PEORIA, IL -- Peoria School District 150 critics Terry Knapp and Sharon Crews came up with a good idea: feature successful alumni in the school district's marketing materials.
That's what both told the School Board at its Feb. 21 meeting.
Here is a recording of their comments:
- Elaine Hopkins
Here are the comments of Sharon Crews:
The political climate in which we live today is not conducive to the support of public schools. Peoria Public Schools need to do everything possible to draw parents back to our schools instead of giving into the pervasive trend that has reduced enrollment in our schools.
This administration is doing a great job of presenting the good things that are happening in our schools daily. However, that is not enough. We need to provide solid proof of success by publicizing what our graduates have accomplished. The public doesn’t care how many A’s our students earn—people want to know if the grades earned in high school have prepared students for the future.
At a later date I will share with you the data I have gleaned from about 70 Manual grads from 1969 to 2006. Obviously, my sample is not comprehensive enough—I may have to do a bit more prodding to get more results.
Tonight, however, I want to talk about the six-year-old that I met when her mother Karen married Jeff Adkins-Dutro. Dr. Kherat, I know you remember Mahliyah Adkins-Threats, the little dynamo that graced the halls and classrooms at Whittier. When she was ready for middle school, Mahliyah was not too happy about her acceptance at Washington Gifted, but she went and loved every minute of her time there.
Then she was happily accepted into the IB program at Richwoods, where she was in the band, on the speech team, and a diver on the swim team. She could have had scholarships in any of those three activities. She chose to go to Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, and to accept a generous scholarship to be on the speech team. The IB Program had served her well in that she graduated from college in three and a half years. In December she graduated Cum Laude from Truman with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology.
Now Mahliyah has had all-expense paid invitations to interview at eight graduate schools to earn a PhD in Genetics. She will soon finish interviewing at schools all across the country, including the University of Wisconsin, the University of Texas, Emory in Georgia, University of Iowa, and Washington University in St. Louis and soon must decide which offer she will accept to begin school in the fall.
You will see Mahliyah’s name on the list of substitutes to be approved tonight so that she can teach for the rest of this semester. She tells me that in her four years at Richwoods she never even saw a referral. I hope she can say the same thing in May. I know that district students are in for a treat.
There are many stories like Mahliyah’s that need to be told. I guarantee you that her story is not over yet. Please find a way that stories from all our graduates can be used to spread news of how well our students are prepared for their futures. My own experience tells me that successful graduates do not have to be enrolled in IB or AP classes. Imagine how much better you all would feel about your role as board members if you were made aware of these success stories.
Of course, the success of public schools is not really judged by college credits either. The real test of grades at all levels of education comes when graduates achieve success in the workplace and in society. Please do more to acknowledge the accomplishments of our graduates.