Community News

Topeka Public Schools | January 21, 2022

Big picture

Message from the Superintendent

Big picture

Dear Topeka Public Schools Staff and Families:

January is School Board Recognition Month, and last night was the first meeting of our new Board of Education! We welcomed our new board members and celebrated the work and success of our outgoing school board members by thanking them for their service.

We extend a thank you to Governor Kelly for including Topeka Public Schools in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day March and Program. Dr. Beryl New spoke at the program and is highlighted below. We are so proud to take part in such an important moment in history.

Our school nursing staff has been juggling addressing COVID-19 concerns and providing basic medical care, such as dispensing medicine and addressing various student needs throughout the day. Our nurses can not continue to cover both areas; therefore, we are working to add nurses to our team and have launched a new TPS COVID-19 Help Line that will address COVID-19 exposures.

A TPS COVID-19 Self Reporting Form will be used to report COVID-19 exposures and process requests from parents. We will continue to do what we can to provide COVID-19 testing and meet all other medical needs in schools.

As we end this month, our district is excited to celebrate our mid-year graduates in their graduation ceremony in the upcoming week! The mid-year event started due to the pandemic and it is an event we will continue. Any graduating student that would like immediate employment with Topeka Public Schools can sign themselves up for an interview at this link. The district is committed to ensuring our students have every opportunity to move into postsecondary opportunities and careers after graduation.

Thank you for your continued support.

Dr. Tiffany Anderson


Topeka Public Schools Celebrates MLK Day Across the District

Topeka Public Schools students, staff, and administrators celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on January 17, 2022 and took part in a variety of events to honor Dr. King's legacy.

Some of these events included the Center for Peace and Justice's 29th Annual Program and the Governor's March at the Capitol.

Dr. Beryl New, TPS Director of Certified Personnel and Equity and Chair of the Kansas African American Affairs Commission, spoke at the Governor's March about what we can all do to keep Dr. King's dream alive.

Additionally, in partnership with Living the Dream, Inc., Topeka Public Schools is hosting our annual district-wide food drive throughout the month of January!

Students and staff are encouraged to collect non-perishable food items that will be donated to the Topeka Public Schools Community Cupboard at Quinton Heights, which is open to all district families.

Winners Announced in Living the Dream Student Poetry and Essay Competitions

Students from across the district submitted artwork, poetry, and essays inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for the annual Living the Dream, Inc. competition.

Winners of the student poetry and essay competition were announced last week, and include students from Quincy Elementary, Chase Middle School, French Middle School, Highland Park High School, Topeka High School, and Hope Street Academy.

View a complete list of the 2022 Living the Dream, Inc. competition winners here.

Chiefs Days Are Back!

Congratulations to the Chiefs on their first win in the playoffs! We are all so excited.

Throughout the playoffs, Chiefs Days will take place on Fridays and Mondays in Topeka Public Schools. Staff and students may wear their Chiefs gear and jeans.

The Chiefs are an inspiring example of overcoming challenges as a team. Go Chiefs! Go TPS!

Topeka West Educator Honored as Kansas Theatre Teacher of the Year

Katie Murphy, a Topeka West High School Theatre and Language Arts teacher, was honored last week as Kansas Theatre Teacher of the Year by the Kansas Chapter of the Educational Theatre Association.

Ms. Murphy says she loves teaching theatre because there truly is something for everyone.

Topeka West students say Ms. Murphy "always has your back," and her leadership inspires them and their love of theatre.

Topeka Public Schools to Hold Mid-Year Graduation Ceremonies on January 27

Topeka Public Schools high schools are hosting mini graduation ceremonies on Thursday, January 27 for students who are eligible to graduate at mid-year.

Each school will hold socially-distanced ceremonies, which will also be streamed live on the respective high school's Facebook and Youtube pages.

Ceremony times are as follows:

  • Topeka West High School: 8:00 AM
  • Topeka High School: 9:00 AM
  • Highland Park High School: 10:30 AM
  • Hope Street Academy: Individual ceremonies throughout the school day

Additionally, Mid-Year Graduation Slideshows will premiere at 5:30 PM on Facebook, YouTube, and KTPS Channel 14.

Get Paid, Gain High School Credit, and Acquire New Skills Through the Youth Registered Apprenticeship Program

A Topeka Public Schools high school student will have the opportunity to work for the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) Information Technology team as part of the first Kansas Youth Registered Apprenticeship!

Youth apprentices receive paid on-the-job training along with job-related technical instruction that also supports high school graduation requirements.

The apprentice will work at the KSDE building for two hours per day during school hours, with the opportunity to work full-time during the summer. The position pays $10 per hour and, upon high school graduation, the apprentice will also earn Youth Registered Apprenticeship certification.

Students who are at least age 16 with an interest in technology may apply online in the State of Kansas Careers Portal.

Summer Programs for High School Students in Arabic, Kiswahili, and Wolof

The Kansas African Studies Center, together with the Department of African and African-American Studies at the University of Kansas, will be offering Free Elementary and Intermediate Arabic, Kiswahili, and Wolof Classes to High school students this Summer.

Classes will be online and synchronous from June 7- July 29 and on completion the students will get 10 KU credits. Learn more and register here.

By taking this language class in high school, one becomes eligible to apply for the FLAS (Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship) as soon as they join college. This fellowship provides up to $10,000 in Tuition and a $ 5,000 stipend annually. Application deadline is Monday, April 18, 2022.

New Topeka Public Schools COVID-19 Help Line Launched to Assist Families and Staff

If a student or staff member has tested positive for COVID-19 or had a COVID-19 exposure, please complete the TPS COVID-19 Self Reporting Form, and a district health official will contact you the next business day.

Your child should not return to school until given guidance from school health officials.

Due to the volume of exposure in our county, all student and staff COVID-19 exposures being reported to Topeka Public Schools are to be reported online at This process will allow us to address all COVID-19 concerns while nurses carry out their regular school duties and meet daily student needs.

To submit a report, please click on the button labeled Reporting a COVID-19 Exposure on our homepage. Based on the information families provide, an emailed response will be given informing you of the date your child can return to school and your child's school principal and nurse will be notified.

If you do not have the internet and need to report your exposure via phone, please call the TPS COVID-19 Help Line at 785-438-HELP (785-438-4357) and be prepared to provide:

  • Your name, phone number, and email address (if you have one)
  • Your child's name, birthdate, and the date of the COVID-19 positive exposure

If you have school-related questions regarding a COVID-19 exposure, please leave a message and a health professional will return your call within 2 business days. Messages are only checked once every afternoon, as our nurses are focused on students for the majority of the day.

Topeka Public Schools COVID Mitigation Strategies, Testing, & Resources

Thank you for your continued patience and ongoing support as we ensure the safety of Topeka Public Schools students and staff.

Our mitigation strategies with cleaning will continue throughout the semester and the following steps are being taken at all schools and district buildings:

  • Masks will continue to be worn while on Topeka Public Schools property
  • Air purification systems have been installed in the HVAC systems at all schools
  • Test to Learn, which was implemented last semester, will continue

For more information, please visit our Parent Resource Site. You can also learn more about the new air purification systems this feature from KSNT News.

TPS Service Center and Burnett Center staff who would like to have a COVID test completed are asked to call Misty Getsinger, Employee Wellness Nurse, at 785-295-3937 to set up an appointment prior to coming to the Service Center. If you call and leave a message, your call will be returned in the order received.

All other TPS employees who are in need of COVID-19 testing can do so at their respective schools.

Loss in the Topeka Public Schools Family

Last week, the Topeka Public Schools family suffered an incredible loss, as one of our Jardine Elementary students passed away in a fire at his home.

Alexander Servantez was a second-grade student who attended Randolph before attending Jardine. He was a joyful young man and a wonderful scholar that staff and students adored. Alexander will be greatly missed by all.

Information regarding his memorial services can be found here.

Please keep Alexander's family and all who are directly impacted in your thoughts.

Topeka Public Schools Weather Notifications

As we continue to experience winter weather, 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 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 message 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.

Join Topeka Public Schools With New Substitute Teaching Requirements!

Topeka Public Schools is hiring substitute teachers, and we need you! The district is a diverse, well-rounded family of teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, and more.

Substitutes can earn up to $130 for daily assignments, or up to $135 per day for long-term assignments. You can also earn a Premium Recruitment Incentive of up to $1333, paid in quarterly installments.

Anyone over 18 years-old with a high school diploma is now eligible to apply. Sign up for a virtual interview here or simply scan the QR code with your mobile device!

District Calendar & Upcoming Events

The 2021-2022 academic year district calendar is available at The calendar includes dates of parent-teacher conferences, no school days, and more.

Below are important dates for the remainder of January:

  • January 27: Mid-Year Graduation
  • January 29: Kansas Day

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.

Copyright © 2018, All rights reserved.