Thursday, September 30, 2010

HPHS Students Read Banned Book

Did you know that The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a banned book in many communities? Today, Highland Park High School students in Teresa Walton’s AP language and composition class read the book publically on the steps of the school as part of National Banned Book Week. Walton says the students heard about a Chicago school where each year, a different banned book is read aloud. “The kids thought it was a really cool way to bring attention to the fact that there are banned books, said Walton.

Other HPHS students sat on benches near the schools entrance as students took turns reading parts of the popular book. This year, Huckleberry Finn is required reading for all juniors in Topeka Public Schools. Walton hopes to do this again next year, but with a different banned book. She says the most popular banned books in America today are the Harry Potter books.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Foundation Breakfast a Success

Pictured left to right: Dorothy Fager, Washburn University President Jerry Farley, CoreFirst Chairman of the Board Emery Fager (Photo courtesy of Thad Alton, Topeka Capital-Journal)
The first annual Topeka Public Schools Foundation community breakfast brought in a crowd of about 250 community leaders, business leaders, elected officials and staff. The group gathered to celebrate Topeka Public Schools and to receive the State-of-the-District address from Dr. Kevin Singer.

At the breakfast, the first ever Foundation Patron’s Award was presented to Foundation founder Emery Fager, CoreFirst chairman of the board. After accepting the award Monday, Fager credited the Foundation for continuing to do good things for the District. In addition, he acknowledged others who helped form the TPS Foundation that has provided an estimated $800,000 during the past 24 years for programs and services beyond the District’s budget.

TPSF Executive Director Pamela Johnson-Betts said, “Foundation fundraisers are designed to engage the public and lend a hand to enhancing the public image of the District, the Foundation's community breakfast was a success by all measures.”

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Above & Beyond Award - Karen Cline

Award Winner Karen Cline
TPS User Support Specialist Karen Cline is the first Above and Beyond award winner for the 2010-11 school year. Karen has worked in Information Technology for the past 12 years. Prior to that, she was a secretary for Division I at Topeka High for 15 years. She was a Distinguished Staff Award winner in 2002.

Karen was nominated for the Above and Beyond Award by System Programmer Lee Allen and Attendance/Truancy Clerk Jerome Plunkett. Plunkett says, "With all the new information that is needed for Power School, Karen works very hard to educate staff so we can provide information to parents." Allen says, "Karen’s dedication and long hours have greatly helped as we made our transition from TERMS to Power School."

Anyone can nominate a teacher, staff member, parent or community volunteer for the Above and Beyond Award. Click here to download nomination forms.

Cadets Tour Air Force Museum

Air Force Junior ROTC Cadets from Topeka West High School traveled to the Air Force Museum last week.  The students traveled by van from Topeka to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

TWHS Air Force Junior ROTC cadets with the Memphis Belle

The cadets took several classes while on the base including the mathematics of space flight and fixed wing aerodynamics.  They also attended the Spirit of America, a performance by the Old Guard of the Army which escorts the President.  During a tour of the Air Force Museum, the students  were able to see the Memphis Belle; the fastest plane of earth, the SR-71 and Air Force One which carried President Kennedy home after he was assassinated in Dallas.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Polk Street To Close For Homecoming Parade

Topeka High School will hold its homecoming parade Friday, Sepember 24th. A reminder to residents living near Topeka High School that Polk Street from 8th to 10th will be closed to street parking all day Friday, September 24th. This is where the parade will form, start and end. That area will have limited access from noon to 3:00 p.m. Only people living or working along that part of Polk will have access during that time period.

Support Our "Bike MS" Team

Superintendent Dr. Kevin Singer, Board of Education Vice President Hal Gardner, Robinson Middle School Principal Tammy Hazelton and Topeka High Teacher Jeremy Gibson will be riding in the Bike MS: Eastern Kansas Ride 2010, the weekend of September 25-26.

Click here if you would like to support the riders in this fundraiser.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Flu & Pneumonia Immunizations

Topeka Public Schools 2010
Flu and Pneumonia Immunizations

To: 501 Employees and Family Members Sharing Your Residence

Children must be 12 years old and weigh at least 100 lbs. as no pediatric doses will be given.
  • WHAT
    • Flu Shots - $15.00
    • Pneumonia Shots - $40.00
    • Health Connection Clinic, Service Center, 125 SE 27th Street
  • WHEN
    • Dates:  October 7 and 14 - Walk-In Clinic (no appointments taken)
    • Times: 
      • 8:00 - 9:30 AM
      • 10:30 AM - 1:30 PM
      • 3:00 - 6:00 PM
Beginning October 15, individual appointments for flu shots may be scheduled at the Health Connection Clinic on Mondays and Wednesdays of each week.  To reserve a time, please call Mary Lynn McGee, RN, at 295-3937. Scheduling will begin on 10/15.

Beginning October 15, schools may schedule a time for nurse to come to their location. Tuesdays and Thursdays of each week will be reserved for on-site shot clinics. To set up a time for shots to be given in your building, please contact Mary Lynn McGee, RN, at 295-3937. Scheduling will begin on 10/15.

Notification of schedule changes will be handled through district wide e-mail.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


TPS Board of Education and Foundation Board members along with District staff members recently attended a Board2Board conference at the Kaufman Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The conference brought together community leaders from across Missouri and Kansas who serve either as District or Foundation board members or staff of education foundations and districts. The purpose was to share information and to give a group with common intent an opportunity to learn, network and inspire together. The group discussed the importance and relevancy of education foundations and jointly looked at educational foundation trends and how to reach new heights of educational funding and support. Attending from Topeka were: Hal Gardner, Val Patterson, Janel Johnson, Shawn Maiseberger, Pamela Johnson-Betts and Dr Kevin Singer.

BOE Members Receive ICS Certificates

Topeka Public Schools has another first to add to district honors. Members of the TPS Board of Education are the first school board members in Kansas to attend Incident Command System (ICS) 404 training. Kansas Adjutant General Todd Bunting presented training certificates to Board of Education President Patrick Woods, Vice President Hal Gardner and board members Doug Glenn, Janel Johnson, Nancy Kirk, Peg McCarthy and Ned Nusbaum at the September 16 board meeting. Board members also heard an update on safe and prepared schools in Kansas from Dr. Bob Hull of the Kansas Center for Safe and Prepared Schools.

School Resource Officers (SRO’s) were also recognized for being named one of four model SRO programs in the country.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

AYP - Student Scores Improving

Topeka Public Schools - 2009-2010 AYP Report

Topeka Public Schools did not make adequate yearly progress (AYP) as a school district in 2009-2010. Fourteen schools did make AYP, 18 did not. These findings were revealed in a report at the Kansas State Board of Education meeting today. Despite the number of schools not making AYP, test scores of students in Topeka Public Schools are improving.


73.4% of all district students scored proficient in reading in 2010. This was an increase of 1.4% over 2009. This is the highest percentage of students to score proficient in reading in the district’s history.

From 2006-2010, the percentage of students scoring proficient in reading increased by 4.5%.

Seven schools (Avondale West, McCarter, McClure, McEachron, Randolph, Stout and Hope Street HS) have met the AYP reading criteria every year from 2006 to 2010.

Nine schools (Avondale East, Avondale West, Lowman Hill, Ross, Scott, Shaner, Jardine MS, Robinson MS and Highland Park High School) had an increase of 5.0% or more in the percentage of students scoring proficient in reading when the 2010 results are compared to 2009. Avondale East Elementary had the highest increase (13.4%)


72.0% of all district students scored proficient in math in 2010. This was an increase of 2.7% over 2009. This is the highest percentage of students to score proficient in math in the district’s history.

From 2006-2010, the percentage of students scoring proficient in math increased by 9.9%.

Eleven schools (Bishop, Highland Park Central, Lowman Hill, McCarter, McClure, McEachron, Randolph, State Street, Stout, Whitson and Hope Street) have meet the AYP math criteria every year from 2006-2010.

Nine schools (Avondale West, Lowman Hill, Ross, Scott Shaner, Jardine MS, Capital City HS, Hope Street HS and Topeka High) had an increase of 5.% or more in the percentage of students scoring proficient in math when the 2010 results are compared to 2009. Shaner Elementary had the highest increase (17.3%)


Five schools (McCarter, McClure, McEachron, Randolph and Stout) have attained AYP every year from 2006 to 2010.

14 schools (12 elementary, 3 middle and 1 high) attainted AYP in 2010

All schools met the AYP criteria for other measures in 2010. This is an improvement over 2009 when 32 out of 33 schools met the criteria.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Scouts Donate Flags at Statehouse Ceremony

The grounds of the Kansas Statehouse were a sea of red, white and blue on September 11. There was just enough wind to keep the 105 U.S. flags flying in the breeze. Early in the morning, boy scouts along with ROTC members from Topeka Public Schools, set the flag poles in place. The flags lined the four sides of the statehouse grounds. The 105 flags represent the 105 counties of Kansas. The boy scouts presented the flags to demonstrate the patriotism of the boy scouts on the organization’s 100th birthday this year.

A brief ceremony was held on the south steps of the Kansas Capitol to honor the victims of September 11, 2001. It included a moment of silence at that exact time nine years ago that a plane was flown into one of the Trade Center Towers. Dr. Kevin Singer, Superintendent of Topeka Public Schools, thanked Anderson Chandler for his generous donation that purchased the U.S. flags. The flags will be flown around the statehouse on holidays and special events.

Friday, September 10, 2010

9/11 Ceremony at Topeka High School

White balloons honoring the victims of the September 11 attack on the United States were released into the air above Topeka High School today. The balloon release was part of a ceremony conducted by the Topeka High School Marine Corps Junior ROTC Cadets. Cadets read the timeline of the events that occured on that date nine years ago. They also celebrated how citizens of this country came together to show this nation's resolve after the attacks. The ceremony ended with the playing of taps as the U.S. flag flew high above Constitution Plaza on the east side of the school.

Day of Caring at Highland Park High School

Eight employees of Hill's Pet Nutrition went to school this morning, Highland Park High School. The eight were among 800 volunteers participating in the United Way's Nancy Perry Day of Caring. Businesses gave some of their staff the day off to do various projects that help others in the community. At Highland Park, the Hill's employees trimmed bushes, pulled weeds and trimmed trees around the school. "Our particular group likes to get out and help the community," said Hill's employee Stephen Davidson. Volunteers were out helping at 82 locations across Topeka today.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Landon Thanks Church Partner

Landon families and students benefited from the generosity of our neighbors, Fairlawn Church of the Nazarene. On August 14th, students and their families could attend a back-toschool event which included free haircuts. The next morning, members of the church brought over 100 book bags which were complete with required supplies. It was an amazing undertaking and both staff and students are grateful for their support and involvement in our school community. Their care and concern for the Landon students helped us start the year on a very positive note.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Foundation Sub For A Day Winners

For the third year in a row, TPS employees were given the opportunity to support the TPS Foundation, have a central office administrator trade places with them for a day and receive an extra personal leave day. Six employees were selected by KNEA executive director, Mary Masters and superintendent Dr. Kevin Singer to receive a day off for their contributions to the TPS Foundation. Winners and their assignments are:
  • Rebecca Svaty, Extended Learning Center - Topeka West
  • Preston Williams, Social Worker - Linn
  • Meagan Wilder, Health Aide - Quinton Heights
  • Anita Curry, ELL - Erickson 4
  • Dori Castaneda, Executive Secretary - Burnett Center
  • Mary Simpson, Executive Secretary - Burnett Center