Community News 12/23/20

Community News 12/23/20
Posted on 12/10/2020
Santa Claus to visit classes through Zoom

Community News

Spacial Message from Santa Claus

Our Nutrition Service Specialist, Mr. Wagner, invited Santa Claus to visit classes through Zoom this month. Santa also has a special message for all the boys and girls in the district. Click here to watch the video.

Message from the Superintendent

First Responder

Dear Topeka Public Schools Family,

In support of our first responders, we are surprising various families each week with a thank you and a gift to thank their families for their sacrifices. This week, we thanked a McClure family that also has one parent serving as a first responder at Stormont Vail. Mrs. Ahmed was surprised yesterday, she is one of the many people on the front lines as hospitals were at capacity this month. We thank all of our first responders who are working tirelessly to care for families throughout the county.

This has been a difficult month as we have experienced a tragic loss within our student body. Our Scott Dual Language kindergarten student, Abraham Sebastian Sanchez, passed away from medical complications, and the Scott Dual Language Family and our district are heartbroken. Any tragic passing of a child is incredibly difficult and we are uplifting all impacted in our thoughts and prayers. Information is included in the CNews for those who would like to send support to this family in the care of Abram Sebastian Sanchez.

This month schools are continuing to provide some in-person opportunities in small groups, however, due to the spread previously impacting staffing, we did not have adequate staff to safely open while in the red which indicates the spread was impacting our staff following the holiday. Our School Board last week confirmed their support to open when the county spread decreases further into the orange rating. This week we are partnering with KDHE to provide testing at no charge to anyone in the community and our nurses are also being trained this week to begin providing some limited COVID-19 testing in our schools at no cost to our families and staff, thanks to KDHE.

The COVID Communicator will be published at the end of this week as we continue to carefully monitor COVID and provide updates. Thank you for your ongoing support through this health crisis. We wish you a peaceful start to your holiday season and please keep all of our families impacted by COVID-19 this year in your thoughts.

Dr. Tiffany Anderson



Abram Sanchez Sebastian

TPS Mourns Loss of Abraham Sebastian Sanchez

It is with a heavy heart that we share our Scott Dual Language kindergartener, Abraham Sebastian Sanchez, passed away due to medical complications. He was a sweet, quiet young man who loved his family and always eager to learn. The Scott and Topeka Public Schools family will miss him dearly. Our thoughts and prayers are extended to the Sanchez family during this very difficult time.

Davidson Funeral Home, located at 1035 N Kansas Ave, can be contacted by calling 785-233-4088 for those who want to extend their support as the family works to address memorial expenses on Tuesday.

Shawnee County Scorecard 11/29-12/5

Remote Learning Will Continue During Spike of COVID Cases

As we shared on November 20th, November 25th, and last Friday, December 4th, if the Shawnee County Community Transmission Scorecard remained in the red rating and it impacted staff, we may remain closed through December. Therefore, as we support the continuity of instruction for our scholars, remote learning at this time will continue. Based on feedback from the Board of Education, in-person learning across the district at this time is not supported while in the uncontrolled status without adequate staffing. However, once we move into the Orange rating with adequate staffing, we have their full support to open for in-person learning.

Thank you for your continued support of your children and the district as we work to keep everyone safe.

First Responder

TPS Delivers Holiday Cheer to First Responder Families

Every #WonderfulWednesday in December, TPS will be surprising families of first responders with thank you gifts for their service during this pandemic. The first Wednesday of December, Superintendent, Dr. Anderson, dressed as Mrs. Claus, and Whitson Elementary Principal, Keelin Pierce, surprised Richard Sigle, Topeka fire chief for emergency medical services, and his sons Kashaun and Jayden with holiday cheer and gifts. On December 9, Mrs. Claus and McClure Elementary Principal, Dr. Jennifer Gordon surprised Sharmin Ahmed, who works at Stormont Vail, and her daughter Sarah, with Christmas gifts. The district will continue to visit first responder families at their homes on Wednesdays during the holiday season to bring gifts and tokens of the district's appreciation for their work and sacrifices. To read more about this story, click here.

Holiday Cards

2020 Topeka Public Schools Holiday Card Contest Winners

Thank you to all students who submitted their hand-drawn holiday card entries. Three cards have been selected as Topeka Public Schools official holiday cards. Aaliyah Lattimore, a third-grader at Quincy Elementary, Clara Womack, fifth-grader at Meadows Elementary, and Sofiya Gomez-Solis, fifth-grader at State Street Elementary, illustrated the selected holiday cards. To view the finalists, click here.

Food Service Workers fill Brown Bags for grab n go lunches

Meal Distribution will Continue During Remote Learning

Due to a spike of COVID cases in Shawnee County, Topeka Public Schools made the decision to move all students to remote learning until it is deemed safe to meet in-person. The situation will be evaluated weekly to determine when to move back to in-person learning. During these weeks of remote learning, the district will still be providing students with free grab 'n go meals seven days a week. To reduce potential virus exposure and the number of trips parents need to make, TPS will only serve grab 'n go meals during remote operations on Wednesdays. Each distribution will include seven lunches and seven breakfasts, and schools will offer the meals between 11 a.m. and noon and 3:15 and 5:15 p.m. on Wednesdays. Click here for a complete list of distribution sites. To read more about these services in the news, click here.

COIVD-19 Testing

Shawnee County Offers Free COVID-19 Testing Sites

Topeka Public Schools has partnered with the county to provide a free COVID-19 testing site. The Shawnee County Health Department and Kansas Department of Health and Environment in coordination with the state's “Stop the Spread. It's Up to Us, Kansas” campaign to expand testing statewide, is sponsoring 3 separate sites to provide COVID-19 testing to the citizens of Topeka and Shawnee County. This testing is free of charge and will be offered to anyone that arrives at the site. Persons that have no symptoms are also eligible for testing. Pre-registration is encouraged although those who wish to be tested can arrive and be tested without an appointment. Click here to register. Sites will be open Monday – Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm each day. The following locations will be available to the public.

  • New Mt. Zion Baptist Church located at 2801 SE Indiana. Please enter off of SE 28th St.
  • Topeka Housing Authority located at 2010 SE California Ave. Please enter off of SE Swygart Ave.
  • Hummer Sports Park located at 500 Tuffy Kellog Dr. in the east parking lot.

Hummer Sports Park is currently in operation. New Mt. Zion Baptist Church and the Topeka Housing Authority sites will begin on December 10. For any questions please contact: Operations Section Chief, Craig Barnes at [email protected]

Dr. Jennifer Harrington

TPS Administrator Recognized for Adaptive PE Event

Topeka Public Schools very own Dr. Jennifer Harrington, General Director of Special Education and Special Services, has been recognized for outstanding leadership by Kansas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (KAHPERD). Dr. Harrington, who has been with the district for 20 years, received the 2020 KAHPERD Administrator of the Year award. She was nominated by Matt Dunkin, an adaptive PE teacher for the district, for her work creating an annual districtwide adaptive PE day that is going into its 4th year. Click here to watch her acceptance video. Congratulations Dr. Harrington and thank you for all you do for the district and our students! We are so lucky to have so many amazing administrators to provide leadership to all the departments in the district.

United Way

TPS Supports United Way

We thank the staff, students and families who helped support this year's United Way fundraising campaign. The district partnership with United Way is one that impacts our students starting in preschool. A special thank you to Marie Carter, a retired Topeka Public Schools employee, who served as a United Way campaign ambassador this year. All schools and buildings participated on some level with special events and staff donations. TPS is happy to announce there were 12 buildings with 100 percent of their staff that contributed:

  • Capital City High School
  • Eisenhower Middle School
  • French Middle/Elementary
  • Lowman Hill Elementary
  • Randolph Elementary
  • Scott Dual Language Magnet
  • Stout Elementary
  • Sheldon Head-Start
  • Whitson Elementary
  • Avondale East
  • Hummer Sports Park
  • Jaguar Academy.

Thank you to everyone who donated and volunteered time during this campaign.

Lowman Hill

Lowman Hill Partners to Provide Turkeys for Teachers

The Early College Prep Academy at Lowman Hill Elementary is honored to receive the amazing donation of Turkeys for Teachers this year! As a part of American Education Week, Hilary Aubey with Horace Mann Insurance partnered with Hy-Vee to generously provide 55 turkeys or hams for each of our staff members. At Topeka Public Schools we recognize the hard work and dedication of all of our staff. Each staff member goes above and beyond every day for our scholars. Lowman Hill is excited to provide their entire staff and their families with a nice Thanksgiving meal to show their appreciation! Thank you to Horace Mann Insurance for being such a valuable partnership for Topeka Public Schools.

Eisenhower Meal Delivery Baskets

Eisenhower Partners with Community to Provide Thanksgiving Baskets

Eisenhower Middle School partnered with SENT Topeka, Walmart, Mt. Zion Church and community members to provide Eisenhower families and staff in need with Thanksgiving meal baskets full of everything a family would need to cook a Thanksgiving meal. Each basket was worth approximately $50 and contained a Turkey, ham, stuffing, corn, potatoes, rolls, items to make green bean casserole, and a pumpkin pie! Thank you to the community partners that worked with Eisenhower to provide this token of appreciation to their staff and families. To learn more about how schools celebrated Thanksgiving this year, click here.

Board Member, Melanie Stuart-Campbell

TPS Board Member Writes Spanish Children's Books to Encourage Bilingualism

As a Board of Education member, Mrs. Melanie Stuart-Campbell is focused on providing opportunities and resources for Spanish-speaking students. Throughout her career, Mrs. Stuart-Campbell has been able to travel the world in her various roles teaching English Language Learners, as well as recruiting and instructing other teachers on how to best reach those students. When she was in Ecuador in 1999, Mrs. Stuart-Campbell befriended Alba, a mutt from the streets of Quito, and she knew she couldn't return to the U.S. without the puppy. Throughout Alba's life, Stuart-Campbell had mused about writing a children's book based on Alba's story to help young children learn Spanish, but it wasn't until 2016, when Alba died at 17 years old, that Mrs. Stuart-Campbell was motivated to get the project done. The book was written in English and Spanish to help introduce children to the world of bilingualism. Mrs. Stuart-Campbell has also written two Spanish workbooks to help children learn the basics of Spanish. To read more about Ms. Stuart-Campbell's story, click here.

College Connection Newsletter

Read the Newest Edition of College Connections Newsletter

The December College Connections newsletter highlights FAFSA preparation, ACT/SAT registration and testing dates, as well as available scholarship and job opportunities. The next ACT test date is February 6, the registration deadline is January 8, and the next SAT test date is March 13, the registration deadline is February 12. Click here to read more.

Distinguished Staff Award

2021 Distinguished Staff Award Nominations Now Open

The Distinguished Staff Award selection committee is accepting nominations for the 2021 Distinguished Staff Award (DSA). The DSA is the highest award that a Topeka Public Schools staff member can receive. You can nominate an outstanding staff member by clicking here to fill out the official nomination form.

You can nominate staff members in the following categories:

  • First Year Elementary Teacher
  • First Year Secondary Teacher
  • Building Leader
  • Classified Support Staff
  • Certified Support Staff
  • Custodian
  • Paraprofessional
  • Elementary School Educator
  • Middle School Educator
  • High School Educator
  • Office Personnel
  • Food Service
  • Operations
  • District Administration

TPS is looking forward to celebrating our DSA winners in the spring!


TPSF Program Provides Prescription Drug Support

We are nearing mid-year and the height of the holiday season at a time when the pandemic has continued to worsen. The TPS Foundation understands that some of our TPS staff and families, in times like these, are faced with making tough choices of whether to feed their family or provide/take their prescription medications. TPSF has a new prescription drug program this year and may be able to provide some assistance whether you are a TPS student, family member, educator, or para in need of assistance obtaining or refilling your prescriptions. The funding is limited so requests will be considered until the fund is exhausted. Contact your child's school principal, counselor or social worker to obtain an application and determine if you qualify for assistance.

Pat Bordewick

Topeka High Counselor Selected as an Above and Beyond Winner

Ms. Pat Bordewick has been a counselor at Topeka High School for 29 years and has been nominated for a Distinguished Staff Award multiple times over the years. According to Topeka High School Principal, Ms. Rebecca Morrisey, she has never witnessed anyone who works more hours than Ms. Bordewick, outside of her duty day, outside of her duty year, to make sure that not only her divisional students have the absolute best opportunity to succeed, but that every THS student has that chance. Click here to read more about Ms. Bordewick's accomplishments.

Congratulations to Pat Bordewick! We are so proud of you and deeply appreciate the time and effort you've spent over the years to make TPS better.

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