The TCALC Connection

Connecting Students to Industry through CTE, Jan. 2019

A Message from Dr. Murrell, TCALC Principal

Welcome to The TCALC Connection, the newsletter of The Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Careers! We hope that you will take the time to read about the nine TCALC Pathways, as well as some of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses offered at each of our District’s high schools. As a member of the Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) network, TCALC teachers and students (high school juniors and seniors) create learning experiences that are personally relevant, engaging, and prepare students for success in a career and in postsecondary education. Additionally, each pathway offers a combination of strong academics, demanding career technical education and, through our expanding business and industry partnerships, real-world, professional learning opportunities.

After only one semester in our new state-of-the-art facility, we are thrilled to share news of the

achievements of our students and teachers. And, as we continue to recruit students and business partners to the TCALC family, we are excited to announce:

  • In January 2019, students in the Web & Digital Communications, Sports Medicine,

Teaching as a Profession, and Medical Professions Pathways will be able to earn tuition-

free college credit through the Allen Community College Online Learning Department.

  • In the 2019-2020 school year, we will be adding new Pathways at TCALC: Computer

Science (with an emphasis on Programming and Software Development), Law

and Public Safety (in partnership with the Topeka Police Department), and

Interactive Media Technology.

In addition to the technical competencies that TCALC students are expected to master, we

strive, daily, to ensure that our students are learning and practicing the professional, workplace skills that meet career and college readiness expectations.

Whether you are a prospective student, parent, or potential business/industry partner, we

encourage you to visit our building and classrooms to witness, firsthand, the TCALC difference.

TCALC Community Tours

TCALC will be conducting tours, sharing information about the Pathways, and introducing guests to our staff. Everyone is invited to join in on a tour. Tours typically last 45 minutes to an hour.

  • Jan 24th, 9:45am and 3:15pm
  • Jan 31st, 9:45am and 3:15pm
  • Feb 14th, 9:45am and 3:15pm
  • Feb 28th, 9:45am and 3:15pm
  • Mar 7th, 9:45am and 3:15pm
  • Mar 21st, 9:45am and 3:15pm
  • Mar 28th, 9:45am and 3:15pm

We're on FACEBOOK!

To keep up on the regular happenings, find us on

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


TCALC & Allen Community College Partner

Four TCALC Pathways have partnered with ACCC to offer dual credit classes. Medical Professions and Sports Medicine students will be taking Medical Terminology. Teaching as a Profession students will be taking Observation and Interaction with Children. And our Web & Digital Communications students (intermediate and advance level) will be taking Intro to Programming, Intro to Python Programming and/or HTML/Java Script. The online ACCC curriculum aligns with our TCALC curriculum and the tuition, books, and application is all free through "Excel in CTE" (formerly SB155). We will be adding more college credit opportunities next fall. Contact us today for more information!
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Medical Professions Pathway Overview

The Medical Professions Pathway started the year studying Forensics. Students tested blood types and designed experiments analyzing blood spatters. Guest speaker Sharon Parks-Mendel, a veteran medical death examiner, demonstrated the steps to processing a questionable death. Subsequently, Chief Ron Brown directed the students how to take fingerprints, analyze the results, and defend their results in a “mock” testimonial in trial.

Following the forensics unit, the students were exposed to different medical careers. Dr. Morrison, a TPS Board President and retired obstetrician and gynecologist (OB/GYN) from Topeka, spoke to the students about the courses required in college and how he became an OB/GYN. He also broadened their horizons by asking them how would they deal with ethical situations that medical professionals have to deal with in their careers.

At the end of the semester, Medical Professions, Sport Medicine, and Fire Management coordinated with Matt Olthoff, American Heart Association (AHA) Coordinator Education and Development Specialist from Stormont-Vail, to certify students in Stop The Bleed and Hands-Only CPR, and AED.

Architecture, Design & Construction Students Partner with Habitat for Humanity

As the semester drew to a close the ADC students further developed their skills as they took a big step forward in partnering with the Topeka Habitat for Humanity. The students travel to the build site twice a week, to gain valuable hands on experience.

Web & Digital Students Host Pathway Showcase and More

This fall the Web & Digital Pathway has enjoyed getting into our new building! The students rapidly adjusted to the business atmosphere and professionalism that TCALC expects. The "Up-And-Coming" level of students have been busy learning basic creative skills and a little coding. They have used Adobe PhotoShop, InDesign, DreamWeaver & Animate. In addition, the program SketchUp was used to gain skills in 3-D modeling. The "Rising Stars" level started with coding in HTML and designing sites. Then they progressed through learning responsive coding so that their websites look good on a variety of devices. They also got some experience with making a WordPress site. A few of them even got their feet wet with some small internships. The "Veterans" had the most experience coming into TCALC. They continue doing websites in the community including Topeka High School's, a dentist's, a church's and more. Their trouble-shooting skills and expertise have been valuable to the other levels of students as well. Our team of students has gained collaboration skills far beyond what we could have done in the traditional environment.

In November we were able to Showcase our Pathway. For this event we invited students in from area high schools to get a sampling of the skills we learn here. All schools brought students for a half day. Our pathway students gave mini-lessons on everything from PhotoShop to video editing to 3D modeling. The Web & Digital students also gave tours of the building to the participants. The students presenting were mature and well-prepared for these 4 half-days and the participants were engaged and learned quite a bit about our pathway as well as other pathways here at TCALC.

YASKAWA MOTOMAN Industry-Recognized Robotic Programming Certification

The students in TCALC's Engineering and Applied Math Pathway passed the required assessment developed by Yaskawa Motoman Robotics and earned the DX100 Basic Programming with Material Handling industry-recognized certificate.

YASKAWA MOTOMAN's product line includes more than 175 distinct robot models and over 40 fully integrated pre-engineered solutions that are complete application specific work cells, including robot and process and safety equipment. The company serves the food, transportation, automotive, medical, pharmaceutical, computer and telecommunications industries. Its additional products include personal computer software, positioners, and welding power supplies and packages. Motoman is a subsidiary company of Yaskawa Electric Corporation, which is one of the leading providers of robotic solutions in the world

100% of the TCALC engineering students achieved their certification.They were required to make at least a 70% on the certification exam, complete 70% of the assigned programming jobs and complete all 5 capstone programming jobs to earn their YASKAWA MOTOMAN Academy Certification. In earning this certification, students will have an excellent credential to add to their resume and will receive a formal certificate signed by their TCALC instructor and the President and C.O.O. of Yaskawa America, Inc.

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Teaching Pathway Hits it Big with Grant, Regional Placers, Site Visits, and Expert Guest Speakers

The Teaching as a Profession pathway started the school year with a bright start. In October, Mrs. Ebke won a Topeka Public Schools Foundation grant to purchase a 4-roll art paper holder and Cricut Maker for all the TCALC teachers to use for project-based learning. In November, students attended the Regional Educators Rising conference in Olathe at MidAmerica Nazarene. Students competed in a variety of events related to teaching. TCALC students who placed in their events were Ana Stewart - 1st in children’s literature; Erin Watts - 1st in TED talk; Melissa Paz - 2nd in STEM lesson planning and delivery; Hannah Fox - 2nd in job interview; and Angel Shaw - 3rd in job interview.

Teaching students also traveled to tour Washburn University’s Education Department, the Kansas National Education Association, and the Brown v. Board museum. Coming in to speak to about about the many different parts of education were Dr. Beryl New, Dr. Aarion Gray, Stephanie Harsin, Angela Dick, Dr. Roger Laubengayer, Gail Ramirez, Travis True, and Leslie Carr.

Next semester, students will take an online education course through Allen County Community College while completing their Teaching as a Profession coursework. They will complete one six-week PLE and one 12-week PLE, as well as take the Paraprofessional Exam, which will allow them to work as paras in TPS 501 after graduation. In February, students will travel to Friends University in Wichita for the State Educators Rising convention and competition.

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TCALC is a 3X Grant Recipient from the 2018 TPS Foundation Prize Patrol

A big SHOUT OUT to the Topeka Public School Foundation Board for their tremendous support in awarding three of TCALC's teachers and programs this school year!

  • Chef Camille Eichorn was awarded $257 for an indoor herb garden, for her culinary pathway.
  • Mr. Wilkerson and Ms. Wood were awarded a combined grant for $992 for equipment for "joint Assessment" projects. Mr. WIlkerson is the Sports Medicine instructor and Ms. Wood is the Medical Professions instructor.
  • Mrs. Ebke applied for a grant on behalf of all of TCALC Pathways. She was awarded $725 for cricuit machine and equipment for various projects.

TCALC and Transportation

Students may ride the bus from their high school to TCALC and back.

Things to remember:

  1. Students must be signed up, in advance, in order to ride the bus.
  2. The bus makes a loop around Topeka, therefore students may have to ride the bus for up to 45 minutes to get back to the high school.
  3. The bus waits at the assigned location for one minute and then they move to the next stop.
  4. If students are tardy to class, due to the bus, they are excused.
  5. The bus schedule does not change for special events such as games, assemblies, etc.

Quick Links

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HPHS FCCLA Students Share Financial Literacy Lesson & Book to our Parents as Teachers' families

Highland Park Family, Career & Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) students partnered with TPS Parents as Teachers, at Pine Ridge Prep. The focus of the program is on financial literacy for children. Mrs. Helen Ramsey's students shared the importance of financial literacy with the families by giving each attendee For me, For You, For Later kit, the kit is translated into both Spanish and English, and is designed for families to teach their Pre-K child(ren) about financial literacy. Students will read the book Money, Money, Honey Bunny in both Spanish and English, as well as led several financial literacy stations. The FCCLA students want families to continue to read and talk to their children about money and making wise choices with their budget.

Family, Career and Community Leaders of America is a nonprofit national career and technical student organization (CTSO) for young men and women in Family and Consumer Sciences education in public and private school through grade 12. Everyone is part of a family, and FCCLA is the only national Career and Technical Student Organization with the family as its central focus.

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