Buffalos Defeat Mules in Kanza Bowl

West Texas A&M defeated the University of Central Missouri in the third annual Lower Kanza Bowl played yesterday at Hummer Sports Park. The score was 26-7. It was the second Kanza Bowl victory for the team from Canyon, Texas. West Texas won the first Kanza Bowl in 2009 over the University of Nebraska-Omaha. The Lower Kanza Bowl brings together a team from the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association and the Lone Star Conference.

Parents as Teachers Benefits from Community Donations

TPS families will see more benefits from Parents as Teachers thanks to several recent donations from local organizations. In the past few months, Topeka Public Schools Parents as Teachers has received more than $21,029 in funds that will expand the Quinton Heights PAT Lending Library, update the playground at Pine Ridge and help PAT further its goal to ensure families get the assistance they need.  The organization contributions received are
·         Aviva Corporation:   $3,200 to purchase fitted coats and boot from Burlington Coat Factory for 33 children at the Pine Ridge site
·         Junior League:   donated 333 books with a value of $1,332 to expand the PAT Lending Library at Quinton Heights
·         Kansas Gas Service Reach Program:  donated $1,387 to help serve families in need
·         Topeka Active 20.30 Club:  awarded a grant of $5,110 to purchase an OAE Hearing Screening Device to use for annual hearing screenings
·         United Way:  $10,000 donated to update playground equipment, expand the Take Ten reading library, and install a Learning Trail at the Pine Ridge site
We want to sincerely thank all of these organizations and the dozens of others for their generosity, without which the Topeka Public Schools Parents as Teachers program couldn’t help over 600 families each year.
Submitted by TPS parent educator Leslie Petty

Celebrate School Psychology Week November 14 - 18

This year’s School Psychology Week theme is "Every link matters. Make the connection." School Psychologists are there to help our students, families, and teachers make positive connections so that our students can be successful academically, behaviorally, and socially. Connect with your building school psychologist this week and take advantage of their services. They do more than test!

TPS School Psychology Staff

  • Increase achievement by assessing barriers to learning and determining the best instructional strategies to improve learning
  • Promote wellness and resilience by reinforcing communication and social skills, problem-solving, anger management, self-regulation, self-determination, and optimism
  • Enhance understanding and acceptance of diverse cultures and backgrounds
  • Provide counseling, instruction, and mentoring for those struggling with social, emotional, and behavioral problems
  • Identify and address learning and behavior problems that interfere with school success
  • Evaluate eligibility for special education services (within a multidisciplinary team)
  • Support students' social, emotional, and behavioral health
  • Teach parenting skills and enhance home–school collaboration
  • Make referrals and help coordinate community support services
  • Identify and resolve academic barriers to learning
  • Design and implement student progress monitoring systems
  • Design and implement academic and behavioral interventions
  • Support effective individualized instruction
  • Create positive classroom environments
  • Motivate all students to engage in learning
  • Collect and analyze data related to school improvement, student outcomes, and accountability requirements
  • Implement school-wide prevention programs that help maintain positive school climates conducive to learning
  • Promote school policies and practices that ensure the safety of all students by reducing school violence, bullying, and harassment
  • Respond to crises by providing leadership, direct services, and coordination with needed community services
  • Design, implement, and garner support for comprehensive school mental health programming
  • Coordinate the delivery of services to students and their families in and outside of school
  • Help students transition to and from school and community learning environments, such as residential treatment or juvenile justice programs
Submitted by Meg Braun, TPS Coordinator of School Psychology

Starr is Above & Beyond Winner

The latest Above & Beyond Award winner is Debi Starr. Debi is the health aide at Bishop Elementary School. She has been at Bishop for seven years. She says the kids are the best part of her job. “I absolutely love them. They make my day and keep me going.”

Debi was nominated because she is not only the health aide at Bishop, but she is the jack of all trades. Liz Fisher, who nominated her for the award, says everything that could possible happen in a clinic has happened and she handles it with grace and fortitude.

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

Curtis Pitts Honored With Community Service Award

Curtis Pitts has been awarded the NAACP Troy G. Scroggins Community Service Award. Pitts, who is community liaison at Highland Park High School, was honored for making a difference in Topeka and for his many accomplishments in the community. Pitts was given the award by Ben Scott, President of the Topeka Branch of the NAACP at the organization’s Freedom Fund Banquet.

Distinguished Staff Award Winners - Classified

The 2012 Distinguished Staff Award winners have been chosen among classified staff.

Category Winner/School
Office Personnel: Vickie Chaffee –Burnett Center
Paraprofessional: Stepfon Cunningham – Meadows Elementary
Other Classified Support: Perry Hartman – Service Center
Food Service: Jim Pierce – Sheldon
Custodial: Colleen Riggs – Robinson Middle School
Operations/Maintenance: Luz Nixon – Service Center

Certified staff and first year teacher winners will be selected at a later date. All DSA winners will be recognized at the DSA reception in April at the Topeka-Shawnee County Public Library.

Graduation 2012

Due to a scheduling error at the Kansas Expocentre, graduation for Highland Park, Topeka High and Topeka West High Schools will be Saturday, May 19, 2012, instead of May 12.

10:30 a.m. Topeka West High School
1:30 p.m. Highland Park High School
4:30 p.m. Topeka High School

Goodyear Comes to Highland Park High School

Introducing students to careers and preparing them for life after school is critical these days. Topeka Public Schools is working with local companies to make sure students get exposure to different jobs. Yesterday, three employees of the Topeka Goodyear plant spoke to students in the bio-tech class at Highland Park High School.

Danny Bower is the chief compounder at Goodyear. He talked to the students about how tires are made and how chemists and tech staff are important in the tire making process. Bowers say he is on a major recruiting trip to get young people into the tech science field. This was his first visit to Highland Park High School.

Gronquist Renews National Board Certification

Topeka High teacher Paul Gronquist recently met the requirements to renew his 10-year National Board Certification. He is one of two nationally board certified teachers in TPS. The other is State Street teacher Kari Ritter.

"This process of board certification is very much like how a doctor becomes certified in a special area," said Dr. Roger Caswell of Emporia State University. "This is voluntary--no state, school district, or program is demanding that a teacher go through this process."

While the national board process is often misunderstood to mean a teacher passed a test or was nominated for the award, Caswell explains the certification is a different kind of honor. Teachers must submit extensive documentation of their instruction, including videos of their studetns at work in the classroom.

Kansas currently has a total of 318 national board certified teachers.

Allison Pens Historical Fiction

Avondale East/Ross media paraprofessional Jan Allison has written a historical fiction children's book called Abigail. The story is about a young Missouri girl in the 1860's who travels with her family on the Santa Fe Trail to Kansas in search of a new home. Abigail's father has just returned from  fighting in the Civil War and during this time her mother has become very ill. Many responsibilities fall on Abigail's shoulders.

Allison has has presented the story across Kansas to students in grades 2 through 6. Says Allison, "The story fits in well during January and Kansas Day. The book includes activities to go along with the story." She is scheduled to present at Ross Elementary in January. The book will be available for check out in the Ross library. It can also be checked out at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. For more information, contact Allison at jalliso@topeka.k12.ks.us.

Free Defensive Drivers Course For Students

Topeka Public Schools will be conducting a National Safety Council Defensive Drivers Course on December 27 at Topeka High School and December 28 at Topeka West High School. This course is open to all licensed USD 501 juniors and seniors. With the completion of the class, a certificate will be issued to you. When presented to your insurance company, you could get a discount on your car insurance of up to 10%.

Classes are limited to 30 students per class, so sign up as early as possible. Class hours will be 8 am to approx. 3:30 pm. with one hour for lunch.

To sign up for classes, e-mail tpsddc@topeka.k12.ks.us with your name, a working telephone number, an email address and which day you would like to attend. The first 60 names will be considered for the classes. All others will receive an e-mail on upcoming classes.

Those that are considered for the classes will be notified.

Topeka High Madrigal Reunion


Contact: Joan Barker
Tel: (785) 295-3200
Topeka High Historical Society
Email: thshs2001@yahoo.com

Celebrating 75 Years of Music

A Reunion Concert celebrating 75 years of the Topeka High School Madrigals (the Trojan’s select singing ensemble) will be held at Topeka High’s Hoehner Auditorium on Saturday, November 26, 2011 at 7:30pm. The concert is free and open to the public.

Since its inception in 1937, the Topeka High Madrigals have enjoyed just four choir directors, two of whom will be guest conducting at this concert:

Steve Eubank – With over twenty years’ experience as Topeka High Madrigal conductor, Eubank is a 2011 inductee to the Kansas Music Educators Association Hall of Fame.

Kevin Fenton – The Topeka High Madrigal conductor from 1984 to 1991, Fenton is a 1979Topeka West graduate and is currently a Professor of Choral Conducting at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

The concert will feature traditional Madrigal selections as well as a few contemporary pieces that the audience will certainly enjoy!

If you are a former Topeka High Madrigal, you may still register to participate. Go to www.TopekaHighMadrigalReunion2011.com or call Joan Barker at the Topeka High Historical Society, 295-3200, for details.
# # #

If you’d like more information, please contact Joan Barker at (785) 295-3200.

# # #

Amy C. Kelly
(c) 785 / 550-2935

Kanza Bowl Teams Announced

West Texas A&M, which played in the first Kanza Bowl in 2009 will return to play in the 2011 Kanza Bowl. At a news conference this morning, it was announced that West Texas A&M, which represents the Lone Star Conference, will play the University of Central Missouri of the Mid America Intercollegiate Athletic Association, MIAA on Sunday, November 27th at 1:00 p.m. at Hummer Sports Park. West Texas has a record of 7-3 while the University of Central Missouri is 8-3.

Kanza Bowl tickets are $15 for reserved seating, $10 for general admission and $5 for children 12 years and under. You can purchase tickets at Hummer Sports Park (2751 SW East Circle Drive), Lower Heating and Air (501 East 17th) and Hy-Vee Grocery (29th and Wanamaker).

Tickets are also available for the welcome banquet on November 25 at 6:00 p.m. at the Ramada Hotel and Convention Center. Tickets are $32. Call 785 633-8448 no later than November 20.

Kanza Bowl sponsors are Lower Heating and Air Conditioning, Parrish Hotel Corporation of Topeka, Topeka Capital Journal, Visit Topeka and Capitol Federal Savings.

Market Day at Topeka West High School

What’s it like to operate a business? You can ask the students who took part in the Youth Entrepreneur Market Day at Topeka West High School yesterday. The 26 students in Mary Middleton’s class set up tables over the noon hour in the school courtyard to sell various foods to hungry students. Middleton says the yearly event gives students the experience of running a business for a day. “They have to do the marketing, they have to do the financial planning, they have to do the shopping and preparing. They do everything.”

Matthew Taylor was one of the students selling food. The senior says Market Day is a great experience. “I’m majoring in entrepreneurship at Kansas State University next year. This is just showing me what it takes to start a business.”

The entrepreneurship class and advanced entrepreneurship classes are available to juniors and seniors only. The classes fulfill part of the requirement for students to graduate from Topeka West High School.

Schools Salute Veterans

Schools thoughout the district will be honoring veterans during Veterans Day activities November 11th. Some schools have invited veterans to breakfast or lunch while others will hold assemblies to honor veterans. Call your school to find out times and locations.

An Eagle Has Landed at Eisenhower Middle School

An eagle has landed at Eisenhower Middle School. It did not fly to the school, but instead was carried there in the back of a pickup. This eagle is made of yellow pine, stands several feet tall and was carved with a chainsaw by Pat Langton of Perry, Kansas. He says it took him four hours to cut, sand and stain the eagle.

It all began when Eisenhower Principal Rebecca Morrisey went to pick up an item at Langton’s business and notice a carved wooded eagle. She mentioned how she would like one of them for her school. Langston told her he would make one and donate it to the school.

On November 8, Langston and his wife delivered the eagle to Eisenhower. “It’s cool when somebody steps up and does that for a school, especially right now with money the way it is,” said Morrisey. She plans to put the eagle in a spot where it is very visible to the students.

(picture of Eisenhower Principal Rebecca Morrisey and wooden eagle)

Schools Celebrate Veterans Day

A number of schools will hold Veterans Day programs this week. The date, time and schools are listed below.

Nov 8 2:00 p.m. Avondale West Elementary – 3229 SW Westview

Nov 9 9:00 a.m. Bishop Elementary – 3601 SW 31st

Nov 10 8:00 a.m. Landon Middle School – 731 SW Fairlawn
Nov 10 9:35 a.m. Topeka High School - 800 SW 10th

Nov 11 7:20 a.m. Chase Middle School – 2250 NE State
Nov 11 9:30 a.m. Topeka West High School – 2001 SW Fairlawn
Nov 11 1:00 p.m. Lowman Hill Elementary – 1101 SW Garfield
Nov 11 1:00 p.m. Capital City Schools - 500 SW Tuffy Kellogg Drive
Nov 11 2:30 p.m. McEachron Elementary – 4433 SW 29th Ter.
Nov 11 2:45 p.m. Highland Park Central Elementary – 2717 SE Illinois

Lundgren Open House - November 21

Lundgren Open House
November 21
4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Come tour the building (1020 NE Forest), meet the staff and enjoy some treats.

The open house is for school staff, neighborhood residents and everyone in the community.

Chase Students Read a Million Minutes in October

Mrs. Diane Taylor, Chase Middle School Media Specialist, announced that Chase Middle School students and staff read over 1,112,485 minutes during the month of October. Students and staff keep track of minutes read at school and at home on a bookmark.

With the new Reading Series, Expert 21, students at Chase are reading at least 60 minutes a day in class. They also read during other classes. Minutes reading library books and books at home also counted toward the total. With over 560 people participating, they did a great job reading. Friday, November 4th, students received a special treat for their efforts.

THS Participating in First Friday Art Walk Nov. 4

Topeka High School artists will be participating in the First Friday Art Walk tonight, Nov. 4 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Topeka High in the third floor art gallery. Advanced art students and Studio Arts students are participating with “Story Telling Art.” Studio art students are:
Karina Isela Barriga  
Daniel Jonathan Baum  
Courtney J. Belisle
Kristin Debenham 
Elise Alison DeHaven
Kelseigh Figgs
Janelle Lorene Goodman 
Jessica Laura Griffin  
Jacob Guzman  
Emily Ruth Hernandez
Alea Marie Howard 
Jessica Diane LaCount 
Raymond Gustav Martinez Kendall  
Alessandra Catherine Politi 
Valerie Read
Christian William Sauerman
Carlos Eduardo Silva  
Krista Lynn Vanderblomen  
Jordan Rene Vigola 
Phillip Eduardo Wade
Scott Lee Weinkauf

Schools Receive Challenge Awards

The Confidence in Kansas Public Education Task Force has announced that Williams Magnet and Chase Middle School are Challenge Award winners for 2011. The awards recognize schools for outstanding achievement and uncommon accomplishment based on Kansas Assessment results from 2011 and other qualifying factors--specifically the sample size, ethnicity and socie-economic status of those taking the test.

On November 9, Williams Magnet will receive a Certificate of Merit as a result of performance on the fifth grade reading assessment and a Certificate of Merit as a result of performance on the fifth grade math assessment. Chase Middle School will receive a Certificate of Merit as a result of performance on the 6th, 7th and 8th grade math assessment and 7th grade reading assessment.

HPHS Receives National Recognition for Beautification Projects

Highland Park High School has received a Second Place designation in the nation from the national Keep America Beautiful organization in the Youth/School category. The award is in recognition of the many beautification efforts made during the 2010-2011 school year including the art project on abandoned houses across the street from the school (CPTED), recycling efforts in classrooms, the community garden and the jeans recycling project.

About 700 affiliates nationwide are eligible to submit projects to Keep America Beautiful for this award competition. "Receiving a Second Place designation is a huge accomplishment," says Philicia McKee, executive director, Keep America Beautiful Shawnee County.

New Contract For Superintendent

The Board of Education of Topeka Public Schools voted tonight to approve a new contract with Interim Superintendent Dr. Julie Ford. The vote was unanimous.

Board of Education President Patrick Woods said, “Dr. Ford has performed masterfully in her role as Interim Superintendent. She has fully embraced the board's strategic plan to boost academic achievement and increase opportunities for all of our students, and has placed us on solid footing as we move into year two of implementation. I speak on behalf of the entire board, as evidenced by the unanimous vote, when I say we hope to have Dr. Ford in our district for the foreseeable future."

“I am very honored to be selected to serve Topeka Public Schools. I feel the district is focused and has many dedicated staff and community members willing to help Topeka Public Schools continue to improve. Students in this district are great and we need to continue to focus on opportunities that will prepare them for post-secondary education and careers. The directions of the strategic plan and many initiatives that have been started and are in progress make Topeka Public Schools a great place to work,” said Superintendent Ford.

Dr. Ford has been interim superintendent since July of this year. Ford’s new contract begins November 4, 2011 and runs through June 30, 2014. She will be paid an annual salary of $155,000.

Topeka High ROTC 2nd in Competition

The Topeka High School Marine Corp Junior ROTC cadets captured a number of trophies during competition in St. Louis recently. The cadets took first place in the unarmed platoon drill competition. Topeka High placed second overall. The cadets ranked third in color guard competition, third in armed squad and fourth in armed platoon drill. The Topeka High cadets plan to travel to Florida in May to compete in the national championships.

Students Serve at Rescue Mission

While many young people were preparing to go trick or treating Monday night, some Landon Middle School students were preparing to help serve meals at the Topeka Rescue Mission. Some of the students poured drinks, others made sure there were plenty of condiments available while others were on the serving line.

The idea to help at the rescue mission came about at a student council meeting where students were asked about how to give back to the community. Serving at the rescue mission came up, but only Halloween night was available to them. That did not prevent students from wanting to help at the mission. Seventh grade student Julia Allen said it was a fun thing to do. “It’s really nice that all of us girls are giving away our Halloween to help out these people who need our help.”

Jennifer Stallbaumer, the student council sponsor, agreed. “They are very enthusiastic about being here. They made signs to hang around the school and together they encouraged their peers to donate macaroni and cheese and jars of peanut butter.” Students collected 242 boxes of macaroni and cheese and 115 pounds of peanut butter to give to the rescue mission.

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