Past Recipients

  • On October 17, 2018, the Topeka Public Schools Foundation "grant patrol" made its rounds, presenting big checks to grant awardees. The following grants were awarded during the 2018-2019 school year, 29 grants were funded, totaling $35,123.

    Tidwell Educational Grant Recipients 2018-2019

    Building and Breaking Polymers

    All eighth-grade students around the district will learn how biopolymer plastics and common plastics are made. Students will construct their own bioplastic, then place multiple types of plastics in compost bins to see how they break down from year to year. Each year, students will observe the previous classes’ experiments to gain knowledge on the process and time frame in which plastics break down. This innovative program received $4,767 in philanthropic funding.

    Who Wants to be an Author?

    The grant will bring Bridget Heos, experienced children's book author, to each Topeka Public Schools elementary school for two presentations. Activities will be planned and achieved through the library media centers. This innovative program received $8,100 in philanthropic funding.

    Authenticity Through Paint

    The Highland Park High School French Club will create a mural in the French classroom to promote awareness of the francophone community worldwide and enhance their sense of belonging and ownership in the classroom. This innovative program received $396.60 in philanthropic funding.

    Practical Foods

    This project is to teach students how to prepare simple, practical foods so they can be more self-reliant. Students will have a chance to go to a store and buy ingredients planned for the day. They will have hands-on experience in purchasing food that they can eat at breakfast, lunch and dinner. This innovative program received $500 in philanthropic funding.

    Blended Learning Stations

    Chase Middle School will pilot the Blended Learning Concept. This concept consists of providing teachers the ability to differentiate instruction in small groups. The learning stations are used for multiple reasons, such as interventions for SPED students, small group instruction, distance learning or flipped classroom projects. This innovative program received $1,500 in philanthropic funding.

    Building Beautiful Bow Hands

    Teaching beginner string students how to hold the bow correctly is one of the hardest skills to master. Bow Hand Buddies is a tool that fits right onto the bow and works like magic when perfecting bow holds. By using Bow Hand Buddies, it will be impossible students to develop those beginning bad bow hand habits and will set them up for a successful future in orchestra! This innovative program received $250 in philanthropic funding.

    Birthday Brag in a Bag

    The children and families in Pine Ridge Manor experience 100 percent poverty on a daily basis. Living in poverty does not take away the dreams and aspirations of a better future. Parents dream and instill in their children visions of a better tomorrow. When a child has a birthday, a parent desires to celebrate that wonderful milestone. Pine Ridge Prep will provide a birthday in a bag to help those parents. This innovative program received $962.80 in philanthropic funding.

    Jardine Middle School Podcast Project

    With the resurging popularity of podcasts and the new realm of livestream on YouTube and other platforms, Jardine Middle School was able to purchase equipment that supports student and staff created projects in podcasting and live streaming. These two mediums have grown into a full-fledged career option. This innovative program received $505.95 in philanthropic funding.

    TPS Community Cupboard

    Topeka Public Schools Community Cupboard is a district-wide resource hub intended to remove resource barriers for the Topeka Community. This grant will provide funds for the operation of Community Cupboard. This innovative program received $250 in philanthropic funding. 

    Third Grade Take Home Bags

    This project encourages family engagement by providing parents with a bag that can be checked out to provide materials to support their child's learning at home. Each bag will contain a book or a small collection of books on particular topics, such as explanation of standards that the activities in the bag support, several activities to complete as a family and a writing journal to add to. Bags can be checked out for a week and returned for another family to check out. This innovative program received $400 in philanthropic funding.

    Water Rocket Bottle Launchers

    Cross-curricular, project-based activities are the best way for students to learn. This year, a rocket project will be incorporated into the math, science and writing curriculum. Rockets will be launched and trajectory and distances recorded. Charts and graphs will be produced to show results. Students will complete the project by writing an informational piece about the experiment and the results. This innovative program received $689.98 in philanthropic funding.

    Educational Field Trips for Ross Preschoolers

    Sixteen Ross Elementary preschoolers attended a field trip to the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center and a live animal experience hosted by the Topeka Zoo. This innovative program received $211 in philanthropic funding.

    I See Me

    What are kids reading these days? The Diary of a Wimpy Kid graphic novels, the "Dork Diaries" series and "Captain Awesome" books are Caucasian and 76 percent of our students are not. I See Me is a project to replace dated chapter books in Williams Science and Fine Arts Magnet library with books reflecting the cultural diversity of the student population. Books will be purchased on the basis of the ethnicity of the main character, a contemporary setting and positive reviews in literary journals. This innovative program received $991.56 in philanthropic funding.

    TPS Summer Music Program

    The summer music program provides an opportunity for participation in band, strings and choir beyond the traditional school year. The program will be held at Topeka West High School. This innovative program received $6,556 in philanthropic funding. 

    Instrumental Music Scholarships

    The Topeka Public Schools music library maintains an instrument pool that provides musical instruments at a very low yearly cost. The pool remains self-sustaining due to the collection of the rental fees. This scholarship program will provide instruments free of charge to 100 students, who would otherwise be unable to participate in the band or strings programs at their school. This innovative program received $3,000 in philanthropic funding.

    Innovation to Motivate and Inspire Through Art

    Inspirational murals/paintings of motivational quotes with bright attention-getting colors to uplift and inspire students and the community. It will help lift the minds of young people through art classes both semesters (and potential support of other subjects and areas). This innovative program received $985.90 in philanthropic funding.

    Engagement Activities

    The Topeka Public Schools Special Education budget does not always allow for updated supplemental classroom materials. This grant provides the classroom "Structured Task Boxes" for the SPED intensive instruction class comprised of students with severe needs. The boxes afford students the ability to be engaged at all times. In addition, the boxes provide opportunities for the students to work independently and assists with developing a student's sense of accomplishment and satisfaction with the completion of work. This innovative program received $473.30 in philanthropic funding.

    Heritage Education Program

    The Shawnee County Historical Society seeks a partnership with the Topeka Public Schools Foundation to underwrite the cost of the society's Heritage Education Program, allowing free admission for Topeka Public School students. The cost of the program would provide unlimited access by TPS classrooms. These programs are constructed around school field trips to the Historic John and Mary Ritchie House and the Cox Communications Heritage Education Center. This innovative program received $2,000 in philanthropic funding.

    The Mindset to Ride a Unicycle and Anything Else in Life

    Third through fifth-grade students from McEachron Elementary School will be able to apply to learn how to ride a unicycle in six to eight weeks in an afterschool program. Students will also learn a simple belief about their mindset, which could be preventing them from fulfilling their potential.  It will inspire students "To Know, To Do, To Be, The Best" in anything they set their mind to do. This innovative program received $1,000 in philanthropic funding.

    Highland Park High School Summer Leadership Symposium 2019

    The third annual Highland Park High School Summer Leadership Symposium will provide three days of leadership training for current high school students during the summer of 2019. Topics will include conflict resolution, communication and identity to unlock student leadership potential. Students will attend the symposium at no cost and will network with community leaders and organizations, such as Azura Credit Union, Advisors Excel, Washburn University Leadership Institute and Forge. This innovative program received $1,000 in philanthropic funding.

    Rhinobot

    Students will build a Tetrix Max Rhinomax robot and program it to do tasks around the classroom. Students will assemble and program the robot in conjunction with 712 innovations. This innovative program received $275 in philanthropic funding.

    Project-based Learning at Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Careers

    To provide art paper, supplies, teach education staff and students to use to create and display pathway-specific project-based learning outcomes and pathway marketing. This innovative program received $724.99 in philanthropic funding.

    Educating and Inspiring the Future Chefs of Topeka, Kansas

    The culinary program has ambitions to create a therapeutic-aromatic classroom setting. It is the goal to implement an indoor, year around herb garden. The garden will inspire and enable creativity in students. The future chefs will gain knowledge to properly plant, raise, harvest and utilize fresh herbs. This innovative program received $256.69 in philanthropic funding.

    Joint Assessment

    Diving into the human body's musculoskeletal-joint system is a complex investigation. We have discovered several innovative strategies to assist sports medicine pathway and our medical professions pathway students in gaining a greater understanding and hands-on approach to preparing them for medical school. This innovative program received $992.09 in philanthropic funding.

    TPS Middle School Industrial and Automotive Showcase

    The Topeka and Highland Park High School mobile transportation instructors have partnered with a Topeka O'Reilly's Auto Parts Store to propose a unique middle school automotive showcase event for all eighth-grade students, who have discovered a targeted interest in mechanics, crafting with their hands, automobiles and other like skills. The middle school automotive showcase will be offered to all six Topeka Public Schools middle schools each year. This innovative program received $1,685.83 in philanthropic funding.