Closed Schools Get New Purpose

Residents who live near Quinton Heights, Lundgren and Linn Elementary Schools won’t have to worry about those schools sitting empty. The board of education voted to close the three schools at the end of the school year as part of cost cutting measures.

Today, board members voted unanimously to move other district programs and departments into those schools. The recommendation for the repurposing of the three schools came from a group of school administrators who have been meeting over the past several weeks. The board of education approved their recommendations.

Quinton Heights Elementary, at 2331 SW Topeka, will become the new home for Parkdale Preschool, Parents as Teachers, English Language Learners Migrant Program and the staff from the Holland Audiology Department. Combining those areas in one location will allow for collaboration between Parents as Teachers and the Early Childhood Special Education Program, give students access to a gymnasium, provide bilingual services to parents and Quinton Heights is centrally located.

Lundgren Elementary School, at 1020 NE Forest, will house special education services that are now located in the Holland Center next to Topeka High School. Some of the Parkdale Preschool staff will also call Lundgren home. Lundgren will provide a much improved environment for Holland employees. It will also provide a space for professional development and training of teachers and staff and allow for all special education records to be in one location.

Title 1 services will be moving into Linn Elementary School, which is located at 200 SE 40th. Title 1 is currently located in several buildings near Hummer Sports Park. The Second Chance Program will also be located at Linn.

Busy Summer For School District

Topeka Public Schools is on the move this summer. With the closing of Quinton Heights, Lundgren and Linn Elementary Schools, work crews have been busy moving desks, cabinets and teacher’s supplies from those schools to other schools in the district. Just to move teachers from those three schools have taken 20 truckloads. At the same time, workers are distributing 200 pallets of textbooks to schools in preparation for the next school year. Two drivers spend their entire day getting those textbooks to the appropriate school. More pallets of supplies are in the warehouse waiting to be taken to various locations throughout the school district. If that were not enough, crews will soon begin moving new school district tenants into Quinton Heights, Lundgren and Linn. All of the work is expected to be finished by the end of July and in time for the first day of school on August 16.

Governor Accepts Statehouse Flag

Superintendent Dr. Kevin Singer, Boy Scouts District Director Rob Ritchey and Scouts District Executive Mike Jeffries today presented Governor Sam Brownback with an American flag that was flown on the statehouse grounds. The flag is one of 105 flags that are displayed around the statehouse on special holidays. The flag project was the idea of Superintendent Singer. It is a joint effort of the Jayhawk Area Council of the Boys Scouts of America and the Junior ROTC Units of Topeka Public Schools.

(Picture) Superintendent Dr. Kevin Singer, Rob Ritchey, Governor Sam Brownback and Mike Jeffries

TPSF Tidwell Memorial Golf Tourney a Sucess

The Topeka Public Schools Foundation exceeded its goal of bringing in $10,0000 for the Eighteenth Annual Tidwell Memorial Golf Tournament. Sixteen teams participated along with monetary and prize contributions from more than 40 sponsors.

TPS alumni, staff, retirees and community members ended the work week by sharing a day of fun, sunshine and golf on June 3. Tournament organizers were pleased with the food, course and overall tournament ambiance at the newly opened Firekeeper Golf Course in Mayetta.

Because of the tournament success, the Foundation has tentatively scheduled to return to Firekeeper for Friday June 1, 2012 to mark their nineteenth annual tournament. Be sure to save that date on your calendar!

TPSF Executive Director Pamela Johnson-Betts said, "I am delighted with this year's turn-out." She appreciates the fact that the tournament appears to grow each year—even with all of the stiff competition from other golf tournaments in the area. She noted, "The Foundation Tidwell Memorial Golf Tournament has a loyal following of players."

Thanks to all who helped make the tournament a success. Make plans to come out and join us next year!

Children First Award to Senator Hensley

State Senator Anthony Hensley of Topeka recently received the Children First Award from the Kansas Association of Special Education Administrators. He was given the award for his contribution to the field of special education both as an educator and a state legislator. Hensley is a teacher in Topeka Public Schools. He is also the longest serving member of the Kansas Legislature. The award was presented to Hensley by Dr. Jennifer Barnhart, director of special education for Topeka Public Schools.

TPS Leadership Academy

Topeka Public Schools and Kansas State University are providing a high caliber, field-based, leadership academy beginning in January 2012.

For more information about the academy, click here.

Board Names Interim Superintendent

Dr. John Morton, superintendent of schools in Newton, Kansas, has been named interim superintendent of Topeka Public Schools. The Board of Education tonight unanimously voted to approve the hiring of Morton. He will replace Dr. Kevin Singer, who is taking a job in Pennsylvania. Singer has been superintendent of Topeka Public Schools for three years.

Morton is a graduate of Wichita State University. He received his Ed. D from the University of Houston. He has served as superintendent of Newton Public Schools since 2000. He previously was superintendent of the Winfield, Kansas, public schools. Before that, he was a teacher, principal and district level administrator for 30 years in the Wichita Public Schools.

Morton is President of the Advisory Board of the Kansas/Missouri Superintendents’ Forum. He is a member of the Kansas School Superintendent’ Association Board of Directors and is one of two Kansas representatives to the national American Association of School Administrators Governing Board. Morton has been teaching at the graduate level at both Baker University and Friends University.

Morton is married and has two grown children. He begins his superintendent duties July 1st. He has a one year contract that pays him $165,000.

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