Please CLICK HERE if you are interested in partnering with one of our schools!

Please CLICK HERE for the Adopt-A-School Volunteer Registration Packet!

Please CLICK HERE for the Adopt-A-School Partner Agreement Form!

Making the Grade Conferencing

What is Making the Grade?

“Making the Grade Conferencing” is a way for the members of the community to reach out to our young people and to inspire them to pursue academic excellence.

How does Making the Grade Conferencing work?

During the event, community volunteers visit the school to meet with students for one-on-one sessions to review their most recent progress report. During a 10-15-minute session with each student, volunteers discuss grades with students, cover topics such as homework, absenteeism, referrals, experience in school, and planning for the future.

Why is Making the Grade Conferencing important?

This provides students with a way to help them reflect on their academic performance and to motivate them for the rest of the semester.  This personalized attention assists students in getting the help they need, if necessary. Past conferences have helped identify students who may need enrichment, tutoring, social support, or other types of assistance to help them reach their utmost potential. Our goal is to make sure that no student gets left behind in his or her schoolwork or “falls through the cracks” of Peoria’s support systems.

How can I help?

Please consider participating! Volunteers typically meet with 8-12 students in a two-hour time. This event takes place at the respective schools during normal school hours.  

For more information please contact Adopt-a-School Coordinator, Sarah Oakford, at or by phone at (309) 369-0386.

View Panel

Horizons Background

The Peoria Public Schools Foundation’s Horizons program is a lunchtime educational opportunity for middle school students in Peoria Public Schools. The intent of this program is to facilitate opportunities for students to investigate various industries and occupations which will allow them to make more informed choices during middle school, high school class selection, and beyond. Additionally, the students learn goal-setting techniques, study skills, as well as career and education information.


How it began
In the Fall of 2013, the idea for Horizons was born through collaboration between the Peoria Public Schools Foundation and the Peoria Public Schools district leaders. Both organizations recognized the need to help middle school students find their path to success by providing the following:

  • An environment where students can explore potential career opportunities.
  • Access to community leaders who would serve as mentors and examples for students.
  • An environment where students are allowed to dream big and create a plan to achieve their educational and career goals.

How It works

Horizons meets with students during their lunch period once a week for an entire semester. During this time students are introduced to different career areas by using a variety of exploration techniques. No two meetings are the same, thus providing a unique experience for the students as they learn more about themselves and their own career opportunities.


Horizons Meetings include:

  • Professional Speakers: Students will have the opportunity to learn from professionals in a variety of industries about their careers and the educational path they took to reach their dreams.
  • Customized Investigation Time: Whether it is using web-based investigation tools about career trends, industry facts and occupational opportunities, students will learn and understand some of the possibilities open to them after high school.
  • Career Fair: Students will research and organize their own Career Fair to showcase their findings and educate fellow peers and the community about a variety of industries and career opportunities. 

Contact Information

Trish O’Shaughnessy - Director, Community Engagement and Horizons Program
Phone: 309.696.3406

Additional Information

Horizons Program in the Peoria Journal Star 11/25/14

special video highlighting Trish O'Shaughnessy - Director, Community Engagement and Horizons Program.