Community News 4/9/20

Community News 4/9/20
Posted on 04/09/2020
Online Learning

Community News

Online Learning

Photo Courtesy of KSNT. Pictured are Adam and Lillian Krohe who both attend Landon Middle School

Online classes are in full swing! Adam and Lillian Krohe, middle schoolers at Landon, are participating in online classes and continue to excel in their work.

Message from the Superintendent

Happy Children with Supplies

Dear Topeka Public Schools Family,

Since the COVID-19 virus has impacted our county, our team has provided meals, deployed student devices to approximately 13,500 students, wrote and implemented a revised online curriculum, updated the Spanish channel to ensure all families stay informed, and provided instructional supplies to students across the county. I have asked our assistant superintendent to give a weekly update on the instruction ahead and her update for next week is attached to this CNews to reduce the number of emails families get this week. We congratulate our five schools on their Challenge Awards! We are so proud of our schools who are being recognized for academics. Read more in this newsletter.

We are committed to keeping our students, families and staff safe. As the CDC has predicted a spike in cases of the virus in the next couple of weeks, we have to give our 150 meal distribution staff an opportunity to shelter in place for their safety and yours. However, I asked partners to address meal distribution to reduce the number of individuals involved with food preparation and delivery of meals so that we can assist families. We thank Harvesters, the Salvation Army and the clergy for their tremendous partnership which has expanded food sites in some fashion. While the services may not be perfect, please remember, these are extra services beyond instruction that we have extended to assist families further and we are all doing the best we possibly can do to support each other and stay safe. I will continue to check on meal sites and serve meals and the district is funding and delivering the meals our clergy will distribute as a partner. A full list of updated meal sites is on our website.

As we begin making masks as a district to donate to those essential staff in the district and at our hospitals who are in need, any teacher or parent who would like to assist with that effort can email our staff member who assists with volunteers at [email protected].

Thank you for your continued support and have a peaceful and safe weekend as many celebrate the Spring holiday season.

Dr. Tiffany Anderson


Meal Distribution

TPS Expands the Partnership with Multiple Agencies to Serve Meals

While the district will continue to provide food resources to the community, we are changing how these meals will be delivered. The current meal service distribution involves hundreds of staff managing this food each day.

Topeka Public Schools has partnered with various community agencies and over a hundred individuals to provide food resources across the district. To see the full list of meal sites and resources, click here.

The updated meal sites include:

  • Highland Park High School - 2424 SE California Ave *
  • Lowman Hill Elementary - 1101 SW Garfield Ave
  • Meadows Elementary School - 201 SW Clay St
  • Quincy Elementary School - 1500 NE Quincy St
  • Ross Elementary School - 1400 SE 34th St*
  • Pine Ridge Prep - 1110 SE Highland Ave*
  • Scott Dual Language Magnet – 220 SE Market*
  • French Middle School - 5257 SW 33rd St
  • Robinson Middle School - 1125 SW 14th St
  • Jardine Middle School - 2600 SW 33rd St
  • Chase Middle School - 2250 NE State St

*Salvation Army sites, with 15 minute distribution windows.

We are taking this action to ensure the health and safety of students, families and district employees during the projected peak of the COVID-19 virus. This will significantly reduce the number of people involved in meal production during this crucial time and help reduce the spread of COVID-19. We will continue to screen and monitor employees to ensure the health and safety of all. To learn more about how Topeka Public Schools is partnering with the community, click here.

A special thank you is extended to all paraprofessionals and cafeteria staff who helped serve and prepare meals for the first three weeks. A list of staff who assisted can be viewed here. Please thank them as you see them as they have been invaluable to our food distribution program.

Virtual Kindergarten Orientation

Virtual Kindergarten Orientation

Do you have a young scholar ready to start kindergarten in the fall? Join us at Virtual Kindergarten Orientation on April 9th 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. You can find the correct zoom link by clicking here.

Gianfranco Pezzino

Q&A with a Shawnee County Health Officer

As part of the district’s COVID-19 staff development plan, the Superintendent hosted Dr. Pezzino, the Shawnee County Health Director, to share ways for families and staff to remain safe and healthy. You can view the video from the meeting here.

Dr. Pezzino and the Shawnee County Health Department (SCHD) recommends staying home and away from the public. When it is necessary to leave home for an essential job or task, practice social distancing of at least six feet. It is also very important to wash your hands with soap and water frequently and avoid touching your face. If anyone starts to show any symptoms of COVID-19, they should immediately quarantine themselves away from others and call their doctor so they can help monitor the situation.

Additional information about the virus and how to prevent the spread is on the COVID-19 Resources page and you can also read more from the CDC here.

Online Learning

Online School Continues

As the second week of online school winds down, we are seeing many creative teaching methods to keep students engaged in online learning. Educators across the district filmed funny, supportive videos for students. Teachers worked hard to come up with engaging ways to teach students virtually and students discovered the best ways to learn from home. To view this week's parent letter, click here.

Through this unprecedented time, the TPS family has come together to make online learning a possibility. To see news and fun updates, be sure to check out our Facebook and Twitter.

Irene Caracioni

Topeka High Senior, Irene Caracioni, is the April Senior of the Month

Irene Caracioni from Topeka High School is Senior of the Month for April. She works hard, putting a lot of time and effort into her academics and extracurricular activities such as Debate and Forensics. She is also very active in Topeka High student government. People would describe Irene as always involved and as a voice for her fellow students. Following graduation, Irene plans to study applied mathematics and economics as well as study international relations or political science. Congratulations, Irene! To view her story, click here.

French Middle School Students
French Middle School

Congratulate our Outstanding Challenge Award Winners

Challenge Awards are given by the Confidence in Public Education Task Force to recognize Kansas schools making a notable difference in student achievement, despite facing significant challenges in their school population. Awarding is based on schools with a high percentage of low-income students who achieved improvement in 2019 in academic scores, attendance, and other factors. Topeka Public Schools congratulate the following schools for their achievement:

  • Lowman Hill Elementary School
  • French Middle School
  • McCarter Elementary School
  • McEachron Elementary School
  • Quincy Elementary School

Aubrey Dick

Alumni Spotlight: KU Sophomore, Aubrey Dick, offers a virtual college field trip for TPS

Aubrey Dick, a sophomore Behavioral Neuroscience major at the University of Kansas, was a virtual guest speaker for College Prep Academy last week. She took the students on a virtual field trip to KU and showed them around the school and the psychology department. Aubrey plans to advance into the PhD program for Clinical and Counseling Psychology, with a focus on researching how trauma to the brain affects behavior. She is the daughter of Dustin Dick, TPS Lead Principal/Principal of TWHS and Angela Dick, TPS Instructional Coaching Coordinator.

College Prep Academy will be doing a virtual field trip every Friday. This Friday, April 10 at 1 p.m., Leo Espinoza, alumni of Topeka High School, will be showing the students around at Yale University. Students from other schools are encouraged to view as well. Click here, to get the zoom link and password.

Alyssa Blaisdell and dog

Julie Ferraro

Check Out our Tech-Savvy Teachers

Alyssa Blaisdell, music teacher at Quincy Elementary, is our featured tech-savvy teacher. Ms. Blaisdell has found very creative and accessible ways to virtually teach her students music. In a recent video, she showed students how to find musical sounds in nature. We commend Ms. Blaisdell on her creativity in teaching a hands-on subject such as music, online. View her fun nature video on found sounds here.

Julie Ferraro is a kindergarten teacher at McCarter Elementary and is another tech-savvy teacher. Ferraro engages her class by using interactive flip charts while students follow along at home with their own whiteboards. Thank you for all you do, Ms. Ferraro

Kaity Shima

Topeka West Senior Signed to Play Volleyball at Bethel

Kaity Shima is a senior at Topeka West High School. She has recently signed to play volleyball in the 2020/2021 school year at Bethel College. She was an honorable mention All-Centennial League selection for four years. She also was a four-time all-city honorable mention. Kaity is a skilled athlete who also earned all-league honors in softball.

Outside of sports, Kaity excels in academics as well. She is a member of the National Honor Society and plans to major in pre-engineering at Bethel. Stacy Middleton, volleyball coach at Bethel College, is very excited to have Kaity on the team. We wish you all the best in your future at Bethel College and know you will accomplish great things. Congratulations Kaity! To read the news articles on Kaity, click here and here.


Two Topeka High Athletes Named Among the Best in the State

Although this years basketball season ended early, there were still some stand-out athletes that were recognized. Two players from Topeka High School, Nijaree Cannady, sophomore, and Kiki Smith, freshman, were recognized by the Wichita Eagle. Both girls were officially named to the girls 6A first team and recognized as some of the best players in the state. Congratulations to Nijaree and Kiki! To see the full list, click here.

Celebrating our Staff

Celebrating our Staff

April is National School Library Month. We also celebrate National Assistant Principals week from April 6-10 and National Paraprofessional Day on April 1.

Topeka Public Schools would like to thank all of these staff for everything they do to make a huge difference in the lives of students and families. You are truly appreciated and loved.

April is also Autism Awareness Month. Autism is a developmental disability that affects how a person communicates and relates to people and surroundings. Autism affects 1 in every 68 children. To learn more about Autism or share your story, click here.

Student on Computer

Virtual Middle School and High School Orientation

The middle school parent meeting for 5th graders entering middle school will be held virtually on April 29 from 5:30-6:30 pm through a Zoom meeting. Parent communications will be sent out for the Zoom at each middle school.

All 8th graders will virtually visit their high school on April 29 from 4:30-5:30 pm. Parents will be receiving a Zoom link from their high school as well.

Wash your hands

Stay Healthy, Stay at Home

During this pandemic Topeka Public Schools is dedicated to following the health guidelines set by the CDC to protect our students, families and staff. The best way to stay healthy and stop the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home, and by staying home we can all remain healthy and happy. You can read more about best health practices from the CDC here.

Deliveries at Topeka Rescue Mission

Topeka Rescue Mission Homework Helpers Needed

The district, with principal Sonderegger’s help, delivered devices, lunches and headphones. We are also piloting a preschool device project as part of the district’s continued support.

Are you looking for a volunteer opportunity? The Topeka Rescue Mission is looking for homework helpers for students living at the mission. They are especially looking for Math help. Seeking 2-3 Volunteers for Monday to Friday 8:30-11:30 AM or 12:00-3:00 PM. If you would like to help please contact Kim Turley at [email protected] or by phone at 785-730-8856.

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