The TCALC Connection

Connecting Students to Industry through CTE, May 2019

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May 3 CCHS Spring Fling, 1pm

May 5 College Prep Academy New Parent Meeting, 6pm

May 8 College Prep Academy Promotion Dinner/Ceremony, 5pm

May 14 Seniors Last Day

May 15 CCHS Graduation, 5pm

May 16 HSA Graduation, 8am

May 18 THS/TWHS/HPHS Graduation, times vary

May 20 Dual Credit for CTE Classes at THS/TWHS/HPHS, Parent/Student Mtg, 6pm

May 23 Juniors Last day (AM only)


Robotics Club meets every Thursday from 3:30-5:30pm in Rm 159 (May 16th last for the year)

Save the Date: June 18, 11am-2pm, StepUp Job Fair at TCALC!

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Learning from the Experts

The Web & Digital Pathway has been fortunate to have been able to interact several times this past month with experts in the field. On April 1 & 2, programmers from Advisors Excel came to visit the classroom. They told us about their jobs and responsibilities. Then they sat down with our students and had conversations - everything from what their coding issues were to showing what they had been working on to even talking about life/plans after high school. Their easy going demeanor helped the students feel comfortable with diving deeper. After their time here they offered help from a distance for our students on programming problems, if need be. Several students have reached out to get assistance already. We are fortunate to have such resources available to us.


Then on April 12, these same Advisors Excel employees invited us to tour their "Dev Shop" and get a feel for the environment and how the workflow works, especially from the Project Management standpoint. There were a number of "takeaways" from the tour that we are beginning to implement in our classroom and plan to expand upon in the fall.


A shoutout goes to Melvin Ware and the folks over at Topeka Public Schools' I.T. Department!!! He has made a server available for our students to practice setting up WordPress sites AND so that our students can have a permanent place for their Professional Portfolios. This has been a long process that will be extremely beneficial to our TCALC students in the future! MANY THANKS go to Melvin for making this happen!! He has also been helpful to our students via email and phone so when they have coding issues he can troubleshoot with our students. Once again, we are fortunate to have so many people who really want what's best for our students and their futures!

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PTMW Trains & Certifies TCALC Engineering & Architecture Students

A HUGE THANK YOU to one of our amazing partners, PTMW, for providing on site OSHA 10 training to our Engineering and Architecture students. They have enjoyed Mr. Davis’ stories of workplace safety do’s and don’ts. Additionally, they will finish the training with the lifetime OSHA 10 certification. PTMW, Inc OSHA 10

Robots in Action

As the school year draws to a close, students in the Engineering pathway have the opportunity to see robots in action in various local industries and public operations. On April 23, students were given a tour of the Goodyear plant by Mr. Jim Wells. Students saw large 6-axis robotic arms manipulating and moving green (uncured) tires from storage onto small robotic carts called Atoms. At that point, the atoms were programmed to transport tires autonomously by following a preset route to a kiln while avoiding collision through the use of sensors. In May, students will observe the production process at Frito-Lay and witness the material handling robotics and PLC utilization at that plant. Finally, the bomb unit of the Topeka Police Department is planning to visit the Engineering Pathway with the robotic equipment they use in various bomb disposal and other operations. All of these real-life applications mirrored robotics programming applications that our students have studied throughout the year.

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” -Virginia Woolf

This month has been very exciting for the Baking and Pastry Arts Management Pathway.

Our focus has been on cake decorating and yeast dough productions, as well as reviewing our skills for cookies and quick breads and basic knife skills. For the later part of fourth quarter we have emphasis fine pastries from around the world. Our class will go more in depth and will explore exotic and influential spices in ethnic cuisines from around the world as well. We feel everyone should add a little spice to their life, it’s all in how you season with love and dedication that matters most.


The world of Baking & Pastry and culinary arts is a free passport to see the world around us, all through a different point of view. All artists have a medium they work with, some paint with acrylics some paint with oil, some artists sculpt, some draw with charcoal. A chef will paint with textures, flavors, aromas, flavor pairings, and embrace the natural beauty in food. We paint with pastry brushes, knife skills, pastry tips and piping bags, and garnishes. If there is a passion and fiery determination, anyone can learn to cook. Only the fearless will be great, let these future Chef’s paint away.

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How is Post-Secondary Success Impacted by Reading Ability?

THIS is why we believe LITERACY is IMPORTANT and EMPHASIZED in every grade in TPS!


Educational Implications: Students below benchmark in reading in third grade are four times less likely to graduate.

Sparks, S. Study: Third Grade Reading Predicts Later High School Graduation. Education Week. April, 8, 2011.


Post-Secondary Success (College): In Kansas, 42% of first-time student in 2 year colleges and 17% of first-time students in 4-year colleges enroll one or more remedial courses. Most students who enroll in remedial courses never graduate.

Developmental Education Working Group Report. (June 2014). The Kansas Board of Regents.


Post-Secondary Success: Students who graduate reading at the 5th grade or below grade level can get entry-level jobs but are unlikely to advance in those jobs. Staying in an entry-level position ensures that the person will not reach middle-class status.


Post-Secondary Success (Quality of Life):

Two-thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare. 85% of juvenile offenders and 60% of prison inmates are illiterate.

Sparks, S. Study: Third Grade Reading Predicts Later High School Graduation. Education Week. April, 8, 2011

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Future Teachers on the Move

All 13 students in the Teaching as a Profession pathway successfully passed the Master Teacher ParaEducator examination April 25, 2019. This certification will allow them to work as a highly qualified paraeducator in any Title I school in Kansas. Students had to show knowledge of supporting instruction in reading, writing, and mathematics, as well as content knowledge in those areas.


Wednesday, May 8, the Teaching as a Profession pathway students will interview with the Topeka Public Schools Human Resources department as part of the "Intent to Hire"program, a partnership between the district and the TCALC pathway. Students who earn an Intent to Hire letter will have the opportunity to work for Topeka Public Schools once they earn their teaching degree and secure licensure from the Kansas State Department of Education.


Two students have will travel to Dallas, Texas June 22-25 to attend and compete at the Educators Rising National Conference. Adriana Stewart will present her original book, “Mommy Doesn’t Ride the School Bus.” Adriana wrote and illustrated the story. Erin Watts will present her TED-style talk on the dangers high-stakes standardized testing poses for students’ mental health. Good luck, Adriana and Erin!


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TCALC Erosion Remediation: Environmental Science Project

The Green Energy and Environmental Science Project has been progressing nicely between Topeka Public Schools/TCALC and the Evergy (Westar Energy) Green Team . We have been replumbing water runoff and, on May 10th, we will be bringing in large equipment to further remediate a serious erosion issue on the TCALC and CCHS campus.

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We're on FACEBOOK!

To keep up on the regular happenings, find us on

Facebook at "Topeka Center for Advanced Learning & Careers" or @tcalctps

#TCALC and #TCALCTPS

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THS Journalism Receives a Special Invite to the Kansas State Fair

Topeka High School Journalism program has been selected to participate in the 2019 Student Press Corps competition at the state fair in September. Only 30 schools from across the state are selected to participate.


Two teams will attend, for both print media and video contests. Students have one day to create a four minute video package of three stories, and a four page newspaper, with a minimum of three stories. Ms. Hooper has a wonderful program, her students have proven time and time again the high quality of work that they produce. They are allotted five students per team.


This is the first time for them to participate in this event, "This will be a fun way to test the kids in a real-world environment.".


For more information CLICK HERE.

2019 Great Plains Annual Photography Competition: Winners Announced

For the first time the Topeka West Media Technology class entered images into the 2019 Great Plains Annual Photography Competition, hosted by Sterling College. After waiting several weeks for the results to be announced the winners were finally revealed last week. And, once again, Topeka West takes the top prize (as well as second place)!!!

Senior Madison Stratman was awarded Overall Best in Show for her image titled Caliginous (see photo above/right) and senior Kevin Corona-Maciel was awarded Overall Second Best in Show for his image titled The Tree. Madison also received an Honorable Mention in the Fine Art category for her image titled Rise Up.

For her Best in Show image Madison has been awarded a yearly Sterling College Art & Design scholarship of $15,000 for a total of $60,000 over a four-year college career!! Also included in her prize is the choice of a brand new digital SLR or a Polaroid Originals SX-70 Instant Film camera.

Congratulations to these fantastic photographers and a huge thank you to all the students who participated by sending work to this show.

Drones Infiltrate CTE Across the Nation!

As drones become more popular as a pastime hobby, they also are infiltrating our classrooms with a career focus! New laws are requiring our teachers to get their "Remote Pilot Certificate", along side a Federal Aviation Administration certification. Individual drones also have to be registered. This summer we are sending Ms. Heather Hooper off to PSU, to get certified. Ms. Hooper teaches Journalism, Yearbook, Newspaper, Photography, and Digital Media Tech. We have another teacher already certified, Mr. Dean Fairweather, one of our Automotive Technology teachers. If you are interested in learning more about drones, check out these sites: Drones in Schools Drone Regulations Drones in Careers


These mandates do NOT apply to indoor drones that are used in the coding curriculum.

Code this Drone

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