President's Message
Check out the video below from the PPS Foundation President, Cindy Morris!
Join us for our Annual Golf Outing!
This event is our largest fundraiser and always a lot of fun to participate in. Last year, the private dollars raised through this golf outing supported classroom grants, our Horizons Career Exploration Program, scholarships and so much more.  

Sponsorships are so important to this event. We want to ensure that all funds raised can go directly to support our work with Peoria Public Schools. CLICK HERE to view more information on sponsorship pricing.

Ready to register your foursome? Click on the button below or feel free to contact with any questions!
Thank you so much to all of this year's event sponsors!

Organic Life
Baumgarten Distributing
Busey Bank
CDS Office Technologies
Elger Kinkade Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors
Clifton Larson Allen
Commerce Bank
Consociate Health
Delta Dental
Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohen LLP
Johnson HVACR & Food Service Equipment
K2 Benefits
Kay McCord
Keith Engineering Design
Muir Omni Graphics
Oberlander Electric
Ray LaHood
Stephen P Kelly Attorneys at Law
The Standard
Congratulations to Trish O'Shaughnessy!
We are thrilled to announce that Trish O'Shaughnessy, our Director of Programming & Community Engagement at the PPS Foundation, received the Remarkable Spirit Award during the Board of Education meeting on May 8. This recognition is a testament to Trish's exceptional contributions to both our organization and our PPS community. Trish plays a pivotal role by coordinating our Horizons and See it Be it programs, helps oversee our Adopt-A-School initiative, researches and writes grants, and so much more. Her remarkable spirit and dedication to our school district and students is truly inspiring, and we are incredibly proud to have her on our team. Congratulations, Trish, on this well-deserved honor!
Congrats to our 2023 Deirdre Purcell Collins Math Award Recipients!
Two seventh grade girls from each middle school in the Peoria Public Schools District are selected annually for this recognition. Their selection is based on test scores, classroom performance, and potential for achievement in math-related fields. The Deirdre Purcell Collins Award was established in 2007 and is named in memory of Deirdre Purcell Collins who grew up in Peoria and attended Whittier, Washington, and Manual High School. This award is funded by the Purcell family and administered by the PPS Foundation.

On April 19th, we recognize the achievements of these amazing young women. Check out the list of recipients below!

Annie Jo Gordon Community Learning Center:
Alexis Garcia & Nyasia Thomas
The Elise Ford Allen Academy:
Kylae Jackson & Kariya Pinkney
Glen Oak Community Learning Center:
Angely Garcia Castillo & Lillian Shaw
Harold B. Dawson Middle School:
Arieanne Douglas & Shanavia McGhee
Liberty Leadership Middle School:
Laila Brickhouse & Zoe Strickler
Lincoln K-8 School: 
Valeria Galvez & Skilynn Haagenson
Mark Bills Middle School:
Ayanna Boone & Vivian Dare
Reservoir Gifted Academy: 
Lucy Koller & Natalie Vincent
Rolling Acres Middle School: 
Nevaeh Jones Mize & Janyce Joshua David
Sterling Middle School:
Imani Gordon & Peyton Schlage
Trewyn K-8 School:
 Mia Garcia & Mykiah Zollicoffer
Von Steuben Middle School:
Kimmari Bell & Layla Valencia
If you see any of these young ladies, be sure to congratulate them on their awesome achievement!

PPS Foundation Scholarship Program
Congrats to the 2023 Recipients!
We'd like to extend a huge CONGRATS to all of the high school seniors who received a PPS Foundation scholarship this year! These amazing students have accomplished so many awesome things while in high school and we can't wait to see what the future brings for them!

Thank you also to all who applied for one of our scholarships and the numerous volunteers who helped evaluate the applications. There was a large pool of extremely qualified applicants this year!

For anyone who knows a current PPS high school junior - be sure to check out our website for information on next year's scholarship applications. They'll be available between November 1 - March 1st!
New Art Mural on PPS Administration Building!
Career Program Recap - It has been a very fine year!
We've had a great time working with students from across the district in our Career Exploration programs, from Horizons to See It Be It to SIP Day virtual speakers. Thanks to the support of community partners and district staff, we've brought in over 200 in-person career speakers to engage with 800 students in our Horizons program, as well as nearly 60 virtual career speakers who have interacted with students from primary grades to high school through See It Be It and SIP Day. Our youngest learners even got to participate in reverse field trips, such as a visit from the Peoria Police Department to learn about a career as an officer. We've also gone on fun field trips to places like the CAT Tech Center, the CAT Visitor Center, and Owens Center for ice skating, as well as exploring new activities like glass blowing at J Draper and trying new foods at Thanh Linh. Most importantly, we've worked with students to help them listen to their inner voice, discover more about themselves, and utilize tools like The Big Life Journal and other classroom supports. We are incredibly grateful to all of our career speakers, community supporters, and, of course, the students who have been open to learning and experiencing something new.
Adopt-A-School Update
Check out the amazing things happening in this program!
Farm to School
We are always looking for more volunteers to help support our school gardens. Our gardening season is just about to pick-up and we could use all the help we can get! We’ve already had two very successful spring clean-up days: one at Maude Sanders and one at Kellar. We were so fortunate to have volunteers from the community as well as teachers from other schools providing a helping hand! When we have the support we need, we can get a lot done in just one hour! We are thankful for our community coming together! If you or someone you know is interested, please contact Janet Ham (

Peoria Garden Club
Peoria Garden Club awarded the Foundation a $500 grant to update six large planters at Trewyn School. We will be cleaning up the planters and placing some beautiful flowers to add some color and beauty to the space directly in front of the school building. Thank you so much to our community volunteer, Adrianne Locke, who will be leading this effort. 
Making the Grade Conferences
We wrapped up our Making the Grade Conferences for 2023 at Lincoln and Sterling with select 6th graders with the help of volunteers from The Peoria Riverfront Museum and Bradley University’s Interactive Media Department. Special thanks to volunteer Karen Zuckerman from the Sun Foundation for helping as well! This is a great opportunity for our community to make an impact on our students when it comes to improving their grades and helping them boost their confidence. Thank you to our volunteers!
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Susan Grzanich, Peoria Public Schools Innovation and Grants Officer and Director, Woodruff Career and Technical Center (WCTC). Read on below to learn more about her!

Thanks for talking with us, Dr. Grzanich! Before we get into the 5 questions, can you tell us a little bit about your background?

I have worked in Peoria Public Schools for 28 years. I have also worked in another local district and worked nationally as a presenter and a school academic officer to 13 schools in four states. I’ve been a teacher, asst. principal, data and research analyst, curriculum director, academic officer, and now an innovation officer. I have a Masters’ as a Reading Specialist, my Superintendent’s Degree, and my Doctorate.

Over the years, I've volunteered in Peoria for the American Red Cross as a disaster response captain, Tri-County Urban League board member, the Black Business Alliance Board member, Illinois Math Academy Board member, and various days of volunteering with organizations such as the PPS Foundation, Big Picture, Neighborhood House, Morton Pumpkin Festival Craft Show, and more. 

I’m lucky to work with some really awesome people and the work we are doing in Innovation is exciting and fulfilling. It keeps me wholly engaged. We make a difference for students every day. Some of the best projects done include the D2 Program, expansion and deepening of our Career and Technical Education programs, the newest,
College and Career Pathways Endorsement opportunity, the alternative education programs that allow students’ education paths to be tailored for them, and the college and career readiness work we’ve been doing (especially the collaborative work with the Foundation), and hopefully, the out of school time activities our team has developed.

My current job allows me the opportunity to write and work on over ten competitive grants, work on competency-based opportunities for students, oversee early college programs, Career and technical education, college and career readiness activities, and provide special activities such as Promise Clubs, Medical Club, and more. I'm fortunate to work with great staff in the schools who have a shared vision that school can look different if students need it to and are willing to break the mold of traditional school.
Wow! You are doing some really awesome things to help our PPS students. What do you like best about your job? 

I like the creative side of being able to look for solutions to problems presented. I especially like when we can provide new opportunities for students based on their interests. 
That's awesome and our school district is so lucky to have you. What's your favorite thing about the Peoria area?

There is so much to do all the time. I especially love going to the Riverfront Museum and park district events! 

Yes! The Riverfront Museum and Park District are both great. What is your go-to activity on the weekends?

I like variety. I might go to a play, ball games, farmers' markets, take a painting class, go to a concert, ride my bike, a movie or gardening. 

How about if you could snap your fingers and immediately learn to do anything, what would it be?

I usually try to find a way to learn how to do what interests me, but I have always wanted to scuba dive!

That would be really cool! Ok, last question - if you could only have three apps on your smartphone, which ones would you pick?

It is really hard to narrow down. Texting, calendar, and Pandora (I know - old school). 

Thank you so much for chatting with us today, Dr. Grzanich! We truly appreciate everything you do for Peoria Public Schools!
Congratulations to Rick Pantages, our Hero for the month of May! Rick's expertise as a master gardener has been essential in supporting school gardens at multiple PPS schools.

Rick is always willing to assist with garden clean-up tasks and enjoys teaching children in the classroom about planting seeds and fostering a hands-on connection to nature. In addition, he is devoting a significant amount of time to helping with the Charter Oak Community School Garden project. We are so happy to recognize Rick's contributions with this well-deserved award. Congrats and thanks so much for everything you do, Rick!
Check Out Buzz Chats: a PPS Foundation Video Series!
Each month we connect with different members of our community to talk about what's happening in Peoria Public Schools. The video chat is streamed live on our Facebook page. We also keep old episodes up on our page so scroll through to catch any you may have missed! 

This month we are chatting with our own Adopt-A-School coordinator, Janet Ham, about school gardens. She'll be joined by community volunteer, Rick Pantages, and Charla Fleming, the librarian at Trewyn, and her sister, Cheryll, who helps run My Mother's Community Garden. Check out this episode live on our Facebook page on Thursday, May 18th at 5 pm!
Click the picture below to donate.
Thank You to our Community Partners!
We'd like to give an especially big shout out this month to Starbucks, Hy-Vee in Sheridan Village and K2 Benefits for going above and beyond to further our mission to improve the quality of education in Peoria Public Schools!
PPS Foundation's Board of Directors:
Dan Adler, Andre Allen, Beth Crider, Solivian Dismuke, Maarten de Haas, Alex Elger, Kim McGhee, Cheryl Sanfilip, and Doug Shaw

Ex Officio Board Members:
Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat (PPS Superintendent) and Mike Murphy (PPS Board of Education)

PPS Foundation's Staff:
Cindy Morris - President
Trish O'Shaughnessy - Director of Programming & Community Engagement
Jen Adler - Administrative Director
Janet Ham - Adopt-A-School Coordinator
Matt Violet - Data and Programming Logistics Coordinator
Jaleesha Allen - Career Program Coordinator
Annalee Anderson - Career Tech Advocate
Ellie de Buhr - Career Tech Advocate
Catherine Murray - Career Tech Advocate
Olivia Smith - Career Tech Advocate