Wednesday, November 24, 2010

School Psychologists Recognized by BOE

Local Educators Honored as Part of National
Possibilities in Action Partner Program

The School Psychologists from Topeka Public Schools announced that Kevin Falk, Vicki Peoples, Patti Rodeheffer, Julie Ward, and Fred Willer were honored with the Possibilities in Action Partner Award at the Topeka Public Schools November 4th board meeting at Burnett Center. Kevin Falk is a Jardine Middle School counselor, Patti Rodeheffer is a State Street Elementary special education teacher and Vicki Peoples, Julie Ward, and Fred Willer are school social workers at Highland Park High School.

The Possibilities in Action Partners Program is part of National Association of School Psychologists ongoing effort to help school psychologists promote children’s success in school and life, to improve collaboration within the school community, and to help highlight the education community’s exceptional efforts to educate and support the development of all children. It is grounded in the belief that seeing and supporting the possibilities within each student, even in the face of adversity, is critical to helping them achieve their best in school, at home, and in life. School psychology partners are people who, either through their own efforts or by encouraging the efforts of others makes an exceptional difference in the lives of students and families.

In general, the Possibilities in Action Partner award winners possess the following attributes:

• Extraordinary personal or professional dedication to improving outcomes for students
• Outstanding professional functioning and effectiveness
• Effective advocacy for public policy that supports needed services for children and families
• Commitment to effective collaboration with school psychologists and other student services staff
• Long-term dedication to advocacy on behalf of individual students

Nomination letters for Kevin Falk, Vicki Peoples, Patti Rodeheffer, Julie Ward, and Fred Willer were read noting their unique contributions to the students and staff in Topeka Public Schools.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holiday Happenings

This is the time of the year that many schools hold holiday events and entertainment for parents and the community. Listed below are just some of the events scheduled for this holiday season. More information will be added as it becomes available.
December 1 – 7:00 p.m.
Landon Middle School – Winter musical concert will feature 6th grade band, 7th and 8th grade band and string orchestra.
December 1 – 7:00 p.m.
Williams Magnet School – Band and strings concert.
December 2 – 7:00 p.m.
Quincy Elementary School – Music program featuring 4th and 5th grade students.
December 3 – 11:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Avondale West Elementary – The school choristers will perform at the West Ridge Mall.
December 7 - 7 p.m.
Highland Park Central third graders will present a music program at 7 p.m.
December 7 - 7 p.m.
Landon 6th, 7th and 8th graders will present a choral concert.
December 8 - 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.
Lowman Hill Elementary School – School choir club will sing at the Federal Building at 1:00 p.m. and at the West Ridge Mall at 2:00 p.m.
December 9 – 6:30 p.m.
French Middle School – Chorus and orchestra concert will be held at the Topeka West High School Auditorium.
Avondale West Elementary School – The school drama club will present “The Incredible Reindeer.”
December 10 – 7:00 p.m.
Avondale West Elementary – The school choristers will perform at Barnes & Noble.
December 11 – Noon to 3:00 p.m.
Scott Magnet School – A holiday shopping spree will be held at the school.
December 13 – 6:30 p.m.
French Middle School – Band concert will be held in the French gymnasium.
Highland Park Central - Family Reading Night from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
December 14 – 7:00 p.m.
Shaner Elementary School – Holiday sing-a-long in the school gymnasium
December 14 – 11:30 a.m. – to noon
Avondale West Elementary School – The choristers will perform at the winter festival at the Topeka and Shawnee County Library.
December 14 – 6:30 p.m.
Avondale West Elementary – Holiday program featuring kindergarten through 2nd grade students.
December 15 - 9:30 a.m.
Burnett Center - Elementary string players will perform for Burnett Center staff.
December 16 – 6:30 p.m.
Avondale West Elementary – Holiday program featuring 3rd through 5th grade students.
December 16 – 7:30 p.m.
Topeka West High School - The December concert will be performed at White Concert Hall on the Washburn University campus. All music performance classes will share in a wonderful showcase of bands, choirs and orchestras, ending in all participants joining in the "Hallelujah Chorus" by Handel.
December 17 – Noon
Lowman Hill Elementary – School choir club will perform at the Top of the Tower.
December 20 - 1:45 p.m.
Burnett Center – State Street Elementary School Singers will perform for Burnett Center Staff.
December 22 - 1:30 p.m.
Everyone is invited for a sing-along and band performance at Highland Park Central.

Avondale East Serves Thankful Dinner

Students and staff at Avondale East Elementary School thanked those who have helped the school by inviting them to their annual thankful dinner. Volunteers, community members, board of education members and school administrators were served a Thanksgiving meal. Students helped serve the food and make decorations for the dinner. Close to 100 people attended the event which was sponsored by Heather Calvert’s 5th grade class and the school PTO.

SRO is Above & Beyond Winner

Ken Evans, a School Resource Officer (SRO) at Eisenhower Middle School, is the latest winner of the Above & Beyond Award. Evans was chosen for his actions to improve security for students. Evans contacted the owner of a wooded lot just north of the school to get approval to cut brush and bushes on the property. The overgrowth had prevented school officials from observing students as they walked to and from school. Evans organized a group of fellow officers and city workers who helped him clear the wooded area. His actions have contributed to a decrease in after-school issues with students in the area. Officer Evans is in his first year as SRO at Eisenhower Middle School. Before that, he was SRO at French Middle School for four years.

The above and beyond award goes to a teacher, staff member, parent or community volunteer who go above and beyond to help deliver educations services to students. A nomination form can be found on the district website ( Click on staff, then forms for staff and finally district programs. Fill out the form and send to Ron Harbaugh ( or to Ron at 624 SW 24th Street, Topeka 66611.

Publication Award Winners

November 19, 2010

Congratulations to the following winners in the Kansas Association of School Boards & Kansas School Public Relations Association’s Publications Competition.

Winner/School /Category
Dave Uhler – Burnett - Center PR Video, Video News Release or Video PSA
Shara Meyer – Parkdale- School Calendar
Angie Davis – HPHS - Building Level Newsletter
Janet Cline – French - Building Level Newsletter
Jennifer Stallbaumer – Landon -Building Level Newsletter
Linda Wiley – Topeka High - Building Level Newsletter
Bret Greenwood – Burnett Center - Special Events Publication
Nicole Jahnke – Burnett Center - Strategic PR Program
Brandi Hubener – Parents as Teachers - Annual Report
Angela Locke – Burnett Center -Staff Newsletter
Steve Burkholder – Burnett Center - Brochures and Pamphlets
Marti Elford & Jeanne Disney- Topeka High - Booklets
Linda Wiley – Topeka High -Handbook
Jennifer Stallbaumer & Bret Greenwood Website
Ron Harbaugh – Burnett Center -School District Newsletter
Ron Harbaugh – Burnett Center - Photo/Photo Series

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Foundation Follies Raises Dollars for TPS Children

The 18th annual Topeka Public Schools Foundation Art For Kids/Foundation Follies gala was full of outstanding student and adult art as well as talented student and staff performers. TPS art teachers, staff and students participated in a big way this year. More than 150 pieces of student and staff art was donated from the elementary to the high school level. Community members donated another 100 pieces of art.

The November 18th fund-raiser, held for TPS, was hosted by the Foundation. Pamela Johnson-Betts, Foundation executive director said, "The gala has turned into a fun friend-raiser as previous attendees return and new attendees come each year."

The Topeka High Jazz Band led by Steve Holloman, provided the musical back drop for the evening. Highland Park High School teacher Teri Walton performed and emceed the evening follies and Mike Beam served as the auctioneer. Other performers included Highland Park High School teacher Tiffany Bonewell, Scott Magnet students led by teacher Mark Camacho, Highland Park Central media specialist Janis Stover, Topeka West High School student Krista Pojman and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kevin Singer.

The 2010 AFK-Friends of the Foundation award was presented to longtime AFK supporters Esther and Linden May. Connie English was the featured artist and her painting "A Kansas Autumn" was sold in the live auction for $260. Original paintings by Mr. and Mrs. May and Highland Park High School art teacher Tiffany Pryor also brought in money for TPS in the live auction.

Painted novelty Croc shoes were auctioned again this year. The decorated Croc from Topeka West High School sold for the highest bid, with both the Highland Park High School and Topeka Public Schools Crocs following with a close second and third.

TPS school board members selected art pieces during the silent auction. The art selected by the board will be displayed in different departments throughout the Burnett Administration Center.

Students from Scott Magnet sang two selections at the Foundation Follies event on Nov. 18.

Students Win at National Journalism Convention

Three journalism students at Topeka High School won awards at the National Journalism Convention in Kansas City. Kaitlin Kobs received a Superior rating in the PhotoShop Art category. Nick Henriquez received a Superior rating in Editorial Writing and David Wang received an Honorable Mention in Sports Writing.

Students Make Plastic Versions of Themselves

Topeka High student T. J. May is in the school library reading 24 hours a day. It’s not that he enjoys reading non-stop and never wants to leave the library. He isn’t physically in the library all the time, but a full body cast of him made of clear plastic tape is there for everyone to see.

Art teacher Carol Conner says she saw the plastic tape body casts in an art magazine and thought it would be a good project for her advanced sculpture students. “The students were excited about doing it and they have been doing a great job,” said Conner. The body cast is formed by wrapping each body part with a layer of tape with the adhesive side up so it doesn’t stick to the skin. Then another layer is put on with the adhesive down to form the shape of an arm or leg. A slit is then made in the tape and it is removed from the body. The slit is then covered with another layer of tape.

May, a senior, was the first of the four advance sculpture students to complete his project. He says it took about a week or two to make his full body cast. Response to May’s work as been positive. “The teachers, they like it. I’ve had questions like was it blown up? I tell them it’s a full body cast,” said May.

A second student has finished her full body cast which can now be seen in the Topeka High library. Conner says plans are in the works to eventually take the full body cast figures to every library in the school district so everyone can see the work of her students.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

DSA Winners Announced

The Distinguished Staff Award is the highest honor that a staff member of Topeka Public Schools can receive. Individuals are nominated by their peers and voted on by the DSA Recognition Committee. The following have been named 2011 Distinguished Staff Award winners in their nominated category. The DSA winners will be recognized at a reception on April 13, 2011.

Category Winner & School

High School
Barry Evans - Topeka West High School

Middle School
Kimberly Sonnich - Robinson Middle School

Melinda Wingfield – Lowman Hill Elementary

Duke Palmer – Avondale East Elementary

Certified Support Staff
Tim Wilson – French Middle School

Office Personnel
Barbara Garst – Eisenhower Middle School

Antwaun Jones – Stout Elementary

Other Classified Support Staff
Brennan Wilcox – Information Technology

Jahnke is Volunteer of the Year

Nicole “Niki” Jahnke has been named the Junior League of Topeka’s Community Volunteer of the Year. The award recognizes community members for their dedication and support to Topeka and Shawnee County. She received the award November 12th at the Junior League’s annual Merry Market luncheon. Jahnke said, “I was so overwhelmed. I feel very honored and blessed.” Jahnke is General Director of Food and Nutrition Services for Topeka Public Schools.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Kanza Bowl Teams Named

Washburn University and Midwestern State will face off in the 2nd annual Kanza Bowl to be played December 4th at Hummer Sports Park. The representatives of the Mid America Athletic Association (MIAA) and the Lone Star Conference were announced this morning at a news conference. Washburn’s record is 7-7 while Midwestern from Wichita Falls, Texas, is 8-3. Kickoff at Weaver-Erwin Stadium is at 1:00 p.m. Tickets are available at the Hummer Sports Park Office at 2751 East Circle Drive, Lower Heating & Air Conditioning at 501 SE 27th and at Hy-Vee Food Store at 29th & Wanamaker. More information is available on the Kanza Bowl website at

Friday, November 12, 2010

BOE Honors Students

The Board of Education held a reception November 10th for four students who are National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists. The four are Sam Teeter and David Wang from Topeka High School and Lewis Kemper and Alex Rankin from Topeka West High School. Finalists will be named in February. Since its inception in 1955, the National Merit Scholarship Program has awarded 350,000 scholarships worth more than $1.4 billion.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hope Street Students Face Reality

Students at Hope Street Academy just got a dose of reality. The students participated in Reality U, a financial literacy program of Communities in Schools of Kansas. A few weeks ago, students filled out a survey of what they thought life would be like at age 26. They chose an occupation based on their interests. They had to determine if at age 26, they would be married or single, how many children they might have etc. Students were given a monthly income based on their chosen profession and grade point average. At Reality U, students visited tables where they had to pay for housing, utilities, daycare, food and other necessities of life. It was a reality check for students like Daphne Matheney-Lewis and Matthew Gage. “I see what my dad goes through. It’s a good experience. I’ve learned a lot,” said Daphne. Matthew said it made a big impact on him. “When you think your parents spend money you just think lights, cable, food and rent. When you are actually doing it yourself, it kind of gives you a bigger outlook on life.” Hope Street Academy is the first Topeka Public School to offer Reality U.

American Education Week - School Activities

American Education Week is November 14-20.
Here are school activities to celebrate the week.

Chase Middle School
November 17 - Pepsi night.
November 18 - Zainy brainy math and reading night.
November 19 - Above and beyond for student recognition.

French Middle School
November 15 – Students will be filling in a green or gold circle with their favorite school memories and posting them throughout the school.
November 16 – Parents are invited to eat lunch with their students.
November 17 – Students will write thank you notes to school support staff (bus driver, lunch helpers, paras). The notes will be handed out at the end of the day.
November 18 – Students will dress for their future professions.
November 19 – Treats will be available for substitutes who help at French.

Highland Park Central Elementary
November 15 – Family Math Night from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
November 16 – Fourth and fifth grade students will give a concert at Highland Park High School at 7:00 p.m. The concert is called “Sounds All Around Us.”

Meadows Elementary
November 15 – “Kick off” for American Education Week.
November 16 – Students from several classes will say the Pledge of Allegiance together.
November 17 – Students will wear their favorite college shirts or sweatshirts.
November 18 – A lunch will be held for retired Meadows Elementary teachers.
November 19 – Students will be wearing their Meadows shirts.

Scott Magnet School
November 15 - Favorite team day.
November 16 - Hat day
November 17- Wild about education day. Students are encouraged to wear a shirt with an animal on it or an animal print shirt.
November 18 - Crazy hair day.
November 19 - School spirit day. Students should wear their Scott t-shirts or sweatshirts.

State Street Elementary
November 16 – Title 1 Night
November 19 – Grandparents Day from 10:00 a.m. – Noon

Stout Elementary
November 15 – Students will dress up as their favorite book character
November 16 – Tuesday is red, white and blue day. Show your American Pride.
November 17 – Students will wear their favorite college shirts and sweatshirts.
November 18 – Thursday is dress up/dress down day. Students will dress like teachers and teachers will dress like students.
November 19 – Friday is Spirit Day. Students will wear their Stout t-shirts.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Capitol Federal Natatorium Expansion

The Capitol Federal Natatorium will be able to accommodate higher level swim meets after the addition of a new warm up/cool down pool and a competition crash area. Members of the Capitol Federal Foundation, companies involved in the expansion and Topeka Public Schools’ Board of Education and administration, toured the new addition recently.

The Capitol Federal Foundation’s $3.1 million donation paid for the pool and crash area. The warm up/cool down pool will allow swimmers to warm up before participating in swim competition in the main pool. The crash area will be a place for swimmers to rest and spend time between competitions. Also new to the natatorium is a competition operations room. The room will be used by judges, coaches and other involved in the swim meet.

Construction of the new addition began in the fall of 2009. A new video scoreboard will be added to the main pool area in December as well as a video screen located in the commons area. Superintendent Dr. Kevin Singer thanked the Dicus family and Capitol Federal for all they have done for the community and for Topeka Public Schools.

Veterans Day Activities

Topeka West High School was just one of many schools that held programs and activities celebrating Veterans Day on November 11th. Each veteran at Topeka West was given a plaque thanking them for their sevice to our country.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Principal For a Day

What’s it like to be a school principal? More than twenty-five members of the Topeka community got to find out as they participated in the annual Principal For a Day event. Each year, community members are invited to shadow an elementary, middle or high school principal for the morning. They find out the many tasks of a principal from helping kids off the bus to helping students in the classroom to having lunch with the kids. The Principals For a Day then meet in the afternoon to share their experiences. This year’s participants represented businesses, the medical field, government, the arts, education and churches. If you are interested in becoming a Principal For a Day next year, contact Angela Locke at 295-3047.

Fourth Graders Get Dictionaries

Ask a 4th grade student at Quinton Heights Elementary School how to spell a word and they can look it up in their new dictionary. Fourth grade students at Quinton Heights, Quincy, Highland Park Central, Avondale East, Lowman Hill and Linn Elementary schools each received a dictionary recently thanks to a partnership between the Downtown Rotary Club of Topeka and the Dictionary Project of Kansas City. Each year, the two organizations team up to deliver dictionaries to students who need them most. The Dictionary Project of Kansas City helps children throughout Kansas discover the meaning of success, respect and teamwork. The Downtown Rotary Club of Topeka is the second oldest Rotary Club in Kansas.