Community News 8/12/20

Community News 8/12/20
Posted on 08/12/2020
Donation of school supplies to Landon Middle School

Community News

Advisors Excel Donate School Supplies to Landon

Thank you so much to our community partner, Advisors Excel, for their donation of school supplies to Landon Middle School and their continued generosity during this pandemic.

Message from the Superintendent

Message from thes Superintendent

Dear Topeka Public Schools Family,

This month our District Citizens Advisory Council (DCAC) held their final meeting. They worked throughout the spring and summer to assist us with gaining feedback from parents in support of our reopening planning. We thank the DCAC members for their dedication and support. Pictured above are the DCAC members at their final meeting for the year. We are continuing to prepare for the first week of school in September with new resources and materials for our students. To support our working parents and our youngest learners who are developing key early learning skills, we have repurposed staff to be open five days a week with students attending class in smaller classroom settings that meet the health department guidelines. Late start days for elementary students will be on Wednesdays instead of Fridays to align with the schedule of our remote learners. We have included a video focused on health and safety to give families an opportunity to view some of the new structures and systems in schools as families prepare for the first day, find their child's schedule and prepare to get started for a great year.

To ensure parents and staff stay informed about the impact of COVID-19, a separate COVID Communicator will be sent every Friday on updates related to the pandemic. As we closely monitor the spread of the virus, we will be updating parents and staff on our phased-in approach for the upcoming school year.

Thank you for your continued support as we begin a historic new school year during the pandemic.

Dr. Tiffany Anderson

Superintendent

Class room

TPS Offers Innovative Learning Options for Elementary Students

Topeka Public Schools is committed to the safety of our students and staff, and we have taken your feedback into account as we move into the new school year. Modified micro-classrooms are an innovative learning option that will allow for more on-site education for our elementary students. Micro classrooms can support our youngest learners five days a week when we enter Phase II of our reopening plan. This will allow teachers to interact with 15 students or less in one socially distanced class all year. Elementary parents who prefer the virtual, remote, or hybrid model can choose those options for their children. Parents can choose to move to another learning model at each quarter. We want all families to have educational options and to be able to choose the best option for their families. For more information on micro classrooms and how the district will be implementing this model, click here.

Girl with book

Enroll Now in Traditional or Remote School for 2020-2021

The 2020-21 school year is right around the corner and our online enrollment is still open on the Topeka Public Schools website. TPS offers endless opportunities for students, pre-school through 12th grade. Topeka Public Schools also offers a remote education program. Homeschool parents can enroll their students in virtual school. This program includes students (grades 4-12) and adults with both remote and on-site learning opportunities. For more information about remote learning opportunities feel free to contact us at jmalone@tps501.org. On the TPS website, there are instructions on how to enroll new students and returning students, as well as resources for families. You can also view our enrollment commercial to learn more about what TPS has to offer, click here.

We encourage parents to enroll their students online for the 2020-21 school year, but we do have the paper forms available. If you have any questions please reach out to your school's principal.

Virtual District Orientation

Updated Resources Help Parents and Staff Prepare for Back to School

As we enter the 2020-21 school year during the COVID-19 pandemic, we know school is going to look very different this year. New information is coming out daily and Topeka Public Schools wants to ensure that students, parents, and staff are as informed as possible. TPS is hosting a Virtual District Orientation for parents on August 12. The orientation will provide information and resources that will help parents prepare for the new year.

TPS has created an updated parent resources page that includes information about our school reopening plan that will be updated daily as more information becomes available. We recommend parents check this webpage frequently. Our TPS app has been updated and can be downloaded in the App Store or Google Play. TPS has also developed a new staff site to help educators navigate the upcoming school year. The site will have resources and frequently asked questions based on staff feedback. To view the site, click here.

Online Resources

Discovery Education and Topeka Partner to Expand Innovative Digital Resources for Students

Topeka Public Schools is partnering with Discovery Education on a new initiative supporting the expansion of innovative digital learning experiences for all students. Mrs. Gail Ramirez, a district technology curriculum specialist, presented these new resources to staff and the Board of Education at the August 6, 2020, school board meeting. Mrs. Ramirez will be training staff on the new digital platform that truly brings learning to life and gives all scholars access to the Discovery Education resources.

Through this new partnership, TPS is investing in Discovery Education to provide our approximately 1,300 teachers with dynamic, digital resources that will improve their capacity to provide our almost 14,000 K-12 students with new, more personalized lessons and activities. The new lessons and activities will serve as the foundation for more equitable learning experiences for all students at home, in the classroom, or wherever learning is taking place. To learn more about how this partnership benefits our educators and students, click here.

Profesional Development

Educators and Parents Prepare for Virtual Learning with Professional Development

As we prepare for a school year unlike any other, Topeka Public Schools is dedicated to providing the best education we can for our students. To ensure that our staff and students can work effectively this year, TPS will be providing additional extra professional development sessions that will help teachers to feel more comfortable teaching online. We will also be rolling out instructional videos for parents based on the questions and feedback we have received. To read more about this in the news, click here. To see the sessions that TPS is offering, click here.

Larry Robbins Deputy Superintendent

Strong Fiscal Management Results in Reduced Mill Levy

Under the leadership of Deputy Superintendent, Mr. Larry Robbins, Topeka Public Schools has seen excellent fiscal management that has resulted in a reduced mill levy rate for several consecutive years. Under the 2020-21 budget, the mill levy rate would decrease by 0.6 mills to 59.963. A mill is one dollar in property taxes for every $1,000 in taxable, assessed property value. That means that the owner of a $100,000 home will pay $528.57 in 2021 property taxes or $6.90 less than in 2020. We thank Mr. Robbins and the district financial team for their fiscally responsible budget management that decreased taxes for TPS families.

2020-21 Academic Calendar

Updated 2020-2021 Academic Calendar Now Available

The updated 2020-2021 academic calendar was approved by the Topeka Public Schools Board of Education on August 6th. It is available in English and Spanish and can be found by clicking here. The calendar includes dates of parent-teacher conferences, no school days and semester sessions.

Summer Meal Program

Reminder: Summer Meal Program has Been Extended to August 31

Topeka Public Schools is supporting our students by extending the meal program that was set to end in July until August 31. The last day meals will be distributed is Friday, August 28 and each student will be given enough meals to last until Monday, August 31. To find information on menus and sites click here. To read more about the program, click here.

Kids in Class

Want To Know Why Your Census Response Matters?

A kindergartener counted in the 2020 Census this spring will be starting high school when the next census comes around in 2030: That's ten years of school supplies, teachers, school lunches, and so much more. Filling out the census is your opportunity to help ensure they have a bright future and helps your community get its fair share of funding. Census data guides how more than $675 billion in federal funding is distributed to states and cities each year for schools, health care facilities, roads, transportation, recreation centers, social services, and more.

You can still complete the 2020 census through September 30. The Census Bureau will hold support events at Meadows, Lowman Hill and Robinson during lunch distribution on August 19 and 21. Families will receive census information and support in completing the census. Elementary students will receive a fun census coloring book. For more information about the census, click here.

D'ette Peralta

Local Woman Helps Find Resources for Topeka Students

During a time where wearing a mask has started to feel like a second skin, one local woman is working to provide masks for Topeka students. D'ette Peralta, mother of a local school teacher and grandmother to local students, has been working to connect mask-makers with funding donors to ensure that students have extra masks to wear daily. She's even found a way for people to donate if they don't own a sewing machine by partnering with The Great American Mask Drive. This movement accepts donations targeted to specific schools across the country to provide them bulk shipments of masks made by Hanes. To read more about the Great American Mask Drive, click here.

We thank Mrs. Peralta and other dedicated community members who have come together in this difficult time to help put students first.

Laird Noller Back to School Event at Lowman Hill

Laird Noller Ford Donates $5,000 for New College Prep Uniforms

Topeka Public Schools is excited to announce that Laird Noller Ford of Topeka donated $5,000 to provide uniforms for students at the newly formed Early College Prep Academy at Lowman Hill Elementary opening this Fall. The new academy allows students to explore new technology and encounter new coursework in a collegiate environment while wearing professional attire. This donation will help remove some of the financial burden for parents purchasing uniforms and will help the district expand it's existing College Prep program to the elementary level. As part of the donation, Laird Noller Ford has also agreed to donate $5,000 to the College Prep program every year for the next five years. We thank Laird Noller Ford for their continued support of Topeka Public Schools and their generosity that will continue to benefit the Topeka community as a whole for years to come. You can learn more about the Early College Prep program here.

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