Community News

Topeka Public Schools | 4/27/23

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Message from the Superintendent

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Dear Topeka Public Schools Staff and Families:

As we enter the final weeks of school, there have been numerous scholarship events for seniors, prom season is underway, and academic and fine arts celebrations are being held.


Pictured above are the leaders of our Nutrition Services Department, who we thank for their tremendous work in writing the grant that provides free lunch for all students starting next year. Learn more in this article from WIBW.


Next week, we will celebrate all of our educators (teachers, principals, police officers, office staff, food service, paras, custodians, and more) for Teacher Appreciation Week May 1-5. Watch a video message about ways to nominate an amazing staff member during our celebrations here. May 5 is also School Lunch Hero Day! Please take time to thank a staff member.


During the pandemic, we received additional resources to address the impact of COVID. Parents are asked to share feedback on those resources that were provided through this survey. We will also be collecting data in various other ways from staff, students, and families. We encourage all of our families and staff to share what works well and help us identify areas for continuous improvement. Learn more in the article below.


A special graduation edition of the Community News and the DSA photos will be published next week. We appreciate the support from all of our staff and families, and we look forward to seeing many of you at the upcoming graduation ceremonies.


Dr. Tiffany Anderson

Superintendent

Topeka Public Schools Will Celebrate Staff Appreciation Week May 1-5!

Next week, the Topeka Public Schools Board of Education will honor our staff members with 25 years of service to the district and proclaim May 1-5, 2023 as Teacher Appreciation Week!


In Topeka Public Schools, all of our staff members are educators, working together to teach students academic and life-long lessons daily. We look forward to celebrating our school staff and central office team throughout the week with tokens of our appreciation!


Watch a video message from Dr. Anderson about ways to nominate an amazing staff member during our celebrations here. Stay tuned for more next week as we kick off Staff Appreciation Week with fun festivities.

Topeka Public Schools Will Provide Free Meals to All Students Beginning Next Year

Topeka Public Schools is excited to announce that through the Community Eligibility Program, we are the first district in the state of Kansas to provide free meals to all students!


The program will provide free meals beginning at the start of the 2023-2024 school year, and continue for the next four years, impacting the lives of countless Topeka Public Schools students and families.


We are so grateful to our food service staff for their hard work to secure this funding in support of TPS students and families. Learn more in this article from WIBW.

Topeka Public Schools Receives National Best Communities for Music Education Designation

For the third year in a row, Topeka Public Schools has been honored with a Best Communities for Music Education designation from The National Association for Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation!


The district was recognized for its outstanding achievements and commitment to providing music access and education to all students.


This summer, Topeka Public Schools will keep music students engaged over the months through the annual Summer Music Program. The program is free and serves students choir students in grades 4-8 and band/orchestra students in grades 5-8.


Families can learn more and register for the Summer Music Program at topekapublicschools.net.

Topeka West High School Recognized Nationally for Theatre Education

We are excited to announce that Topeka West High School has been recognized nationally by the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) as a Premiere Community for Theatre Education!


Premiere Communities for Theatre Education is a distinction that recognizes schools and school systems that exemplify excellence in theatre education, and Topeka West is one of only 25 schools nationwide to receive this distinction.


Last month, several students also appeared on the Red Couch with Melissa Brunner to discuss the importance of theatre in schools. Watch the Red Couch segment here.

Distinguished Staff Award Honorees Will Be Celebrated at Reception & Ceremony

This evening, we look forward to celebrating the 2023 Distinguished Staff Award (DSA) honorees during a reception and ceremony at Bishop Professional Development Center.


These 13 staff members have positively impacted thousands of Topeka Public Schools students and families! Watch the event livestream at 5:30 PM on the Topeka Public Schools YouTube channel.


Photos from the event will be posted on Monday. Congratulations to all of this year's recipients!

Enroll Now for the 2023-2024 School Year

Online registration for the 2023-2024 school year is now open for students in grades PreK-12!


Returning families have received an email to register their students from Synergy Student Information System. Please refer to the email to register.


Families NEW to Topeka Public Schools will create a new account and register online.


Families can view important dates, a school supply list, and more at topekapublicschools.net on the Online Registration page.

Volunteer Appreciation Week: Thank You Advisors Excel & Sharefest

Topeka Public Schools is celebrating National Volunteer Appreciation Week! We are grateful for the many community partners who invest in the lives of our students and families.


On April 19, volunteers from Advisors Excel brought the barnyard to our preschool scholars at Sheldon Head Start and Pine Ridge Prep. Students enjoyed meeting farm animals and received stickers, books, and activities to take home with them.


We thank Advisors Excel for their continued support of Topeka Public Schools students and families! View photos from the Barnyard on Flickr.


One way you can volunteer and improve your community is to sign up for Topeka ShareFest on Saturday, April 29. This annual event brings together volunteers from all over Topeka to assist with landscaping, painting, and cleaning up our schools.

Exceptional Highland Park High School Scholar & Athlete Recognized as April Senior of the Month

Our April 2023 Senior of the Month, Alma Cruz, is a senior at Highland Park High School. In addition to working two jobs and serving as a mentor and tutor to other students, Alma is involved in soccer, volleyball, cheer, and track.


Alma is driven by the support of her parents and is breaking barriers as the first person in her family to graduate from high school and attend college; but first, she plans to enter the military and serve her country. She is truly an inspiration to all in Topeka Public Schools and beyond!


The Topeka Public Schools Board of Education recognized Alma at their meeting on April 6. Learn more about this outstanding senior in this highlight video.

Topeka Public Schools Celebrates National School Library Month

Throughout the month of April, Topeka Public Schools is celebrating National School Library Month!


We appreciate all of our dedicated media specialists for creating out-of-this-world experiences for students through reading, technology, hands-on learning, and more. Learn more in this highlight video.


We also give special thanks to our Coordinator of Media Services, Ms. Diane Leupold, who has served Topeka Public Schools students since 1978. Learn more about Ms. Leupold and her amazing legacy in this article from the Topeka Capital-Journal.

Dr. Beryl New Celebrated for 35 Years in Education at Retirement Reception

On April 24, hundreds of attendees gathered at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site to celebrate the incredible career of Dr. Beryl New.


Dr. New has dedicated the past 35 years to education and served in many capacities in Topeka Public Schools, including as a teacher, principal, and administrator.


Many former students, family members, and colleagues shared that Dr. New's legacy of kindness and love will always be remembered and appreciated. Dr. New will retire from the district on June 30.


View photos from the event on Flickr.

TPS Foundation/Topeka West High School Teacher Cash Award Finalists Announced

The TPS Foundation - Topeka West High School Class of '67 Teaching Award, developed to provide a cash award to a TWHS teacher, is new this year!


TWHS alumni and classmates Dr. Carl McFarland, Cynthia Schmidt Heath, Dr. Judy Joss, Dr. Neal Satten, and Dr. David Reibstein established the fund, and the award's purpose is to recognize and uplift the teaching profession.


TWHS students nominated several TWHS teachers who were most influential in their education for this award, and of the more than 150 submissions, five teachers have been selected as finalists to be considered for the $500 cash award recognition.


The TWHS teacher award finalists are Andrew Huff, Andrew Lake, Ashlen Hanson, Donald Palmer, and Lorie Booher. The recipient will be announced in May!

Safe Routes to School Parent/Caregiver Elementary School Survey

To improve safety, health, transportation choices, and access to schools, the City of Topeka, the Metropolitan Topeka Planning Organization (MTPO), and Topeka Public Schools are partnering on Safe Routes to School (SRTS) assessments at all 14 elementary schools in the district.


This will include a site visit by consultants between April 18-May 4 to observe school arrival and dismissal and assess existing walking and bicycling infrastructure within your elementary school’s walk zone. The team will make safety recommendations.


To help with this assessment, please complete the Parent/Caregiver Survey (http://bit.ly/3U5CfY1) about how your elementary school students get to school and why they choose the method they use. It should take less than 10 minutes to complete.


Please complete this survey by May 12. The survey may be completed in English or Spanish. For more information about the SRTS assessments, please contact topekasrts@tooledesign.com.

Feedback for Continuous Improvement

We thank all of our staff and families, as your feedback has helped us continue many of the programs and services you love, and it's helped us identify areas for continuous improvement over the years.


As we reflect on the impacts of COVID, administration and the Board of Education requested an independent survey to truly measure the climate following COVID, and to learn ways to build on to the momentum as resources are allocated. The independent survey from KASB will be provided in October of 2023.


We are encouraging all staff and families to participate in their respective surveys and feedback opportunities as we identify ways to allocate resources in support of our staff and families. We are continuing to gather feedback as the year ends from staff and families regarding resources that you felt were most impactful. School leaders will be collecting this information from their staff members in their staff meetings.


Families can take the parent survey here to share with the district what resources they want funded next year and beyond, as COVID funds conclude.


The full list showing all of the resources funded with COVID grant funds can be viewed here. In addition to the survey, as part of our ongoing feedback, we will:


  • Continue the superintendent's listening tours throughout the community and in schools this summer and fall
  • Collect feedback from the feedback link on our website found here
  • Continue our ongoing parent and staff focus group and committees


Additionally, schools will be gathering feedback in various ways at the building level. Thank you in advance for giving us feedback for continuous improvement as we build onto the momentum we have had over the many years in Topeka Public Schools to engage, prepare, and inspire students for a lifetime of learning.

District Calendar & Upcoming Events

View the 2022-2023 academic calendar at topekapublicschools.net.


As our families and staff plan for the upcoming year, Topeka Public Schools has also released the 2023-2024 academic calendar, which is available on the Communications Department drop-down menu.


Below are some important dates for April 2023:


  • April 1-30: Autism Acceptance Month
  • April 1-30: Occupational Therapy Month
  • April 1-30: National School Library Month
  • April 29: Sharefest
    8:00 AM | Learn more at sharefesttopeka.com

Legislative Advocacy

Stay up-to-date with everything you need to know about the 2023-2024 Kansas Legislative Session on the Current Events page at kslegislature.org.

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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