Community News

Topeka Public Schools | January 6, 2022

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Message from the Superintendent

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Dear Topeka Public Schools Staff and Families:

Welcome back! We have had a great first week of 2022 with various events occurring throughout this month. We missed our scholars over the break and are so excited for the semester ahead. We are continuing to follow all COVID safety protocols, which can be found on our Parent Resource Site.

This morning, we celebrated two of the state's distinguished Horizon Award winners. The Commissioner of Education, Dr. Randy Watson, and our staff surprised our incredible first year teachers, Ms. Amanda Schafers at Topeka High School, and Mr. Austen Witte at State Street Elementary.

This week, we are also celebrating our Information Technology staff in recognition of National Technology Day today, and our police officers in honor of Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, which takes place annually on January 9.

Additionally, we will be highlighting our dedicated Board of Education members throughout the month of January in celebration of National School Board Recognition Month. Please take time to thank our outstanding outgoing board members who volunteered their time to serve multiple terms. A celebration of the outgoing board members will take place on January 20 at 5:00 PM.

While we all face many challenges, we have a number of accomplishments to be proud of and some of these are highlighted in this edition of the CNews. Thank you for helping us have a positive start to the 2022 year!

Dr. Tiffany Anderson


Top Highlights of 2021

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Two Topeka Public Schools Educators Honored With KSDE Horizon Award

Topeka Public Schools is excited to announce that two of our educators have been honored with the 2022 Kansas Horizon Award from Kansas State Department of Education!

Ms. Amanda Schafers (Topeka High School) and Mr. Austen Witte (State Street Signature Performing Arts Elementary School) were surprised with a phone call from Education Commissioner Randy Watson on Thursday morning.

The Kansas Horizon Award program identifies and recognizes educators who have completed their first year of teaching in an elementary and secondary classroom of the state. View a video of the surprise presentations.

Congratulations, Ms. Schafers and Mr. Witte!

Topeka Public Schools Celebrates School Board Recognition Month

January is School Board Recognition Month—a time to salute the work of our school board members and to celebrate public education.

School board members play a crucial role in ensuring our students receive the best education possible by working with parents, education professionals, and community members to create successful learning environments.

We encourage you to join us in celebrating the work and success of our outgoing school board members by thanking them for their service:

  • Rev. John R. Williams (2013 - 2021)
  • Dr. Scott Mickelsen (2013 - 2021)
  • Dr. Michael R. Morrison (2013 - 2021)

We will also welcome our new school board members as they begin their terms on January 10, 2022.

Topeka Public Schools Enhances COVID Mitigation Strategies

Thank you for your continued patience and ongoing support as we ensure the safety of Topeka Public Schools students and staff.

Our mitigation strategies we have used with cleaning will continue and the following steps are being taken at all schools and district buildings:

  • Masks will continue to be worn while on Topeka Public Schools property
  • Air purification systems have been installed in the HVAC systems at all schools
  • Test to Learn, which was implemented last semester, will continue

District administration and school principals provided training on reopening plans as part of staff development on Monday and Tuesday and reviewed all safety protocols with students throughout this week.

For more information on our COVID-19 mitigation strategies, please visit our Parent Resource Site and view this feature from KSNT News.

Winners Announced in Living the Dream Student Art Competition

Students from across the district are participating in events through Living the Dream, Inc.

Winners of the student art competition were announced this afternoon, and include students from Ross Elementary, Quincy Elementary, Chase Middle School, Highland Park High School, Topeka High School, and Hope Street Academy.

View a complete list of the 2022 Living the Dream, Inc. student art competition winners here, and view an itinerary of the 2022 Living the Dream events at

Additionally, in partnership with Living the Dream, Inc., we will be hosting our annual district-wide food drive throughout the month of January!

Students and staff are encouraged to collect non-perishable food items that will be donated to the Topeka Public Schools Community Cupboard. Food collection bins are located outside each district school building.

The school that collects the most items will receive the Living the Dream traveling trophy at the following board meeting. Last year, the food drive collected more food items than ever before, and we are hoping to top that number this year!

Outstanding Hope Street Academy Scholar Selected as January Senior of the Month

Hope Street Academy senior, Arieunta Hughes, has been selected as January's Senior of the Month!

Arieunta is very well-loved at Hope Street for her ambition and drive. She is driven to do her best and works hard to achieve all of her goals. She has already earned her CNA license from the Washburn Institute of Technology, and is currently working to earn a phlebotomy certification.

Following graduation, Arieunta plans to attend Allen Community College to earn an associates degree, then transfer to Washburn University to study nursing.

Arieunta will be honored by the Topeka Public Schools Board of Education this evening. Congratulations, Arieunta!

Happy National Technology Day! Topeka Public Schools is Thankful For Our District IT Professionals

Today is National Technology Day! We are grateful for all the technology we have, which helps us in our everyday lives and in the classroom.

We thank our Chief Information Officer Scott Gowan and his team for their hard work to keep everyone connected across the district!

In addition, we send special thanks to Gail Ramirez, Curriculum Technology Integration Specialist, and Travis True, Technology Services Coordinator, for their work incorporating technology into the district's curriculum.

Topeka Public Schools Celebrates National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

Across the country on January 9, we have an opportunity to thank law enforcement for their service. Students and staff around the district are showing their appreciation this week!

We would like to recognize Chief Ron Jeanneret, Director of School Safety, and the entire Topeka Public Schools Police Department, as well as our local, county, and state police agencies, for working to keep our community safe.

Join us in honoring our school police on January 9 by commenting on our Facebook and Twitter posts!

January College Connections Newsletter

This month's College Connections Newsletter provides:

  • Mid-year graduation information
  • ACT/SAT testing dates
  • Applying for the Seal of Biliteracy
  • Information on FAFSA registration
  • Information/deadlines on college registration and admission
  • Information/deadlines for financial aid and scholarships
  • Career & internship opportunities for students

Topeka Public Schools to Hold Mid-Year Graduation Ceremonies on January 27

Topeka Public Schools high schools are hosting mini graduation ceremonies on Thursday, January 27 for students who are eligible to graduate at mid-year.

Each school will hold socially-distanced ceremonies, which will also be streamed live on the respective high school's Facebook and Youtube page. Schools will be reaching out to graduates and families with more information in the coming weeks.

Ceremony times are as follows:

  • Topeka West High School: 8:00 AM
  • Topeka High School: 9:00 AM
  • Highland Park High School: 10:30 AM
  • Hope Street Academy: Individual ceremonies throughout the school day

Topeka Public Schools Launches New Podcast on Spotify & Facebook

Topeka Public Schools has launched a brand new podcast titled “Let’s Hear It!” Our first episode is now available on Facebook, Spotify, and other platforms.

Every other Monday, our hosts Dan Garrett and Kylie Fleck-Talley will share news from across the district and interviews to highlight our incredible students and staff members.

Do you have a great topic for us to cover on the podcast, KTPS-TV, or social media? If so, submit a news story to the communications team!

Chiefs Days Are Back!

Through the remainder of the Kansas City Chiefs' season, Topeka Public Schools staff and students may wear their Chiefs gear and jeans every Monday. Go Chiefs!

Let's Talk to Host Virtual District Parent Night on Human Sexuality Curriculum

Topeka Public Schools has partnered with Let's Talk to provide information on the human sexuality curriculum for high school students.

Parents are invited to our Virtual District Parent Night at 6:30 PM on Tuesday, January 18 to learn more about the curriculum planned for this semester. Students enrolled in the Physical Dimensions course will receive this curriculum.

If you are interested in learning more, please pre-register to attend the Zoom session.

Stay Updated on Transportation With the Here Comes the Bus App

Parents can stay updated on transportation by downloading the Here Comes the Bus app!

• View the real-time location of your child’s bus.

• Access the app from your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

• Receive push notifications or email alerts.

• Send your child to the bus stop at just the right time, every time.

How to get started:

1. Download the Here Comes the Bus app* or visit

2. Sign Up by going to the Here Comes the Bus website.

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

6. Once you confirm your information, you’re ready to begin using Here Comes the Bus!

Topeka Public Schools Weather Notifications

As we continue to experience winter weather, we want to remind families and staff of school closing notification procedures.

As we make decisions about closing school, a number of factors come into play, including safety of travel but also the safety of students who will be home during the day.

Should school be canceled, we will:

  • Send a text/email message via SchoolMessenger
  • Update the district social media pages
  • Update the district website
  • Contact our local media partners

To sign up for text message updates, text Y to 67587.

Join Topeka Public Schools in the New Year by Substitute Teaching!

Topeka Public Schools is hiring substitute teachers, and we need you! The district is a diverse, well-rounded family of teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, and more.

Substitutes can earn up to $130 for daily assignments, or up to $135 per day for long-term assignments. You can also earn a Premium Recruitment Incentive of up to $1333, paid in quarterly installments.

Visit our website or simply scan the QR code with your mobile device to apply now!

District Calendar & Upcoming Events

The 2021-2022 academic year district calendar is available at The calendar includes dates of parent-teacher conferences, no school days, and more.

Below are important dates for January 2022:

  • January 1-31: National School Board Appreciation Month
  • January 5 - February 1: Living the Dream Food Drive
  • January 6: National Technology Day
  • January 6: Board of Education Meeting
    Virtual | 5:30 PM Meeting
  • January 9: National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day
  • January 17: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • January 20: Board of Education Meeting
    5:00 PM Reception | 5:30 PM Meeting
  • January 27: Mid-Year Graduation
  • January 29: Kansas Day

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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