Past Recipients

  • On November 3, 2017, the Topeka Public Schools Foundation "Grant Patrol" made its rounds, presenting big checks to grant awardees. The following grants were awarded during the 2016-2017 school year, 35 grants were funded, totaling $31,672.98.

    Tidwell Educational Grant Recipients 2016-2017

    Summer Music Program

    This summer music program provides an opportunity for participation in band, strings, and choir beyond the traditional school year.  The program was held at Topeka West High School from June 5-June 30, 2017. The program provides music instruction during the summer to enhance skills of band of fifth through eighth grade students, fifth through tenth grade string students and fourth through eighth grade choir students based on music teacher recommendation. This inovative program received $6,069.53 in philanthropic funding.

    An Audience for Every Student

    This project will use a digital art screen in a high traffic area of the school to provide "an audience for every student". Students will have work that they are proud of displayed on the screen during the school year, which will encourage them in their efforts while allowing an audience of students, staff, and parents to appreciate their work. The display will include works made digitally as well as images created in traditional mediums. This inovative program received $412.28 in philanthropic funding.

    Differentiated Raz Kids Computer Station

    Meadows' second grade students have continued a Raz Kids grant from 2016. The program began during the second semester of 2016. Students have benefited from this differentiated reading computer program, and it has quiz feedback for each teacher to use to determine comprehension of their students. The goal is to continue this program for two more years. This inovative program received $632 in philanthropic funding.

    Robotic Exploration

    Topeka Public Schools would like to start a basic robotics program at Meadows Elementary to introduce third through fifth grade students to the process and thinking involved in the aspect of this engineering concepts. Students will learn and practice the six principles of scientific thinking as they build different robots and perform tasks. This program includes a step-by-step curriculum to help guide teachers through their instruction. This inovative program received $962.50 in philanthropic funding.

    Blended Learning Stations

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


    Breakout Edu Kits-Jardine School Set

    Jardine Elementary staff will have the opportunity to check out breakout kits as a way to create an active learning environmentl, which will promote problem solving skills, critical thinking and teamwork. Teachers will be able to use suggested games or create their own based directly on their content. While students work through problems to "break out", they will demonstrate many steps of Webb's Depth of Knowledge, math practices and science practices throughout the game.  Students will work through knowledge based questions to practice skills and concepts.  They will need to think strategically to solve the puzzles to be able to unlock the kit.  Each kit includes a breakout box, five to six different kinds of locks, a smaller box, black light and an invisible ink pen. This inovative program received $972 in philanthropic funding. 

    Focus Shmokus

    This project aims to provide an avenue to teach kids how to focus their attention. By bouncing Bal a Vis X balls or throwing their bean bags in a rhythm with precise timing, students learn to focus attention and track their eyes. These daily practice opportunities improve overall reading proficiency and academic achievement, because they are able to better focus in class and track left to right with more accuracy.  This inovative program received $437 in philanthropic funding.

    Instrumental Music Scholarship

    The Topeka Public Schools Music Library maintains an instrument assortment that provides musical instruments to students at a low yearly cost. The assortment remains self-sustaining due to the collection of the rental fees. This scholarship program would allow Topeka Public Schools to provide instruments, free of charge, to 100 students who would otherwise be unable to participate in band or strings at their school.  Some families cannot afford the $25 rental fee. This inovative program received $2,500 in philanthropic funding.

    TW Players Traveling Children's Show

    The Topeka West Players will read multiple children's theatre shows and select one that they feel will educate and entertain their elementary school neighbors. The high school students then design, rehearse and create the show under guidance. The show will then be performed in a final dress rehearsal at Topeka West for family and siblings before touring  Topeka Public Schools' elementary schools that accept the invitation for performances in December and January. This inovative program received $500 in philanthropic funding.

    Gel Electrophoresis

    Running gel electrophoresis is an activity lab that is usually done during the unit on genetics. Capital City does not have the materials needed to perform this type of lab. These materials will give students an opportunity to do inquiry based labs. This inovative program received $488.57 in philanthropic funding. 

    Pottery and Ceramics

    The new Capital City School art room is set up to house a kiln, which CCS has not previoysly had. A kiln has been generously donated by a staff member at CCS, along with much of the materials needed to get the kiln operating, this grant will help purchase the remaining needed materials to use with the kiln. This inovative program received $500 in philanthropic funding.

    One Book, One Author, One Grade

    In this program, grade level teachers will read aloud a book written by a specific author.  After reading the book, the students will participate in an author's visit either in person or via skype.  As part of the author's visit, all grade level participants will receive a free copy of the book. This inovative program received $856.90 in philanthropic funding.

    STEAMing in Third Grade

    The mission of this project is for students to increase their knowledge in science, technology, engineering, art and math by using hands-on, engaging activities while becoming skilled using the robot ball called "Sphero". Play is a powerful tool. By fusing technology with robotics, it will be inspiring tomorrow's inventors and innovators.  The Sphero is a powerful teacher and will give students a fun crash course in programming while sharpening their skills in math, computer science and engineering.  This inovative program received $500 in philanthropic funding.

    Chinese Calligraphy

    This program will allow students to practice the Chinese art of calligraphy. Learning Chinese calligraphy will help them achieve a better understanding of Chinese culture and language.  This inovative program received $400 in philanthropic funding.

    Topeka High School Clothing Closet

    This prgoject is a student-ran clothing closet that will assist students with opportunities to develop skills for the workplace, personal development and provide clothing items to be utilized by students within Topeka High School as deemed fit. Staff will participate and monitor activities within the project. This inovative program received $939.58 in philanthropic funding. 

    ED Drone Home

    This project will include the purchase of a quality drone. It will train and educate teachers about the multiple classroom uses, and educate students how to use drone technology.  This inovative program received $1,021.95 in philanthropic funding.

    The Heart of a Writer

    After studying and talking with regional and national authors, students will keep a writer's journal for at least 18 weeks and produce four projects based off their writer's journals.  This inovative program received $486.55 in philanthropic funding.

    Music Classroom Instruments

    This grant will purchase music instruments for my General Music Program at McEachron Elementary. With these instruments, students will learn musical concepts that will provide learning that crosses over into core subjects such as math and reading.  This inovative program received $490.34 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 in order that the society not charge individual admissions for Topeka Public School students.  The cost of the program would provide for unlimited access by USD 501 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 inovative program received $2,000 in philanthropic funding.

    Strings to the Symphony

    Topeka West String students are traveling to St. Louis, Missouri to participate in a workshop with a eminent conductor and will attend a St. Louis Symphony concert. Grant money will be used to assist in the cost of attending the Symphony concert.  This inovative program received $500 in philanthropic funding.

    Music Appreciation

    The goal of this is to teach my students how to play the Ukulele, and to provide the instruments for other music classes. Every student has an innate musical talent and it takes a music teacher and quality instraments to help students develop that talent.  This inovative program received $361 in philanthropic funding.

    Outdoor Environmental Education Overnights

    Overnight camping trips  for fifth grade students at Camp Qu-To at Lake Perry, a district facility. Ten tents were proved for the trip. This inovative program received $980 in philanthropic funding.

    Zoo at Ross

    The Topeka Zoo presented at Ross Elementary School. This inovative program received $395.16 in philanthropic funding.

    Refresh and IMPROVE: Whole Class literature Sets

    28 copies of selected children's classics in English and five copies of the same title in Spanish were purchased. These were combined in literature sets designed for use by an entire class. Each set includes 28 English language books and five Spanish language books.  Third through fifth grade teachers who wish to use them to expand their students' reading experience have access to the books.  This inovative program received $1,462.69 in philanthropic funding.

    Let the STEAM Roll

    Students use STEAM materials to become scientists, experts in technology, engineers, and mathematicians. They code Spheros to go through mazes and bridges that they create. Students learn and apply math practices and scientific knowledge as they are manipulating these materials. Through the use of these materials, students engage in STEAM activities while enjoying a new, fun way to learn.  This inovative program received $500 in philanthropic funding.

    Manufacturing - Community Project

    Students produce a product in simulation of a manufacturing/business environment.  They work in a manufacturing assembly line to produce a Tooth Fairy Pillow/Door Hanger. The class then donates their finished product to the kindergarten students at State Street Elementary School. This inovative program received $498.74 in philanthropic funding.

    Classroom Grant

    Purchasing 10 Kindles allows students access to a wider variety of books and provide them for a cheaper amount. This inovative program received $489.69 in philanthropic funding.

    LEGO Mindstorms - EV3

    Through the process of critical thinking, making mistakes and a dash of fun, students will create simple machines that are brought to life using a non-traditional foreign language. Simply put, the students will be using a universal medium, Lego's, to incorporate the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) into their learning. By doing so, the students will master a simple computer programming language that could open a door of opportunity into their 21st century skill set. This inovative program received $382.01 in philanthropic funding.

    Increasing Reading Opportunities at School and Home

    The purpose of this project is to provide families with leveled reading texts to increase the opportunities for students to practice familiar books they used in the listening station, puppet station and at the guided reading table by using the online resource Kids A to Z and Science A to Z.  By giving them access to leveled readers at home (in print), the students can have one more opportunity to practice reading a familiar book at their level without needing access to the internet.  Leveled reading texts will be implemented during science instruction to help integrate language arts and science. This inovative program received $200 in philanthropic funding.

    3D Printing for 21st Century Learning

    This project aims to provide opportunities for students to develop 21st Century Learning Skills (critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity). Students at Robinson Middle School would be provided a creative resource which would otherwise be unavailable to them. The use of 3D printing in the school would promote school-wide collaboration and the use of higher-order thinking skills across the curriculum. This inovative program received $998 in philanthropic funding.

    Painting the Room French

    Two Highland Park High School French students did an immersive mini-unit studying the people and places that make up the French-speaking community. Using that knowledge, scenes, monuments and characters were chosen to turn the classroom and hall directly outside it into a Francophone muse. This inovative program received $337.49 in philanthropic funding.

    Ravens Writing Retreat

    To implement and maintain a weekly student, staff and family writing project to increase student engagement in writing. This inovative program received $800 in philanthropic funding.

    Home Base: A Wellness Room

    Home Base will provide a calm, separate setting for both general and special education students. It will be supervised by a staff member during each hour of the school day. The target population to be served includes our emotionally fragile students, those who have experienced trauma, who have trouble maintaining focus for either the entire school day or class period including students with specific breaks built into their day as well and students with stress passes. This inovative program received $1000 in philanthropic funding.

    Fostering Cultural Competence and Literacy Through Music

    Research proves that excelled musical skills positively affect academics, specifically reading. With reading a top district priority, our students will increase music and reading literacy through performance with purchased ukuleles. Performances include school music programs, a performance in conjunction with Highland Park High, an end of the year cultural arts celebration involving parents and the community, a talent show in May and an end of the year tour to area schools and/or nursing homes. This inovative program received $600 in philanthropic funding.

    Science Olympiad Start Up Request

    The project is to purchase supplies and study materials for th eScience Olympiad team that is beginning at Highland Park High School. This inovative program received $500 in philanthropic funding.