Community News

Topeka Public Schools | August 18, 2021

Students First: Working as a Team for Continuous Improvement

Message from the Superintendent

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Topeka Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Tiffany Anderson, pictured with Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, Governor Laura Kelly, and Mayor Michelle De La Isla, took officials on a tour of our back-to-school clinic at Topeka High School on August 9.

Dear Topeka Public Schools Staff and Families:

What an exciting start to the 2021-2022 school year! Since last week, our district attendance rate has been outstanding as the majority of our scholars returned to school.

This month, we were the host for the Second Gentlemen and U.S. Secretary of Education, who highlighted Topeka as an exemplar district as part of the national "Build Back Better" campaign.

On our cable channel KTPS-TV 14, we are featuring a video created by the Topeka Public Schools Communications Department and a video created by the U.S. Department of Education and White House officials about their visit.

Additionally, our Topeka High Communications Intern, Ryleigh Atkinson-McLaury, created a public service announcement focused on vaccines and it is on our cable channel. We thank her and wish her well as she begins her first year in college.

Our school year has started off well due to the excellent parent and staff involvement in support of the success of every student. Thank you to all of our families for the positive feedback and for attendance to the various back to school events. We look forward to seeing our staff and families on September 15th at Family Fun Fitness Night.

Thank you for the tremendous support!

Dr. Tiffany Anderson


Topeka Public Schools Highlighted Nationally for Health Equity

On August 9, Topeka Public Schools was honored to host Second Gentleman Mr. Douglas Emhoff, U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel A. Cardona, Governor Laura Kelly, and Mayor Michelle De La Isla for a tour of our back-to-school clinic at Topeka High School.

At the clinic, students and families were greeted by therapy dogs as they arrived for COVID-19 vaccinations, sports physicals, school supplies, and online enrollment. Interpreters were also on-site to assist with interpretation services. The event was highlighted on Facebook and Instagram by Secretary Cardona.

Mr. Emhoff and Secretary Cardona also participated in a question and answer session with current and former Topeka Public Schools students who have been helping their community through the pandemic, including leading outreach efforts to encourage people to get vaccinated. Those students were featured in a TikTok created by White House aides.

Topeka Public Schools Kicks Off Safe and Successful New School Year

Topeka Public Schools students are off to a great start during the first full week of school!

Students in grades K-6, grade 9, Hope Street Academy, Capital City Schools, and Avondale Academy Virtual School returned for the 2021-2022 academic year on August 11 and all students returned on August 12.

Parents and school staff members were thrilled to return to in-person learning, and excited students were greeted at schools with balloons, parades, cheering, and fun.

Families can view photos from the first week of school on Flickr, and watch an interview with McClure Elementary School Principal Chelsea Artzer in this segment from KSNT News.

Welcome Young Scholars! Preschool Students Begin Their Educational Journey

Topeka Public Schools is welcoming its youngest scholars to the district this week! Meet the Teacher Night for Shaner, Sheldon Head Start, and Pine Ridge Prep is Wednesday, August 18 from 4:30 - 5:30 PM and preschool begins Thursday, August 19.

We thank families for their patience with our school bus service vendor as they navigate through the impact of the pandemic, which has affected the transportation industry. The bus service provider is working to address our bussing needs; however, families may experience some delays in arrival and dismissals.

District Calendar & Upcoming Events for August 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 August.

  • August 18: Preschool Meet the Teacher Night
    4:30 - 5:30 PM for students attending Shaner, Sheldon Head Start, and Pine Ridge Prep
  • August 19: First Day of School for Preschoolers
    Learn more on the Early Childhood Education page
  • August 19: Board of Education Meeting
    Begins at 5:30 PM | Open to public at 6:00 PM
  • August 20: Late Start Friday
    School begins at 9:30 AM for all elementary schools
  • August 21: Free Screening of Coco
    Hummer Sports Park | View Event Page
  • August 24: Robinson Meet the Teacher Night
    5:30 - 7:00 PM at Robinson Middle School
  • August 25: Highland Park High School Open House
    5:30 - 8:00 PM
  • August 26: Middle School Open House
    5:30 - 7:00 PM at Chase, Eisenhower, Jardine, and TCALC
  • August 27: Harvester's Mobile Food Pantry
    9:00 AM | Capital City at Hummer Sports Park

Jardine Elementary Student Honored with Presidential Award for Environmental Campaign

On August 12, a Jardine Elementary student was honored with the President’s Environmental Youth Award. Adelyn Meyer, now a third grader at Jardine Elementary School, received the President’s Award for her “Just Say No to Palm Oil” campaign.

With help from her family and 2nd grade teacher, Ms. Brittany Vale, Adelyn researched palm oil and learned about its effects on orangutans. She then discovered that her favorite cookie used palm oil and wrote a letter to the company hoping to change that. Because of her letter and campaign, the company has since changed their ingredients!

The President’s Environmental Youth Award recognizes outstanding environmental projects achieved by K-12 students. This award is awarded by the President in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Topeka Public Schools Implements Creative Employment Options for Parents in the District

Topeka Public Schools (TPS) Superintendent Dr. Tiffany Anderson shared, "Schools are the center of the community, and TPS is serving the community by extending career opportunities to parents across the community at their child's school."

The district strategically recruited parents from the local community to serve as paraprofessionals and fill other positions in schools. Schools such as Quincy Signature Visual Arts Elementary School have employed mothers of students to fill almost all of their nine paraprofessional positions.

As a result, attendance at Quincy is above 95%, relationships across the Quincy community have expanded, and there are fewer issues with school anxiety or class disruptions as students see familiar faces at school. One parent serving as a para at Quincy is providing support in the new therapeutic sensory room for students who experience anxiety as they transition back to school full-time.

To apply for a position, please visit

Topeka Public Schools and Councilwoman Sylvia Ortiz Host Free Screening of Coco **CANCELED

Topeka Public Schools and Councilwoman Sylvia Ortiz are hosting a free screening of Coco for all families on Saturday, August 21 at Hummer Sports Park Soccer Field (436 SW Oakley Ave).

Gates will open at 7:30 PM and the movie will begin at 8:00 PM.

Coco is Disney/Pixar's vibrant tale of family, fun, and adventure starring an aspiring musician named Miguel, who embarks on an extraordinary journey to the magical land of his ancestors.

Families can view and share the event on Facebook, and even RSVP to get event reminders. No outside drinks, food, or pets will be allowed. Concessions will be available.

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

Bring your family to Hummer Sports Park for the 11th annual Family Fun Fitness 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!

Laird Noller Ford Donates $20,000 for Topeka Public Schools School Supplies and Uniforms

On August 12, Laird Noller Ford donated $20,000 to Topeka Public Schools to be used for school supplies and uniforms for the Early College Prep Academy at Lowman Hill.

Laird Noller previously donated $5,000 to Topeka Public Schools in July 2020 to buy uniforms as part of a 5-year commitment to support Topeka Public Schools' College Prep Academy.

The Topeka Public Schools Board of Education will recognize Laird Noller's generosity and celebrate their ongoing partnership with the district at the upcoming board meeting on August 19, 2021.

Topeka Public Schools and West Ridge Mall Partner to Collect School Supplies for Children In Need

Topeka Public Schools recently partnered with West Ridge Mall to collect school supplies for the 2021-2022 academic year through our annual Stuff the Bus campaign, which was made possible thanks to donations from members of the community and local businesses.

Brenda Stewart, the General Manager for West Ridge Mall, emphasized the importance of the community in collecting these donations. Stewart said that they, “were really pleased with the donations we received this year."

Businesses at West Ridge Mall that donated and served as drop-off points were American Eagle, Maurices, SkyZone, Topsy’s Popcorn, and Worth a 1000 Words. Kansas Secure Title also donated many supplies during the drive.

Topeka Public Schools Remembers Highland Park Graduate and Library Aide

Topeka Public Schools extends our condolences to the family of Victoria Soto-Llamas, who passed away unexpectedly on July 25. Ms. Soto-Llamas was a 2019 Highland Park High School graduate and library paraprofessional at McClure and Lowman Hill.

We continue to offer support to all TPS students and staff affected by the passing of Ms. Soto-Llamas and encourage you to share your most beloved memories to the memorial wall at Peaceful Rest Funeral Chapel.

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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