More Economically Disadvantaged Students Graduating At PPS

Officials say programs targeting economically disadvantaged students at Peoria Public schools appear to be working.

The number of economically disadvantaged students graduating increased from about 60 percent in 2016 to 65 in 2017.

“We were real happy with that,” said PPS Director of Accountability and Research Dr. Lawerence Tourijigian. “It hasn’t been without work. The district, with the help of community volunteers, has implemented a few programs.”

He says new attendance plans, local partnerships, increased social and emotional services and the use of individual learning plans have helped.

“We’ve involved community memebrs. It takes a community to raise a child,” Tourijigian said. “We have also tried to promote everyone to get into higher level courses whether they are dual credit, advanced placement or even honors courses.”

More kids from poor backgrounds in challenging classes has led to higher graduation rates.

“This has also helped the district diversify classes,” Tourijigian explained.

Tourijigian further credits the district’s efforts to train staff and faculty to use disciplinary tactics that would help the child better correct behavior, keeping them in class and improving attendance.

Tourijigian says as more underprivileged students graduate, more will be able to help the community. And more will stay out of trouble.

“All the statistics that you read, a child without a high school diploma,” Tourijigian said, “the probability goes way up that they will wind up in a venue they don’t want to be in.”

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