Community News

Topeka Public Schools | 2/22/2023

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Message from the Superintendent

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Dear Topeka Public Schools Staff and Families:

It has been a busy season with school plays at Topeka West and Topeka High this month, which have been attended by hundreds of community members, and we look forward to Highland Park's performance at the end of March.

Additionally, this month, there are various Black History Month celebrations. We thank Topeka West for their incredible Black History panel series, Robinson Middle for the many community events highlighting leaders, Highland Park and Topeka High for the artwork displayed at the district's central office, and the many other schools for their Black History celebrations.

This week, we awarded Ainsley Sha-Win Schimmel, a future educator and a proud member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. You can learn more in the article in this newsletter about this exceptional student. We thank Governor Kelly for visiting Topeka Public Schools this week and giving special attention to the need to fully fund special education.

The generosity and love displayed through our schools has been tremendous all winter, and we congratulate Whitson Elementary, who was recognized for collecting 2,500 food items in the 2023 Living the Dream Food Drive. Read more about Whitson in this newsletter.

We extend a heartfelt message within this newsletter to the family of Paul Hemme, who has worked with Topeka Public Schools for decades in our IT department and passed away on his farm unexpectedly last week. He was a dedicated staff member who we will all miss dearly and memorial information will be shared with staff in March.

Thank you for your continued support of public schools. It's such an honor to serve alongside the many staff members and parents who make Topeka such a special place.

Dr. Tiffany Anderson


TPS Celebrates Chiefs Super Bowl Victory With Parades, Spirit Days, & More!

As the Chiefs' celebrated their Super Bowl victory with a parade through Kansas City, Topeka Public Schools students and staff showed their enthusiasm at school on February 15.

Students and staff sported their Chiefs attire, schools shared the live stream of the parade, and teachers presented Chiefs-themed lessons during class. Our youngest scholars at Shaner Early Learning Academy even took part in their own Chiefs Super Bowl parade around the school!

Families and community members can view photos of some of the special activities from schools on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Flickr pages.

Governor Kelly Visits Jardine Campus for Tours & Roundtable Discussions

On February 21, Governor Laura Kelly visited Jardine Elementary and Middle School to learn more about special education services provided by the district.

Gov. Kelly toured the schools and then joined administrators, staff, and families for a roundtable discussion on the importance of fully funding special education.

We thank Governor Kelly for making time to address the needs of special education programs across the state.

Learn more in this press release from the Governor's Office.

TPS Superintendent Surprises Future Educator With College Scholarship

After being named the 2023 Women in School Leadership awardee by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), Dr. Anderson is donating her award and providing an additional scholarship to Topeka West student Ainsley Sha-Win Schimmel.

Ainsley is planning to earn her elementary education degree to teach and lead in Topeka, and she is the President of the Kansas Educators Rising. She is a proud member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and a leader among her peers.

On February 20, Ainsley was surprised with the $2000 annual scholarship at Quincy Signature Visual Arts Elementary School, where she student teaches coding and robotics once a week through the TCALC Teaching as a Profession Pathway.

Horace Mann, a supporter of the AASA financial award, invites TPS staff to join in celebrating the district's 2023 Women in Leadership award at reception on Thursday, March 2 from 4:30-5:00 at the Burnett Administrative Center.

We congratulate Dr. Anderson on being awarded 2023 Woman Superintendent of the Year and thank her for the donation to Ainsley! Learn more in this article from the Topeka Capital-Journal.

Topeka High School Students Recognized as Finalists in National Merit Scholarship Program

Topeka Public Schools is excited to announce that two Topeka High School students have been recognized as Finalists in the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program, an academic competition that recognizes exceptional students based on academics, SAT scores, and other factors.

Kushal Mamillapalli and Matthew Hubka, both seniors at Topeka High who have attended TPS since kindergarten, applied for the scholarship program along with over 3 million other high school students nationwide. They are now two of only 7250 scholarship recipients remaining!

Outstanding Capital City Senior Selected as February Senior of the Month

Chaniyah Pattmon, a senior at Capital City High School, was selected as the February 2023 Senior of the Month! She was recognized by the Topeka Public Schools Board of Education on February 2.

Chaniyah is an ambitious and hardworking student, who credits the teachers, counselors, and SROs at Capital City for helping her build trust and achieve her goals. She attends TCALC for part of the day, where she studies in the Law & Public Safety Pathway.

After graduation, Chaniyah plans to study psychology, and is also interested in filmmaking. View the video highlighting Chaniyah and all of her accomplishments on YouTube and Facebook.

TPS Hosting Shawnee County Spelling Bee on February 25

On February 25, Topeka Public Schools will host the annual Shawnee County Spelling Bee at Bishop Professional Development Center. The event will begin at 9:00 AM.

Students across the county studied hard to place at the top of their school spelling bees, and will now compete to move on to the Sunflower State Spelling Bee on March 25 in Wichita.

Topeka Public Schools is honored to support students across our community by hosting the Shawnee County Spelling Bee for the next 5 years!

Future Educators from TCALC Partner With Washburn to Host Kansas Educators Rising Conference

On February 1, students from the TCALC Teaching as a Profession Pathway, led by their instructors Diane Kimsey and Robin Dixon, hosted the Kansas Educators Rising Conference at Washburn University.

Over 200 current and future educators attended the event, which featured presenters and competitions where students showcased their teaching skills.

Dr. Anderson served as the keynote speaker over lunch, TPS Board of Education President, Sue Bolley, served as a judge in the student competitions, and Governor Laura Kelly even stopped by to encourage future educators in their journey.

We are excited to announce that 14 students will now move on to the National Educators Rising competition in Orlando, Florida this spring! We are so proud of these outstanding scholars.

TPS Collects Nearly 7,000 Food Items Through 6th Annual Living the Dream Food Drive

In partnership with Living The Dream, Inc., Topeka Public Schools students and staff worked throughout the month of January to collect canned food items, which were then donated to the district’s Community Cupboard and the Washburn University Food Pantry.

This year, Whitson Elementary School collected the most donations, with students and staff collecting 2,416 canned goods! In total, the district collected 6,766 items to be donated to families in need, a new record.

We are so proud of our students, families, and staff for their kindness, generosity, and willingness to serve others with the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in mind.

TPS Students & Staff Celebrate Black History Month

In celebration of Black History Month, schools across the district are hosting educational seminars, art displays, music and dance performances, and more.

On February 13, African-American community and business leaders visited Robinson Middle School for a round-table discussion with students about their lived experiences. We thank TPS Board of Education member, Mr. Keith Tatum, and the many other participants who inspire our students! Learn more in this article from WIBW.

Additionally, students at College Prep Academy celebrated Black History Month with visitors from across the globe. Dr. Beryl New shared stories of her life here in the United States, and students also heard from presenters representing Zimbabwe, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and other nations. View photos from the event on Flickr.

Pictures and stories related to Black History Month in Topeka Public Schools can be found by viewing our Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr.

TPS Celebrates National School Counseling Week

The week of February 6-10, students and staff across the district celebrated National School Counseling Week!

Each year, this special week highlights the impact school counselors have on the lives of students. School counselors are instrumental in providing social-emotional support, encouraging academic success, and assisting with college and career plans.

Watch our video highlighting the role of school counselors in elementary, middle, and high schools, featuring Ms. Mallory Jacobs, the Kansas School Counselor of the Year who serves students at Whitson Elementary.

Thank you to all of our school counselors for their service to Topeka Public Schools students, staff, and families!

TPS Celebrates National Career & Technical Education Month

February is National Career & Technical Education (CTE) Month! We are so proud of our programs that provide 21st-century academic and technical skills for our students.

Topeka Public Schools highlighted the Topeka Center for Advanced Learning & Careers (TCALC) and the many pathways offered for students during the Board of Education meeting on February 16.

The district extends special thanks to TCALC Principal, Mr. Dustin Dick, for his leadership in guiding students through these pathways and into internships and careers.

Visit the TCALC website to learn more about the CTE pathways offered by Topeka Public Schools.

TPS Announces New Director of Certified Personnel Joining Central Office

After over 30 years of service to students, families, and staff, Dr. Beryl New will retire from her current position as the district's Director of Certified Personnel and Equity.

Succeeding Dr. New in this position is Nicole Johnson, who currently serves as Principal of Meadows Elementary.

Mrs. Johnson will finish out the school year at Meadows and begin training with Dr. New leading up to July 1, 2023, when she will assume her new role.

Mrs. Johnson has served the district as an educator and principal for 25 years. We look forward to her joining the Central Office team later this year, and congratulate Dr. New on her retirement!

Topeka Public Schools Accepting Magnet Applications February 1 - March 10

Is your child interested in enrolling in Topeka Public Schools Dual Language or Science & Fine Arts Magnet Programs?

Openings are available for the 2023-2024 school year at Scott Dual Language Magnet School (Kindergarten) and Williams Science & Fine Arts Magnet School (grades K-5).

Applications will be accepted online at from February 1 - March 10, 2023. Families will be notified of approval and placement the week of April 2.

Topeka Public Schools Accepting Applications for College Prep Academy

On February 1, the district's middle school College Prep Academy began accepting applications from current 6th-grade students for the 2023-2024 school year!

The College Prep Academy, which offers an accelerated curriculum in Math and Computer Science, is housed at TCALC, and students are bused from their home school for a portion of the school day. Students in the College Prep Academy are also exposed to career pathways offered at TCALC.

To have your student considered for a spot in the College Prep Academy, please complete the application form online by March 10, 2023. Accepted students will be notified during the week of April 2.

February College Connections Newsletter

This month’s College Connections Newsletter provides:

  • Information on FAFSA registration
  • Information/deadlines on college registration and admission
  • ACT/SAT test dates and information
  • Scholarship information/deadlines
  • Internships/Job opportunities

As you plan for the rest of the 2022-2023 school year, please note that our 2023 High School Commencement Ceremonies will take place at the Stormont Vail Events Center on Saturday, May 13.

Campus Care Clinic Offering Low Cost Sports Physicals to TPS Athletes

Are you a Topeka Public Schools middle school or high school student needing a sports physical? Campus Care can help!

Sports physicals are available on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM when school is in session at the Campus Care Clinic, located inside Topeka High School (800 SW 10th St, Room 101).

The cost for sports physicals is $20. For questions, please contact or 785-295-3256. View the flyer to learn more and schedule an appointment.

Family Service & Guidance Center Hosts Free Monthly Q&A

Each month, our community partners at Family Service & Guidance Center (FSGC) host a free virtual Ask a Child Therapist Q&A session for parents, families, and caregivers.

February's Ask a Child Therapist topic is self-care! The session will be held via Zoom on Thursday, February 23 from 6:30 - 7:30 PM. The Zoom link is available on the FSGC Facebook and website.

Submit your questions about parent/caregiver self-care to, and FSGC staff members will answer them during the Q&A session.

TPS Prepares to Launch Synergy Student Information System

Later this year, Topeka Public Schools will be moving to a new Student Information System, Synergy by Edupoint.

This system will replace the district's current student information system into one platform that will host and manage student data in an efficient and user-friendly manner.

Additional information, including our Student Information System Communications Plan, is available at

TPS Remembers Beloved IT Staff Member With Decades of Service

It is with tremendous sadness we share the passing of Paul Hemme, a dedicated and beloved technology team member with almost 30 years of service to the district.

The family immediately held a private ceremony following his passing, and more public memorial services will be shared with staff once this information is made available.

In Mr. Hemme's memory, a brick in his name will be placed in front of the Burnett Center. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.

TPS Weather Notifications

As we continue to navigate the winter season, we want to remind families and staff of school closing notification procedures.

As we make decisions about closing school, a number of factors come into play, including the safety of travel but also the safety of students who will be home during the day.

Should school be canceled, we will:

  • Send a text, email, and/or phone call via SchoolMessenger
  • Update the district social media pages
  • Update the district website
  • Contact our local media partners

To sign up for text message updates, text Y to 67587. To learn more about school delays and closures, please review our How We Communicate With Families document.

District Calendar & Upcoming Events

View the 2022-2023 academic calendar at

As our families and staff plan for the upcoming year, Topeka Public Schools has also released the 2023-2024 academic calendar, which is available on the Communications Department drop-down menu.

Below are some important dates for February 2023:

  • February 1-28: Black History Month
  • February 1-28: Career & Technical Education Month
  • February 24: Harvesters Food Pantry
    9:00 - 10:00 AM | Hummer Sports Park
  • February 25: County Spelling Bee

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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