The TCALC Connection

Connecting Students to Industry through CTE, Apr. 2019

A Message from Dr. Murrell, TCALC Principal

In the previous edition of The TCALC Connection, we noted that the TCALC Pathways are guided by the five core values of the Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) network: (1) profession-based learning, (2) professional skills development, (3) self-discovery and exploration, (4) entrepreneurial mindset, and (5) responsiveness. This month, we address profession-based learning—education that allows our students to participate in authentic, “hands-on” experiences.


At TCALC, as well as in many of our Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes throughout the school district, we are witnessing the power of profession-based learning, as our students collaborate with our business and industry partners on meaningful projects. While our dedicated teachers are facilitating the learning, our students, in many instances, are accepting the challenge of leading the learning, taking responsibility for teaching their peers, and developing and refining projects that meet the needs of their clients.


We invite you to visit TCALC and our CTE classrooms, to see how profession-based learning is positively impacting the engagement, the intellectual curiosity, and the workplace skills of our students.

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Apr 2 Community TCALC Tours 8:30-11am (every 30 min)

Apr 3 Community TCALC Tours 9:45am & 3:15pm

Apr 4 BOE, CTE Update

Apr 4-9 American Red Cross Training

Apr 8-19 OSHA 10 Training

Apr 25 Student & Stakeholder Recognition Night

Apr 26 Community TCALC Tours, 11:30am & 3:30pm

Apr 27 TPS Sharefest

Apr 30 StepUp Job Fair @ Capitol Plaza Hotel, 12-2pm (Seniors)


Robotics Club meets every Thursday from 3:30-5:30pm in Rm 159.

Where Students Lead, a 2019 film, chronicles the dramatic student impact of the CAPS profession-based education model, and its growth across the country. The film and speaking tour is part of an overarching campaign to propel experiential learning. CAPS is one example of the global experiential learning movement impacting all levels of education. Click here to learn more.

Why 3D Printing?

3D printing is triggering a change in the way both small businesses and industry giants build and design their products. Three dimensional printing, or additive manufacturing, goes beyond the capability of printing in the traditional sense of ink on paper, allowing for 3D objects to be physically printed before your very eyes. 3D printers allow you to create prototypes, models and products out of materials such as plastics and metals. The printers do this by creating layer upon layer of your design in your chosen material until the final product is formed.


Regardless of the specific application, 3D printers offer rapid turnaround times when it comes to taking a digital concept, and placing the physical results of that concept into a user’s hand. As the technology surrounding it improves, 3D printers will become increasingly versatile. They’ll be used for an ever growing number of tasks, in a manner similar to the last two decades of digital expansion via personal computers.


In 2018, the 3D printing industry was worth roughly $7.4 Billion, growing 20% from the previous year. The benefits of 3D printing are likely to revolutionize many industries and are a useful learning tool for multiple TCALC pathways:

  • Automotive and Aerospace (Engineering Pathway): shorter lead times in development and testing of components

  • Food Industry (Baking and Pastry Pathway): NASA is investing in the capability of astronauts to print their food in space

  • Healthcare (Medical and Sports Medicine Pathways): prosthetics, joint replacement, human tissue printing, casts for broken bones

  • 3D Modeling and Industrial Design (Web/Digital Design and Architectural/Construction Pathways): Computer Aided Design (CAD) and other modeling techniques are essential in designing items for manufacturing and construction.


Material drawn from StudyLink (studylink.com) and 3D Supply Guys (3dsupplyguys.com)
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Project Management in W & D

The Web & Digital Pathway has four levels of students, many of whom are working independently on client projects. The variety of work happening on a given day has more than four different tasks going at once. We have implemented the Project Management course which gives our students the tools to succeed in juggling all that we have going on. As this is a new course for our Pathway, we were excited to embark on learning what doors this would open for us. We have been communicating with our business partners, particularly Advisors Excel and Federal Home Loan Bank, who are more familiar with these concepts. They have recommended software to assist us in this endeavor, Agile or Waterfall, and helped us understand the advantages of each.


One of our W & D Level 4 students, Madison Cobb, enrolled in Project Management, is innately talented at organization. She volunteered to help figure out a way to better manage the workload that we have. She organized notebooks in such a way to have each website P.L.E. (Professional Learning Experience) in a notebook and one notebook for all the graphic design projects. Writing in each notebook, to document the work done includes date, name(s) of students working on the project, what the task was and a log of the hours invested.


Then Madison researched project management further and found an online tool called Agantty. After a thorough investigation, she was able to assign students to teams, assign students and/or teams to projects, and create timelines for projects and deadlines. Again, this tool seems to have a great application for us as we adapt to using it as well. Our pathway is lucky to have students like Madison who are enthusiastic about pioneering new courses, new methods and new avenues to help all students be successful! And these Project Management skills are sure to propel our students to better options for their futures!

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Bandsaw Addition to the Architecture, Design & Construction Pathway

Earlier this school year, the construction lab received a new band saw, the students were given

the challenge to design and build a “bandsaw box” which would allow them to practice with the machine and develop safe and proper techniques. Some designs reflected the interests of the student. One looked like a guitar, another like the mountains of Colorado. One was in the

shape of a “t” for the initials of his name. One was intended as a gift for a young girl and was

heart shaped, while another was purely abstract. As a way of collaborating with the Engineering Pathway, two of the boxes used 3-D printed knobs for the drawers. This was a fun and creative project as well as a valuable learning experience in utilizing the new band saw.

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Angelica Comahig Receives 2019 LEAP Award


Congratulations to Angelica Comahig, of the Web and Digital Communications Pathway! Angelica is one of eight TPS students to receive the 2019 LEAP Award! LEAP stands for Learning, Engaging, Adapting and Preparing. The LEAP Award honors junior and senior students who have shown these qualities throughout their high school career. Students must be nominated, complete an application and have two reference letters. Students are then selected for the award through the LEAP Award Committee. Congrats Angelica, we are proud of you!

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Teaching as a Profession Students Gearing Up to Take ParaEducator Exam

Our Teaching students are soon to be taking their industry recognized credential, the ParaEducator exam, from MasterTeacher. Passing the exam is a requirement for Kansas Title I paras. Topeka Public Schools Human Resources Department will later interview the students, with the hope of offering a para position and/or an "Intent to Hire", once the (future) educator has obtained a teaching license.
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Mr. Wilkerson to Certify Students in First Aid, CPR, and AED

Mr. Ed Wilkerson attended an American Red Cross Certified Instructor Training at the end of March. He is now be able to certify our students in First Aid, CPR, and AED. This was more of a refresher for Mr. Wilkerson, as he has past experience teaching this to his former college students. Previously TCALC medical, sports medicine and fire (pathway) students learned "Hands Only" CPR, the ARC skills will increase their level of awareness, practice, and confidence in responding to emergencies.
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Sheldon Head Start Students Explore Careers at TCALC

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We're on FACEBOOK!

To keep up on the regular happenings, find us on

Facebook at "Topeka Center for Advanced Learning & Careers" or @tcalctps

#TCALC and #TCALCTPS

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FACS Class in a Flash, Jardine Middle School-7th Grade ...A Message from Ms. Wentz

Jardine Jaguars have been busy preparing for the future! Everyday students build on prior knowledge covered in the classroom, observed in the school environment, and brought in from home. Many of the career and life planning topics we are focusing on center around goal setting, problem solving, safety, and sanitation.


Currently, our focus is looking critically at the various career pathways. Students have been evaluating career choices and the “opportunity costs” involved in those choices. Students are researching different educational degrees and learning that different degrees take less or more time to complete, thus affecting the cost. They are also looking at the average salary of those who have various degrees and then analyzing the increase or the opportunity in relation to the higher degrees.


Our focus has also been centered around a variety of workplace skills. We look at this when we are in a food lab setting or working on an individual assignment. Students are learning collaborative skills and working together. They are learning that decisions within a group needs to be discussed and all members need to feel validated. Students learn how and why it is important to be a contributing member and the importance of kindness and consideration to one another, on a daily basis. The focus of all of these skills are crucial as we strive for each student to be able to make responsible decisions, contribute at home, and eventually begin their young adult lives living responsibly within their community.


If you asked most of my seventh grade students what they have enjoyed the most in the class, I am certain most would say the food labs. We have made a variety of cuisines from main dishes to desserts. Student’s lab grades are based off of their group work rather than the product they produce. Together they have to work safely, in a timely manner, and in a no-nonsense fashion to receive a passing grade. In addition, students have started coming in for an after school food lab. This allows my larger classes the opportunity to receive more one on one time. It’s hands down, their favorite way to learn life skills.

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TWHS Yearbook Receives Honor from Balfour Yearbooks

Topeka West's 2018 yearbook has been recognized by Balfour Yearbooks for its outstanding contribution to scholastic journalism and will be featured in one of the following three categories of the Yearbook Yearbook: Best, Featured, or Honorable Mention. Balfour honors less than one percent of yearbook staffs with this distinction! By being recognized in this 33rd edition of the Yearbook Yearbook, the designs, coverage, copy and photography will serve as examples for students and staffs across the nation. It is an extraordinary accomplishment to be celebrated as the best of the best. Yearbooks were evaluated in one or more of the following areas: theme development, layout design, photo content, secondary packages and cover design. Your outstanding work earned you this recognition. Congratulations to the TW Yearbook Team and Mrs. Miller!

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THS Senior, Michaela Blankenship, Partners with Troy Colby and the Nelson Art Museum

Michaela Blankenship, THS Senior, was privileged to work with guest artist Troy Colby (http://www.troycolby.com/ ) and the Nelson Atkins Art Museum during their competitive Photography Scholars Program. During that time photographers created a piece to hang in the Nelson-Atkins Museum for the exhibition More Than One Way Home. This exhibition will be on display from April 18 (Opening reception night) to June 9th, 2019. f you happen to be in Kansas City and have time to stop by this incredible Museum, do so and make sure to stop by to see Michaela's Photo. Congratulations Michaela, we are proud of you!
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