The TCALC Connection

Connecting Students to Industry through CTE, Mar. 2019

A Message from Dr. Murrell, TCALC Principal

In a recent edition of The Topeka Capital-Journal (March 11, 2019), the Editorial Advisory Board highlighted the Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Careers (TCALC) and Washburn Tech East, stressing that “schools now must prepare students for a rapidly developing world of careers, readying them for jobs that may well not exist.”


As an affiliate of the Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) network, TCALC Pathways are guided by five core values: (1) profession-based learning, (2) professional skills development, (3) self-discovery and exploration, (4) entrepreneurial mindset, and (5) responsiveness. In addition, we continually strive to create a learning environment where students are treated as young professionals, as they explore potential careers and work with their teachers and our industry partners on real-world problems and projects. In the next edition of The TCALC Connection, we will share more information about the CAPS Core Values.


If you have not yet had the opportunity to visit TCALC, we encourage you to give us a call and arrange a tour. Take the time to witness how we are working to ensure that our young adult professionals are preparing for future careers.

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Where Students Lead, a 2019 film, chronicles the dramatic student impact of the CAPS profession-based education model, and its growth across the country. The film and speaking tour is part of an overarching campaign to propel experiential learning. CAPS is one example of the global experiential learning movement impacting all levels of education. Click here to learn more.
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Mar 6/7 Sheldon Head Start Career Exploration Days 12:30-2:20

Mar 7 TCALC Community Tours 9:45am and 3:15pm

Mar 11-15 TPS Spring Break

Mar 21 TCALC Community Tours 9:45am and 3:15pm

Mar 22 TPS No School

Mar 22-23 KASB Board of Directors Meeting

Mar 28 TCALC Community Tours 9:45am and 3:15pm

Mar 30 Regional JAG Competition at TCALC 9am-1pm

Teaching Students to Attend Educators Rising State Conference, 6 Headed to Nationals!

Over 200 students from across the state gathered for the Kansas Educators Rising Conference and Competition at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas. Twelve students from the Teaching as a Profession pathway attended the conference and participated in various competitions. Students attended professional development sessions on topics ranging from building relationships with students, to the relationship between technology use and students’ mental health.Our pathway students have been working hard in preparation for the event. The top two competitors from Kansas events go on to compete at Nationals, in Dallas, TX, in June. Congratulations to our national qualifiers:


  • Job Interview: Angel Shaw, first place; Hannah Fox, second place
  • TED Talk: Erin Watts, second place
  • Exploring Educational Administrative Careers: Riley Zook, first place; Melissa Paz, second place
  • K-3rd grade Children’s Literature: Ana Stewart, second place
  • Educators Rising Moment: Angel Shaw, first place

Students Collaborate to Create Presentation about Game Design

TCALC students are to gain skills beyond their content areas. These employabilitiy skills include communication, collaboration, time management, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and innovation. Students practice these 21st Century Skills through Professioanl Learning Experiences (PLEs) and Work Based Learning (WBL), in the Web and Digital Communications Pathway, this is done through PLE and WBL projects, much of which requires teamwork! TCALC's building lends itself well to these experiences. The collaboration spaces are isolated so that each team can brainstorm, map out and implement their ideas into a final product.


The Web and Digital Pathways students were paired up into teams of two and directed to research and create a video about a topic. In this picture you see students sketching out a plan in one of TCALC's collaboration spaces. Trejon James and Carlos Castillo are learning what skills it takes to be a Game Designer and what salaries one can expect. In the lower picture, Kyler VanCleave, DayLynn Hughes & Jayden Beals are putting their plan into action into a video. In order to have the "deliverables" required, students cannot all do them in the same space. With video and audio recordings, there is to be no background distractions. The students worked with someone they had never worked with before to make the final product. They had to problem meeting the expectations of the required components in an efficient manner and have an entertaining video at the end.


Projects like this are so much easier to accomplish in TCALC! The students leave with a smile on their faces and a spring in their step! Mrs. Hageman says, "I am so fortunate to have such motivated and hard-working students! These students are setting up their futures to be "the one that gets hired" and "the one who gets the promotion" due to the technical and professional skills they are learning here.".

RECAP & UPDATE: Industrial Robotics at TCALC

Our students in have a rare opportunity to learn about and earn professional certification in the operation of Industrial Robotics. The equipment and instructional availability of this program was originally established in 2011 through joint funding from Go Topeka and Topeka Public Schools CJ Online TPS Overview


Additionally, “Highland Park High School is the first high school to be a member of RIA [Robotic Industries Association]. The school recently purchased [2011] two Motoman educational cells and eight DX100 SES-II Simple Education Systems as part of GO Topeka’s Entrepreneurial and Minority Business Development (EMBD) program. Each educational cell features an enclosure with a Motoman MH5 material handling robot and MotoSight™ 2D vision system. The SES-II is a PC-based robot simulator that allows users to learn to operate and program Motoman robots in the virtual world.” RIA Membership Article


Subsequent to the initial installation of the above referenced robotics at Highland Park High School, the entire robotics lab has been relocated to the Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Careers (TCALC) and is still available to all juniors and seniors via the Engineering pathway. Two additional Motoman educational cells have been added to the Robotics Lab so that it can now support 12 students simultaneously learning robotics programming.


The benefit to students for completion of the robotics program at TCALC are many-fold. First, successful completion of the program at TCALC entitle them to earn the same certification offered to professionals at the YASKAWA Academy: Robotics Training Facility in Dayton, Ohio. Students are awarded a Yaskawa Motoman certificate with the IACET [International Association of Continuing Education and Training] CEU logo upon successful completion-YASKAWA Academy. Additionally, students will have a basic understanding of robotics programming that stretch across many industrial applications such as arc-welding, assembly, clinical lab, material handling, material removal, picking and packing, press brake, painting, palletizing, painting and spot welding. Local industries that utilize robotics similar to the ones on which students are certified include PTMW, Goodyear, MARS and Frito-Lay. Industry projections state that robotics technicians have the potential to make an average entry-level hourly wage of over $18.00 per hour with no college training requirements. Robotics Technician Salary Levels payscale.com

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Building for the Future

Earlier this month Mr. Richards, Architecture, Design and Construction Instructor, attend the annual Kansas CTE conference in Manhattan. He attended workshops on grant writing, cabinet making and CTE in the 21st Century. One of the long-range goals for the pathway is to partner on a deeper level with the Topeka Habitat for Humanity and Mr Robert Burke, the lead construction specialist, to help them build cabinets for their new homes.


While at the CTE conference, Mr Richards and Chief Bailey, Emergency and Fire Science Instructor, attended a session on “Implementing a Fire Science Program in High Schools”. Here, Mr. Richards was able to see first hand the type of structural props/apparatus that could be built in collaboration with Chief Bailey and students. All in all, it was time well spent with other professionals to see how building for the future and other like programs are operating around the state.

Environmental Science Project takes place between TCALC & CCHS

The TCALC Environmental Science class is in the preliminary stages of an erosion control project on the TCALC grounds. This will be a joint project with TCALC stakeholders Evergy (formerly Westar Energy). Evergy has been helpful in allowing us to partner with the Evergy Green Team. Erosion control is an important part of the design when electric transmission lines are run across the countryside, so they will bring a high degree of expertise to this project. We will repair the existing erosion damage, and mitigate future erosion using water diversion and native plants. The erosion project is located between TCALC and Capital City High School.

Students Visit Jayhawk Pharmacy

The Medical Professions Pathway visited Jayhawk Pharmacy and experienced the field of retail pharmacology. Pharmacist Tara Sage alonLauren Kendrick and Kamalei Ebanez, both Certified Pharmacy Technicians provided in depth information about a career in pharmacology. The trip sparked students curiosity and created many questions such as “Why do you have toothpaste in with the drugs in the back?”, “What is the difference between a capsule and a caplet?” and “Do clients have to have a prescription for medical devices?”. Students also examined medical equipment in the pharmacy, investigated the required education or training to become a pharmacist or Certified Pharmacy Technician, as well as learned the organization of hundreds of drugs and the storage of controlled substances. The visit to Jayhawk Pharmacy was an enlightening and motivating experience for all involved.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCQTujwvm3o
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Staff Highlight: Meet Chef Eichorn, Baking & Pastry Arts Instructor

Chef Camille Eichorn, a Topeka High School graduate, comes to TCALC with a rich background in the culinary industry. She is a graduate from Le Cordon Bleu-Las Vegas, and has traveled the world as a contract chef for over ten years. Her talents have provided opportunities such as traveling to McMurdo Base in Antarctica, to a being private chef for Big Apple Circus in New York and to the Norwegian Cruise Lines in Hawaii. After returning to Kansas she managed the Falling Water Grill in Capital Plaza Hotel in Topeka and later the Lawrence Community Shelter kitchen. Chef Eichorn has returned to Topeka to pursue her true passion in educating, motivating and inspiring the future chefs of tomorrow.
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