Community News 2/12/21

Community News 2/12/21
Posted on 02/12/2021
Mid-Year Grad Collage

Community News

Mid-year Graduate Ceremonies

This week we celebrated all our mid-year high school graduates during a very important milestone in their lives. These scholars have persevered through many challenges and we know they are destined to do great things in the future!

Message from the Superintendent

Dr. Tiffany Anderson

Dear Topeka Public Schools Family,

On February 10, 2021, we had our first-ever mid-year graduate ceremonies to celebrate our students who completed their graduation requirements early despite the pandemic. These students have already started to move into their post-secondary experiences. The videos from the events are posted on our cable channel and can be viewed at any time on our district's Facebook and Youtube channels. Congratulations graduates!

This week we also had a member of the legislature, State Representative Tim Johnson, visit Shaner Early Learning Academy. He participated in Mrs. Lauxman's preschool class with his 4-year-old grandson, Owen, and had a wonderful time. We thank our legislators for their support. On February 11, TPS celebrated the 100th day of school, and schools across the district celebrated in creative ways.

Thank you for helping us serve others as we navigate our way through the pandemic with our focus on service above self.

Dr. Tiffany Anderson


In-person learning

TPS Will Resume In-Person Learning on February 15th

As shared in the COVID Communicator yesterday, the Shawnee County Health Department released its Community Transmission Scorecard, and the county has an Orange rating for the second consecutive week. Therefore, we will reopen Monday, February 15, 2021, for in-person learning (PK - 5th grade modified micro classrooms and 6th - 12th-grade A/B group schedule). If a parent would prefer to keep their child at home learning remotely, that remains an option and the school can be contacted to keep them informed.

Only students who were receiving in-person instruction in January will be receiving in-person instruction in February as we complete the remainder of the quarter.

Again, thank you for your continued support of your children and the district and we look forward to meeting with you during Parent-Teacher Conferences in February.

Mid-year Graduate Ceremonies

TPS Celebrates Mid Year Graduate Ceremonies

TopekaPublic Schools high schools hosted mid-year graduate ceremonies on February 10, for those that were eligible to graduate at mid-year. Each school held socially-distanced ceremonies to help celebrate their students' accomplishments during COVID-19. You can view the graduation videos on our district's Facebook and Youtube channel at any time.

We are so proud of our graduating seniors who have succeeded despite the many challenges the pandemic has created. We know our students will continue to do great things!


TPS Staff to Receive Vaccinations Starting Next Week

Topeka Public Schools is excited to announce that our voice has been heard and recently the health department has agreed to place a higher priority on school-based staff vaccines. Impacted staff are being notified as soon as we receive a finalized schedule of available spaces. You must wear your school badge when you report for your vaccine. The Shawnee County Health Department shared, "In addition to vaccinating people 65 and older, starting on Monday, February 15, the Shawnee County Health Department will be collaborating with Stormont Vail Health and The University of Kansas St. Francis Campus to begin administering the vaccine to K-12 faculty and staff, both public and private schools, with the goal of having the first dose to all staff interested in Shawnee County before spring break. This includes teachers, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, and all others employed by K-12 schools." We thank Stormont Vail Health for partnering with the health department to make this possible.

THS Drumline Performance

TPS Encourages Essential Workers with THS Drumline Performances

Over the past few weeks, the Topeka High Drumline marched to show appreciation for essential workers and all they have done throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. On January 29, the drumline performed for the TPS Police Department in recognition of Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, during which all the officers received certificates of appreciation and a small gift. The students also performed for the staff and patients at Stormont Vail on February 3. Additionally, TPS Superintendent, Dr. Tiffany Anderson, addressed the hospital staff. She also presented a certificate of appreciation to Stormont Vail CEO, Dr. Robert Kenagy. TPS created a video from the performance to say thank you to all essential workers for their dedication and service to the Topeka community.

TPS Equity Series

TPS Continues Equity Series with Esteemed Guests

In honor of Black History Month, Topeka Public Schools will be hosting a racial equity panel on Tuesday, February 16, at 5:30 p.m. on Facebook Live. The panel will be focused on topics surrounding the recent racial issues and equity in education. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Tiffany Anderson, Superintendent, Dr. Beryl New, Director of Certified Personnel and Equity and Rebecca Morrissey, Topeka High School Principal and Equity Council member.

The esteemed panelists include:

  • Leola Brown Montgomery, mother of Linda Brown, the namesake of the Brown v. Board of Education court case
  • Rosalind Miller, the first African American educator in Grandview School District
  • Dale Cushinberry, the first African American educator serving at all grade levels in Topeka
  • Rodney Johnson, longest-serving African American administrator at Topeka High School
  • Carolyn Campbell, the first African American to serve on the Kansas State Board of Education
  • Enimini Ekong, Project Manager at the National Parks Service and former Chief of Interpretation at Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site.
  • Dexter Armstrong, Park Ranger at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site

Thank you to our distinguished panelists for participating in this important discussion!

Parent/Teacher Conferences

Virtual Parent-Teacher Conferences Scheduled for February 17-18

District-wide Virtual Parent/Teacher Conferences will be held on February 17 and 18. See below for specific times. Teachers will reach out to provide individual Zoom links for each student.


  • Wednesday, February 17, from 4-8 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 18, from 8 a.m.-8 p.m.


  • Wednesday, February 17, from 3:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 18, from 7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

As a reminder, there will be no school for students on February 18 and 19.

House Commerce Committee

TPS Superintendent Testifies to Congress for Broadband and E-Rate Expansion

The House Commerce Committee (Majority) is planning a hearing for February 17 that will explore Broadband Solutions to Pandemic Problems and will include TPS Superintendent, Dr. Tiffany Anderson, as a witness from the school community. She will discuss how students and teachers in Kansas were impacted by the pandemic, how Topeka Public Schools responded to the homework gap, and future work that still needs to be done. Dr. Anderson is advocating for more resources for schools to address a shortage of devices and hotspots, and to offer broadband in all districts. TPS is proud to have leadership that advocates on behalf of all students and staff and we look forward to hearing Dr. Anderson testify about the importance of broadband on this national platform.

McCarter Food Drive

Fourth Annual District-wide Food Drive is a Success

Topeka Public Schools, in partnership with Living the Dream, Inc. (LTD), hosted the fourth annual food drive that collected more food than ever before! McCarter Elementary was announced as the winner of the food drive with the most items collected at 3388 food items. McCarter Elementary will be recognized at the February 18, Board of Education meeting and also will be presented with the LTD trophy. The class that collected the most at McCarter will also have a pizza party. During the month of January, buildings in the district were encouraged to collect non-perishable food items to be split between district food pantries and the Washburn University student food pantry. The TPS community cupboard is now fully stocked with donations and open to the public. We thank everyone for their generosity and participation!

Legislative Visit

Legislator Participates in Remote Class at Shaner Early Learning Academy

State Representative Tim Johnson, 38th District, had the opportunity to experience remote learning on Friday, February 5, in Mrs. Lauxman's preschool class at Shaner Early Learning Academy. Representative Johnson was particularly interested in how remote learning looks at the preschool level and hopes to return and see early childhood educators in action when in-person learning resumes. He, along with his adorable and active 4-year-old grandson Owen, sang, counted, laughed, and interacted as if they belonged in the classroom. After class, Representative Johnson spoke with principals about remote learning and staff engagement. They spoke about innovative ways to bring resources to students during remote learning. Thank you for your visit, Representative Johnson!

Harvesters Food Pantry

Expanded Food Pantry Options for TPS Families

Stout Elementary is participating in a program called Fun Friday Food Bags provided by the nonprofit organization, Project Topeka. Volunteers fill the bags with kid-friendly food that students can eat over the weekend. Stout is also working with the Valley Park Neighborhood Association and the Topeka Rescue Mission to give food boxes out every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month from 5 - 6 p.m. Families can also pre-order a box and have it delivered to their home. Harvesters has also expanded its partnership with TPS to implement a new mobile food pantry site at Robinson Middle School. This site will be open every first Friday of the month at 4-5 p.m.

Jennifer Antonetti

TPS Band Director Receives Recognition From Yamaha Music

Ms. Jeniffer Antonetti, TPS Band Director, has been named on the list of Yamaha Music's Top 40 Under 40. This list was established by Yamaha to celebrate music educators at all grade levels across the country. Ms. Antonetti balances working with more than 250 students every day at three schools: Meadows Elementary, Robinson Middle School and Topeka High School. She actively includes and commissions music from under-represented cultures and shows students where the music originated from on world maps that she has posted in the music room. She also uses science and props to teach students how their breathing and body affect sound production on their instruments. Antonetti and her husband developed a software app called BatonSync that currently has subscribers in 15 states and helps music educators keep track of instrument, uniform, and equipment inventories, as well as student information, finances, and more. Congratulations Ms. Antonetti and thank you for all you do for TPS!

Lowman Hills Hats & Snacks

Lowman Hill Gives Free Winter Weather Gear to Students

Early College Prep Academy at Lowman Hill Elementary hosted a Hats and Snacks event for their students on February 2. Students were able to drive through and receive a bag that contained a hat, gloves, and scarf, as well as some fun snacks. This event wouldn't have been possible without a donation of winter gear from a Kansas City organization, the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO). Thank you to our partners and donors for providing extra support for our students!

Avondale Book Box

Avondale Academy Installs Book Box for the Community

The Avondale Academy has installed a new book box for the high number of pedestrians that walk by the building every day. Students and staff wanted to offer a book box for the community to enjoy and under the direction of Ms. Appelhanz, Avondale Academy Science Teacher, students built and painted the first Avondale Book Box which was assembled on Friday, February 5, for people in the community to enjoy. We hope you can stop by and check out the selection of books!


ASCD Elevates Black Voices Locally and Nationally

Educational organization, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), kicked off Black History Month by asking influential Black authors and faculty members to tell the story of their experiences in the classroom and how Black history has shaped their lives and careers. ASCD began the month with urban educator and author, Baruti Kafele and they also featured our very own Dr. Tiffany Anderson, who discussed walking in her purpose every day through her journey as an educator. You can read more about the people that will be featured in this month's series on the ASCD website.

College Connection Newsletter

February College Connection Newsletter Available Now

The February College Connection Newsletter highlights FAFSA preparation, ACT/SAT registration and testing dates, virtual college exploration, as well as available scholarship and job opportunities. The next ACT test date is April 17 and the next SAT test date is March 13.

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.

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