Showing posts from April, 2011

April Above & Beyond Award Winner

The Above & Beyond Award winner for April is Tiffany Pryor. Tiffany teaches art at Highland Park High School. Tiffany went above and beyond in a community project to improve the look and condition around two abandoned houses across the street from HPHS. She engaged students, staff, businesses and community groups in the project. You can see the news story about the project on the district website.

Above and Beyond is an award given once a month during the school year to a teacher, staff member, parent or community volunteer who goes above and beyond to deliver educational services to students of Topeka Public Schools.

HPHS Students Involved in Invisible Children

Highland Park High School recently hosted a presentation called "Invisible Children." Some students observed a day of silence in cooperation with a world-wide initiative to protest the situation in Uganda in which children have been separated from their families and forced to fight in that country's civil war. Students made posters and wore silence cards around their necks.

Eisenhower Band Performs at Wasburn University

What a thrill for 7th and 8th grade band students at Eisenhower Middle School as they will be special guests of the Washburn Wind Ensemble. The students will play along-side university musicians on April 28th at 7:30 p.m. at White Concert Hall on the Washburn University campus. The band director at Eisenhower Middle School is Vikkie Metzger.

Courtney Sanders Receives K-U Award

Courtney Sanders, an elementary social worker at Hope Street, has received the KU School of Social Welfare's Margo Award. The award is given to recognize outstanding achievement by field education students from each level of field education and concentration. Her intern, Ben Neaves, nominated her for the honor. Dr. Freda Herrington, Director of Field Education at the University of Kansas, presented the award to Courtney.

TPS to Provide Meals for Meals on Wheels

Topeka Public Schools will soon begin providing meals for Meals on Wheels. The TPS Board of Education last night (April 21) approved a contract to provide meals for Meals on Wheels. TPS Executive Director of Operations Larry Robbins said, “We welcome the opportunity to forge this kind of relationship with an organization so well respected as Meals on Wheels.”

Meals on Wheels deliver approximately 500 meals each weekday to homebound individuals in Shawnee and Jefferson Counties. The meals are delivered by volunteers. Meals on Wheels provide another 500 meals to senior citizens at its Friendship Dining Centers.
“The collaboration between the school district and Meals on Wheels is almost a natural in many respects,” said Jane Metzger, President/CEO of Meals on Wheels. “When you look at the regulations that the school district has to follow for meeting the quality of meals for students, they are very similar to what we have to do for seniors.”

Topeka Public Schools will prepare the food at …

Hope Street Students Win Wind Turbine Competition

Four Hope Street Academy students took first place with their small-scale wind turbines in the KidWind Wind Turbine competition at Kansas State University on Saturday, April 16. Quincy McCord, Dakota May, Davyan Jones, and Chaz Graber created their turbines from scratch using recyclable materials.
Along with making a wind turbine, the HSA students had to create a poster explaining why and how they built their turbines, the total cost, and a description of the blades that they used. The judges based their scores on poster creativity and information, and the energy produced by the wind turbine.
The four students from Hope Street also won two other awards: Best Technical Poster and Most Energy Produced.

Kickhaefer Receives Teaching Excellence Award

Scott Kickhaefer, a language arts and drama teacher at Highland Park High School, has been selected as the 2011 recipient of the University of Kansas Wolfe Teaching Excellence Award. The award goes to first-class educators who have greatly impacted a students’ life. Student Jennifer King nominated Kickhaefer for the award. As a Wolfe Teaching Excellence Award winner, Kickhaefer will receive a cash award as will his school. He will also be honored for his achievement at the KU School of Education Convocation ceremony on May 21st.

Family Fitness Fun Event

The first Topeka Public Schools’ district-wide Family Fitness Fun event drew several hundred people to Hummer Sports Park on April 18th. The event was for students, families and staff of the district and was held to promote healthy living. There were numerous activities for kids including an obstacle course, hula hoops, jump rope, Wii Fit games and a noodle toss. Parents and staff joined the kids in exercising to chicken fat and then participating in Simon says. There was also a mile run/walk. A number of community organizations were at the event distributing information about healthy eating and healthy living.

Comments From Community Conversations

Linn Meeting Notes

School:Linn ElementaryDate:April 27, 2011Recorder:Larry RobbinsTopicNotes: board Member Comments Bold
Parent would like less moving around for her three kids; will be attending three different schools (in three years).What is the sex offender registry in the neighborhoods of the other schools?Fear concerning neighborhood.Does not like large class sizes.Why are the schools being impacted all on the East side?Add more mentorships.

School:Linn ElementaryDate:April 27, 2011Recorder:Dr. Stephen BurkholderTopicNotes: board Member Comments Bold
Will there be sufficient room for the specialists?Will there be room for external science instruction?

School:Linn ElementaryDate:April 27, 2011Recorder:Cindy KellyTopicNotes: board Member Comments Bold
Does the No Child Left Behind Act have any impact on these decisions? We do not want to lose any ground as we make these changes.Title schools—when merged you get a pass for a year on making AYPWill class sizes be 22-24 with or without a…

Conversaciones con la Comunidad

Hola, En la reunión de la Junta Directiva de Educación del 7 de abril, el Dr. Kevin Singer, Superintendente, presentó una propuesta para cerrar tres escuelas de primaria, Lundgren, Linn y Quinton Heights, al final de este año escolar. La Junta Directiva de Las Escuelas Públicas de Topeka ofrecerá Conversaciones con la Comunidad en las escuelas que se está proponiendo cerrar y proporcionará una audiencia formal en el centro administrativo del distrito. El calendario para las restantes Conversaciones con la Comunidad y la audiencia formal es el siguiente: 20 de abril de 2011, 6:00 p.m. Conversación con la Comunidad en la Escuela Lundgren 1020 NE ForestAvenue 27 de abril de 2011, 6:00 p.m. Conversación con la Comunidad en la Escuela Linn 200 SE 40th Street 28 de abril de 2011, 6:00 p.m. Audiencia Pública en el Centro AdministrativoBurnett 624 SW 24th Street Un intérprete que hable español estará presente en cada uno de estos eventos. Luego de que la decisión final acerca del cierre de la…

Foundation Partnership Yields Check

The third annual Foundation sponsored Major Saver fundraiser netted TPS almost $53,000. Major Saver official, Chris Ary presented the check to TPS board members and Superintendent Dr. Kevin Singer, Foundation board members and Pamela Johnson-Betts at the April 7 Board meeting. This collaboration includes the participation of 26 schools and has netted the Topeka Public Schools in excess of $150,000 over the past three years. Checks to the individual participating schools were sent from the Foundation office this week. Pamela says, "The partnership is working well and demonstrates just how much can be accomplished when parents, students and staff all work together for a common goal--TPS!" She also noted she is encouraging all educators to be thinking of innovative ideas and to make application for a Foundation educational grant in the fall. She hopes to be able to take the Foundation grant patrol to lots of buildings with more checks in October.

Dr. Singer Accepts Pennsylvania Position

Wanting to be closer to family is why Superintendent Dr. Kevin Singer will be leaving Topeka Public Schools this summer. Dr. Singer has accepted a position in Pennsylvania with the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, which serves school districts in five Pennsylvania counties. Singer became superintendent of Topeka Public Schools in July 2008, coming from the Manheim Township School District in Pennsylvania.

Singer said it was a tough decision. “My heart is here in Topeka Public Schools. This is the place where I grew up,” said Singer. He began his educational career as a teacher in Topeka. He graduated from Highland Park High School and Washburn University.

In a letter to the school district staff about his leaving, he praised those working for the schools and the achievements that have been made. He cited improved test scores, the rethinking approach to curriculum and the advancement of early childhood education. Singer also reflected on the partnerships formed between Topeka Pub…

TWHS Students Score in Chemistry Day Competition

Topeka West High School students took home the most metals during the 2011 Chemistry Day at Washburn University. Students from several high schools were involved in the competition. In the written exam, Topeka West students Carrie Frizzell and Cherry Yu tied for 2nd place. Tied for 4th were Helen Sheng and Patrick Stegman. Gabriela Serrano took 5th place.

In the Chemistry Quiz Bowl, the team of Ian Campbell, Arianne Heyers, Matt Rogers, Helen Sheng and Cherry Yu placed 2nd. Taking 5th place was the team of Lucy Anton, Andrew Davids, Gabriela Serrano and Patrick Stegman.

Students attended with Lila Bartel, gifted facilitator and Susan Allison, AP chemistry teacher.

Mobile Dairy Classroom Visits Meadows

Where does milk come from? If you ask students at Meadows Elementary School, they will know the answer. Ralph Keel from Southwest Dairy Farmers brought Lexie the cow to school recently. He talked about the 800 pound Jersey cow and how the milk she produces is nutritional and full of vitamins. The students also learned how much Lexie must eat and drink each day to produce milk. What’s the most common questions kids ask about Lexis? She’s brown, so why isn’t she giving chocolate milk.

Students Respond to Japan Earthquake

We have all seen the destruction in Japan caused by a magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami that left thousands of people dead and thousands of others living in temporary housing. People around the world responded as did students at McClure Elementary School. Students and staff at the school set a goal to collect $300 to send to Japan. Three male staff said they would wear pink clothes to school if the students achieved their goal. The students responded and raised $529. Kirt Lohse, Dave Palmer and Alvon Davis appeared at a school assembly April 8th wearing pink t-shirts. The students cheered as the money collected by them was given to the Red Cross to help the Japanese people.

Superintendent's School Closing Recommendations

Following several years of state funding cuts to education, Topeka Public Schools, USD 501 Superintendent, Dr. Kevin Singer, has presented to the Topeka Board of Education a proposal to close three elementary schools at the end of this school year, and to close an additional elementary school at the end of next school year.
“Despite already cutting more than ten million dollars from our budget – including more than $1 million in administrative cuts – we are still facing a $4.4 million budget deficit this next year,” said Singer. “After a year-long process of community listening tours and recommendations from our facilities closure committee, it is clear that our only remaining option is to close those buildings with higher costs and lower enrollments.
“Closing a school is always the last resort, but as state budget cuts take us back to 1999 funding levels, we’ve run out of options. As a product of Topeka Public Schools, I understand how important a building is to the identity of a neigh…

State Street Fundraisers Coming Soon

The State Street Elementary music program will benefit from a Community Night at Wendy's (2025 Northwest Topeka Blvd) from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on April 14. Wendy's will donate 10% of all dine-in and drive-in sales during the specified time period.

On April 25, Coldstone Creamery will donate 25% of sales made from 5 to 8 p.m. to State Street.

Hasenbank Wins Athletic Director Honors

Rod Hasenbank, the athletic and activities director at Topeka High School, was named the 2011 District II Athletic Director of the Year. He received his award at the annual KIAAA convention in Wichita last month. Rod was nominated for the award by Topeka West athletic director Charlie Nimz.