Community News 9/24/20

Community News 9/24/20
Posted on 09/24/2020
Preschool and Kindergarten students

Community News

Back to school at McCarter

It was so exciting to see preschool and kindergarten students back in the buildings for school last week. We look forward to seeing even more of our students in-person soon.

Message from the Superintendent

McClure superheroes welcome students back to school

Dear Topeka Public Schools Family,

This week is the first full week of school for our early learners. They have successfully transitioned into school, bus routes have been finalized for all students, and we are looking forward to seeing our secondary and elementary students next week. Our Parent Academy workshops have started this week to ensure we begin offering training sessions on our technology platforms. Additionally, schools are hosting Parent Academy sessions for their respective schools as needs arise in various areas. Jardine Elementary is hosting a Parent Academy focused on math assignments, assessments and new tools and techniques for K-2 and a second session is offered on Thursday nights for 3-5. We encourage families to contact their principal if there are any needs and schools stand ready to assist as we work together to successfully transition students back to school.

We do believe most of our students learn best in a classroom with a teacher and we are working to ensure that happens for all students in ways that are safe for everyone.

October is National Principals Month, please take time to celebrate your child's principal. This is an unusual year that has required principals and teachers to plan in new ways. School-level leaders are juggling more now than they have been faced with in the past and we thank them for guiding hundreds of staff members as we navigate this new season of change.

Thank you for your support and cooperation.

Dr. Tiffany Anderson



Student Writes on Whiteboard in Class

Students Return to In-Person Learning

Please complete this parent feedback survey to tell us about your remote learning experiences. School is in full swing and TPS is ready to welcome more students back to in-person learning. Last week, the Shawnee County Health Department released its Shawnee County Community Transmission Scorecard, and we were classified at Yellowrating with a continued decrease from a score of 9 to a rating of 7. Click here to view the current Transmission Scorecard.

Therefore, as announced last week, students in grades 1st through 5th and 6th and 9th will return to in-person learning on Monday, September 28th, and the rest of our scholars will return throughout the coming weeks. High schools will begin allowing various small groups back through a phased-in approach to support student mental health needs and to provide immediate academic and social-emotional resources for youth. The principals will be contacting families and the bus number can be viewed in Tyler SIS at the top of the "Student Details" screen.

Regarding bus information, the "Student Details" link is found on the left side menu, and the bus numbers are located just under the student's picture. Once the parent has the bus number for the student, they can enter this information in the "Here Comes the Bus" app to find routing, stop, and timing information for their bus. The app can be found on the IOS App Store or Google Play Store. More information on how to use the app can be found on our website. The 2020-21 School Supply List is also available online.

Student Learning with Play Dough

Creative Back to School Events

What an exciting start to the 2020-2021 school year as we welcomed our preschool and kindergarten students! We spent time this week capturing the many smiles shared by staff, students, and families. These are the first grades to come back to in-person learning since the COVID-19 Pandemic shut down in-person learning back in March. To help with the transition from remote learning, many schools throughout the district rolled out the red carpet, held drive-through ice cream socials, popsicle parties and even dressed up as superheroes. To see fun photos of the first day of in-person learning for our youngest scholars, click here.

Boy on computer

Virtual Online Academies Provide Resources for Parents

Topeka Public Schools is planning to host multiple Parent Academies to teach parents fundamentals on technology, math and other needs that arise to help ensure that parents can help their students achieve success while learning from home. Dr. Stegman, Instructional Coach at Jardine Elementary, will be starting a "Parent Math Academy." It will run on Thursday evenings, and will include a K-2 session and a 3-5 session each week. Schools will notify parents of these events as the school year continues.

Equity Council

Equity Council Meeting Tonight at 5:30 p.m.

Do you want to join a team that is dedicated to equity in our community? The Topeka Public Schools Equity Council is committed to educational fairness and opportunity for all racial and ethnic groups and academic excellence and personal success for all students. The equity council has grown to over 60 members that include teachers, school leaders, community members, and board members. They hold meetings every month to discuss equity issues and propose solutions. The next meeting is on September 24, at 5:30 p.m. We are so proud to have such a diverse community within our TPS family. To learn more about the equity council or to join, click here.

Kelm Lear

Standout THS Senior, Kelm Lear, Selected as September Senior of the Month

Topeka High School senior, Kelm Lear, has been selected as the September Senior of the Month. Lear excels in academics and leadership, which can be seen through his involvement in the Interact Club at Topeka High. Last year Lear and the Interact Club helped put together to-go bags with toiletries for victims of human trafficking. One of Lear's most recent projects was to collect face masks for students and under his leadership, the Interact Club was able to collect around 6,600 masks for students and staff. Following graduation, Lear plans to attend the University of Connecticut or the University of Washington in Seattle to study Political Science. Additionally, Lear plans to return home to Topeka and eventually run for office. To watch Lear's full story, click here. Congratulations Kelm!

Michael Williams

HPH Coach Selected as Top 20 under 40 Honoree

A Highland Park High School coach has been selected as one of Topeka's Top 20 under 40 this year! Michael Williams, site coordinator for Communities in Schools and Head Basketball Coach at HPH, received this honor last week. Through his position with Communities in Schools, Mr. Williams works with educators and school administrators to identify challenges that students face in class or at home, and he coordinates with community partners to bring resources to those students. Known affectionately as Coach Mike, Mr. Williams also volunteers as a youth coach for basketball, track and baseball and serves as a board member for Team United Stars, the largest Topeka-based youth track and field program. We are so proud to have such an influential person working with our Highland Park students. Congratulations Coach Williams!

District Attorney Mike Kagay

District Attorney Attends Q&A with Topeka West Students

As part of the series of Student Equity conversations, students in leadership classes at Topeka West High School on Tuesday, September 22, had a chance to quiz Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay. Their questions ranged in subject from the job itself to bolstering police relations in the Topeka community. Kagay had told the students that no question was off-limits. If you missed the live stream, you can watch the video on our District Facebook page.

New Mount Zion

Local Churches Unite to Provide School Supplies for Hundreds of Students

As the school year kicked off, 15 local churches came together at New Mount Zion Baptist Church and held a back to school drive for Topeka Public Schools students on September 12 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event was organized by Pastor Delmar White of New Mount Zion. The churches that participated are listed below:

  • Antioch
  • El Shaddai
  • Fellowship Bible - Hi-Crest
  • Fellowship Bible - Urish
  • First Presbyterian
  • Harvest Church West
  • Love Fellowship
  • Mt. Carmel
  • New Hope and Love
  • Topeka First United Methodist
  • Western Hills

Students received backpacks, pencils and paper along with other supplies and coupons. The goal of the event was to make sure that students, no matter where they are learning, have the tools to feel prepared and be successful.


TPS Family Continues to Expand to Better Serve Our Students

Want to work for an innovative school district with competitive wages, flexible hours, and great benefits? Come join the Topeka Public Schools Family! Our district is a diverse and well-rounded family of teachers, social workers, secretaries, administrators, substitutes and so much more. If you want to make a difference in a child's life and your community, there is a place for you at TPS. We also offer the option to teach in an innovative micro classroom with fewer than 15 students. Apply now for positions or sign up for a spot at the virtual career fair on October 12 from 1-6 p.m.

Cleaning Classrooms

Extra Sanitazion Techniques Protect Students Against COVID-19

In the face of COVID-19, Topeka Public Schools has taken extra measures to make sure that classrooms are sanitized now that students are entering back into buildings. Crews have added spray bottles to spray down all surfaces, they will utilize hand-held spray guns that will provide a second round of sanitization, use ultraviolet lights overnight and use foggers periodically. These measures will provide four ways to make sure that classrooms are safe. For more information on the cleaning procedures, click here.

Impact Avenues

TPS Provides Housing and Remote Learning Resources to Over 100 Families

In the last 12 months Topeka Public Schools, in partnership with Impact Avenues, has worked to provide housing to families of students who may not have a permanent place of residence. Impact Avenues, which is staffed by Topeka Public Schools, was created in 2019 to reduce student homelessness by assisting students and families to obtain stable housing through graduation. To learn more about this program, click here.

Additionally, TPS is working with the Topeka Rescue Mission to set up students for success during remote learning. For more than two decades TPS has offered its services to the mission, including setting up a wifi accessible classroom and after-school program. This school year, the district is expanding those services to make sure all students, regardless of their environment, can learn. To read more about what resources are being offered, click here.

Foundation Breakfast

TPS Foundation Breakfast Raises Over $30,000 for the District

The 11th Annual Topeka Public Schools Foundation Community Breakfast was a success! With donations still rolling in, they have already raised over $30,000. These donations will be used to fund grants, scholarships, and supplies for the whole district. TPSF recognized several outstanding individuals at the breakfast, including presenting the Patron Award to Dr. Rob and Mrs. Tammy Kenagy for their contributions to TPSF for Topeka Public Schools and the Topeka community as a whole. They also recognized Mr. Ben Esau and Mr. John Eddy with the Innovative Educator Award of $1,000 each.

During the event, it was announced that the Topeka Community Foundation awarded Topeka Public Schools Foundation with an RX Medical Grant. The grant will provide funding for prescription drugs and special needs medical support for uninsured or underinsured TPS students and staff members. To learn more about how the Topeka Public Schools Foundation supports our district, click here.

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