Community News 1-11-18

Students First: Building for the Future    

Journalist Soledad O'Brien facilitates district's second Equity Summit at Highland Park High.  


       Message from the Superintendent

Dear Topeka Public Schools Family:
This week, our students have been participating in various Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. activities and I have enjoyed attending events. On Tuesday, the assistant superintendent and I celebrated our student winners at the Living the Dream poetry contest. Congratulations to Emma from Jardine for taking third in the 5th/6th grade category, Zoey from Robinson for taking third in the 7th/8th grade category, Kiora from Topeka West for taking first in the 11th/12th grade category and Jazmin from Topeka High for taking third in the 11th/12th grade category.
Also this week, our district has led a national discussion on cyber bullying through the TV series filmed at Highland Park High which premiered on A&E Tuesday. In addition to the TV series, resources for teachers and parents were also posted on the A&E web page and the link for those resources to use with students can be found here. Undercover High airs every Tuesday at 9 p.m. on A&E this season.  As part of this project, journalist Soledad O'Brien, facilitated a courageous conversation with Highland Park High students and staff.
We are committed to understanding the challenges students face and removing those challenges to ensure all students succeed at the highest levels possible. The series has allowed us to lead a discussion nationally and partner with educators across the nation. We thank Dr. Beryl New and the Highland Park High school community for starting a courageous conversation.
Highland Park's new principal, Mrs. Shana Perry, who was previously principal of the year in Oklahoma, has implemented a number of new initiatives and she has encouraged community members to contact her for community tours to view the updates that have continued to occur since the project last year.  
Thank you for your support to staff and students in Topeka Public Schools.
Dr. Tiffany Anderson

Jan. 12
Late start for elementary students
Jan. 15

No School, Martin Luther King Jr. Day 

Jan. 18 @ 5:30 p.m.

School Board Meeting, Burnett Center

Jan. 19
Late start for elementary students
Jan. 26
Late start for elementary students

Feb. 1 @ 5:30 p.m.

School Board Meeting, Burnett Center

Feb. 2
No School, Professional Development Day
 For details about these and other events see our 
Search here for Topeka Public Schools job opportunities.



Topeka Leads National Courageous Conversation  

The A&E docuseries, Undercover High, about student life at Highland Park High has sparked a national conversation about education. The series has revealed challenges that students across the country face every day. Topeka Public Schools is dedicated to leading the conversation on how to better provide students with resources for academic success. The district has had many student successes, including the rise in graduation rates among minority students. The first episode highlighted issues of cyberbullying, cyber threats and sexual harassment. It is a priority of Topeka Public Schools to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for all students. Many resources are available to students, staff, and parents when facing these challenges. For resources provided by A&E, click here. For resources provided by Topeka Public Schools, click here



Policies on Cell Phones in Classrooms  

Parents and educators have shared positive remarks about the willingness to look deeply and learn about our schools, after the first episode of the TV series, Undercover High. Since the first episode, volunteers and parents have signed up to continue to support and mentor students at Highland Park High School. 

Undercover High also gives educators an opportunity to educate parents on policies to reinforce with their children. Undercover High, filmed last year, highlighted cell phone use in some classrooms being a distraction at Highland Park High School. This issue has been studied and addressed by Highland Park administrators this year and the policy of no cell phone use in classrooms unless it is for instructional purposes will be enforced.
The Topeka Public Schools policy states that cell phones cannot be used in classrooms unless it is incorporated in the classroom by the teacher for instructional purposes.  To view the policy, click here.
As teachers serve as instructional leaders in the classroom, when cell phones are misused, steps can be taken by the school administrators to address cell phone use in classrooms with disciplinary consequences to reinforce maintaining the best possible instructional environment in schools.


TPS Begins Semester with Candle Light Ceremony   

Dr. Tiffany Anderson hosted a midyear convocation for staff members on Wednesday, January 3, at Topeka High School. The midyear convocation featured Topeka Public Schools students, Katy Jones, Ruby Jones, Tierra Jones and Angela Jones along with their father, Robinson Middle School paraprofessional, Jason Jones. They performed an interpretive dance and thanked the teachers for their hard work and inspiration. Their mother, Dora Weber, is a paraprofessional at Quincy Elementary. To read more about the event, click here.


Soledad O'Brien Facilitates District Equity Summit    

Undercover High, the A&E series featuring Highland Park, was shown at a TPS Equity Summit on Monday. The summit consisted of a district strategic plan overview, a showing of the first episode of Undercover High and an equity council discussion. The summit began with political commentator Joshua Dubious joining by video and was led by journalist Soledad O'Brien, sharing the importance of the Undercover High project. To view highlights from the panel discussion, click here


McClure Honored With Living the Dream Award   

Living the Dream, Inc. chose McClure Elementary as the winner of the 2018 Pauline J. Barker School Award. This award honors a school that exemplifies the value and power of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s message. The school will be honored at the 33rd annual birthday celebration for Dr. King at 6:00 p.m. in the Regency Ballroom at the Ramada Topeka Downtown Hotel and Convention Center on Saturday, January 13. 


College Connections     

This month's College Connection Newsletter features stories on enrollment, concurrent credit through Washburn University, the Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Careers (TCALC), ACT testing, scholarship opportunities and a graduation countdown. Read this month's edition by clicking here.

Living the Dream, Inc. Events Provide Opportunity for TPS Students      

Students from across the district are participating in events through Living the Dream, Inc. Essay winners were recently announced and include students from Highland Park High School, McClure Elementary, Topeka High School and Williams Science and Fine Arts Magnet. For a full list of events still to come as part of the 2018 Living the Dream, Inc. celebration, click here


Physical Therapy Department Wins Competitive Grant     

The Topeka Public Schools physical therapy department was recently awarded a grant from the Topeka Active 20-30 Club. This grant will provide the district with a new stander and portable balance beam for students that need help to improve their gross motor skills. These resources allow the physical therapy department the capability to individualize and increase the diversity of treatments in order to improve student outcomes. Thank you to the Topeka Active 20-30 Club for this grant and their support for TPS students.  



TPS Singers Garner State and National Honors 

Two Topeka High students, Amber Schmidt and Paul Cabili, pictured left, recently returned from a trip to the National Choir convention. In addition, nine Topeka Public Schools students were chosen to participate in the All State Choir:

  • Meadows Elementary: Leah Bartow and Kinsley Fitzgerald, fourth grade, and Arial Zabortsky: fifth grade.
  • State Street Elementary: Amanda King and Hunter Towery, fourth grade, and Kharys Jones, fifth grade.
  • Topeka West: Tate Donohue, junior.
  • Topeka High: Amber Schmidt and Aja Gamble, seniors. 


Topeka West Student  Explores Aerospace Career

Topeka West senior Christopher Bush II participated in the Summer Experience program at the KU School of Aerospace Engineering this past summer. More recently he competed in the Distinguished Scholarship Institute and the Wallace Invitational for Scholarships in Engineering at Wichita State University. The scholarships are for students that are aerospace majors. Bush is pictured on the right in the photo. 

Winter Calendar Holiday Break Schedule

There will be no school on Monday, January 15, to celebrate and remember Martin Luther King Jr. School will also be out of session on February 2, for professional development. Parent-teacher conferences will begin on February 21, school will not be in session February 22-23.  Spring break will be from March 16-23, students will return to school on March 26. For more district dates and events, view the district calendar by clicking here

Kanza Cafe Caters

Let Kanza Cafe cater your meals today! Click here to see complete catering menu.


Download the official Topeka Public Schools app today for access to your school's news, calendars, push notifications and much more! Click here for a tutorial on how to download from the App Store and Google Play.

Legislative Update

Click here for the Shawnee County Public Schools Legislative Agenda
link link link link 

The Topeka Public Schools, Unified School District No. 501 is committed to affirmative action and equal opportunity. No person shall, on the basis of age, race, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, disability, national origin or ancestry be denied lawful access to any appropriate educational service, program or activity provided by the school district. For students, the Title VI, Title IX and Section 504 compliance coordinator compliance coordinator is the General Counsel for the district. For employment, the EEO/AA and Title VII compliance officer is the general director of human resources. Compliance coordinators may be contacted at 624 S.W. 24th Street, Topeka, KS 66611-1294, (785) 295-3000.The clerk of the Board of Education has been designated to receive and redirect or handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies, regulations and procedures. The clerk may be contacted by calling (785) 295-3059 or by writing to 624 S.W. 24th Street, Topeka, Kansas 66611-1294.

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