Community News

Topeka Public Schools | September 30, 2021

Students First: Working as a Team for Continuous Improvement

Message from the Superintendent

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Dear Topeka Public Schools Staff and Families:

We've had an amazing month of September! Included in the Community News is a highlight video from the 2021 Homecoming events at Highland Park, Topeka West, and Topeka High. We hope you enjoy watching students showcase their school spirit.

This month, I met many of our students and families at Homecoming events, the Topeka High School 150 Year Anniversary, the French Middle School Serve, Lead, & Inspire Conference, Family Fitness Fun Night, and at the county marching band event. It has been wonderful seeing so many families attending these events.

In October, we are celebrating National Principals Month, National Audiology Awareness Month, National Custodial Worker Appreciation Day, and National Physical Therapy Day! Please help us celebrate our incredible school staff as we highlight these individuals in-person and on social media.

We are truly excited about our student broadcasters premiering their first KTPS News episode for the 2021-2022 school year. This monthly production gives these future newscasters hands-on experience and helps them to build their own portfolios. Tune in on Facebook, YouTube, or KTPS-TV Channel 14 tonight at 7:00 PM to watch the episode premiere.

Lastly, Topeka Public Schools is issuing a Character Challenge to show off our school pride and positive character! The theme for October is Acts of Kindness. We invite all students, families, and staff to participate in creating and sharing videos as we work to help positive character to go viral.

Thank you for your continued support.

Dr. Tiffany Anderson


Topeka High School Celebrates Homecoming & 150th Anniversary

Topeka High School students and staff kicked off the 150 year anniversary celebration on September 17, enjoying birthday cupcakes on the front lawn.

The celebration continued on September 24-25 during Topeka High Homecoming Weekend, which included a royalty assembly, parade through downtown Topeka, varsity football game, music and dance performances, and an open house.

Special thanks to the Topeka High School Historical Society and Joan Barker for all their hard work in making this special community event a success!

View highlights from 2021 Homecoming events at Highland Park, Topeka West, and Topeka High in this video.

Topeka High School Cheerleader With Autism Beating All Odds, Inspiring Others

Jaimie Thrasher, a Senior at Topeka High School, was diagnosed with autism at the age of 11, but continued to chase her dream of becoming a cheerleader.

Jaimie is now in her fourth year as a Trojan cheerleader, thanks to help from the Topeka High School community, especially her coach and teacher, Jannette Bush.

As Topeka High School celebrated its Homecoming & 150 Year Anniversary, Jaimie was able to walk in the parade with the other cheerleaders, and during the homecoming football game, she was front and center cheering proudly for her team.

Jaimie was recently featured by KSNT News, and we wish her all the best as she continues to thrive and inspire others around her.

French Middle School Students Impact Local Community Through Serve, Lead, & Inspire Conference

On September 25, French Middle School hosted the first-ever Serve, Lead, & Inspire Conference to teach students the joys of volunteerism, service, and making a difference.

Jean Ryan, a counselor at French Middle School, received a grant and sponsorship for the event through the Kansas Volunteer Commission and Kiwanis.

"I think community engagement is important no matter how old you are," Ms. Ryan said.

Students spent the day listening to speakers from community organizations, working through team building exercises, and developing a plan to improve their local community.

KTPS News Premieres Tonight at 7:00 PM!

Topeka Public Schools is excited to premiere our first episode of KTPS News tonight at 7:00 PM! Viewers will be able to watch the premiere live and comment along on the district's Facebook, Youtube, and cable channel.

A new episode of KTPS News will premiere at 7:00 PM on the last Thursday of each month. Each episode will feature stories told by high school students from across the district that highlight the amazing staff and students of Topeka Public Schools.

Tune in at 7:00 PM tonight!

Topeka Public Schools Holding Acts of Kindness Challenge in Observance of Anti-Bullying Awareness Week

By joint resolution, the Kansas State Senate and Kansas State Board of Education have declared the first full week of October as Anti-Bullying Awareness Week.

This year, the week will start on Monday, October 4. Schools across the Topeka Public Schools district will teach anti-bullying activities to enhance social-emotional learning and encourage kindness, tolerance, and friendship.

The Topeka Public Schools Communications Team is challenging each school in the district to participate in a new monthly TikTok challenge: the Character Challenge! October's theme is Acts of Kindness, in observance of Anti-Bullying Awareness Week. Let's go viral!

Teachers, principals, and students can submit their videos to Senior Communications Specialist Dan Garrett at, for the chance to be featured on the next episode of KTPS-TV.

Quincy Elementary Students Share Messages of Kindness Through Sidewalk Chalk Artwork

Last week, 4th and 5th-grade students at Quincy Signature Visual Arts Elementary School shared messages of kindness through sidewalk chalk artwork.

As part of a lesson on kindness, students were challenged to do online research to find their favorite quote about being kind. They then turned the quote into art by writing it on the sidewalk in front of the school.

As a result, teachers at Quincy are watching their students perform random acts of kindness and sending positive notes home to parents.

Principal Katie Sonderegger said, "We believe that building, maintaining, and restoring positive relationships is the key to a positive school environment!"

Standout Topeka High School Senior Lilian Thornton Selected as September Senior of the Month

Topeka High School standout senior Lilian Thornton was selected as the September 2021 Senior of the Month. Lilian was recognized by the Topeka Public Schools Board of Education at their meeting on September 16.

Lilian excels academically and through her involvement with Scholars Bowl, Green Club, and Debate Team. She was recently named a Questbridge Scholar, which provides a full-ride college scholarship with room & board.

In addition to academics, Lilian is also passionate about art and writing and has won accolades for her work in these areas.

Congratulations, Lilian!

Topeka High School Honored with Community Arts Award by Topeka ArtsConnect

Topeka High School will be honored with a 2021 Arty Award by ArtsConnect on Thursday, October 7 at Redbud Park in the heart of Topeka’s NOTO Arts District.

Topeka High School is receiving the Community Arts Award for its tremendous role in the arts community of Topeka by offering students world-class experiences in all artistic disciplines.

Additionally, Topeka High School graduate Robert Tapley Bustamante will be honored with the Glenda Taylor Visual Arts Award for his amazing mural art around the Topeka community, most recently at the Boys & Girls Club, where he painted alongside students from Highland Park High School.

Topeka Public Schools Brings Families Together for 11th Annual Family Fitness Fun Night

On September 15, Topeka Public Schools held its 11th annual Family Fitness Fun Night at Hummer Sports Park.

The event brought hundreds of families from across Topeka to the football field, where they were able to visit school and community education booths and take part in games, physical challenges, and activities such as the big parachute.

We appreciate the many vendors and volunteers who supported this amazing health and wellness event.

Students and Staff Celebrate Topeka Public Schools Administrators During National Principals Month

October is National Principals Month! While we celebrate educators throughout the year, we will be highlighting principals across the district throughout the month of October. Learn more about National Principal Month at

Principals and other school leaders will be recognized during the Topeka Public Schools Board of Education Meeting on October 7, where a National Principals Month Proclamation will be read.

Please take time to let your principal know how very special they are to all of us! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join in the celebration.

Topeka Public Schools Rewards Employees With Premium Retention & Recruitment Pay

Topeka Public Schools recognizes the hardship on employees caused by remaining in a pandemic for multiple years. As a result, through grant funds, the district is providing staff with Premium Retention & Recruitment Pay.

The Premium Retention Pay will award up to $5,000 for Topeka Public Schools permanent full-time active employees under a scheduled plan which provides quarterly payments of $1,250 to frontline full-time permanent employees.

All other full-time permanent employees will be eligible for quarterly payments of $1,000 totaling up to $4,000.

Additionally, as part of the Recruitment & Retention Premium Pay Program, district substitutes and new staff are eligible for payments under the Recruitment Premium Pay that offers some added compensation for substitutes up to $2,000 and up to $3,000 additional compensation for newly hired full-time permanent staff.

Watch this video to learn more about Premium Retention & Recruitment Pay.

Join us for a Virtual Information Session on Test to Stay, Learn, Play, & Participate

Do you have questions about Topeka Public Schools' new testing options for COVID-19, Influenza, and Strep? Attend our virtual information session at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, October 20 to learn more about the Test to Stay, Learn, Play, & Participate program.

Attendees will learn about in-school quarantine options, testing methods, and incentives to get tested. Please register in advance at

District Calendar & Upcoming Events for September 2021

The 2021-2022 academic year district calendar is available at The calendar includes dates of parent-teacher conferences, no school days, and semester sessions. Below are important dates for the end of September and beginning of October.

  • September 30: Whitson Social Emotional Learning Family Night
    5:00 - 6:00 PM | Whitson Elementary School
  • October 1-31: Principal Appreciation Month
  • October 1-31: Audiology Awareness Month
  • October 1-31: Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month
  • October 1: McEachron Elementary Spirit Day
  • October 1: Quincy Family Health & Wellness Night
    5:00 - 7:00 PM | Quincy Signature Visual Arts Elementary School
  • October 1: Harvester's Mobile Food Pantry
    3:00 - 5:30 PM | Robinson Middle School
  • October 1: First Friday Art Walk
    5:00 - 7:00 PM | Topeka High School
  • October 2: National Custodial Worker Appreciation Day
  • October 2: Meadows Fall Fun Run
    10:00 AM | Meadows Elementary School
  • October 4: Meadows Family Game Night
    5:00 - 6:00 PM | Meadows Elementary School
  • October 4-8: Anti-Bullying Awareness Week
  • October 4-8: McClure Elementary Spirit Week
  • October 4-8: Whitson Elementary Spirit Week
  • October 5: District ACT
    See your school counselor to register!
  • October 6: National Walk to School Day
  • October 6-7: Chase Middle School Fall Play
    7:00 - 8:30 PM | Chase Middle School
  • October 7: Breakfast With Buddies
    PreK - Grade 2 | Whitson Elementary School
  • October 7: Board of Education Meeting
    5:30 PM | Virtual
  • October 8: McEachron Elementary Spirit Day
  • October 8-10: Topeka High School Spongebob the Musical
    Friday at 7:00 PM, Saturday at 2:00 PM, Sunday at 2:00 PM
    Topeka High School Auditorium
  • October 9: Harvester's Food Pantry
    9:00 AM | Jardine Middle School
  • October 9: Randolph School Carnival
    4:00 - 7:00 PM | Randolph Elementary School
  • October 11: Indigenous Peoples' Day
  • October 11-12: NO SCHOOL, Staff Development Days
  • October 12: National Physical Therapy Day
  • October 15: Scott Fall Fiesta
    5:00 PM | Scott Dual Language Magnet School

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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