Community News 3/31/21

Community News 3/31/21
Posted on 03/31/2021
Teacher of the year

Community News

2022 Kansas Teacher of the Year Awards

Please join us as we celebrate the 2022 Kansas Teacher of the Year nominees Keisha Cross and Eric Bradshaw.

Message from the Superintendent Sharefest 2019
Photo taken at Sharefest 2019

Dear Topeka Public Schools Family,

As March nears an end, we had the wonderful opportunity to celebrate two Kansas Teacher of the Year Nominees from Ross Elementary and Topeka High. Congratulations to Mrs. Cross and Mr. Bradshaw.

On April 24 our incredible church volunteers across Topeka will be hosting Sharefest. We thank them for their generosity and support. The photo above is from the 2019 ShareFest at Meadows with Principal Johnson and other district staff. This event is only made possible due to countless volunteers from churches and our schools. For more information about the event or how to volunteer, read the article included below.

April 1, 2021, begins our full day, full week return to school for all scholars. Schools are planning promotional events, students are engaged in Spring activities and registration in our extended year program has started. Registration for the 2021-22 academic year will open tomorrow, April 1, 2021. Parents are encouraged to explore our Magnet schools, our innovative STEAM offerings at Jardine Elementary, and our college prep academy. Any platform, which includes in-person and virtual, is available next year as well as personalized educational opportunities for every family where possible.

Thank you for supporting our safety protocols as we work to keep all students in school through the end of the year.

Dr. Tiffany Anderson


Highland Park Senior Receives Scholarship

Highland Park Senior Receives Full-Ride Scholarship

Highland Park High School's hard-working Elíseo Barreño recently received the surprise of a lifetime and a chance to fulfill his dream. Elíseo and his family were surprised with a four-year, full-ride scholarship totaling $88,000 from The Rudd Foundation. Elíseo has chosen to attend Wichita State University. This is not only an amazing honor but a huge financial weight lifted off his family's shoulders. This scholarship strives to help the brightest Kansas minds stay in Kansas and build new businesses, teach in its schools, lead in its communities and achieve excellence in all that they do right here in Kansas. This year The Rudd Foundation awarded scholarships to 30 students throughout Kansas and each student can choose to go to Wichita State, Emporia State or Fort Hays State University. It will pay for all expenses above and beyond whatever grants, aid or additional scholarships the student receives.

Additionally, Elíseo was awarded the title of this year's valedictorian for the HPHS class of 2021 during the presentation! You can watch the full video of Elíseo's surprise. Please join us as we congratulate this standout HPHS scholar!


Register Now in Traditional or Virtual School for 2021-22

Hey parents! It's never too early to start thinking about the next school year. Online registration for the 2021-2022 school year will open on April 1, 2021. Topeka Public Schools offers endless opportunities for students, pre-school through twelfth grade. Topeka Public Schools also offers a virtual education program. Homeschool parents can register to enroll in the virtual school. This program includes students (grades K-12) and adults with both virtual and onsite learning opportunities. For more information on our virtual school program visit the virtual school website. On the TPS website, there are instructions on how to register new students and returning students, as well as resources for families as they begin the registration process.


Online Preschool Registration Opens April 1st

The preschool application process has moved online and is now open! If you have a young scholar that is ready to begin preschool in the fall, please visit our website and click on the pencil icon in the top right corner of the site to start the application process! When registering your child, you will need to provide the following documents: the child's immunization records, birth certificate, medical insurance card, and current physical exam. You must also provide the parent's 2019 tax returns and driver's license. For more information on how to register your new preschooler online, view our virtual flyer.

Oscar Munoz, Therapy Dog

TPS Provides Social-Emotional Support as Students Return on April 1

We are so excited to welcome our secondary students back to full-time in-person learning to begin the 4th quarter on April 1! Schools have implemented various social-emotional support systems which include mental health spaces for students to check in to if there's a need, and our four-legged, furry therapy dog employees will be returning full time to greet our scholars back. As schools begin to open full-time again, therapy dogs can get back to doing what they love most. Pictured is Topeka High's Therapy Dog, Oscar Munoz. He's one of 14 therapy dogs that work in the district's therapy program which has supported thousands of children. To celebrate returning to full-time in-person learning on April 1, many district therapy dogs will be waiting at the entrance of their home school to greet students as they enter.

TPS Logo

TPS Receives Highest Audit Rating Possible for Fourth Consecutive Year

Topeka Public Schools is proud to announce that for the fourth year in a row we received the highest marks that can be achieved for a set of financial statements. Results of the district's annual audit reflected no material weaknesses or significant deficiencies in the management of financial resources.

On March 18, 2021, the audit firm BT&Co., P.A. presented the audit results to the Board of Education for the year ended June 30, 2020. According to the firm, the District received an unmodified opinion on the financial statements of the District, which is the highest form of opinion that can be given to a set of financial statements. The District would like to thank the entire Finance Department for their transparency and fiscal responsibility, which allowed the District to address critical needs and continue to offer competitive compensation packages for staff.

Distinguished Staff Award

Congratulations to Our 2021 DSA Recipients

The recipients for the 2021 Distinguished Staff Award (DSA) have been selected. These 14 Topeka Public Schools staff members have shown tremendous dedication and work ethic for TPS. The DSA is the highest award that a TPS staff member can receive. DSA recipients will be honored with a virtual ceremony on April 27, at 6 p.m. that will air on our TV station, KTPS-TV and our district Facebook and Youtube pages. DSA recipients, thank you for all that you do for TPS.

National Autism Acceptance Month

Take a Moment to Learn More about Autism

During the month of April we recognize Autism Acceptance Month. The autism society has shifted the name from Autism Awareness Month to Autism Acceptance Month this April to foster change and inclusivity for those affected by autism. The theme for this year is “Celebrate Differences," to build a better awareness of the signs, symptoms, and realities of autism, promote acceptance, and be more inclusive in everyday life.

Autism is a developmental disability that affects how a person communicates and relates to people and surroundings. Autism affects 1 in every 68 children. If you would like to learn more about autism, sign up for the Autism Matters newsletter or share your personal experience with autism at

Celebrating Our Amazing Staff

Celebrating Our Amazing Staff in April

On the first Wednesday of April, we celebrate National Paraprofessional Appreciation Day! Join us in celebrating all our amazing paras on April 7, 2021. At Topeka Public Schools, paraprofessionals provide assistance to teachers and other school personnel in the delivery of quality education and support services for students in an array of classroom settings.

April is National School Library Month, and Topeka Public Schools would like to thank all of our media specialists for their hard work and dedication to our students! You are truly making a difference in the lives of our students and community.

April 5-9 is recognized as National Assistant Principals Appreciation Week. During this week, we honor and recognize the contributions of assistant principals to the success of students in schools across the United States.

You can show your appreciation to any outstanding staff member by telling them thank you, or posting a message of support on our Facebook or Twitter.

Sharefest Logo

Volunteer for ShareFest 2021

Sharefest is an event that was created with the belief that churches and organizations can do more together than any one group could do separately to reach out to its community. Topeka Public Schools is among the organizations to benefit from this year's ShareFest on Saturday, April 24, from 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. This event is only possible with the help of volunteers from the churches and schools. If you are interested in volunteering, please reach out to your building principal or visit for more information.

ShareFest is a way for Topeka to come together to volunteer to improve our community. Landscaping, painting and cleaning up the grounds of local schools are ways that volunteers will be spending their time to help give back to TPS, among other organizations.

COVID-19 Memorial Garden

Topeka High Ceramics Teacher Creates COVID-19 Memorial Garden

A ceramics teacher at Topeka High School found a unique way to honor staff members' loved ones who are among the more than 500,000 lives lost to COVID-19. Susan Winkelman created a COVID-19 memorial garden made of clay flowers. The garden has been placed near the main entrance so students and staff can see it as they walk into Topeka High. Winkelman creates each unique design representing each individual, taking gentle care to mold and shape each one. Winkelman is currently working on nine more flowers from names submitted by Topeka High students.

ACT Logo

Don't Forget to Register For Upcoming ACT Dates!

The ACT is a standardized test that colleges use to assess a student's preparedness for higher education. If you're planning to take the ACT, here's a list of upcoming test dates, plus some tips for scheduling your test so you can perform your best.

Test Dates:

  • April 17
  • June 12
  • July 17

For students taking part in the ACT test soon, please remember to bring your ACT ticket, photo ID, No. 2 pencils already sharpened, a watch, a calculator and your confidence. Be sure to arrive at school on time and eat a good breakfast. We believe in you and know you are going to do great! To read more about college and career readiness, read this month's edition of the "College Connections Newsletter."

Family Service and Guidance Center

Register for FSGC's Free Real-World Parenting Conversations

The Family Service and Guidance Center is offering free, virtual, real-world parenting conversations every month. This month the topic of the conversation is "A Parent's Survival Guide: The Preschool Years. "Early childhood is the most important phase of development. It plays a critical role in good physical and mental health as well as social, emotional, and cognitive development throughout a child's life.

Connie Romig, Ph.D., Team Manager of FSGC's Early Childhood Intervention Program, will present a brief overview of some key early childhood topics and answer questions from the audience. Spots are limited for this free event, so register today to receive the Zoom link to the presentation. For more information, you can view the event flyer or visit their website at

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