Community News

Topeka Public Schools | 12/16/2022

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Message from the Superintendent

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Dear Topeka Public Schools Staff and Families:

Happy holidays from all of us at Topeka Public Schools!

This holiday season, we had the privilege of bringing joy to families in need across our community. Pictured above are some of the members of Central Office and Meadows Elementary School staff, who accompanied Santa and Mrs. Claus in delivering gifts to uplift one of our TPS families. We send special thanks to the Highland Park High School choir for joining us and uplifting the family with beautiful music.

The love and generosity shown by our students, families, staff, and Board of Education members have helped us have a year filled with engaging fine arts experiences, athletics, and innovative academic experiences.

We look forward to an even more exciting 2023 school year, and we thank you for your unified support and love this year. Please stay safe over Winter Break and remember school resumes on Thursday, January 5, 2023.

May your Winter Break be filled with peace, joy, and laughter.

Dr. Tiffany Anderson


Whitson Elementary School Counselor Selected as 2023 Kansas School Counselor of the Year

On December 15, the Topeka Public Schools Board of Education recognized Ms. Mallory Jacobs, a school counselor at Whitson Elementary School who was recently named 2023 School Counselor of the Year by the Kansas School Counselor Association (KSCA).

Ms. Jacobs was surprised with the award last week by leaders from KSCA and district leadership during an all-school assembly, where her students, fellow staff, and family members were all in attendance to celebrate the momentous occasion.

As the leaders from KSCA shared, Ms. Jacobs is a treasure who brings smiles and positivity to everyone she meets. Her dedication to the profession and impact on students and staff truly make her an asset to Whitson Elementary and Topeka Public Schools!

Community Resources & District Help Line Available for Families During Winter Break

As we approach Winter Break, Topeka Public Schools has compiled a list of resources available to assist families in Topeka with food, clothing, mental health, medical and dental care, and much more.

To view a list of resources from the Community Resource Council, please visit our Family Resources page at Many additional resources to assist families are available under the Resources tab.

Additionally, the District Help Line is available for all students and families in need of food assistance, social-emotional support, or other resources. Please dial 785-438-HELP (785-438-4357) to reach a staff member for assistance.

Highland Park Central Elementary Paraprofessional Receives Honor Award from Washburn University

Shelby Kutzke, a paraprofessional at Highland Park Central Elementary School, was recently honored with the Julia Etta Park Honor Award for Outstanding Elementary Education Students from Washburn University.

Ms. Kutzke has served as a paraprofessional at Highland Park Central for 11 years, and after her recent graduation from Washburn, will now transition to the role of Special Education Teacher. We are so grateful to have this outstanding educator serving the students at HPC!

Ms. Kutzke's mother, Barbara Kutzke, also serves the district at Central Office as the Demographics Registrar. She shared that her daughter's career path was made possible thanks to the Para to Teacher program, which is a partnership between Washburn and Topeka Public Schools for paraprofessionals to complete a degree in education.

TPS Educators Graduate from Kansas State University With a Master's Degree in Leadership

Topeka Public Schools is excited to announce that another cohort of educators graduated from Kansas State University on December 9 with a Master's Degree in Leadership.

The 15 aspiring leaders completed their degrees as part of the TPS/KSU Leadership Academy, a two-year commitment focused on organizational structure, teaming, collaboration skills, coaching, data analysis, problem-solving, and effective leadership skills.

The educators also worked with an assigned mentor, who had completed the program previously and guided them in their journey.

Congratulations to these outstanding TPS educators on this wonderful achievement!

Robinson Middle School SRO Honored With Service Recognition Award from Safe Kids Kansas

Officer Jared Rowley, the SRO at Robinson Middle School, was recently nominated and chosen to receive a Service Recognition Award from Safe Kids Kansas.

Officer Rowley was recognized at the virtual Safe Kids Kansas Annual Meeting and Awards ceremony. He accepted the award in one of the classrooms at Robinson, surrounded by the students he serves.

Representatives from Safe Kids Kansas shared that Officer Rowley truly embodies the organization's mission and is dedicated to ensuring that "all kids have the opportunity to grow up as safe kids!"

McCarter Elementary Head Building Operator Honored With December Above & Beyond Award

Gary Steinbock, the Head Building Operator at McCarter Elementary School, was honored with the December 2022 Above & Beyond Award for his exemplary service to students and staff.

A staff member at McCarter snapped a candid photo of Mr. Steinbock during lunch as he was taking some time to teach kindergarten students to count.

In addition to custodial duties, Mr. Steinbock goes above and beyond to make connections with students and serves as a shining example of the TPS motto: engage, prepare, and inspire!

Principal Kathy Cooney shared, "Gary is one in a million, and we are so fortunate to have someone who cares so much about the building and the students!"

We thank Mr. Steinbock for his positive impact on all of the students and staff at McCarter.

Topeka High School Yearbook Receives All-Kansas Distinction

Topeka Public Schools congratulates the 2022 Topeka High School yearbook staff, editors Kaylyn Sharp and Trista Davis, and Journalism teacher, Ms. Heather Hooper, who were once again recipients of the All-Kansas Yearbook Award by the Kansas Scholastic Press Association!

This is the top honor awarded in the state to yearbooks for overall excellence. Numerous schools from across Kansas entered the contest, where judges reviewed entries based on enrollment classifications.

View all the winning entries at

TPS Hosts Annual English Learners Family Winter Party at Quinton Heights

Nearly 300 families were in attendance for the district's annual English Learners (EL) Family Winter Party at Quinton Heights on December 8.

The event brings together EL students and families from across the district and features games, authentic Mexican food, live music, and raffle prizes. Each family also had a family photo taken and printed to commemorate the occasion.

The Topeka Public Schools EL Program serves over 2,000 learners and continues to grow every year. This year, the event included about 30 Ukrainian families Topeka Public Schools has welcomed since August.

Learn more about this event in this article from WIBW and view photos on Flickr.

Campus Care Clinic Hours & Telehealth Services During Winter Break

During Winter Break, the Campus Care Clinic will be closed but offering virtual telehealth services on the following days:

  • Monday, December 19, 2022
  • Wednesday, December 21, 2022
  • Friday, December 23, 2022
  • Wednesday, January 4, 2023

When the clinic is open for telehealth, Jamie Glaser (RMA) will be checking phone messages several times a day. Please call 785-295-3256 and she will return your call in a timely manner.

The clinic will be completely closed from December 26, 2022 - January 2, 2023. Normal hours and operations will resume on Thursday, January 5, 2023.

Join Us on December 27 for Kwanzaa at the Capitol Celebration

Families are invited to join us at the Kansas Statehouse at 3:00 PM on Tuesday, December 27 for Kwanzaa at the Capitol! Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration that honors African heritage in African-American culture.

The Historic St. Mark’s AME Church will host the fourth annual Kwanzaa Service, featuring remarks from Gov. Laura Kelly, TPS Superintendent Dr. Tiffany Anderson, and the Director of the Kansas African American Affairs Commission.

The service will also feature a candle-lighting service to honor the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa: Unity, Self-Determination, Responsibility, Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith.

TPS to Celebrate Mid-Year Graduates in January 2023

Topeka Public Schools high schools are hosting mid-year graduation ceremonies on Thursday, January 26 for students who are eligible to graduate at mid-year.

Each school will hold its own ceremony, which will also be streamed live on the respective high school's Youtube page. Schools will reach out to graduates and families with more information in the coming weeks.

Ceremony times are as follows:

  • Topeka West High School: 8:30 AM
  • Topeka High School: 9:30 AM
  • Highland Park High School: 5:00 PM

TPS Weather Notifications

As the weather begins to cool, 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.

COVID-19 Self-Reporting Form Available on TPS Website

If your student has tested positive for COVID-19 or had a COVID exposure, please complete the TPS COVID-19 Self-Reporting form at by clicking the "Report a COVID-19 Exposure" button on our homepage.

Once you have completed the form, TPS Nursing Services will contact you with more information, including a return to school date and information on Test to Learn options.

During Winter Break, if you have self-reported using the form and your student needs to remain at home instead of returning on January 5, you will receive communication from TPS Nursing Services.

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

Burnett Administrative Center Secure Access

As we work to enhance technology at the Burnett Administrative Center, the district has implemented some upgraded safety features to the building.

As of December 12, all district staff members will now need to use their key cards to enter the Burnett Center. If you do not have your keycard, please ring the buzzer and speak to the front desk staff to gain entry to the building.

Please contact the Human Resources Department at 785-295-3088 if you are in need of assistance with your key card.

District Calendar & Upcoming Events

Please note that schools will be closed from December 19, 2022 - January 4, 2023 for Winter Break. We hope our students have a terrific end of the semester and holiday season!

View the full 2022-2023 academic calendar at

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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