) Program, by offering classes to a select group of students. AVID allows students and parents to commit to the challenge of a rigorous curriculum, offer them the tools they need to travel the college preparatory pathway, and become more involved in school activities. Just this week, staff from across the District are participating in AVID training so that we can continue growing the program at Richwoods, Peoria High, Manual and Lincoln, and add it to Franklin and Harrison this year.
There are many other changes I am excited about in our District for the upcoming year, but unfortunately, there is not enough space to list those in detail. So briefly, here are some additional opportunities that we are offering: 1) continued expansion of social emotional supports, such as counselors, psychologists and social workers, for students District-wide. 2) continued expansion/implementation of Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) in every school. 3) a Freshmen Orientation for all incoming freshmen prior to the first day of school (call your home high school if your family has not already received information). 4) a Reading Buddies Program that is seeking volunteers from throughout the community to work with third grade students throughout the District that are not on grade level in reading (more information is available at www.psd150.org under the “A Classroom is Calling” link). Please consider volunteering and help us expand this program.
Ways to stay informed:
• I encourage you to visit our website frequently for updates throughout the District.
• We will also continue Remarkable Times, a weekly email newsletter to send out to all families registered with an email on Family Access. A form will be provided in the “First Day Registration Packet” for your family to sign up, if you are not already registered for Family Access.
• Each school, as well as the District, frequently sends out Skylert phone messages with updates for parents and families, using the phone number listed on Family Access.
• Please do not hesitate to call the student's school to ask questions or seek information.
• I hope to see you at our now MONTHLY Parent University events! Bring your questions, concerns and feedback and I will be looking forward to seeing you at each meeting.
I wish you and your family a great upcoming school year!
Yours for a better school district,
Dr. Grenita Lathan