French Middle School

September 2021 Newsletter

Upcoming Events

  • Sept 1-- Girls Volleyball, Girls Tennis and Football games start this month (refer to calendar for game dates)
  • Sept 6-- Labor Day-- No School
  • Sept 8-- School Picture Day
  • Sept 9-- PTO Meeting via Zoom
  • Sept 10-- Quarter 1 Midterms
  • Sept 30-- Red Wheel Fundraiser Begins (runs from Sept 30-Oct 22)
  • Oct 1-- Vision/Hearing Checks

Note from the Principal

The French Falcons had a great start to the school year. Students have fallen back into a school routine easily. Some reminders regarding Covid protocols that remain in place…

  • All individuals must wear a mask inside the school building. Students without a mask will be sent home and can return once they have a mask.

  • Students may bring normal sized water bottles to class. Water only please.

  • Food and candy is not permitted in classrooms. Students may bring sack lunch. However we do not allow visitors to bring lunch in from restaurants. With the community spread so high, we want to limit patrons in and out of the building.

  • Students have access to their locker before and after school and at lunch to retrieve their sack lunch.

  • We have staggered passing and one way traffic in our hallways in order to assist with social distancing.

  • While the county remains in orange and red zones due to community spread, we are limiting spectators at games to parents only for indoor events.

We are grateful to have mitigation strategies in place in order to keep students and staff healthy and in school! We appreciate your support and cooperation

New Science Layout for the Falcons

You may notice something new about our science department this year! All 3 science teachers will be working with all students. Our science teachers have divided up the curriculum to match their science passions. Therefore students will rotate through all science teachers at least once during the school year. This will allow teachers to have a focus on areas of science that match their expertise and have the opportunity to work with all students. Below is a timeline for when teachers will be with each grade.

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School Pictures

It’s picture time! September 8 is the day Strawbridge will be at school for school pictures. Students will have pictures taken during math classes. Picture packets are available in the front office and will be given to your students the week prior. Strawbridge has developed a link that will allow parents to sign up to receive updates via email regarding their child's school portraits. These updates include promotions, additional deals and the ability to order more pictures at a later time. When entering student information, parents should be sure to enter the student's name as it is on file at the school.

Spirit Wear

Get your Falcon gear today! We have 3 designs to offer this year. The link to order is attached to order and pay online. Please make sure you have chosen correct sizes as items are NOT refundable and we cannot order more. Orders must be submitted by September 19th. No late orders will be accepted.

After School Program

Our after school program will kick off with session 1 beginning on September 14- October 8th. Students will stay after school and gather in the commons. A light snack and brain break will be provided, followed by homework and tutoring for 1 hour. For the remaining 30 mins, students will have the opportunity to join an enrichment club run by members of our staff. Clubs will vary each session. For session 1, we will offer...

  • Lego Competition team
  • Creative Writing
  • Write your own book
  • Science experiments
  • Art in history
  • Robotics
  • Crafting
Each session will run for 6 weeks with a 2 week break between sessions. During the 2 week break, if students are needing academic support, they may arrange a time with their teacher before or after school. We are excited to provide a robust after school program that addresses academic and social needs. At this time there is not a school transportation option available. We hope to eventually be able to offer it. Pickup will be promptly at 4:30pm in the front of the building. If you have any questions please contact Mrs. Wagner at 785-438-4150 or

Sign up for the first session is live and can be found by clicking on the link below.

Attendance Reminders:

At French we believe that attendance is very important and that a missed school day is a missed opportunity for students to learn. Research shows us that students who attend school regularly are more likely to achieve at higher rates. We want your child to be at school everyday! While we understand that there are times when your child is not able to attend, we would like your help with getting your child to school. Please stress with your child the importance of regular school attendance. When students improve their attendance their academic prospects and chances of graduating from high school will also improve.

Students who are quarantining need to check google classroom daily for make up work. WE will have a zoom open at 3:30pm to provide instructional assistance through our after school program.

We also want to remind you that if your student has excessive absences a doctor or nurse note will be required to excuse absences. Students who have unexcused absences may become truant. Truancy is defined as 3 unexcused days in a row, 5 unexcused days in a semester, or 7 unexcused days in a year. If a student becomes truant a truancy will be filed and they will be referred to the District Attorney.

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All students entering 7th grade are required to have a Tdap (tetanus booster) and a Meningococcal vaccination on file. If you have not yet submitted that information, please forward as soon as possible. If your student is new to the district, ALL vaccination records will need to be sent. If your student has received the Covid Vaccination, please provide verification for their file. You may email records to or fax to (785) 271-3609 or send a paper copy directly to the school.


In an effort to assist with Contact Tracing, it is important that parents communicate with the school nurse when there is a Covid related situation in your home. The school nurse or a district nurse will provide details on district quarantine policies as well as work with the Shawnee County Health Department on Contact Tracing.

The following situations must be reported as soon as possible:

  • Student is experiencing symptoms or has been tested for Covid-19

  • Anyone in the home has been tested for Covid-19 or has tested positive for Covid-19

  • Student has been identified as a Close Contact with someone outside of the home who has tested positive for Covid-19

  • Student has been identified as needing to quarantine based on recent travel

SYMPTOMS: Fever (measured at 100.4ºF or above), chills, rigors, myalgia (muscle aches/body aches), malaise, headache, sore throat, lower respiratory illness (cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing), new olfactory and taste disorder(s), congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea without an alternate more likely diagnosis. (KDHE, 10.29.20)

If a student is experiencing any ONE or more of the symptom listed above they must:

  • Students must have a negative PCR test before they can return to school (rapid or antigen tests will not be accepted.)


  • Receive an evaluation by their child’s healthcare provider with a written alternative diagnosis (NOT COVID-19), based on the healthcare provider’s recommendation,


  • Isolate their child for 10 days from symptom onset, be fever-free for over 72 hours without taking fever reducing medication, and have improving symptoms

Any student who is experiencing ONE or more of the above symptoms while at school, WILL BE “ISOLATED”, assessed and REFERRED FOR COVID-19 TESTING, if indicated.


You are encouraged to contact your healthcare provider for evaluation and testing if indicated. Or you can visit the following:

University of Kansas Health System -

Complete the Self-Evaluation checklist located at or call 1.833.463.9362.

Stormont Vail Health:

Complete the Pre-Screening tool located at or call 1.785.354.6000.

Shawnee County Health Department:

Appointments may be made online at or by calling 1.877.837.8461.

The following Sites are operational Monday – Saturday during the hours listed below and closed on holidays:

Hummer Sports Park - 500 Tuffy Kellogg Dr

Hours: 7:00am - 4:30pm

New Mount Zion Baptist Church - 2801 SE Indiana Ave

Hours: 9:00am - 5:30pm

Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library - 1515 SW 10th Ave

Hours: 10:00am - 6:30pm

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The French sports teams are off to a great start this year after a year off due to COVID . The heat should be almost over and the cool fall weather will be a welcome change to all the teams!

The volleyball team has a large number of girls with 48 participating. The Varsity and Jv have been working hard after school, and the B team has transitioned well to the mornings. WE are excited for the varsity to defend the city championship from 2 years ago.

The 7th and 8th grade girls tennis team has 8 girls combined and are excited for a season filled with matches. Mr. Ritter, with the help of Maximus tennis club, secured several rackets for French. If your girl is in need, see Mr. Ritter of a loaner for the season.

The football teams have been hitting it hard, and are overcoming the early heat days without pads. We currently have 38 who practice daily after school from 3-5:00.

Ms. Ryan is excited to have a large number of runners for the cross country team, which has been putting in miles after school when the weather allows. Cross country runners are a special breed and deserve applause for the way they push themselves at practice every day.

Info for Athletics:

We, in Topeka Public Schools, are in position to utilize athletics as a part of a total educational program. We encourage all young people to learn the fundamentals of each game and to participate in each sport to the limit of their abilities. We further encourage all young people to learn and understand the rules of the game so that they may enjoy athletics in the future, as well as the present, as good spectators. Athletes and spectators are an important part of the game and should at all times conform to accepted standards of good sportsmanship and behavior.

Requirements for athletics:

Must pass 5 classes the previous quarter to be eligible.

Must have an updated physical signed by a licensed physician and head concussion sheet signed by parents.

Must participate in practice to participate in games/matches.

Must follow the coach's rules and guidelines to be in good standing.

Must be passing all classes the week of a game to be eligible to play in that weeks game.

Practice times

Cross Country- 3:00-4:30

Girls Tennis- afterschool from 3:00- 4:30

B VB- 6:30 AM- 7:30 AM

Varsity& JV VB- 3:00 PM- 5:00 PM

Varsity &JV FB- 3:00 PM- 5:00 PM

Head Coaches-

Cross Country-Ms. Ryan-

Tennis- Mr. Ritter-

Varsity VB- Mrs. Hirt -

Varsity FB- Mr. Mellen -

Questions can be addressed by Tim Wilson- 438-4162 or or by contacting the head coach.

Most games/contests begin at 3:15 unless otherwise stated on the calendar. Please see the school calendar for updates


We would like to remind spectators that French Middle School is a member school of the Kansas State High School Athletic Association (KSHSAA) and is governed by their rules. One of those rules which, we completely support is Rule 52 which states:


Section 1: General Regulations (apply to grades 7-12)

Art. 1: SPORTSMANSHIP is a general way of thinking and behaving. The following sportsmanship policy items are listed below for clarification:

a. Be courteous to all. (Participants, coaches, officials, staff and fans)

b. Know the rules, abide by and respect the official’s decisions.

c. Win with character and lose with dignity.

d. Display appreciation for good performance regardless of the team.

e. Exercise self-control and reflect positively upon yourself, team and school.

f. Permit only positive sportsmanlike behavior to reflect on your school or its activities.

We hope that you can attend the games this year to cheer on the Falcons!

Spectators for Sports

While the county remains in the orange and red zone for community spread of Covid-19 spectators will be limited to parents only at French MS athletic events. Students who attend events at other venues must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. Family units must sit together and social distance (3 feet) from other families. All patrons must wear a mask at all indoor events.

Wilson the Therapy Dog

Wilson Carl Sagan Wood is a professional therapy dog at French Middle School and belongs to Jenny Thayer-Wood, instructional coach at French. Wilson, a Labradoodle, started his training as a puppy in 2018 and became certified after extensive training and passing multiple tests to comply with the district’s requirements. He and his trainer/owner work as a team to provide companionship and provide relief in anxiety-provoking situations to students and staff. Most of his days are spent just hanging out with kids. He is full of personality and has been known to break out into a tail-chasing episode while walking down the hall. The students get a kick out of his tricks, with “whispering” being one of their favorites. Recently, Wilson and his owner had the honor of meeting the nation’s Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona and the nation’s Second Gentleman (Vice President Kamala Harris’s husband) Douglas Emhoff at one of the TPS vaccination clinics. He has appeared on the news several times, and he even has his own social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter--TikTok coming soon!) When he’s not at French Middle School, he can be found hanging out with his human family, his cat “sisters,” and his pet chickens out on the farm.

Falcon Bucks

Falcon bucks are back! Falcon bucks are one way we recognize students for showing positive behaviors and responsibility at French. They can earn Falcon bucks for things like attendance, grades, work completion, demonstrating PRIDE (perseverance, respect, integrity, determination and engagement) behavior, and more. Then students will be able to order online from our Falcon store. Students will be able to purchase coupons to eat outside, time with Wilson (our therapy dog), admission to games, snacks, gift certificates for food, earbuds and more. The Falcon store will open after Labor Day and can be accessed on the French Middle School website. Falcon bucks are part of our Comprehensive, Integrated, Three-Tiered (Ci3T) Model of Prevention and tied into our School Improvement Plan

School Supply Donations

Thank you Advisors Excel for donating school supplies for our students again this year! We are lucky to have you all as a part of our French Falcon Community!

Tennis Team Donations

On behalf of our tennis team at French MS, we want to thank the many generous community members/businesses who donated money to purchase new uniforms for our tennis players. We are very grateful and appreciate the support of our community in Topeka. Thank you for supporting the French Falcons!

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Chromebook Tips

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Counseling Based Lessons 1st Quarter

Counseling Based lessons will be taught by AB teachers during AB time on Mondays. Lesson schedules will be shared each quarter.

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Scantron Testing and Fastbridge Screening

Students at French Middle School have been working to complete Scantron testing and Fastbridge screeners in their math and language arts classes. Scantron is a web-based computer-adaptive assessment that shows a student’s proficiency in those subjects. Teachers can dive into the results to determine areas of strengths and weaknesses in order to guide their lesson planning and determine specific needs of various students. Since students take the assessment three times throughout the year, gains can be determined--not only for the year, but for the student’s career within TPS 501. The assessment is nationally normalized so it can be used as a basis for comparison across the country.

The Fastbridge assessment is a quick, two-part online assessment that fulfills state requirements for dyslexia screening. This is administered in the fall, and those who fall below the proficient level will then take further assessments to target areas of need. Those who meet proficiency requirements will require no further testing during the year.

French Middle School is hosting a FREE service leadership workshop for 6th, 7th & 8th graders. There are only 50 spots available and it is only open to French students until Sept 10th and then it will be opened to other middle schools if there are spots left. Lunch, snacks and a t-shirt are included. Registrations must be received by Sept 10th to guarantee t-shirt size.

Students will learn about service leadership, complete low-ropes activities, explore what it takes to be a good volunteer, participate in a service project, hear from area agencies about volunteering with them and more. This workshop is possible through a grant from the Kansas Volunteer Commission and support from the Downtown Topeka Kiwanis Club.

What: Serve, Lead, Inspire – a service leadership workshop

When: Sat 25, 8am-2pm

Where: French Middle School

Who: 6th, 7th & 8th graders

Why: to develop leadership skills and learn about community engagement through volunteering

How to register: click this link to register

Homework Tips

  1. Stay on top of your homework. When you put off an assignment, and then another, all of a sudden you have so many to do that it’s overwhelming to even get started. Do some each day so you are always caught up.

  2. Do your homework as soon as you can after class is over. Or better yet, do it in class when the teacher gives you time so you can ask questions while working on it. This way the information is fresh in your mind when you are doing the assignment.

  3. Ask questions if you don’t understand something. Even if it’s after class is over. Anytime you don’t understand something you should ask. Otherwise, you are deciding that a bad grade is worth not asking.

  4. Remember that homework accomplishes a lot of things. It helps you prepare for tests. It helps show your teachers if you are getting what they are teaching and if they need to re-teach something. It provides you with practice so that you can remember what to do the next time. When you do your homework you are more prepared to move on to the next section.

A poor grade on a homework assignment is better than a zero. Always turn in a homework assignment. Of course it’s best to turn in assignments that are completely done but if something happens turn in what you have. Your grades don’t suffer as much when you turn in something.

8 Study Tips for Your Student

1. Get Organized. A planner can help keep everything organized. Students should write down assignments, appointments and to-do lists, then review items at both the beginning and end of the day to stay on track.

2. Know the Expectations. On Google Classroom there is an outline or syllabus, which can serve as a guide for the semester. If expectations aren’t clear, don’t wait. Your student should feel comfortable approaching teachers with questions about grading and assignments.

3. Designate a Study Area. Studying in front of the TV won’t be the best use of your child’s time. Help them by providing a quiet, well-lit, low-traffic space to study. Take it one step further and institute a “communications blackout” policy with no cell phones or social media allowed until schoolwork is done.

4. Develop a Study Plan. Students need to know when a test will take place, the types of questions that will be included and the topics that will be covered.Your student should create a study plan and allow ample time to prepare. You can help by buying a wall calendar and asking them to assign topics and tasks for each day leading up to a due date or exam. Setting goals for each session is also key to success.

5. Think Positively. Being in the right mindset can make all the difference. Encourage your child to think positively when studying or heading into an exam and by all means, avoid catastrophic thinking.

6. Create a Study Group. Working in groups can help students when they’re struggling to understand a concept and can enable them to complete assignments more quickly than when working alone. Keep groups small and structured to ensure the maximum benefit to participants and reduce distractions.

7. Practice Active Listening. It’s important for students to concentrate and avoid distractions when an instructor is presenting.Try concentrating on the main points being made, think about what the speaker is saying and pay attention to how things are said (gestures, tone of voice, etc.). They should avoid talking or thinking about problems when listening. If a teacher says, “This is important” or “I’ll write on the board,” there’s a good chance students will see the concept on an exam.

8. Review Test-Taking Strategies. Make sure that your child arrives on time and tries to stay relaxed. Students should be sure to read all of the directions on the exam and pace themselves so as not to feel rushed. You can let your child know that it’s OK to skip around on a test, if allowed, as they may be more comfortable with certain topics than others.

Washington DC with WorldStrides

Ms Ryan, Ms Hirt, Ms Dewitt, Mr. Ray and the WorldStrides program are planning an educational trip to Washington DC June 6-9, 2022. All current 7th and 8th graders are invited to join us on this trip. You can find out more information at our parent meeting on Sept 22 at 5:30pm via zoom. This meeting will take approximately 30 minutes. We have fundraisers throughout the year to help students pay for the trip. This is not a school or district sponsored trip. It is organized and sponsored through WorldStrides. Please contact Ms Ryan 438-5879 or if you have any questions.

DC parent meeting zoom link: password: DCtrip


We are teaming up with Nothing Bundt Cakes again this year for a “sweet” fundraiser! Sept 28th from 4pm-7pm stop by 2121 SW Wanamaker to grab a delicious treat for your family and friends. You must mention French Middle School when placing your order and we will earn 20% of the sales during that time. Online orders are accepted as well-just add French Middle School in the notes section of the order. Hope to see you there!

Bullying Policy

French Middle School will not tolerate bullying of any kind. Bullying is defined as any ongoing verbal or physical mistreatment where there is an imbalance of power, and the target/victim is exposed repeatedly to negative actions by one or more students. Bullying can be direct (physical or verbal), or indirect (exclusion, cyber-bullying, emotional). In order for everyone to feel safe and secure at school, every Topeka Public School has adopted the following rules against bullying. “I will not bully others. I will try to help students who are bullied. I will do my best to include students who are easily left out. When I know somebody is being bullied, I will tell an adult at school and an adult at home.” Students, staff, and parents should report any bullying that they are aware of to administration through the on-line bully report link on the French website. Students who bully others will receive consequences. Our counselors will be visiting 6th, 7th and 8th grade classes in August and September to remind students what bullying is, what we can do to prevent bullying, and what students should do if they or someone else is being bullied.


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. The Title VI and Title IX compliance coordinator is the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching/Learning/Administration. The Section 504/Title II compliance coordinator is the Coordinator of College and Career Ready Services. For employment, the EEO/AA officer is the General Director of Human Resources. All compliance coordinators may be contacted at 624 SW 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) 295-3045 or by writing to 624 SW 24th Street, Topeka, KS 66611-1294.