Community News 5/7/20

Community News 5/7/20
Posted on 05/07/2020
Teacher Appreciation Week

Virtual Graduation Special Edition

Teacher Photo Collage

It's Teacher Appreciation Week and as this year draws to a close, we want to show just how much we appreciate each and every one of our amazing educators.

Message from the Superintendent

Chiefs Teachers
The central office team is cheering for our teachers, who are the chiefs of making a difference in the lives of kids every day.

Dear Topeka Public Schools Family,

This week we are celebrating Teacher Appreciation and Nurse Appreciation week. We are also celebrating our cafeteria staff who are serving as front line workers as we prepare meals for students this month. The board has created a special message, that will be played at the board meeting on May 7, thanking teachers as we celebrate all of our educators. Click here to watch this message.

All of our educators make our schools great and this week we celebrate our educators! This year, during COVID-19, teaching has taken on a very new look and all staff have served families selflessly in so many ways to deliver meals and serve as remote educators and caregivers. Many are doing this while also homeschooling their own children. You are remarkable educators and it is such a privilege to serve with you. Meadows has a hilarious video showing what it is like to teach elementary students on Zoom. If you want a good laugh, click here.

Sunday, over 2,000 viewers helped us celebrate our educators as we held our virtual Distinguished Staff Awards event. Each DSA winner also received a copy of their video as a gift this year. We will continue the tradition of creating a video and sharing it as part of our future DSA celebrations in addition to future banquet events to allow thousands of educators across the county to learn about our amazing staff through our television and social media. If you missed the premiere of the DSA video, click here to watch it.

Next week, we will be hosting virtual graduation and promotion ceremonies. As we conclude the year, we want to make sure that the accomplishments of our 2020 graduates are celebrated and recognized. Please join us on Facebook live on May 16th to view the virtual graduation ceremony. More details about graduation and promotions will be provided in the highlights below.

Thank you for your ongoing support!

Dr. Tiffany Anderson



Celebrating Teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week

This week, May 4-8, is Teacher Appreciation Week, and Topeka Public Schools would like to thank all of the superheroes in our lives. In our minds, every single teacher is a superhero. During this COVID-19 crisis, all our teachers have gone above and beyond to adapt their classrooms to an online setting. Never have our teachers been more appreciated and in the public eye than now as they work with students from a distance.

We kicked off this week with our first-ever virtual Distinguished Staff Award show, with over 2,000 viewers. We also have a special video that shows the impact that a good mentor relationship can have on both the student and teacher. To watch the video, click here.

Topeka West Graduation 2019
HPHS Graduation 2019
Topeka High Graduation 2019

Virtual High School Graduation

On Saturday, May 16, Topeka West High School, Highland Park High School, and Topeka High School will all have their virtual graduation ceremonies at the following times:

  • Topeka West - 9:00 a.m.
  • Highland Park - 10:15 a.m.
  • Topeka High - 11:15 a.m.

Hope Street Academy will release its virtual graduation video at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 14.

5th Grade Promotion

5th and 8th Grade Promotions

The fifth-grade virtual promotion ceremonies will be held on Wednesday, May 20, at 5:30 p.m. Each school will put together a slideshow of pictures to be shown during the virtual ceremony.

All middle school principals will share a link with 8th-grade parents and students for virtual promotion. It will be ready to air on Thursday, May 21. Certificates and any awards will be mailed to families prior to the ceremony.

The slideshows from all the promotions will be converted into videos that will be shared with parents.

Preschool Graduation

Preschool Promotions

Preschool promotion ceremonies are quickly approaching as the school year comes to an end. All preschool promotions will be held online through a zoom link provided by your teacher. Below you will find promotion ceremony times:

  • Sheldon - May 14 at 11:30 a.m.
  • Pine Ridge Prep - May 14 at 11:30 a.m.
  • PIP - May 19 at 11:30 a.m.
  • Shaner Early Learning Academy - May 20 at 11:30 a.m.


Online Preschool Registration

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, click here.

Topeka College Connection Newsletter

May College Connection Newsletter

The May College Connections newsletter highlights how COVID-19 affects college admissions, upcoming FAFSA preparation online sessions, ACT/SAT registration and testing dates, as well as available scholarship opportunities.

There will be a FAFSA information session through zoom for seniors and their parents on Wednesday, May 13, 6-6:45 p.m. There will also be a separate zoom information session for juniors and their parents on Thursday, May 14, 6-6:45 p.m. Click here to read more.

Last Day of School

Important End of School Dates

As we are now in the month of May, the last day of school is near. Below you will find last day of school dates for all grade levels:

  • Tuesday, May 12 - Graduating seniors
  • Thursday, May 14 - Sheldon Head Start/Pine Ridge Prep
  • Wednesday, May 20 - Grades 6 & 7
  • Thursday, May 21 - Last day of school for all classes; half day

TPS Logo

TPS Uses Zoom to Teach Students in Juvenile Detention

Topeka Public Schools is dedicated to making sure all of our students receive a quality education during this pandemic, even those at the Shawnee County Juvenile Detention Center (JDC). With the juvenile center closed to visitors, teachers weren't able to go in-person and teach the students. With the help of the JDC employees, all students inside the center were given devices to access online classes. Employees of JDC also help with collecting homework to return to teachers to limit the number of people in the facility. To read the news story from KSNT, click here.

Student Making 3D Masks
Photo courtesy of "The Topeka Capital Journal"

TCALC is Using 3D Printers to Make Reusable Masks

TCALC has started a program where several students use 3D printers to create reusable masks that will be donated to frontline workers. The 3D printing lab is producing about 120 masks a week under the direction of engineering and applied mathematics instructor Evelyn Eubank. The masks have three parts that snap together to hold a filter and can be easily sterilized, which is useful for people who have to wear them every day. Additionally, the students are able to participate in a hands-on, problem-solving experience. To read the news story, click here.

Avery Temple-Bowie

Highland Park Senior, Avery Temple-Bowie, is the May Senior of the Month

Avery Temple-Bowie, from Highland Park High School, is Senior of the Month for May. He works hard, putting a lot of time and effort into his academics and extracurricular activities such as AVID, which he has been involved in since 8th grade. Avery used his family struggles to regain focus with school and push him forward to reach his goals. He hopes to encourage his fellow seniors by reminding them that struggles are a part of life, and they can use them to better themselves and reach their full potential. Avery is interested in pursuing a career in politics, and he is currently running for election to the Kansas House of Representatives. Congratulations, Avery! To view his full story, click here.

Voices of 501 podcast

Learn All About E-Learning with Voices of 501

While we are in the middle of a pandemic and all students are learning from home, the topic of E-Learning is on everyone's minds. Our newest podcast covers all things E-learning. It explores E-learning from the perspectives of a student, a parent and a teacher. Learning from home has its ups and downs and can sometimes be difficult. Find out how people in our district are learning to love E-learning by clicking here.

Family Service and guidance center

Family Service and Guidance Center Offers Virtual Services

The Family Service and Guidance Center's (FSGC) priority is the safety and health of their clients and staff members. They have modified some of their services during these challenging times and are still accepting new clients. Child and adolescent psychiatrists, therapists and case managers are providing virtual services for current clients and families. Crisis services are still available 24/7 by calling 232.5005.

In addition, other vital FSGC resources are available at this difficult time: 7 Cups, a free, confidential emotional support messaging app for teens aged 13-17, is available for download for iPhone and Android. Please use the passcode TALK. FSGC has also created a new parenting resources page on their website. It includes many links to activities and videos to help kids cope with the new normal of COVID-19. Click here to view the website.

Anyone with questions about services or concerns about their children's behavior or well-being is encouraged to call FSGC at 232.5005.

Student running

Stay Active at Home with Virtual Field Day

Friday, May 8, is National Virtual Field Day. As a special treat, our elementary PE teachers are hosting a virtual field day. There will be several fun video challenges for students to participate in that use common household objects. Students are encouraged to share during their class time and even record themselves and post them to the TPS Facebook page.

Happy Nurses Week

A Week to Recognize and Thank Our Nurses

National Nurses Week, May 6-12, is a time for everyone – students, parents, and our staff, to recognize the vast contributions and positive impact of nurses. During this pandemic, we thank you for fighting on the frontlines of the virus and working to keep everyone safe and healthy. You are so appreciated! If you would like to honor your favorite nurse, use #WeAreTPS to share a special moment with your favorite nurse on our social media accounts.

Food Workers

A Special Thank You to Child Nutrition Employees

This week we celebrate National Child Nutrition Employee's Appreciation Week. During this COVID-19 pandemic, all Food Service workers have prepared and served thousands of grab-n-go meals to the children of Topeka. Topeka Public Schools is greatly appreciative of all that you do. If you would like to honor your favorite nutritional employee, use #WeAreTPS to share a special moment with your favorite nutritional services worker on our social media accounts.

Food Layout

Topeka High Yearbook Receives National Recognition

The Topeka High 2019 yearbook was featured in Balfour's 2020 Yearbook, Yearbook. Yearbook, Yearbook showcases the best pages, photos and stories from high school yearbooks. The Topeka High yearbook was recognized twice for a food spread created by Olivia Palma, as well as for their cover design. You can view the 2020 Yearbook, Yearbook by clicking here. The THS spread is on page 151, and the cover is on page 291.

TPS Foundation

Support the TPS Foundation During COVID-19

#GivingTuesdayNow is happening throughout the month of May. The TPS Foundation is participating in this national nonprofit match fund opportunity to develop additional funding for TPS. The goal is to raise a minimum of $500 for the Foundation COVID-19 SOS (Support our Students and Staff) Fund The purpose of this fund is to help meet basic staff, students and families' needs or struggles related to COVID-19. To donate to the Foundation COVID-19 SOS Fund, click here.

The TPS Foundation is also selling bricks for the Walk of Honor to benefit the students of Topeka Public Schools. The Walk of Honor is located at the entrance to the Burnett Administrative Center. You can purchase a brick in honor for an individual, such as your 2020 graduate, organization or school of your choice. Click here to find more information about purchasing a Walk of Honor brick.

Celina D'Aprile

Celina D'Aprile is the May Above and Beyond Winner

Celina D'Aprile, Topeka Public Schools Interpreter/Translator, is the May Above and Beyond award winner. Mrs. D'Aprile has been working tirelessly to make sure important information going out to the public is translated into Spanish. She has been helping Spanish-speaking families resolve IT issues by acting as a liaison between these families and our IT Departments.

She has helped numerous students by speaking to parents who have questions about our current online learning services. Mrs. D'Aprile is interpreting at IEP meetings, reaching out to migrant families, and has even put together food and school supply packets and educational games for those in need. Mrs. D'Aprile considers it, "A privilege to do work this important." Thank you, Mrs. D'Aprile for your hard work and dedication during this COVID-19 crisis.

25 years Logo

District to Honor Staff with 25 Years of Service

At the May 7 Board of Education meeting, Topeka Public Schools will formally recognize staff who are celebrating 25 years of service with the district. To those celebrating 25 years, thank you for your continued service to the district and the impact you have made on the students, families, and other staff. To view a list of staff members being honored, click here.

2020-21 District Calendar

2020-2021 District Calendar

The 2020-2021 district calendar is available and can be found by clicking here. The calendar includes dates of parent-teacher conferences, no school days and semester sessions.

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