Peoria Academy

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Peoria Academy
2711 W. Willow Knolls Drive
Peoria, (Peoria County), Illinois 61614-1116
United States
Coordinates 40°46′40″N 89°38′6″W / 40.77778°N 89.63500°W / 40.77778; -89.63500Coordinates: 40°46′40″N 89°38′6″W / 40.77778°N 89.63500°W / 40.77778; -89.63500
Type Private
Opened 2000 (2000)
Status Open
NCES School ID A0301387[1]
Headmaster Cheryl Murzyn
Faculty 19.1 (2009–2010, FTE excluding pre-K)[1]
Grades PreK3, PreK, K–8
Number of students 150 (2009–2010, excluding pre-K)[1]
Student to teacher ratio 16.5 (2009–2010)[1]
Hours in school day 6.5 hours[1]
Color(s) Navy and Gold
Team name Bulldogs
Accreditation ISACS

Peoria Academy is an independent, secular Elementary and Middle school located in the northwestern end of Peoria, Illinois. The school was founded in 2000, and is governed by a board of trustees. The Academy is accredited through ISACS (Independent Schools Association of the Central States). The school has an emphasis on personalized, hands-on, experiential learning. Foreign language instruction is administered to all grades.

The school's misson statement is: Peoria Academy is a diverse community of students, parents, and educators working together to provide a rigorous educational experience. Using progressive techniques that nurture the whole child, our independent school fosters maturation, resilience, and creativity.

Enrollment for the 2016 –2017 school year stood at about 190 students.


In February 2000, a core group of parents, community members, and administrators founded Peoria Academy as an independent, private, non-profit school, serving students in Kindergarten through 8th grade. A 3 million dollar capital campaign was established to purchase the Knights of Columbus building on Willow Knolls Drive and renovations began immediately. Peoria Academy opened its doors in August 2000 with 137 students. In 2001, a Pre-K program was added, and additional classes were added at each grade level. Due to the growth of the school and insufficient space, the Board of Trustees began leasing the Notre Dame Youth Center, which is adjacent to the Peoria Academy property.

In 2010, founding Headmaster Karen Calder retired after ten years of service. A nationwide search was embarked upon by the Board of Trustees, with Mr. Brendan Sheerin being selected as new Headmaster. In 2010, the school also began building additional classrooms to accommodate the growing student population. The results were two brand new, steel reinforced classrooms that also serve as a state-rated tornado shelters.

In 2011, a Pre-K3 program was added

In 2012 Sheerin and the school separated and Sean Fitts was appointed as the interim head of school.

In 2015, Cheryl Murzyn was appointed Interim Head of School.

In 2016, Cheryl Murzyn was appointed Head of School.


The school has implemented a one-to-one computer program in the Middle School. All Middle School students are responsible for personal laptops that are used regularly in each of their classes. Smartboards or projectors are used in nearly every classroom throughout the school. Most elementary classrooms have mounted projectors and Smartboards. Students receive technology instruction throughout the curriculum. During the 2013-2014 school year, a STEM course was added to the Middle School curriculum. Students are also required to have certain software on their personal laptops for advanced curriculum activities. They should have Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel and an application that allows access to Google.[2]

Fine Arts[edit]

Every student PreK- 8th grade participates in Art. Students are brought to a designated Art room for instruction. PreK-JK have their own designated Art teacher. K-8 have their own art teacher. The Art program is extensive and includes drawing, making prints, ceramics, painting and more.

The PreK- JK program is focused on developing and refining fine motors skills by working with many different mediums. Each week a different artist is studied by reading books and looking at pictures of their work which then is used in the weekly lesson recreating their own art pieces inspired by the weekly author.

Each year, middle school students present a theatrical production ranging from popular Broadway musicals to dramas. The students are involved in every aspect of the productions, both on stage and behind the scenes. Primary students participate in a variety of assemblies throughout the school year.

In addition to regular course offerings in art and music, Peoria Academy offers additional classes through their "Peoria Arts Academy for Kids" (PAAK) program, which is open to Peoria Academy students and the public. Courses include various instrument lessons ranging from piano all the way to ukulele, a variety of dance styles, specialized art classes, creative writing and more. Chess club and Scholastic Bowl

Foreign Language[edit]

Peoria Academy begins foreign language instruction at the Pre-K3 level, with instruction twice a week, in Spanish. Spanish instruction twice a week continues in all grade levels through the 4th grade. Through music, songs and games, children begin to learn the basic vocabulary and pronunciation. In the 5th-8th grade, foreign language instruction is provided on a daily basis.

Every year, students in 8th grade may opt to take a summer trip to a Spanish-speaking country. This experience provides the students with an opportunity to immerse themselves in both the culture and the language of the country.


Physical education and athletic programs are a part of the school's philosophy for developing the whole child. Peoria Academy emphasizes self-improvement, physical fitness, team concepts, and individual skill progression. The overall focus is on successful participation by each student, regardless of athletic ability. In competitive sports and cheerleading, Peoria Academy is proud has a no-cut policy to encourage maximum participation by all interested students.

Peoria Academy's athletics provide opportunities for students to participate in various sports at developmentally appropriate levels. Students are expected to demonstrate cooperative play, commitment to their team and adherence to rules and guidelines as established by each coach. The goal is to develop young people athletically, academically, and to better prepare them for the challenges that lie ahead.

Peoria Academy teams compete locally with both public and parochial schools. They also participate in IESA in basketball, volleyball, and cross country. Soccer competition is part of a community league.

Peoria Academy sports include: Girls' Basketball, Boys' Basketball, Cheerleading, Volleyball, Track and Cross Country.


External links[edit]