Community News

Topeka Public Schools | 11/11/2022

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Message from the Superintendent

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Dear Topeka Public Schools Staff and Families:

This morning, I had the privilege of starting the day at a Veterans Day Assembly led by the JROTC cadets at Topeka West High School. Throughout the day, we celebrated local Veterans at various school events. View photos on the Topeka Public Schools Flickr page. Thank you to all the Veterans who have dedicated their lives to protecting our freedom!

In this edition of the Community News, we are also highlighting our school psychologists, who are crucial to our success in providing social-emotional supports, which have been nationally and locally recognized.

Recently, the Kansas State Department of Education announced that Topeka Public Schools has been recognized with a Silver Star Recognition Award for setting the standard in social-emotional health. As we celebrate our school psychologists this week, we thank them and all of our mental health teams for setting the standard for excellence in mental health services.

Next week, we will be hosting various community members who will shadow our school leaders for our annual Principal for a Day event. Following the event, the district will highlight these community members and the schools they toured as Principal for a Day.

We thank our school community for helping us have a wonderful first semester filled with engaging learning opportunities and many celebrations for staff and students.

Dr. Tiffany Anderson


TPS Honors Local Service Members in Celebration of Veterans Day

Students and staff across the district are honoring military Veterans and thanking them for their service on Veterans Day with a variety of school assemblies and celebrations.

In addition, JROTC members from Highland Park, Topeka High, and Topeka West have enjoyed assisting with various community events to honor Veterans, and we are so proud to have Veterans leading our JROTC programs!

Last weekend, JROTC cadets and marching band members from all high schools took part in the downtown Topeka Veterans Day Parade. They were also joined by McEachron Elementary School Principal Vic Williams and his group of Growth Mindset Unicycling Student Mentors.

View photos from Veterans Day celebrations across the district on the Topeka Public Schools Flickr page.

TPS Celebrates Graduation Rates Above National & State Average for All High Schools

On November 3, Topeka Public Schools announced graduation rates for the 2021-2022 academic year, which reached a historic high in 2022!

Graduation rates for all comprehensive high schools, Hope Street Academy, and Capital City School exceeded the national and state average. All schools also celebrated postsecondary success, which continues to increase after graduation.

These achievements were also highlighted by Mayor Mike Padilla at the State of the Community Address on November 10.

We send special thanks to all of our outstanding principals, educators, and school staff for their dedication to ensuring the success of every student. Learn more in this article from the Topeka Capital-Journal.

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Two TPS Principals Honored as Topeka's Top 20 Under 40

On November 10, two outstanding Topeka Public Schools principals were honored by the Jayhawk Area Council as part of Topeka's Top 20 Under 40.

Congratulations to Mr. Nick Gardner, Principal of Ross Elementary Signature Music School, and Dr. Chelsea Artzer, Principal of McClure Elementary! They were selected from hundreds of nominees for their exceptional leadership as educators.

We also congratulate TPS parents Julie Phillips and Marcus Miller who were recognized last night. We are truly Topeka proud!

Learn more about the honorees in this article from TK Business Magazine.

Standout Topeka West Senior Amiya Thurman Selected as November Senior of the Month

Amiya Thurman, a standout senior from Topeka West High School, was selected as the November 2022 Senior of the Month! She was recognized by the Topeka Public Schools Board of Education on November 3.

Amiya excels as a gifted scholar and an athlete at Topeka West. She stays very active as the President of the Student Council and the Spanish Club. She also enjoys taking part in Black Student Union, National Honor Society, golf, and softball.

Principals and teachers at Topeka West describe Amiya as a natural leader who serves as a voice for her peers.

Visit our YouTube or Facebook channels to watch the video highlighting Amiya.

TPS Printshop Staff Member Honored With November Above & Beyond Award

This month, Nicki Jones was honored with the Topeka Public Schools Above & Beyond Award for outstanding service to staff and students.

Ms. Jones works in the Service Center Printshop, crafting all of the materials for our district and school activities. Any time a staff member calls Ms. Jones in a pinch to get something printed quickly, she goes above and beyond the make sure the job gets done.

Her attention to detail, craftsmanship, and dedication truly make Ms. Jones an essential part of Topeka Public Schools!

TPS Celebrates Native American Heritage Month & Hosts Indigenous Family Night

Throughout the month of November, Topeka Public Schools is celebrating Native American Heritage Month! Educational activities are taking place at schools across the district.

On November 3, the Topeka Public Schools Board of Education recognized this important celebration with the signing of a proclamation, which was read by Yale Taylor. Mr. Taylor serves as the district's Consulting Teacher for Native American Studies.

Students, staff, and families also enjoyed the district-wide Indigenous Family Night at Jardine Middle School on November 9. The event featured information and resources from Haskell University and Potawatomi Nation Wellness Connection Services. Learn more in this segment from WIBW.

TPS Celebrates National School Psychology Week & Social-Emotional Growth

In celebration of National School Psychology Week, Topeka Public Schools would like to recognize our incredible school psychologists across the district. We are so thankful for all that they do for our students, families, and staff!

Topeka Public Schools is also excited to announce that the district recently earned a Silver Star Recognition Award from the Kansas State Department of Education in the category of Social-Emotional Growth.

The district was recognized for its exceptional programs on mental health and wellness and events like Title I Social Emotional Learning Virtual Parent Night. Districts that earn recognition through this program are setting the standard for the rest of the state to follow.

Juniors & Seniors Invited to Attend TPS College Fine Arts Fair at TCALC

On Friday, November 18, Topeka Public Schools will host the annual College Fine Arts Fair at the Topeka Center for Advanced Learning & Careers (TCALC).

Students are invited to learn about pursuing, continuing, or participating in the fine arts during college. You do not need to be a major to take advantage of fine arts classes and scholarships!

Faculty members and admissions counselors from Washburn University, the University of Kansas, Emporia State, Wichita State, and many other colleges will be on-site for auditions and portfolio reviews, as well as to answer any questions students may have.

Session 1 for seniors will take place from 9:30 - 11:00 AM, while session 2 for juniors will be held from 12:00 - 1:30 PM.

Interested students may sign-up to attend through their music, art, or theatre teacher.

November 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 take note of these important dates:

  • Thursday, January 26: Mid-year Graduation at high schools
  • Saturday, May 13: Graduation at the Stormont Vail Events Center

Join Us in Celebration of Ms. Lori Vawter, Coordinator of Nursing Services

Join us in celebrating the retirement of Ms. Lori Vawter, Topeka Public Schools Coordinator of Nursing Services, on Thursday, November 17 from 5:00-5:30 PM at the Burnett Center.

All are invited to attend this event as we thank Ms. Vawter for her service to students, families, and staff! Topeka Public Schools is grateful for her leadership, especially through the pandemic.

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.

Join Us for the KansasWorks Statewide Job Fair on November 16-17

Join us on November 16-17 at the KansasWorks Statewide Job Fair!

The event will be held virtually from 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM on both days, as well as in-person from 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM on November 17 at the Topeka WorkForce Center.

Topeka Public Schools is hiring for all positions, including paraprofessionals, food service, and custodians. Apply online any time at

Many state agencies, as well as the City of Topeka Government and the US Veterans Administration, will also be in attendance.

Learn more and pre-register for the virtual event at

Campus Care Telehealth Services During Thanksgiving Break

During Thanksgiving Break, the Campus Care Clinic at Topeka High School will be closed. Telehealth services will still be available on Wednesday, November 23.

The clinic will not be open on November 24-25.

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 matter.

District Calendar & Upcoming Events

Thank you to all of our students, families, and staff for a wonderful start to the new school year! To help you stay prepared, please be sure to check out the 2022-2023 academic calendar at

  • November 7-11: National School Psychology Week
  • November 11: Veterans Day
  • November 13-19: American Education Week
  • November 17: Principal for a Day
    10:00 AM - 12:00 PM | Districtwide
  • November 17: Lori Vawter Retirement Celebration
    5:00 PM | Burnett Center
  • November 17: Board of Education Meeting
    5:30 PM | Burnett Center
  • November 23-25: Thanksgiving Break
  • November 24: Thanksgiving 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.

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