Community News: School Reopening 7/29/20

Community News: School Reopening 7/29/20
Posted on 07/29/2020
The Falcons Come Together

Special Edition School Reopening

The Falcons Come Together

The French Middle School COVID-19 Reopening Team had some socially distant fun replicating The Beatles' Abbey Road album cover during their first meeting to discuss school reopening. Each school has its own team set up to implement the district reopening plan, Transforming Topeka Together.

Message from the Superintendent

Coomunications Team on a Boat

Dear Topeka Public Schools Family,

This month we announced our reopening plan and September 9, 2020 start date. Navigating the pandemic is much like navigating a new river filled with some sudden shifts that we have to make in order to be safe. Our leadership team members are committed to doing all we can to address the areas we can at this time in support of our staff and students while addressing a health crisis that’s new to us all. Pictured above are the TPS communications team members who publish the Community News and manage district web sites and social media. They have been amazing at helping navigate these uncharted waters under the leadership of Dr. Aarion Gray. We extend a big thank you to all members of our leadership and communications team who are behind the scenes helping us all as we transform Topeka together.

Our district enrollment is winding down and we encourage all families to register to ensure your child has their device, school of choice, and are prepared to start the year. While remote learning is a challenge, we will cautiously move into the new year based on health information. Click here to watch the video that explains our reopening plan.

This edition of the Community News is focused on our reopening plan and steps we are taking to keep everyone safe. Please contact your child’s principal if you have any needs at this time.

Thank you for your cooperation and support as we navigate these uncharted waters together.

 

Dr. Tiffany Anderson

Superintendent

Student 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 TPS website. Topeka Public Schools 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

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.

Reopening Plan

Transforming Topeka Together Reopening Plan Unveiled

At the July 16, 2020, Topeka Board of Education meeting, Topeka Public Schools approved a phased-in plan, Transforming Topeka Together, affirming the Governor's recommendation to reopen schools after September 8, 2020. The Topeka Public Schools District will open schools remotely on September 9. The proposed revised school calendar will be addressed at our August 6, School Board meeting. The health, safety, and wellbeing of our students and staff is our top priority and we will continue to work closely with the health department as we monitor health issues in our county impacting our students and staff.

Student on Computer

Phases Will Be Implemented to Transition Back to On-Site Learning

School reopening for the 2020-21 school year will be transitioned in through phases. Phase one will begin on September 9 with all remote and online classes. This phase is set to last for 5-10 days but could be extended based on the rise and fall of COVID-19 cases to ensure the safety of students and staff.

Phase two will begin with transition grades such as kindergarten, 6th and 9th-grade students returning to on-site learning on a staggered block schedule. Half of these students will be on-site on Mondays and Tuesdays and the other half will be on-site on Thursday and Friday. Wednesday will be a remote learning day and will be used for deep cleaning and sanitization of buildings. Students on this schedule will have remote classes for the three days they are not on-site. Principals will be reaching out to parents regarding each child's schedule. Preschool students and alternative schools, such as TCALC, will attend daily due to already small class sizes.

Once the district deems it is safe, phase three will be implemented. In this phase, all students that wish to be on-site will transition to the block schedule mentioned in phase two. For more information about this process, click here.

Classroom

Safety Measures Protect Students in Classrooms

Student and staff safety is the top priority for school reopening and all the school buildings will be implementing new safety measures to combat the spread of COVID-19. Students will be required to wear masks throughout the day while on-site. TPS will provide a reusable cloth mask for all students to wear and will also have disposable masks available if needed. Students may also wear their own masks. Before entering the building all students will have their temperature checked. TPS will be installing a temperature check kiosk in every building to help it move faster. For more information on these kiosks, click here.

Buses will only allow one child per seat unless the children are siblings from the same household. Each student will also have an assigned seat on the bus. All desks will be assigned and socially distanced by six feet. Hand sanitizer and disposable gloves will be provided in all classrooms. There will be signs that clearly indicate the new safety measures throughout all school buildings. Click here to view a video and read more about how our classrooms will be set up in the new school year.

Meal Program

TPS Extends Summer Meal Program Through August 31

Due to the delay in reopening schools, TPS has extended the Summer Meal Program until August 31. TPS is committed to serving our students first by extending the meal program that was set to end in July. All food service workers will be required to wear face masks and gloves while preparing, packaging, and serving food. Staff will be trained in proper handwashing and sanitization techniques. Click here for information regarding our summer meal program.

Mercedes Holford

Remembering Mercedes Holford

It is with extreme sadness that we share the loss of Mercedes Holford and her mother, Crystal Andrews, with our Topeka Public Schools family. She was a shining light at Robinson Middle School and will be missed by everyone. The family extends a thank you to the Robinson Middle School Staff for the support and donations. Visitation for Mercedes is this evening from 3:00-7:00 PM at Peaceful Rest Funeral Chapel, and Celebration of Life services are being held virtually through Zoom and the information to attend the services can be found below. Please visit Peaceful Rest Funeral Chapel for more information or if you would like to donate resources to the family.

Memorial Services Thursday, July 30, 2020, at 11 a.m.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88574221171?pwd=bjJDNkxndWFQQWRzSzlYNzFqL3pIdz09
Meeting ID: 885 7422 1171
Passcode: 609684

Boys and Girls Clubs

TPS Partners with the Boys and Girls Clubs for Remote Learning

We recognize the hardship that social distancing requirements may cause for working families as we meet the Shawnee County and Kansas health guidelines. Therefore, in addition to our plan, we have established an extended partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Topeka to further assist families who may need educational programming for expanded remote learning support. Families who would like to access the Boys & Girls Club on remote learning days should indicate your interest by clicking this link as we finalize plans to further assist families. Please complete the parent interest form indicating your interest in the Boys & Girls Club by Wednesday, August 5, 2020, to help us in identifying services that may be of assistance to families.

Virtual Feedback Session

TPS and DCAC Hosted Virtual Parent and Staff Feedback Sessions

As we planned for the structure of the upcoming 2020-2021 school year, we utilized feedback from virtual parent and staff discussions. Dr. Anderson collaborated with the District Citizens Advisory Council (DCAC) to host the panels with parents and educators to hear their questions as the district awaited direction about the reopening of schools from the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE).

DCAC also hosted a Superintendent Debrief on Friday, July 17 that allowed parents to hear from the superintendent about Topeka Public Schools reopening plan. To view the video from that Zoom meeting, click here.

From these sessions, we have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the school reopening that will continue to be updated.

Special thanks to: DCAC President, Lisa Collette, DCAC Vice-President, Tracy Routsong, DCAC Study Topic Coordinator, Shawn Geil, DCAC Secretary/Parliamentarian, Ivan Greuter and DCAC Council Member, Robert Sanders that acted as moderators for the feedback sessions. To learn more about DCAC and how to join, click here.

Juli Watson

TPS Associate Principal Recognized as YWCA Women of Excellence

Juli Watson, Highland Park High School's Associate Principal, has been nominated to be honored at the YWCA’s 32nd Annual Women of Excellence awards. Each year the YWCA honors women that have shown incredible leadership in the workplace, but also in the community. Ms. Watson embodies the characteristics of a leader that values equity and she has made a huge impact on the students and staff of Highland Park, as well as the community. Congratulations Ms. Watson, we are thrilled to have amazing leaders like you working for our district and with our students. The award event will take place on September 16 at 6 p.m. and can be viewed on the YWCA Facebook Page.

Family Service and Guidance Center Logo

Free Real-World Parenting Classes Offered to Topeka Parents

We realize that these times are incredibly stressful for parents and caregivers. Family Service and Guidance Center (FSGC) is offering two different, free educational opportunities to help parents ease their child's transition back to school. On Thursday, July 30, they will present “Helping Your Child Transition Back to School” via Zoom at 6:30 p.m. FSGC will also offer another eight-week course titled “Parenting: Because kids don’t come with instructions” course beginning Tuesday, August 11 from 5:30-7 p.m. For more information on these free classes and how to register, click the links above.

Advisors Excel Charity Crew

Advisors Excel Offers Three $5,000 Scholarships for Minorities and Women

Hey TPS family, have you ever thought about a career in financial planning? Advisors Excel has created three $5,000 scholarships specifically for women and minorities who want to pursue a degree in the Personal Financial Planning program at Kansas State University. K-State's program teaches students about financial services like insurance, budgeting and retirement planning. The scholarships will be available for students enrolled in the program starting next Fall. For more information on the Advisors Excel Scholarship or to apply, call 620.223.2232 or visit www.TheEllisFoundation.org.

Mr. Robbins and Topeka South Rotary
Photo Courtesy of The Capital-Journal

Topeka South Rotary Donates Over $1,500 in Gift Cards for TPS Families

The Topeka South Rotary donated over $1,500 to the Topeka Public Schools District on Tuesday, July 7. Due to COVID-19, they were not able to complete the annual Sole Mates program, which distributes shoes to children in need. The program started in 2012 as a way to give students in need of well-fitting shoes the chance to pick out a new pair with the Rotary Club. In lieu of the regular program, they donated 45 Walmart gift cards, $35 each, for families to buy school supplies and any other essential items they require. School social workers will distribute the gift cards to families in need in the district. We thank the Topeka South Rotary for their generous donation and for continuing to support TPS during these unprecedented times. You can read more about this story by clicking here.

TPS Foundation Delivering Masks to Stormont Vail

TPS Foundation Donates Masks to Frontline Medical Workers

The TPS Foundation COVID-19 SOS (Save Our Students/Staff) Fund was used to produce and donate masks to Stormont Vail. Pamela Johnson-Betts, TPS Foundation Executive Director, TCALC staff, Dr. Tim Murrell and Ms. Eubanks, and TCALC student, Garrett Jones paid a visit to Stormont Vail Regional Medical Center to present Dr. Rob Kenagy, CEO of the hospital, with N95 quality masks for the facility. The masks were designed and created by students at TCALC using 3D printers. To learn more about the foundation or to make a donation, click here.

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