Community News

Topeka Public Schools | September 1, 2021

Students First: Working as a Team for Continuous Improvement

Message from the Superintendent

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Dear Topeka Public Schools Staff and Families:

This evening, Topeka High School is holding its Senior Parent Night from 6:00 - 7:30 PM, which provides families with information on taking the ACT, ordering caps and gowns, applying for financial aid for college, and more. I look forward to connecting with families at this event!

Earlier this week, students at the Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Careers (TCALC) held an innovation challenge, a Jardine Middle School student was honored for her courage by the Topeka Fire Department, and our youngest scholars are off to a great start to the year after the first full week of preschool.

We congratulate TCALC College & Career Advocates Rose Cantrell, Kathleen Foster, and Paige Vander Linden for being featured in EducationWeek as representatives of Kansas sharing their hopes and dreams for the year ahead.

Additionally, all schools held Open House events and we had a wonderful time meeting families. It's been a busy, fun start to the year!

Thank you for your support and we will see you at Family Fitness Fun Night on September 15.

Dr. Tiffany Anderson


TCALC Pathway Students Practice Critical Thinking and Communication in Innovation Challenge

On Friday, August 27, students at the Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Careers (TCALC) took part in the Innovation Challenge.

The Innovation Challenge is a series of activities designed for young professionals to develop some of the hard and soft skills that will make them successful in college or career pathways, such as critical thinking, communication, teamwork, and presentation skills.

For one activity, students were split up into groups and tasked with using duct-tape and items on-hand to create a useful, functional invention in 30 minutes or less. They then presented the design to real world engineers and IT specialists, who served as judges and chose winners.

Jardine Middle School Student Honored With Citizen Heroism Award

Haylea Lane, a seventh grader at Jardine Middle School, was honored with a Citizen Heroism Award by the Topeka Fire Department.

Ms. Lane received the award in recognition of her life-saving actions after she found her father had fallen and hit his head. She used a towel to apply pressure to his wound as she waited for emergency services to arrive. The medical support she provided saved her father’s life.

The fire chief thanked Ms. Lane for her actions and told her that, though the age to become a firefighter is 20 right now, they would try and get that lowered by the time she graduated high school because she is “the sort of person we want in the fire department.”

From the Stage to the Classroom: Preschool Teacher Introduces Students to Ballet

Ms. Alexandra Mason, known as Ms. Lexi to her students, is a former ballerina turned preschool teacher who is bringing her love of dance into the classroom.

Ms. Mason was on track to become a professional ballerina when an accident left her unable to perform. She grew up dancing for the Kansas City Ballet and performed in their Nutcracker for many years.

Though her career plans shifted, her love of dance has persisted and she has found a way to combine the two. Ms. Mason devotes time to teaching her students dance, yoga, and other movement activities every day.

Not only is dancing and moving around fun for her preschoolers, it also has a variety of benefits including helping her students release energy, teaching them to focus, and practicing and learning gross motor skills.

Robinson Middle School Activities Coordinator Earns Above & Beyond Award for Life Saving Actions

Ms. Kim Stroud, the activities coordinator at Robinson Middle School, put her CPR and emergency medical training to good use last week.

While Ms. Stroud was supervising lunch, a student began choking and indicated difficulty breathing. She jumped into action and began performing the Heimlich maneuver on the student.

Due to Ms. Stroud’s training and intervention, the student’s airways were cleared and the student recovered quickly.

Topeka Public Schools has honored Ms. Stroud with the Above & Beyond Award for her heroic and life-saving actions.

Randolph Elementary Students Learn American Sign Language and Importance of Inclusivity

A teacher at Randolph Elementary School is teaching her students sign language and about how to be inclusive and accepting to those who are different from themselves.

A kindergarten teacher for twenty-one years, Ms. Kelly Rahmeier was inspired to learn and teach American Sign Language (ASL) a few years ago when there was a student who was hard of hearing in her class.

With the help of the student’s interpreter, Ms. Rahmeier started to learn sign language and eventually began teaching her students as well. She began teaching ASL, in part, because it “helps the kids understand people who are different than themselves."

Topeka Public Schools Educators Featured in EducationWeek's "Reasons for Hope" Campaign

Three Topeka Public Schools educators, Rose Cantrell, Kathleen Foster, and Paige Vander Linden, were featured in EducationWeek's "Reasons for Hope" campaign.

In a series of videos, students and educators from across the United States share what they’re hopeful for as they head into the 2021-2022 school year.

Ms. Cantrell, Ms. Foster, and Ms. Vander Linden all serve as College & Career Advocates for Topeka Public Schools.

Topeka High School Celebrates 150th Anniversary

Topeka High School will kick off its 150th anniversary celebration on Friday, September 17 by serving birthday cupcakes to students and staff on the front lawn.

The celebration will continue on Friday, September 24 and Saturday, September 25 during Topeka High Homecoming Weekend, which includes a royalty assembly, parade through downtown Topeka, football game with halftime special, and more!

Learn more about the 150th anniversary of Topeka High School at

September College Connections Newsletter

This month’s College Connections Newsletter provides:

  • Links to virtual tours of college campuses
  • Information/deadlines on college registration and admission
  • Information/deadlines for financial aid and scholarships
  • ACT/SAT test dates and information

Topeka Public Schools is sponsoring an ACT test on October 5, 2021. Students can contact their school counselor to register.

Topeka Public Schools Offers Resources for Suicide Prevention and Mental Health

September 5 - 11 is National Suicide Prevention Week. Topeka Public Schools remains an active member of the "Suicide. Talk About It. Save a Life." campaign.

Our students and staff serve on the Shawnee County Suicide Prevention Coalition and mental health teams provide support at all schools. We encourage students, families, and staff to view the district's well-being resources and additional information about suicide prevention from Family Service & Guidance Center.

Topeka Public Schools Launches Parent Resource Site

As we continue to navigate the pandemic, Topeka Public Schools has launched a parent resource site to provide families with information and resources in regards to our Safe Return to School reopening plan.

The new website includes:

  • Health & Safety Guidance
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Shawnee County COVID-19 Community Indicator Rating
  • TPS Positive Case Scorecard
  • COVID-19 Response Plan

COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics Available

Topeka Public Schools remains committed to health equity access. The district is offering periodic COVID-19 vaccination clinics, the next being at Family Fitness Fun Night at Hummer Sports Park on September 15 from 5:30 - 7:00 PM.

Additionally, the district is providing information on vaccination clinics as we receive it. Starting this Friday, vaccination clinics will be at First Friday and at NOTO Live. The Shawnee County Health Department also provides a list of vaccination clinics available throughout the county Monday-Friday.

  • First Fridays
    Friday, September 3

    5:00 - 7:30 PM
    909 N Kansas Ave
  • NOTO Live
    Saturday, September 11

    9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
    909 N Kansas Ave

Join Us For Our Annual Family Fitness Fun Night on September 15!

Bring your family to Hummer Sports Park for the 11th annual Family Fitness Fun Night (FFFN) on September 15 from 5:30 - 7:00 PM.

Attendees can visit school and community booths featuring information on healthy habits, activities, and nutrition. The event will also include performances by the Topeka West Cheerleaders, the Topeka High Drumline, and demonstrations from Evolution Gymnastics and Sunflower Strength and Conditioning.

We appreciate the many vendors and volunteers who support this health and wellness family event!

Topeka Public Schools Foundation Holds Annual Community Breakfast Fundraiser

The Topeka Public Schools Foundation (TPSF) Annual Community Breakfast and Superintendent State of The District Address will be held at 7:30 AM on Tuesday, September 14 at Hummer Sports Park.

The event commemorates and recognizes the thirty-fifth anniversary of the TPSF raising public dollars to support Topeka Public schools!

Community members are invited to join in the anniversary and celebration of the twelfth annual community breakfast to learn about the district while supporting Topeka Public Schools!

To register, please call 295-3024 or email by Friday, September 10.

District Calendar & Upcoming Events for September 2021

The 2021-2022 academic year district calendar is available at The calendar includes dates of parent-teacher conferences, no school days, and semester sessions. Below are important dates for September.

  • September 1-30: National Campus Safety Awareness Month
  • September 1: McClure House Sorting Ceremony
    2:30 - 3:30 PM | McClure Elementary
  • September 2: Board of Education Meeting
    5:30 PM | Virtual
    6:00 PM | Public Hearing on the 2021-2022 Budget and to Approve Exceeding the Revenue Neutral Rate
  • September 3: Harvester's Food Pantry
    4:00 | Robinson Middle School
  • September 5 - 11: National Suicide Prevention Week
  • September 6: Labor Day
    NO SCHOOL | All district buildings closed
  • September 7: DCAC Meeting
    6:30 - 8:30 PM | Virtual
  • September 10: Highland Park High School Homecoming
    View Event Calendar
  • September 11: Harvester's Food Pantry
    9:00 AM | Jardine Middle School
  • September 11: Patriot Day
  • September 12: Grandparent's Day
  • September 14: TPSF Annual Breakfast
    7:30 AM | Hummer Sports Park
  • September 15: TPS Hiring Fair
    1:30 - 3:30 PM | Heritage Hall at the Stormont Vail Events Center
  • September 15: Family Fitness Fun Night
    5:30 - 7:00 PM | Hummer Sports Park
  • September 15 - October 15: Hispanic Heritage Month
  • September 16: Board of Education Meeting
    5:30 PM | Virtual
  • September 17: Constitution Day
  • September 17: Topeka High School 150th Anniversary Kick Off
  • September 17: Topeka West High School Homecoming
    View Event Calendar
  • September 21: National IT Professional Day
  • September 23: District Equity Council Meeting
    5:30 - 6:30 PM | Virtual
  • September 24: Harvester's Food Pantry
    9:00 AM | Capital City at Hummer Sports Park
  • September 24 - 25: Topeka High School Homecoming
    View Event Calendar

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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