Community News 1/28/21

Community News 1/28/21
Posted on 01/28/2021
High School Graduates

Community News

Stormont Vail Health

Seventh-graders at Jardine Middle School were given an art assignment to create something with an uplifting message. Ayden Gore created this painting to uplift first responders and it is now hanging at Stormont Vail Health! Thank you to all first responders and essential workers.

Message from the Superintendent

Dr. Anderson reads to Shaner students over Zoom

Dear Topeka Public Schools Family,

Pictured above are our Shaner preschool scholars who included me in their playgroup time where we read a book together. Thank you to our Shaner social worker, Mrs. Jones who is hosting playgroup time each week for her preschool scholars. Our scholars have been very involved in celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through various community events. Learn more about our scholarship recipients and community award winners in the articles within the Community News.

In the winter we began celebrating and encouraging our essential workers with holiday visits from Santa. We are continuing the theme of Encouraging Essential Workers. On Kansas Day, Friday, January 29, 2021, the Topeka High drumline will be performing in front of Topeka High in support of the essential workers that serve as teachers, school staff, police officers and nursing professionals who help make Kansas a safe place in which to live, learn and grow. We are also cheering on the Chiefs as they head to the Super Bowl for the second year in a row. Go Chiefs! #TPSCheersOnTheChiefs

On Wednesday, February 4, 2021, the drumline will be performing for our essential workers in health care. The Topeka High drumline, led by Sal Cruz, will perform in front of Stormont Vail as our way of extending a big thank you to all health care professionals. We are encouraged by the recent decline in the county scorecard rating. As a reminder, our full school board supports returning when we have two weeks of an orange rating.

Thank you for your continued support,

Dr. Tiffany Anderson

Superintendent

McCarter Food Drive

TPS Celebrates MLK Day Across the District

District-wide, students, staff and administrators celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day on January 18, 2021. Events included the Center for Peace and Justice's 29th Annual Program and our own Dr. Gordon, McClure Elementary principal, who gave an amazing vocal performance. Some of the additional events Topeka staff and students participated in to uplift and celebrate Dr. King's Legacy include:

  • Topeka High Football players and teacher, Mrs. Teresa Canty, participated in the day of service organized by Living the Dream and they delivered baskets to the East Topeka Senior Center.
  • The Topeka Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, conducted a canned food drive outside of McClure as a part of our National Links Day of Service.
  • All TPS principals attended the Kansas Governor's Virtual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration held on January 18.

Living the Dream

Living the Dream Scholarship Winners Announced

Living the Dream Inc. Topeka has announced its 2021 scholarship winners. This year TPS had 13 students receive scholarships! Five students from Topeka High, four from Topeka West and four from Highland Park all received scholarships for their hard work. Click here for a full list of scholarship winners. Special congratulations to the following people who won LTD awards:

  • Early College Prep Academy at Lowman Hill Elementary has been selected as the recipient of the 2021 Pauline J. Barker School Award.
  • Ms. Kathleen Foster, Instructional Coach, has been selected as the recipient of the 2021 Vivian Scales Education Award.
  • Ms. Chrishayla Adams has been selected as the recipient of the 2021 Youth Award.
  • Mr. Kelm Lear has been selected as the recipient of the 2021 Elizabeth ‘Liz' Ross Community Action Award.

In addition, the annual MLK Jr. Living the Dream Food Drive will end on February 1. Food collection bins are located outside each district school building. Students and staff are encouraged to donate non-breakable, non-perishable items, and whichever school collects the most items will receive the LTD traveling trophy at the following board meeting.

Graduation

TPS to Hold Mid-Year Graduation Ceremonies in February

Topeka Public Schools high schools are hosting mini graduation ceremonies on February 10, for those that are eligible to graduate at mid-year. There will be a variety of sessions for students to sign up for by appointment. Each school will hold socially-distanced ceremonies with 10 or fewer individuals to help celebrate their accomplishments during COVID-19. All graduation celebrations will be streamed live on the respective high school's Youtube page. In-person events are by invitation only and all COVID-19 safety precautions will be followed. Schools will be reaching out to graduates and families for more information in the coming weeks. Ceremony times are as follows:

Morning:

  • Topeka West High School: 8:00 a.m.
  • Topeka High School: 9:00 a.m. / 9:30 a.m.
  • Highland Park High School: 10:00 a.m.

Late Afternoon/Evening:

  • Topeka West High School: 4:00 p.m.
  • Highland Park High School: 4:00 p.m.
  • Topeka High School: 5:00 p.m.

After the graduation ceremonies, you can view the videos on our Youtube channel and KTPS-TV (Cox Channel 14). We are so proud of our graduating seniors who have persevered despite the many challenges the pandemic has created. We know our students will continue to do great things!

Chiefs

TPS Shows Off Chiefs Pride Ahead of the Super Bowl

Congratulations Chiefs! The Chiefs are heading back to the Super Bowl this year. Our district has been celebrating the Chief's path to victory in several ways. Staff and students are encouraged to wear Chiefs gear or red and gold on Mondays and Fridays to show support for the team. McClure Elementary has also decked the halls in Chiefs decorations and are holding a Red Friday drawing on February 5, with Chiefs prizes, including an autographed book illustrated by McClure parent Rob Peters, titled "Go Chiefs, Go."

Our TPS staff and students are our most valuable players who help us succeed in our goals as a district each and every day. We want to thank our staff, students and the support of their families for making this academic season successful, even as we work through unforeseen challenges locally and across the nation. We continue to work as a team for continuous improvement. Go Chiefs! Go TPS! We invite you to read an inspiring article about Chiefs quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, and how he learned to overcome adversity in football.

THS Drumline

Topeka High Drumline will Perform for Essential Workers

The Topeka High Drumline will be performing on Friday, January 29, in front of the Topeka High building at 11:00 a.m. for the TPS Police Department in honor of National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day that occurred on January 9, 2021. The drumline will also be performing at Stormont Vail on Wednesday, February 3, at 11:15 a.m. and the performance will be live-streamed to all patients and staff at all Stormont Vail facilities. TPS wants to do all we can to show appreciation and say thank you to local essential workers.

Teresa Walters

Topeka West School Psychologist Named a Kansan of the Year

This year has had unprecedented challenges that have led to innovative solutions. Teresa Walters, a school psychologist for Topeka West, was recognized as a Kansan of the Year for making and distributing thousands of masks to students during the pandemic. Her donations locally have also reached Stormont Vail Hospital, the Kansas Neurological Institute and Valeo Behavioral Health Care. Beyond Topeka, the masks have been sent to Montana, Arizona, Alaska, Michigan, New Jersey and even Mexico. She's even inspired friends to learn to sew to make masks and taught them how to use sewing machines themselves.

Kenslee Young

Eisenhower Student Spent Her Holiday Break Volunteering

Kenslee Young, a sixth-grader at Eisenhower Middle School, spent the last two weekends in December collecting donations for the Blessing Boxes around Topeka. Blessing Boxes are enclosed boxes placed in various areas across the community that house supplies for those in need. People are invited to pitch in canned goods and other supplies and take what they need as well. Last weekend, she took all the items she collected and filled 17 blessing boxes! Kenslee does this several times a year. We are so proud of Kenslee for volunteering her time to help those in need!

Kathy Tallman

Sheldon Volunteer Named January Above and Beyond Winner

This month's Above and Beyond Award winner is community member Ms. Kathy Tallman! Tallman was chosen for her longtime commitment to the betterment of Sheldon Head Start students. Her involvement with the school began more than five years ago, when Tallman approached a Sheldon Head Start teacher, whom she did not know, and explained that on special occasions (birthdays, Christmas, etc.) she would ask for fabric to make blankets for students. Since then, she has sewn blankets for every Sheldon student! In addition, Ms. Tallman volunteers to run the Sheldon Head Start Clothing Bank and staff say she does an incredible job of organizing and displaying the items.

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

Dr. Tiffany Anderson

TPS Superintendent Awarded the MLK Living Legacy Award

This year, Topeka Public Schools has continued to put a big focus on racial equity and serving all students to the best of our abilities. In recognition of the leadership shown by Dr. Tiffany Anderson, superintendent of TPS, she received the MidAmerica Nazarene University's 2021 Martin Luther King, Jr. Living Legacy Award because of her work to "faithfully serve students, her school district and community" and to keep King's dream alive. To read more about this award, click here.

KTPS-TV Logo

New Fine Arts Show to Air Weekly on District TV Station

Beginning on February 3, the TPS Communications Department will be partnering with the Fine Arts Department to air a weekly fine arts show on the district TV Channel, Cox channel 14. This show will run from 7-8 p.m. each Wednesday in February, to showcase student artwork that will follow a different theme each week. Tune in each week to celebrate our student's artwork!

Kindergarten Orientation

Pre-Register for Kindergarten Orientation in April

Do you have a young scholar ready to start kindergarten in the fall? Join us at Virtual Kindergarten Orientation on April 8th from 5:30-6:30 p.m. This event is an opportunity for parents to learn more about Topeka Public Schools and what their child can expect in kindergarten. Children must be five-years-old by August 31 in order to be kindergarten eligible. A virtual Kindergarten Orientation will take place at every elementary school building, so please attend the Zoom meeting hosted by your child's school.

Clarence Frost

92-Year-Old Receives Diploma from Topeka High School

Topeka High School's newest alumni has a bit more life experience than your typical graduate. Clarence Frost grew up in Topeka and he was forced to make it on his own at a young age. At age 13, Frost dropped out of school to work and provide for his family. Frost held jobs, then served in the Marine Corps. After leaving the service, he worked as an auto mechanic where he met his wife Shirley. They had two daughters and a son, and eventually moved to California, where he learned the plastering trade. Now 92 years old, Frost resides in a retirement living facility in Washington State, where he mentioned to one of his caregivers that he always regretted not finishing high school. When his family reached out to Topeka High they created a diploma, and a recent graduate sent their cap, gown and tassel. Last week, Frost got decked out in the Trojans black and gold, and local veterans presented him his diploma. Click here to read more about Frost's story. TPS is honored to have alumni of all ages all across the world!

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