Community News

Topeka Public Schools | July 23, 2021

Students First: Working as a Team for Continuous Improvement

Message from the Superintendent

Big picture

Please note that this photo was taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dear Topeka Public Schools Staff and Families:

We are preparing for an exciting new school year, and earlier this week we hosted our in-person registration at school sites across the district.

We know many of our families are interested in the district's plan for masks next year. At this time, the Topeka Public Schools Board of Education plans to vote on the reopening plan at their meeting on August 5, 2021 as they continue to review the data and final guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC and Shawnee County (SNCO) Health Department guidelines are posted at Currently, no masks are required outdoors and the CDC guidance does not require masks for indoor use for vaccinated staff and students.

In preparation for the new school year, eligible staff and students who want to be vaccinated can do so at one of the many vaccination clinics in our community. To support families, another Topeka Public Schools vaccination clinic will be held at Highland Park High on Saturday, July 31 from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM.

Additionally, a vaccination clinic will be held on Thursday, July 27 from 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM in central Topeka at St. John's AME Church in partnership with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE).

The SNCO Health Department is also holding a number of vaccination clinics at various locations. View the full schedule and learn more in the SNCO COVID-19 Resource Center.

Once the Board of Education votes on the reopening plan on August 5, we will be sharing more information with our families. We appreciate your patience as we work together to make the best decisions for our students, staff, and community.

Contact your child’s principal regarding 2021-2022 school year registration and any questions you may have.

Welcome back! We look forward to a great new school year ahead.

Dr. Tiffany Anderson


Time to Register for Traditional or Virtual School for 2021-2022 Academic Year

Hey parents! It's time to start thinking about the next school year.

If you were unable to attend our in-person registration event on Wednesday, don't worry! You can register online any time from your PC, tablet, or mobile device.

An academic calendar, school supply list, and online registration for the 2021-2022 school year are available in our Back to School Headquarters.

Topeka Public Schools also offers a virtual education program, which includes students (grades K-12) and adults, with both virtual and on-site learning opportunities. For more information on our virtual school program, visit the Avondale Virtual School website.

Preschool Registration Available Online and In-Person on August 3

Do you have a young scholar that is starting preschool in the fall?

The preschool application process is available online and will also be available in-person on August 3 from 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM at Sheldon Head Start (1155 SW Seabrook Ave).

When registering your child, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • child's immunization records
  • child's legal birth certificate
  • child's current physical exam
  • child's medical insurance card
  • parent(s)' drivers license or ID
  • parent(s)' 2020 tax return/W-2

For more information on how to register your new preschooler, call 785-438-6899.

Local Churches Will Donate School Supplies to Students In Need on July 31

The 2021-2022 school year is right around the corner! Many local churches have partnered with Topeka Public Schools for the annual United for a Successful School Year supply giveaway to make sure students are prepared for the upcoming year.

The event, organized by Lisa Davis of New Mt. Zion Church and Carole Denton of Fellowship Bible Church, is first-come, first-served, and aims to provide school supplies to 400 students. It will take place at Highland Park High School from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM on Saturday, July 31.

In addition, United for a Successful School Year will have representatives on-site offering community resources, employment opportunities, sports physicals, vaccines, and more.

Topeka Public Schools Holding Stuff the Bus Event to Collect School Supplies

Topeka Public Schools will be collecting school supplies for the upcoming 2021-2022 academic year at West Ridge Mall from July 30 - August 8.

To donate, simply purchase school supplies and drop them off at a participating store at West Ridge Mall (1801 SW Wanamaker Rd). Participating stores include Topsy's Popcorn, Maurices, and Worth A 1000 Words portrait studio.

Topeka Public Schools staff will also be collecting school supplies in-person from 3:00 - 5:00 PM on August 3 - 4 in the Center Court.

Summer Meal Program Providing Families With Breakfast, Lunch, and Snacks Through August 4

The 2021 Topeka Public Schools Summer Meal Program is in full swing and runs through August 4.

Any child in Shawnee County under the age of 18 can receive breakfast, lunch, and snacks at locations across the city. These meals are served free of charge Monday through Friday and the child does not need to be present for a parent to pick up the meals.

In addition, every Wednesday 7-day Grab and Go meals are passed out at numerous locations, which include meals for an entire week with convenient curbside pick-up.

Visit our website to see a full listing of sites, offerings, and schedules. Watch a KSNT interview with Chris Wagner, Child Nutritional Service Specialist, about the program at

Washington Post Highlights Topeka Public Schools Efforts to Return Students to In-Person Learning

During a recent interview with the Washington Post, Dr. Tiffany Anderson stressed the importance of building relationships and trust with families, in hopes they will allow their children to return to in-person learning this fall.

One strategy has been encouraging principals to establish direct contact with every family they serve, including making home visits. Dr. Anderson's goal is to return 98-99% of students to in-person learning for the 2021-2022 academic year; however, virtual options are available for any family that chooses it.

“We have a mobile vaccination clinic, and we take it to the parking lot, and while we’re there we talk to everyone about the return to school,” Anderson said. “Without relationships and trust, you can’t do anything.”

Topeka Public Schools Serves Over 200 Families at Mobile Food Pantry & Drive-Thru Vaccination Clinic

As the COVID-19 delta variant spreads in various parts of the country, Topeka Public Schools (TPS) is doing its part to help students and families get vaccinated.

TPS partnered with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and Harvesters to host its second mobile food pantry and drive-thru vaccination clinic on July 10. The event served over 200 families by providing fresh produce and other meal items to families in need, along with access to the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

Both events were held at Jardine Middle School and services were offered at no cost to all families in Shawnee County. Thank you to all who participated in taking steps toward a safer community!

Topeka Public Schools "Good Job" Video Honored with National School Communication Award

On July 11, Topeka Public Schools was honored by the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) for its district and school communication efforts in the 2021 National School Communication Awards contest.

TPS received Merit recognition for its “Good Job” music video, a cover of the popular song by Alicia Keys, to celebrate teachers and other school staff for their resilience and dedication during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The video was directed by Dr. Troy Sawyer, who serves as Principal of State Street Elementary Signature Performing Arts School. Dr. Sawyer also starred in the video as lead vocalist.

Katie Sonderegger, Principal of Quincy Elementary Signature Visual Arts School, served as the video’s art coordinator, and Clayton Schrader, Principal of Ross Elementary Signature Music School, accompanied as the pianist.

Alicia Keys | Good Job Cover by Topeka Public Schools

Highland Park Rising Senior Jaqui Ortega Presents “You’re Beautiful” Project to State Department of Education

Highland Park High School rising senior Jaqui Ortega went viral this spring for her “You’re Beautiful” video project.

The video, created for journalism class, featured Ms. Ortega recording students’ reactions as she told them, “You’re beautiful.” The reactions were positive and heartfelt, causing the video to spread widely on social media and be featured by numerous news outlets.

The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) was so impressed with her project, they invited Ms. Ortega to speak at their meeting on July 14. Ms. Ortega presented the video, discussed the project and what she learned from it, shared her plans for the future, and then held a question and answer session.

Highland Park High Senior Jaqui Ortega presents video project to State Board

TPS and Gibbs Elite Academy Teach Students the Fundamentals of Basketball Through Free Camp

Topeka Public Schools partnered with Gibbs Elite Academy to hold a free basketball camp for 5th - 8th grade students on July 12-16.

The camp’s goal was to teach young athletes the fundamentals of basketball and encourage them to participate in team sports.

Gibbs Elite Academy founder and head coach Ta’Nia Gibbs graduated from Topeka High School and attended Highland Community College.

Guest Coach Crystal Kemp is also a Topeka High School graduate. She then graduated from the University of Kansas, where she was named All-Big 12 First Team and ranked all-time top-10 in scoring at KU.

Additionally, Korean Basketball League player Chris Lofton made a guest appearance at the camp. Lofton played for the University of Tennessee and was SEC player of the year in 2007.

Retired TPS Staff Member Marie Carter Honored with Hand Raiser Award from United Way of Greater Topeka

During the United Way Campaign Virtual Celebration on July 8, retired Topeka Public Schools Certified Personnel Manager Marie Carter was honored with the Hand Raiser Award from United Way of Greater Topeka.

United Way held the virtual celebration to thank donors for raising over $1.8 million during the pandemic year campaign.

Ms. Carter was selected for the award because of her outstanding work as a United Way Campaign Ambassador on behalf of Topeka Public Schools. Please join us in congratulating Ms. Carter on this tremendous achievement!

Topeka Public Schools Offers Employment Opportunities to Community Members

As Topeka Public Schools works to assist with overall employment in the Topeka area, we are inviting those you may know to consider future employment opportunities in the district.

We understand that many people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic; if you know someone who is seeking a new career opportunity, please share this information.

The district has openings for a variety of positions, including:

  • Teachers
  • Substitute Teachers
  • School Nurses
  • Social Workers
  • School Psychologists
  • Paraprofessionals
  • Administrative Personnel
  • Food Service Workers
  • Custodians

View all available opportunities and apply at

District Calendar & Upcoming Events

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

July 2021

  • July 23: Mobile Food Pantry | 9:00 AM
    Capital City at Hummer Sports Park
  • July 27: New Teacher Orientation Day
    Bishop Professional Development Center
  • July 31: United for a Successful School Year Supply Giveaway
    10:00 AM | Highland Park High School

August 2021

  • August 5: District Convocation
    All District Locations
  • August 5: Board of Education Meeting | 5:30 PM
  • August 6: Mobile Food Pantry | 4:00 PM
    Robinson Middle School
  • August 11: First Day of School
    First day of school for grades K-6 & 9, Hope Street, Capital City, and Avondale Academy
  • August 12: All Students Return to School K-12
  • August 14: Mobile Food Pantry | 9:00 AM
    Jardine Middle 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.

Copyright © 2018, All rights reserved.