Community News 10/21/20

Community News 10/21/20
Posted on 10/21/2020

Community News


The Topeka High Trojans and the Highland Park Scots hosted their homecoming games last week. Congratulations to Topeka High's Homecoming King and Queen, Marco Hidalgo and Zoe Caryl, and Highland Park's King and Queen, Owen Flores and Virginia De La Rosa! Topeka West will host their homecoming game on Friday, October 23rd.

Message from the Superintendent

Bus driver appreciation

Photo from 2019: Dr. Anderson celebrates bus drivers for National School Bus Safety Week

Dear Topeka Public Schools Family,

This week is National School Bus Safety Week. We thank our school bus drivers. They are front line staff members transporting students every day with a smile. We have been celebrating them on social media this week. Please take time to give a shout out on social media to a school bus driver. We especially thank Paula Swartzman Waters, our coordinator for transportation, who is the ultimate problem solver. We will be celebrating Red Ribbon Week! As we approach Red Ribbon activities and Fall events, we want to thank our staff and parents for helping us have a positive October. Several schools held homecoming events that were live-streamed due to the pandemic. Elementary schools will have micro classrooms with parades that are socially distant. More information will be sent to parents from those schools this week.

The pandemic has continued to result in our staff and students being creative in identifying ways we can ensure students are engaged in the activities they enjoy throughout the school year. To continue to keep our families informed, we are publishing a COVID-19 Positivity Rate Scorecard for our families based on the prior two weeks of cases we are aware of. Our nurse coordinator is in constant communication with the county health department and we have shared our internal district scorecard with them. We recognize that the county may experience hot spots in nursing homes and may see spreads in areas in the county and we want to be sure to help our staff and families remain aware of what we are experiencing in Topeka Public Schools. More information regarding our district scorecard is in the Community News.

Thank you again for your support and cooperation.

Dr. Tiffany Anderson



Positivity Scorecard

Stay Informed with Weekly Positivity Scorecard

In collaboration with KNEA and input from building leaders, Topeka Public Schools has developed a Positivity Rate Scorecard. The purpose of this scorecard is to provide a snapshot of the confirmed positivity rate among staff and students in the district. This was created in response to several inquires received to develop a system to communicate positivity rates among staff and students.

This graphic will be shared with staff, students, and families each week and provides an additional layer of protection when making decisions. The data reporting interval is aligned with the two-week windows that the Shawnee County Health Department uses. The 5% COVID positivity benchmark is aligned with national research. Ideally, any group should have less than 5% of its population testing positive. Thank you for your continued patience and support as we work to ensure everyone's safety.

Parent/Teacher Conferences

Its Almost Time for Virtual Parent-Teacher Conferences

Districtwide Virtual Parent/Teacher Conferences will be held on November 11 and 12. See below for specific times.


  • Wednesday, November 11, from 4-8 pm
  • Thursday, November 12, from 8 am-8 pm


  • Wednesday, November 11, from 3:30-7:30 pm
  • Thursday, November 12, from 7:30 am-7:30 pm

Teachers will be reaching out to families in the coming weeks to schedule conferences.

Millie Murphy Award

Millie Murphy Award Presented to Longtime Topeka Volunteer

Warm Little Ones Coat Fund was originally established in October of 1990 by Jim Brewer to provide coats for children in need. The fund has made it their mission to provide winter coats to children in need, with the vision of ensuring every child wearing a winter coat is healthy, able to attend school regularly and have strong self-esteem. Over the last 30 years, the fund has helped provide over 15,000 coats for children in need. Topeka Public Schools continues that longstanding tradition by working to support our TPS families and the Topeka community by providing coats received through charitable donations.

On Tuesday, October 20, the Topeka Public Schools Community Cupboard honored Mr. Brewer with the Millie Murphy Award for his many decades of community service in the Topeka Community. Congratulations Mr. Brewer!

Student eating Lunch

USDA Extends Option for Summer Meals through this School Year

Food Service is even more important than usual as Topeka Public Schools works to ensure that all students are fed as they learn in-person or remotely. Recently, the USDA announced the extension of several essential nationwide summer meals program waivers. This extension allows schools to utilize the summer meals programs during the school year regardless of school operating status. The date has also been extended to continue until June 30, 2021. This extension will continue to allow TPS to provide breakfast and lunch to all our students through the rest of the school year.

KTPS-TV Channel 14

Student-Run Broadcast Will Air First Show on Oct. 30th

Topeka Public Schools is pleased to announce that they have started a news broadcast program called KTPS-TV for high school students to participate in. Students involved in the program will learn how to film and edit videos together, run social media for the channel, speak in front of the camera, and produce a show. The group will air a complete show on the last in-person Friday of every month on Cox Cable Channel 14. For more information on the program contact Molly Hackett at [email protected].

Jardine Pumpkin Patch

Jardine Elementary Brings Pumpkin Patch to Students

Preschoolers and kindergartners at Jardine Elementary had their annual pumpkin patch field trip on Friday, and this time, they didn't have to go far. To keep kids safe, teachers set up a pumpkin patch in front of the school for kids to enjoy. The pumpkins were donated by local farms and Jardine staff worked with the PTO to organize the event. Schools are finding ways to maintain school year traditions that have to be adapted because of COVID-19 and each preschooler and kindergartener at Jardine got to take home a pumpkin that night. To view photos from this event, click here.

Quincy helps Family who lost house to fire

Quincy Elementary Helps Family Recover from Fire

A Topeka family lost their home and everything in it in a house fire. Christina Gonzales and her three kids left their home in Topeka's Oakland neighborhood Saturday afternoon for a birthday party and received a call soon after informing them that their house was on fire. Quincy Elementary Principal, Katie Sonderegger, knew that the school had to help. Mrs. Sonderegger alerted her staff and donations came pouring in. The school was able to collect monetary donations, clothes, shoes, toys and food for the family. To learn more about the Gonzales family's story, click here

For those interested in donating money for their hotel expenses or items, you can contact the school at (785) 235-7420.

Teacher at Topeka Public Schools

Come Be a Substitute Teacher at Topeka Public Schools

Want to work for an innovative school district with competitive wages, flexible hours, and great benefits? Come join the Topeka Public Schools Family! Our district is a diverse and well-rounded family of teachers, social workers, secretaries, administrators, substitutes and so much more. It is all hands on deck to ensure that we provide the best, and safest, education for all of our students.

If you are interested in becoming a substitute teacher and have any questions please contact Brandy Griego at 785-295-3032 or Nancy McCarter at 785-295-3098, or you can apply now for any available positions on our website.

Jardine Middle

Jardine Middle Expands Resources for Bilingual Students

Jardine Middle School is adding a class for students who move into the district from another county. Bilingual students moving to the district become part of their ‘newcomer program,' which helps them learn the English language and assists them in classroom activities. Now the program is also adding classes taught entirely in Spanish. Teachers at Jardine said they don't want language to be a barrier in core classes. The program also helps the parents feel more involved with the school and helps them understand what their children are learning each day. To read the news article about this new program, click here.

Mr. Lee Thomas

Landon Head Building Operator Goes Above and Beyond

Mr. Lee Thomas, Head Building operator at Landon Middle School, is the October Above and Beyond winner. During this unprecedented time, there has been more emphasis on the cleaning and sanitizing of all of our buildings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Mr. Thomas is constantly sanitizing surfaces, door handles, and any other high traffic areas. He is also in charge of coordinating the cleaning supplies for the building and making sure every area is stocked with hand sanitizer, wipes and sanitizing spray. He has also filled the building with signs that direct students and staff where to stand to maintain six feet of social distancing. During this difficult time, Mr. Thomas consistently goes above and beyond in performing the job duties necessary to provide a clean and sanitized environment for students and staff. Thank you, Mr. Thomas, for all you do!

National School Bus Safety Week

Celebrating National School Bus Safety Week

This week we are celebrating National School Bus Safety Week. During this week, to honor our school bus drivers, Governor Laura Kelly has proclaimed Wednesday, October 21, 2020, as School Transportation Appreciation Day in Kansas. Kansas bus drivers transport more than 218,000 children to and from schools across the state every school day. Thank you to our drivers, dispatchers, mechanics, aides, monitors, directors and other transportation personnel that help support our students and schools.

Halloween Events and Parades

Upcoming Halloween Events and Parades

It's that time of year - Topeka Public Schools is getting spooky with all sorts of fun and festivities! Click here to view your school's calendar for a fun list of Halloween inspired school events. Everyone loves a good scare on Halloween, but not when it comes to safety. Click here to learn several easy and effective behaviors that can help keep your Halloween fun and safe.

College Connection Newsletter

October College Connections Newsletter

The October College Connections newsletter highlights FAFSA preparation, ACT/SAT registration and testing dates, as well as available scholarship opportunities. The next ACT test date is December 12 with a registration deadline of November 6. Register for the next SAT test by November 5. Click here to read the full newsletter.

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