Community News

Topeka Public Schools | 3/12/22

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Message from the Superintendent

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Dear Topeka Public Schools Staff and Families:

This week has been a challenging weather week, and we are hopeful the remainder of the Spring has better weather in store.

This week, our students at Jardine Elementary challenged us all to creatively show love and hope in wearing red on Tuesday, as we uplifted the memory and family of their classmate, Terrell Gibbons and his mother Nichole Gibbons, who passed unexpectedly in a car accident during inclement weather.

Our scholars are truly compassionate and their idea showed us all how love unites us all, even through challenging times. The article is included and pictured above are some members from central office wearing red in solidarity.

All month we are celebrating the arts. At our next board meeting, we will showcase a theatre production as we thank our fine arts staff. This Spring season is filled with various events, and state assessments will be underway when we return from Spring Break. Have a relaxing break and we look forward to seeing everyone back on March 22nd.

Thank you for the tremendous support.

Dr. Tiffany Anderson


Topeka Public Schools United by Love After Passing of Jardine Elementary Student

Jardine Elementary School fifth graders inspired students and staff across the district to come together and honor their classmate, Terrell Gibbons, who tragically passed away in a car wreck earlier this week.

The class encouraged everyone at Jardine to wear red, Terrell's favorite color, on Tuesday, March 8. Thousands of students and staff joined them and wore red to honor Terrell and his legacy of love and kindness.

Information on services for Terrell will be posted as soon as the information is received. View a video from Red for Terrell Day on Facebook.

Artwork Created by Topeka High School Student is Going to Space

In a collaborative effort between Ms. Kirsten Mandsager's Astronomy class and Ms. Mona Morrissey's Graphic design class, Topeka High School students created ideas for a CubeSat patch contest.

The contest was sponsored by Wichita State University and the Ad Astra Kansas Foundation after their study was chosen by NASA.

A design created by Rylee Salts and her collaborator, Zoe "Cassius" O'Brien-Stiner, won first-place and will now be made into the official patch worn by NASA engineers and mission staff!

Read more about the contest and view Rylee's winning design at

Teaching Pathway Students Take Home Awards at Educators Rising State Conference

On Wednesday, March 9, students in the TCALC Teaching Pathway placed 1st and 2nd in the Educators Rising State Conference!

The students competed in various events to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and leadership in education. One student, Manaia Isaia, was awarded the Career & Technical Education (CTE) Teacher Training Scholarship!

Teaching Pathway students have also been hard at work volunteering to make the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center a better place for its young visitors, while honing their skills as future educators. Learn more and view photos in the Kansas Children's Discovery Center blog.

Highland Park High School Student Selected for First State Apprenticeship

As we promote college and careers in cooperation with the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) and Jobs for American Graduates (JAG), KSDE is piloting the first paid apprenticeship program for high school students.

Dr. Anderson and Stacey Smith, the Executive Director of Career & Technical Education at KSDE, serve on the Kansas Board of Regents Technical Authority Board, which addresses all two-year and technical colleges. Dr. Anderson also serves on the board for JAG.

Through this partnership, the pilot program will allow one high school student to serve in an Information Technology position at KSDE. The selected student is Reyli Lopez, a junior at Highland Park High School.

The application and interview process was rigorous, and we learned today that our HPH scholar was selected and will begin in April! He will gain high school credit as part of this new paid apprenticeship opportunity.

TCALC Scholars Recognized by Kansas Association of Broadcasters

Topeka Public Schools is excited to announce that four scholars in the Web & Digital Communications Pathway were recognized in the Kansas Association of Broadcasters Student Awards!

TCALC instructor, Mr. Louis Dileonardo, guided students in creating audio stories, which were submitted in the High School Radio category.

The following students were recognized for their outstanding audio stories:

  • Travis Graen: 1st Place, Best Podcast, Issues of Coming Out

  • Gabby Hentshel: 1st Place, Complete News Feature, Hope Street Wall Art; Honorable Mention, 60 second Commercial/PSA, Save our Fish

  • Celena Gordon: Second Place, Complete Sports Feature, Granny Basketball

  • Ethan Griesacker: Second Place, Enterprise News Package, Being a YouTube Creator

Jaguar Academy Instructor Honored With Above & Beyond Award for Excellence in Serving Others

On Wednesday, March 9, Ms. Cori Hare was honored with the Topeka Public Schools Above & Beyond Award for her excellence in serving others through her work at Jaguar Academy.

Ms. Hare builds a meaningful connection with each student at Jaguar Academy. She truly goes above and beyond to provide support for the students and families she serves.

The Topeka Public Schools Board of Education will honor Ms. Hare and highlight Jaguar Academy at the upcoming Board Meeting on Thursday, March 24.

Williams Magnet School Partners With Shawnee County 4-H to Raise Chickens

1st and 2nd graders at Williams Science & Fine Arts Magnet School recently learned about the life cycle of a chicken after receiving a batch of chicken eggs and other materials from the Shawnee County 4-H program.

Lab instructors and classroom teachers worked with students to incubate the eggs until they hatched, then together they cared for the baby chicks.

All students at Williams were able to watch the incubation process and have enjoyed interacting with their new fluffy friends!

Topeka Public Schools Offering Optional Spring Vaccination Clinic

Topeka Public Schools will hold its optional spring vaccination clinic from 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM on Friday, March 25 at Topeka High School. This free service is offered to individuals age 5+ who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Families should register for the vaccination clinic in advance here by Wednesday, March 23 at 12:00 PM. Those who register will be sent an electronic consent form. All children must be accompanied by a parent/guardian and have a signed consent form to receive the vaccination.

Join Us for 2022-2023 Kindergarten Orientation on April 5

Families who have a preschooler ready to begin kindergarten this fall are encouraged to join us for our 2022-2023 Kindergarten Orientation at 5:30 PM on Tuesday, April 5!

This event is an opportunity for parents to learn more about Topeka Public Schools, meet teachers and staff, and tour our schools.

Kindergarten Orientation will take place at each elementary school in the district, so please attend the event hosted at your child's school. Eligible students must be 5 years-old by August 31, 2022.

Join us for Middle School Parent Orientation on April 27

Attention parents of 5th graders! Join us at your child's middle school from 5:30 - 6:30 PM on Wednesday, April 27 for Middle School Parent Orientation.

Parent Orientation is an opportunity for families to learn more about the transition from elementary school to middle school for the 2022-2023 school year. Events will be held at each middle school.

For more information, please contact your child's middle school.

Volunteer for ShareFest 2022!

ShareFest is an event created with the belief that churches and organizations can do more together than any one group could do separately. The event brings together citizens from all over Topeka to improve our community.

Landscaping, painting, and cleaning up the grounds of local schools are ways that volunteers will be spending their time to help give back. Topeka Public Schools is among the organizations to benefit from this year's ShareFest, which will be held on Saturday, April 30 from 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM.

This event is only possible with the help of volunteers! If you are interested in volunteering, please visit

Message from the Topeka Public Schools Board of Education

The Topeka Public Schools Board of Education will meet on Thursday, March 24 at 5:30 PM.

Meetings are open to the public. You can also watch live on the Topeka Public Schools YouTube channel.

Spring Break Calendar Schedule

Spring Break will be held the week of March 14-18.

There will also be no school on Monday, March 21 as our staff participate in professional development sessions.

Students will return to school on Tuesday, March 22.

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 in March:

  • March 1-31: Music, Theatre, & Visual Arts in Our Schools Month
  • March 6-12: National School Social Work Week
  • March 14-18: Spring Break | NO SCHOOL
  • March 21: Staff Professional Development | NO SCHOOL
  • March 21: Magnet School Application Day
  • March 24: Board of Education Meeting | 5:30 PM

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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