Students Celebrate Kansas Day

Students are learning a lot about their state as they celebrate Kansas’ 150th birthday. Students at Stout Elementary learned how to make butter while others learned how to rope a calf from a real Kansas cowboy. Hope Street students talked to Stout students about how to create energy through wind turbines. Hope Street is the only high school in Topeka that has a working wind turbine. Students at other Topeka Public Schools are also involved in celebrating the state’s birthday. Author Thomas Fox Averill who wrote the book, What Kansas Means to Me, will be at Robinson Middle School. Other schools will have Kansas trivia contests and some will have students dress up as a famous Kansan.

DSA - 1st Year Teacher Award

The Distinguished Staff Award for first year teachers has been announced. Amy Burditt won in the elementary category. Amy teaches at Sheldon Child Development Center. Topeka High teacher Kenya Patzer won in the secondary category. They along with previous DSA winners will be recognized at a reception April 13th at the Topeka-Shawnee County Public Library. The Distinguished Staff award is the highest award a staff member of Topeka Public Schools can receive.

Student Wins National Award

Congratulations to Paula Ramos, a 7th grade student at French Middle School. Paula entered the 30th Annual Nationwide Writing Contest for Bilingual Students sponsored by the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE). Paula won the middle school category with her entry called Proud to Be Bilingual. Paula will accept her award next month at the NABE conference awards luncheon in New Orleans.

Students Receive A New Book

The United Way’s Young Leaders Society is once again distributing books to students in Topeka Public Schools. The Young Leaders Society is a philanthropic group of young professionals under the age of 40. Earlier this year, they distributed books as part of the Junior Leader Readers program. This week, the group read to kindergarten students at Avondale East and Quinton Heights Elementary Schools. Each student then received a copy of the book, The Little Penguin. Funding for the book came from CBIZ, a Topeka company which provides accounting tax advisory services.

Board of Education Meeting - Location Change

The Board of Education meeting tonight has been moved from Highland Park Central Elementary School to the Burnett Administrative Center at 624 SW 24th Street. The executive session begins at 5:30 p.m., the board meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.

Topeka Invitational Tournament

The 50th annual Topeka Invitational Basketball Tournament will be played as scheduled today through Saturday at Topeka High School. Here is Thursday's schedule:

3:15 p.m. Wichita East vs Lawrence High

5:00 p.m. Highland Park vs Olathe South

6:45 p.m. Topeka High vs Wichita Northwest

8:30 p.m. KC Washington vs Topeka West

Above & Beyond Award Winner

Joan Bell is the latest winner of the Above & Beyond Award. Joan is the principal and teacher at Florence Crittenton Academy. Joan was nominated for her dedication and compassion for students and for her working relationship with staff at the academy. The monthly Above & Beyond award goes to a teacher, staff, parent or community volunteer who goes above and beyond to help deliver educational services to students.

If you would like to nominate someone for the award, go to the district website at and click on staff/forms for staff/district program forms/ to find a Above & Beyond nomination form.

Parents as Teachers - Blockfest

Parents of young children are invited to experience the fun of math and science learning through block play at Blockfest. Five stations with different blocks will be available to families during one hour play stations. Parent educators will be available to demonstrate techniques that can help parents maximize their child’s learning.

Blockfest has been shown to increase parent knowledge of early development in the areas of math and science and increase social skills and language development of young children ages eight month to eight year.

Join us January 18th for one session, either 5:30-6:30 p.m. or 7:00-8:00 p.m. at Scott Magnet School (401 SE Market). Reservations are required, call 271-3662 to register.

Living the Dream - Topeka Public Schools

Students from Topeka Public Schools were involved in a number of events to celebrate Living the Dream week as part of activities surrounding Dr. Marin Luther King Junior Day. Students were awarded for entering the essay, art and poetry competition. Some students were involved in the Druming for the Drum Major performance at TPAC. Several hundred middle and high school students also attended the Stop the Violence Day celebration to listen to motivational speaker Byron Embry.

Living the Dream Contest Winners – Topeka Public Schools

Essay Competition

1st and 2nd grade
1st place – Jude Fletcher Wright (Quinton Heights Elementary)

3rd and 4th grade
3rd place – Hailey Zimmerman (Whitson Elementary)

9th and 10th grade
3rd place – Andy Bird

11th & 12th grade
1st place – Aliyah Durant (Highland Park High School)
3rd place – Heloice Steele (Highland Park High School)

Art Contest

1st and 2nd grade
1st place – Humphry Isaiah Del Castillo (Avondale West Elementary)
2nd place – Kaitlyn Haffener (Randolph Elementary)
3rd place – Taryn Dial (Randolph Elementary)

5th and 6th grade
1st place – Alora Wilder (Whitson Elementary)
2nd place – Jose Paredes (Whitson Elementary)
3rd place – Josh Saskowski (Whitson Elementary)

7th and 8th grade
3rd place – Bryson Brown (Landon Middle School)

11th and 12th grade
1st place – Carlos Basso (Topeka High School)
3rd place - Amber Edgett (Highland Park High School)

Poetry Competition

11th and 12th grade
2nd place – Ameka Tell (Topeka High School)

Topeka West Helps With Heroes Memorial

Topeka West High School is the first school in Kansas to participate in the United States Fallen Heroes Foundations “I Gave 50 Cents” campaign. Money collected in the campaign will be used to build a privately funded Memorial to Honor Fallen Heroes. The foundation’s mission is to build a nationally recognized memorial to honor the brave servicemen and women of all branches of the United States military who have given their lives in Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The memorial will be located in Texas and will consist of laser-etched portraits of each fallen hero. Topeka West High School will have the school name engraved on the Memorial’s Hall of Recognition as the first school in Kansas to participate. More information can be found at

Capital City Cancels Family Night

Family activity night at Capital City School scheduled for Tuesday, January 11th, has been canceled. It will be held at a later date.

Student Recognized as Hero

A Landon Middle School student who put himself in danger to protect two female students from an attacking dog, was recognized for his heroism by school board members at their meeting January 6. Gianni Noriega put himself between the 100 pound dog and two girls after the dog chased them in the 1100 block of Jewel. Gianni was bitten on the hands and feet as he tried to kick at the dog. His ribs were bruised when he fell to the ground during the attack. He required 12 stitches. A motorist saw the attack and stopped to let the students in their vehicle. The dog was later captured. Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor and Topeka Mayor Bill Bunten were among those congratulating Gianni for his actions.

After School Music Program Begins Soon

The sound of music will soon be heard after school at many of our elementary schools. A new program to introduce 4th grade students to different musical instruments begins January 18 and runs through April 28. The after school programs will be held every Tuesday and Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Due to lack of space at elementary schools, the programs will be held at French, Chase and Eisenhower Middle Schools. Students will be introduced to eight different string and band instruments. The program is free, but no transportation will be provided. The Washburn University Faculty Brass Quintet helped kick off the program will a number of concerts at 18 elementary schools.

Living the Dream Week Events

January 9-17
Student art competition open to grades 1-12
Student essay competition open to grades 1-12
Student poetry competition open grades 5-12

January 9
Unity in the Community Day- Musical Festival at El Shaddai Ministries Community Church at 920 SE Sherman beginning at 4:00 p.m.

January 10 and 11
Educational Outreach Day – Members of Living the Dream Inc. will read educational enrichment books to pre-school students. Representatives from the fire, police, sheriff departments and the highway patrol will give presentations at schools.

January 12
Respect for Elders Day –

January 13
Youth Day – Topeka high schools and middle school drum lines will perform at Drumming for the Drum Major at the Topeka Performing Arts Center. Two canned goods or a $2.00 donation is requested for admission. Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

January 14
Phillip V. Ashford Jr. Stop the Violence Day
Byron Embry, a motivational speaker and former Kansas City Royal will address high school and middle school students at the Topeka Performing Arts Center at 9:00 a.m.

January 15
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship and Awards Banquet will be held at the Ramada Inn beginning at 6:00 p.m.

January 16
Religion Day

January 17
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

January is School Board Recognition Month

School board members are extraordinary people who give freely of their time and talents. They are dedicated and work hard to provide a quality education for students. They make difficult decisions that affect the lives of our children. We want to recognize and thank the members of the Topeka Public Schools’ Board of Education for their leadership: (back row) President Patrick Woods, Nancy Kirk, Vice President Hal Gardner, Peg McCarthy, Ned Nusbaum (front row) Doug Glenn, Superintendent Dr. Kevin Singer and Janel Johnson

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