PEORIA — Hundreds more schoolchildren will have a chance to visit the Peoria Riverfront Museum under a grant announced Tuesday afternoon.
East Peoria District 86 students will become part of the museum's Every Student Initiative, which aims to provide curriculum-based visits to the facility for central Illinois students. It's the second district, after Peoria Public Schools, to be included.
"These are the kinds of opportunities we need to be providing for our students," District 86 Superintendent Tony Ingold said. "... I think it's also a great opportunity for the two communities to come together."
The district has about 1,530 students, and Ingold said he and his staff are working on plans to ensure that most of them are able to go through in this academic year
The East Peoria students' visits, tied in to schools' curriculum plans, will be sponsored by John Graham and Associates, a financial planning firm, along with funding from Art Bridges.
"We believe that the museum is one of the great things central Illinois has to offer," the firm's president, Mike Graham, said. " ... I believe the future of society is determined by where you invest. This is a great resource to expand their horizons."
The program launched in 2017 with a donation from the Barton Family Foundation. In its first year, museum CEO John Morris said, the museum quintupled the number of students visiting the facility. Now, some 8,000 Peoria Public Schools students come through each year.
Calling it a "meaningful, authentic" program, PPS Superintendent Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat said it "fits in perfectly" with the district's efforts for the current year as well.
Morris also suggested the museum is looking for additional sponsors to help expand the program to other area school districts.