High Schools - New Dismissal Time

Due to snow days and to make sure seniors have the required instructional hours before graduation (May 14th), the following changes have been made for all students at Topeka West High School, Topeka High School and Highland Park High School.

Beginning Monday, February 28th, school will be dismissed daily at 3:10 p.m.

There will be no more late starts this school year.

Seniors last day will be May 12th.

May 13th will be a work day for grades and commencement rehearsal day.

The last day of school for underclassmen will be noon on Wednesday, May 25th.

Journalism Students Take Honors

Several Topeka West High School students took honors at the regional journalism competition at Kansas State University. Spencer Gustin placed second in editorial cartoon, Michael Snowden placed second in editorial writing, Ana Chavez placed second and Alison O’Hara-Arrington earned honorable mention in feature writing. The students will compete in the state journalism competition at the University of Kansas in May.

Summer Day Camp 2011

The Outdoor Environment Education Summer Day Camp will be held again this year. It is a one week camp for students currently in grades 3-8. It is a week of academic and recreational activities in science and social studies that focus on water quality in Kansas. For more information about the camp including an application form, go to the district website and click on parents, then summer camp.

TPS Foundation Launches Major Saver Campaign

The Topeka Public Schools Foundation 2011 “Major Saver” discount cards will go on sale February 18. The public will have an opportunity to purchase the discount card for $10 from a Topeka Public Schools student/family or directly from the school or by calling the Foundation Office at 785.295.3061.

The Major Saver cards include discounts on purchases at 15 local restaurants. The discounts are valid one time at each location. These businesses support the Topeka Public Schools by sponsoring this important program.

Last year, the Major Saver program generated over $52,000 for the Topeka Public Schools Foundation and Topeka Public Schools. Since 2009, the Major Saver campaign has raised over $104,000 in revenues to benefit TPS. The Foundation helps support students and teachers in activities and events. Since the foundation’s inception, it has given educational support to elementary, middle and high schools for educational programs and has awarded thousands of dollars in scholarships to graduating seniors. Each participating school will also receive a portion of the funds raised.

The dates that you may purchase Major Saver Cards are February 18 through March 4, 2011.

Hensley Honored by Board of Education

State Senator Anthony Hensley is in his 35th legislative session, making him the longest serving member of the Kansas Legislature. At their February 17th meeting, members of the Board of Education of Topeka Public Schools recognized Senator Hensley for his many years of service to the people of Kansas.

Hensley was first elected to the Kansas legislature in 1976. He has served in both the House and Senate. He is currently in his fourth term as Senate Democratic Leader. Hensley represents the 19th senate district which includes eastern Topeka and Shawnee County, southern Douglas County and northern Osage County.

Senator Hensley is a graduate of Highland Park High School and holds degrees from Washburn and Kansas State Universities. He is a teacher in Topeka Public Schools.

Picture on homepage: (left to right) BOE member Nancy Kirk, State Senator Anthony Hensley, BOE President Patrick Woods

Above & Beyond Winner

Diana Camarillo is the latest winner of the Above & Beyond Award. Diana is an ELL paraprofessional at Whitson Elementary School. According to teacher Karen Wurtz who nominated her, Diana goes above and beyond every day in helping students and parents. She brings a student to school after he is dropped off at her home at six in the morning. She translates for parents outside the duty day, including early morning and after school meetings and events. She even recruits parents to help cook Mexican food so students can taste the food on Cinco de Mayo.

Diana enjoys being around students. “It’s something I love to do,” said Diana. Although she spends a lot of time at school working with students, she is still able to find time to work toward her teaching certificate and masters degree. Congratulations Diana.

Scholars Bowl Honors to Topeka High

Topeka High School’s Scholars Bowl team captured 2nd place in 6A state competition held February 12th in Lawrence. Most of the eight high schools in the competition came from Johnson County and the Wichita area. The championship round pitted Topeka High against Wichita East. The bowl teams answered questions about foreign language, language arts, science, social studies, fine arts and the year in review.

Congratulations to Topeka High Scholars Bowl team members Daniel Kennedy, David Wang, Sam Teeter, Nicholas Henriquez and William Kenefake.

Valentine Treats

Students in Komal Singh’s 7th grade Family and Consumer Science Class spent Valentine’s Day in the class kitchen at French Middle School. The student cooks were ready to make cookies and shakes. Groups of three or four kids worked together to measure the ingredients for the cookies before mixing them and putting them in a pan to be baked. Students also made tasty shakes to go with the cookies. Parents and grandparents were invited to stop by the school and taste the student-made goodies. Singh’s says making holiday treats was a way for students to show their parents that they love and care about them.

Students Help With Nepal Library

Bishop Elementary students have learned how fortunate they are to have a nice school library filled with hundreds of books. A one room school in rural Nepal has no library, no electricity and students only have rough, wooden desks. Seniors in Buhler High School near Hutchinson decided as a class project to raise money to build a library and stock it with books. The Bishop connection happened because 5th grade teacher Michael Knapp’s father is a teacher at Buhler High.

Bishop Principal Amanda Czechanski said the original goal of her school was to collect 300 books, approximately one for every student who attends the school. Response from students, parents and staff was overwhelming. The school collected more than 1,700 books. How do the Bishop students feel about the outpouring of books? “They feel really good, but it doesn’t really register. They look at our library or books at home, they don’t understand that these books are the only books this school is going to have,” said Knapp.

Third grade teacher Tara Martin said some of her students wrote about the book drive when they wrote a letter to their parents for parent-teacher conferences. “A lot of my children put we have changed the world in Nepal, “said Martin.

The books will be taken to Buhler and eventually end up half way around the world. The books will be used by the Nepal teacher to help his students learn to speak and read English.

Whitson Classroom Displays Plastic Igloo

We've had enough snow and cold weather this winter that you could build a real igloo. One classroom at Whitson Elementary School has an igloo built from plastic milk containers. Pre-school teacher Lisa Dodds says she got the idea from the internet. Since her students were learning about winter and polar animals, she thought the igloo would be a good addition to the classroom. She sent an email before Thanksgiving asking for plastic milk containers. “They just came flooding in,” said Dodds. The igloo is used by the students as a place to read and look at books. Just as time and warmer temperatures eventually melt a real igloo, the plastic igloo is beginning to show signs that it may not be around much longer.

Summer School - High School Students

Summer school information for high school students has been released. Enrollment will take place May 18th and May 25th from 4:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at Hope Street Academy. Topeka Public School students are required to get referral forms from their counselors and have them completed prior to enrollment.

Session one - May 31 – June 20
8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Session two – June 21 – July 12
8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Students may take one or both sessions for .5 unit of credit per session. Fees are paid at enrollment. Scholarship money will not be available for the 2011 summer school sessions.

TPS student $115 (.5 unit) $230 (1.0 unit)
Out of District $160 (.5 unit) $320 (1.o unit)

Chili & Dog Days - Capital City Schools

The student council will host Chili & Dog Days on February 9th from 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. and February 10th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the multi-purpose room.

$4.00 - Adults and sutdents grades 7-12
$2.00 - Grades K-6
Free - Under Kindergarten age

Students Celebrate 100th Day

Despite being out of the classroom several days due to snow, students in Topeka Public Schools have reached a milestone. They celebrated the 100th day of school today by participating in activities involving the number 100. For example, six physical activity stations were set up in the gymnasium for Quincy Elementary students. They jumped rope 100 times, shot a basketball 100 times, students measured things to equal 100 and they prepared a bag of trail mix that contained 100 ingredients. The students had a great time and enjoyed learning at the same time.

Students Give Up Old Jeans

It’s difficult for a teenager to give up a good old pair of jeans, but that’s exactly what Highland Park High School students have been doing lately. Freshmen English teacher Juli Watson found out that Aeropostale, a national clothing store, was collecting jeans for homeless teenagers. She decided to get students in her English class involved. They put up posters around school and began bringing in some of their old jeans. It caught on with other students until now more than 350 jeans have been donated by students and staff. “Probably half of my students have brought at least one pair of jeans so far,” said Watson. Freshman Kamanni Shabazz was surprised at the response of her fellow students. “They are kind of in shock because they didn’t expect anyone to do it, but there is a bunch of people who did.” You can donate new or used jeans of any size by taking them to the main office at Highland Park High School.

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