November 2023 Edition
The Latest at Whitson ✏️
October is such a busy, fast month with so many fun and exciting activities that happen for students! We started the month by celebrating Kindness Week with a Barbie and Ken themed spirit week. This week is always a great reminder of how we can show kindness and compassion to others, even if we aren't friends with them. This is so important to us at Whitson!
We also had Fire Safety Week with Fireman Ryan from the Topeka Fire Department. He came to talk to each grade level about important ways to stay safe in a fire. Our PK-1 students got to see a firetruck up close at the end of the week! We also had a visit from a dairy farm for our K-3 students! They got to see the process of how you milk a cow and learned all about how they care for the cows on the farm. At the end of the month, we celebrated Halloween and it was so fun to see everyone's excitement and costumes!
Parent/teacher conferences and the book fair were very well attended like always here at Whitson. We had the highest attendance percentages in those days since before Covid with 99%! This is incredible and such a reflection of the commitment you all make to supporting your student's education each day. We cannot do what we do without your partnership so THANK YOU for showing up again and again!
November is going to fly by, but we cannot wait to see what students and staff are able to learn and accomplish this month!
This is our why...
THIS is WHY we do what we do...
Last week, Mrs. Pierce got a call from one of Mrs. Gleason's former students expressing how much of an impact she had on the lives of him and his friend when she taught them TEN years ago. We were able to share that voicemail with her and it meant so much to her! Little did she know that they were coming to surprise her...
It is moments like these that make us keep going. Hearing from former students that have now graduated that "you just wanted everyone to be successful everyday" and "you were our favorite teacher ever."
As elementary school staff, we don't always get to see the impact we have on students long-term, but that doesn't mean it is not there. THIS is why.
Fire Safety Week!
This month we had fire safety week! All of our classes learned about how to be safe around a fire and what they can do to prevent them. Then our PK-1 students got to check out a fire truck on Friday! Thank you Firefighter Ryan and Firefigher Dan for your time and expertise! Check out the post from the Topeka Fire Department as well for more pictures!
Cooperative Learning in Spanish Enrichment!
In Spanish Enrichment, 3rd grade during did a cooperative learning structure called Centerpiece. This was a structure we taught earlier this month that helps engage students and give every student an opportunity to respond. We love seeing teachers continue to try new things! Students loved it!
New Interactive Screens in Classrooms!
Our IT staff have been hard at work installing new interactive screens in classrooms, which are so amazing and we are so grateful to have them!
Miss Mendez’ class had named their previous board Jerry so were a little sad when they came to school yesterday and it had been replaced. They honored Jerry with some special words. These are the moments students remember! Way to go, Miss Mendez!
International Student Visit!
This month, our 3rd-5th graders got a visit from international students that are currently attending Washburn University. They shared about their countries and students had the opportunity to ask questions. Such a cool opportunity!
Dairy Farm Visit!
Our Kindergarten through 3rd grade students got to have the dairy farm come to them and learn about what they do and what that looks like! Huge shout out to Southwest Dairy Farmers for your time and expertise today! Kids loved it!
Warrior Staff Highlight ⭐
Our 5th Grade Team
5th grade is a tough grade to teach and build relationships with. Students are anxious about the big changes ahead and many of them are leaving a school they've called home for the last 6 years. Our 5th grade teachers handle all of these challenges and more to build incredible relationships with students, help them learn, and make their last year in elementary school as exciting and memorable as possible. They are amazing! Click each picture below to learn more about our incredible 5th grade team!
Upcoming Events 📆
Chill Out with Chili Event, 5:30-7:00
Get the SCOOP on the Warrior Way expectations at Whitson, with your student teaching you, and build your chili dinner in the process! There will be prizes and books! Please RSVP here!
All Upcoming Events
- November 2: Papa John's Night
- November 7: PTO, 6:00-7:00
- November 9: Hearing and Vision Screening
- November 10: Veteran's Day Assembly, 2:00 PM
- November 13-17: Real Men Read
- November 13-17: American Education Week
- November 14: Individual Picture Retake Day
- November 14: Title I Family Engagement Night, 5:30-7:00 PM, RSVP here!
- November 20-24: NO SCHOOL, Thanksgiving Break
- December 5: PTO, 6:00-7:00
- December 7: Geography Bee, 9:30 AM
- December 7: Papa John's Night
- December 8: Grade Med Dental Visit
- December 11-15: Spirit Week
- December 12: Pizza Hut Night
- December 12: Band and Strings Concert, 6:00-7:00
- December 15: Winter Parties, 2:30 PM
- December 16-January 3: NO SCHOOL, Winter Break
Want all of these dates easily accessible and to be able to check if anything changes? Access our school calendar on the Whitson website! There, you can add the calendar to your own or even sign up for email alerts if something changes using the menu with the < sign above Saturday!
Important Updates and Information 📌
FREE CLASS - Parenting: Because Kids Don't Come with Instructions
You can feel more in control as a parent and still have a great relationship with your kids. This is the idea behind our popular FREE class, “Parenting: Because Kids Don’t Come with Instructions,” and you’re invited to sign up!
The class will teach strategies and skills that will help you feel more confident without sacrificing a positive relationship with your children and teens. “Parenting” starts next Tuesday, November 7, and runs for right Tuesdays. Class will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. at Family Service & Guidance Center, 325 S.W. Frazier Ave. Note: There will be no class on November 21, December 26 and January 2.
For all the details, check out the attached flyer. The class is free, but you need to register at https://bit.ly/FSGCclass before 5 p.m. Monday, November 6. Spots are limited, so sign up now!
Please send your child with a coat!
It is getting to the time of year where it is pretty chilly outside! Even when it is not cold in the morning, it has at times gotten colder throughout the day. We still have many students coming without coats to school. We are outside for recess unless the wind chill and/or temperature is below 20 degrees. PLEASE send your child with their coat each day so they can stay warm! If you are in need of a coat, please reach out to us and let us know!
Library News 📚
PE News 🏃🏃♀️
We are focusing on:
Kindergarten: Learning about types of pets and their care.
1st grade:: Reading and listening about comparing different things we do at school.
2nd grade: Reading about comparing what animals eat.
3rd grade: Learning about times of the day.
4th grade: Learning to make inferences about informational texts.
5th grade: Reading and writing about Antarctica and making inferences about the text.
How We Do School at Whitson
How Can You Help at Home?: Behavior
Area III: Social Skills Responsibilities
Model appropriate social skills
Work with students on the parent component of 2nd STEP at home
Encourage development of appropriate social skills
Be in conversation with social concerns about their child with school faculty and staff
This comes directly from our Ci3T (Comprehensive Integrated 3 Tiered Model of Support) plan, which supports the whole child, from academics to socially-emotionally to behaviorally. You can learn more about the whole plan here.
Behavior-Specific Praise - You can use it too!
Another strategy we use at Whitson to help with behavior is what we call behavior-specific praise. This is something you can use at home, too! Last month we shared this video to help you learn more. Check out this infographic for quick examples of what this might look like and how you can use it at home (click it to make it bigger so you can zoom in or open it in a new tab)!
The Warrior Way
The Warrior Way helps us make good choices with our behavior and show kindness to others. This month our focus is on RESPECT. Check out the picture below to see all the ways we show respect at school and talk with your Warrior about how you can show respect at home or out in public. We cannot wait to see who our Outstanding Warriors in Respect will be!
Learning Out Loud
- P - Perseverance
- R - Reflection
- I - Innovation
- C - Curiosity
- E - Embrace the Challenge
Our P.R.I.C.E. language describes how we learn at Whitson. This month and next we are focusing on INNOVATION. Look below for what we expect from our Warriors when innovating. Then, talk with your Warrior about times you have had to be innovative. We cannot wait to see who will win the P.R.I.C.E. award for being an Outstanding Warrior in Innovation!
From the District
Affordable Connectivity Program - Discounted internet!
Many families will likely qualify for the FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program, which will provide a $30 discount for many internet service providers in the area. To learn more about the program, please visit https://www.fcc.gov/acp where you can sign up.
Also please let the office know if you do not have a computer in your home and we might be able to get you connected!
Sign up to receive texts from Whitson and TPS!
TEXT MESSAGING SERVICE SENDS ALERTS TO TOPEKA PUBLIC SCHOOLS FAMILIES
Topeka Public Schools utilizes the SchoolMessenger system for web services and to deliver text messages to families in the district. Alerts come straight to your mobile phone with important information about school events, school closings, and more.
Parents and guardians can participate in this free service by sending a text message of "Y" or "Yes" to the TPS short code number, 67587. You can also opt-out of these messages at any time by simply replying "stop" to one of our messages.
View our communications document to learn more about how Topeka Public Schools communicates with families throughout the school year. Don't forget to follow us on social media! We're active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
Grade Level Newsletters
Does your student need a coat for the winter?
If your child needs a coat for the winter, we have options at no cost to you.
- Coats for Kids is an initiative through the 20/30 Club of Topeka to ensure every kid in Shawnee County stays warm and has a coat for Christmas at no cost to the school, facility, or family. Just let the school know your student needs one and we will get one to you. These will be delivered to the school sometime before Christmas break.
- Need one sooner? Let us know and we will get you set up to go to Quinton Heights where they have a similar program.
Every child deserves to be warm this winter - let us help!
Hearing & Vision Screenings
The hearing and vision screenings will be occurring on November 9th this school year. Students will go during the school day to have their hearing and vision checked. A report will be sent home with results after the date. Please contact the office if you have any questions or concerns!
Synergy Mail has been amazing for us because we can send messages from our phones; however, Synergy does not have the capability to send text messages.
- Sign up for School Messenger and receive texts that way by sending a text message of "Y" or "Yes" to the TPS short code number, 67587. You can also opt-out of these messages at any time by simply replying "stop" to one of our messages.
- Download the Parent Vue app from your phone's app store and set up push notifications so those notifications appear directly on your phone.
We would like to invite all of the parents of Whitson students to attend our PTO meetings. These meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 6pm in the library. We believe that the partnership between school and home is critical to student success and truly believe that YOU can make a difference. Please consider joining us!
PTO helps raise funds for many school projects such as PE and recess equipment, classroom libraries, and field trips! Come to a meeting or contact us to see what options are available for extra help.
Please e-mail us with questions! email@example.com
President: Chelsea Douglas
Vice President: Taylor Phelps
Secretary: Katherine Phelps
Treasurer: Helen Swan
Topeka Public Schools App
This dynamic resource will take advantage of leading technology resources to connect with parents, students, and other community members. Using existing tools, streamlining access to information, allowing parents and the community to customize the information they receive and engage users with timely and responsive news and conversation about our schools and students.
The TPS Mobile App is free and available for both Apple and Android devices. Just search for Topeka Public Schools in the App Store or Google Play, or click on the convenient links below to go directly to the app download.
Here Comes the Bus App
This App is free and available for both Apple and Android devices. Just search for Here Comes the Bus in the App Store or Google Play, or click on the convenient links below to access the app download site.
More information regarding this service will be mailed to you along with you bus route information the first full week of August.
How to get signed up:
1. Visit www.herecomesthebus.com or download the app to your smart phone or table from the Apple Store or Google Play.
2. Click the 'sign up' button.
3. Enter school code 29036 and click 'Next' followed by 'Confirm.'
4. Complete the 'User Profile' box.
5. Under 'My Students,' click 'Add.' Enter your child's last name and student ID number. If you do not know your student's ID number, please call Ms. Perkins in the office.
6. Once you confirm your information, you're ready to begin using Here Comes the Bus!