Showing posts from December, 2011

Drumming for the Drum Major

Come cheer your favorite school at Drumming for the Drum Major at the Topeka Performing Arts Center on January 12th at 7:00 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Living the Dream Inc. Drum lines from local high schools including Topeka High, Topeka West and Highland Park will be performing in Drumming for the Drum Major.

Admission is $2 or one infant care item donation for the Links to Bright Beginnings Program. Items needed include sets of baby bottles, wash cloths, bottle brushes, socks, booties, baby powder, baby lotion, baby toys etc.

For more information on the "50 Bright Beginning Program: or more of a selection of baby items, go to

Santa Visits Scott Magnet School

Students at Scott Magnet School got an early Christmas present today from Santa Claus. He and his helpers brought 550 gifts to the school, one for each student. The students were excited to see Santa and even more excited when they opened their gifts to find games of all kinds and sizes. The kids will take their gifts home today as they begin their winter recess. Students will return to the classroom for the second half of the school year on January 4th.

Migrant Families Receive Holiday Cheer

About 150 people showed up to enjoy a winter party sponsored by the Migrant Program of Topeka Public Schools. Migrant families from throughout the school district were invited to the December 20th event held at East Topeka United Methodist Church. Students and their families enjoyed an evening of food, fun and entertainment. Each family attending received a free family portrait. The Migrant Program holds two family gathering a year for migrant families.

TPS Celebrates School Board Leaders in January

January is School Board Recognition Month, and Topeka Public Schools is joining school districts across the state to thank these community volunteers for their untiring dedication to public education.

"Being a school board member is sometimes described as one of the toughest volunteer jobs in America. Yet, Kansas public school board members dedicate countless hours to attending meetings, school functions, and hours of preparation for the decisions they make," said Superintendent Dr. Julie Ford. "They participate in professional development to stay on top of the the ever changing education landscape and issues relating to education. Our schools and community are better because of these individuals."

It is an exciting yet challenging time in public education. TPS school board members develop policies and make tough decisions to help shape the future of the education system. They bear responsibility and oversight for an annual budget, for the students and employees an…

Community Conversations - Avondale East

A community conversations meeting will be held at Avondale East Elementary School (455 SE Golf Park) on January 17th beginning at 6:00 p.m. There will be information and discussion about the possible closing of the school at the end of the 2011-2012 school year.

Jones Organizes Gift to Rescue Mission

Title I office paraprofessional Cheryl Jones has been busy for the past year. She set a goal of providing 200 hand-made scarves to the Rescue Mission during the holiday season. Since that's a lot for one person to make, she began looking for others to help. Through contacts with co-workers, friends and her church she got to work. As word spread, two other churches joined in the cause. The three churches who contributed were  Sacred Heart, St. Joseph and First Congregational Church.

Cheryl has taken donations to the Rescue Mission before and she wanted to do more. "I started out by asking a few people to help me reach my goal. I was overwhelmed by the all the support I received; we more than doubled my goal of 200!" 

When the final tally was made, Cheryl had inspired 413 handmade items, including the 25 she made herself. Most of the items were scarves, but there were also some hats. The delivery to the Rescue Mission was made on November 11.

She plans to continue the…

Sharing the Music

First grade students at McEachron Elementary Schools listened as students from French Middle School strings group played their musical instruments recently. The French students, who were visiting McEachron, then let the younger ones try their hand at playing their musical instruments. McEachron Principal Vic Williams said hearing the music was great, but giving his students a chance to play an instrument and having the instrument in their hands was priceless.

Students Collect Record Amount of Food

Robinson Middle School students have set a new school record for collecting food items. The students collected 517 cans and packages of food this holiday season. Four students brought more than 100 food items to school. For their effort, Sarah Large, Cyrus Kincade, Billy Wagemaker and Darious Kincade were able to help deliver the food to Doorstep. Assistant Principal Todd Berry and teacher Donald Larscheid were also involved in getting the food items to Doorstep.

Tetuan Named Head Football Coach at Topeka West

Topeka West High School has named John Tetuan as its new head football coach. Tetuan is a well know local athlete who lead Hayden High School to a state football championship in 1988. He played baseball for the Colorado Rockies for four years.

Teutan was assistant football coach at Topeka West last year. He is currently the head coach of the Topeka West Charger baseball team.

Students Debate at Kansas Statehouse

Students in Dustin Rimmey’s AP government class at Topeka High School got a unique opportunity this week. Students have been researching influential Supreme Court cases. In class, the students have been debating each other to determine what they believe is the most influential court case of all time.

Yesterday, students traveled to the Kansas Statehouse to continue their debates in a room that has seen many such debates over the years. The students did their dueling presentations in the old Kansas Supreme Court Chambers. “I feel this is an awesome way for the students to end their semester of studying government by discussing the actions of our court system at the capitol building,” said Rimmey.

Topeka State Senator Anthony Hensley, who has served in the Kansas legislature for 35years, joined Rimmey and the students in the discussion of the cases.

Topeka South Rotary Provides Shoes For Students

It may not seem like much, but having a good pair of shoes is important when you go to school. Some students in Topeka Public Schools can thank the Topeka South Rotary Club for putting new shoes on their feet. Each month, club members provide a small number of students from Scott Magnet and Quincy Elementary School with shoes.

The students are chosen by the principal or counselor depending upon their need for a new pair of shoes. The school gets the parents approval. The kids are then taken to a local Payless ShoeSource where a club member assist a student in selecting new shoes that fit. They also help them pick out socks. “We are real honored to have had the rotary club come to us and provide this necessary piece for our kids,” said Quincy Principal Val Patterson.

The shoe program is funded by members of the Topeka South Rotary Club and is one of the club’s many service projects in the community.

TPS & Stormont-Vail Form Partnership

The Board of Education of Topeka Public Schools today approved the sale of 10.3 acres of the Kanza Education and Science Park to Stormont-Vail HealthCare. The agreement calls for Stormont-Vail to partner with Topeka Public Schools to establish a health care career pathway for students in the school district.

Under the career pathway programs, elementary students would focus on an awareness of health careers. Middle school students would explore careers in the health care field as well as having the opportunity to volunteer in a hospital. At the high school level, students would focus on academic and health related skills that would prepare them for a job in the health care industry.

Stormont-Vail will also provide up to $7,500 per semester or $75,000 over the course of the program for students who graduate from Topeka Public Schools and who meet entry criteria and are accepted to the junior and senior year at the Baker University School of Nursing. The funds will be made available…

HPHS Honored For Beautification Work

Highland Park High School was honored at the 58th annual Keep America Beautiful National Conference in New Orleans. The school took second place in the youth category for beautification. HPHS was recognized for the beautification of three properties across the street from the school using the crime prevention through environmental design method. The school was also honored for its jeans recycling effort in partnership with Aeropostale, planting a community garden and school recycling.

Philicia McKee, Executive Director of Keep American Beautiful for Topeka/Shawnee County said, “I want to congratulate Highland Park High School for their hard work and dedication to the mission of improving our community.”

Leadership Academy Begins

The first Topeka Public Schools’ Leadership Academy held its first activity December 6th. That’s when ten current teachers signed a two year commitment to the academy that will end with them receiving a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from Kansas State University. The following teachers have been selected to participate in the first annual TPS Leadership Academy:  Heather Calvert (Meadows), Rebecca Hackett (McClure), Shandy Hayes (Whitson), Brenda Joyal (Shaner), Tara Martin (Bishop), Pilar Mejia (Quinton Heights), Gary Richmond (Jardine), Carrie Rohr (Stout),  Angela Soper (French/Eisenhower), and Courtney Yeoman (Jardine). 
Topeka Public Schools pays for books and a mentor and provides a place to meet in Topeka. The leadership academy will be lead by KSU Professor Dr. Mary Devin.
Executive Director of Administration Tammy Austin said, “The TPS leadership Academy is designed though a partnership with Kansas State University to cultivate teacher leaders. Empowering teacher…

Teachers Nominated for Statewide Recognition

Topeka West social studies teacher Lorie Booher and McClure Elementary teacher Karen Manhart have been named TPS nominees for the 2013 Teacher of the Year Award sponsored by the Kansas State Department of Education. Robinson teacher Kimberly Sonnich has been selected as the TPS nominee for the 2012 Master Teacher Award sponsored by Emporia State University.

Lorie  Booher began her career with TPS in 1986 at Jardine Middle School. In 2001, she began teaching and coaching at Topeka West High School where she currently serves as the social studies department chair. She also serves on the district social studies curriculum and assessment team. Topeka West Principal Jeanne Carton says, "Ms. Booher has numerous educational accomplishments and contributions. She is a model teacher--always positive, collegial and accountable to everything she does."

Karen Manhart began teaching at Shaner Elementary in 1991. Since 1993, she has taught at McClure Elementary. McClure Principal Nancy He…

Educators Honored for Possibilities in Action Partner Award

The School Psychologists from Topeka Public Schools announced that Greta Johnston, Pam Kobbeman, Linda O’Keeffe, Lori Roenbaugh, Susan Ross, and Deborah Sidwell were honored with the Possibilities in Action Partner Award at the Topeka Public Schools December 1st school board meeting at Burnett Center. Greta Johnston is a Speech Language Pathologist, Pam Kobbeman is a McEachron Special Education Teacher, Linda O’Keeffe is the Records Coordinator, Lori Roenbaugh is the Topeka High School Special Education Chairperson, Susan Ross is a Landon/Eisenhower Middle School Counselor, and Deborah Sidwell is the Scott Elementary Principal.

The Possibilities in Action Partner Program is part of National Association of School Psychologists’ ongoing effort to help school psychologists promote children’s success in school and life, to improve collaboration within the school community, and to help highlight the education community’s exceptional efforts to educate and support the development of all chi…

Distinguished Staff Award Winners - Certified

The Distinguished Staff Award winners in the certified category have been named. They will join other DSA winners at a reception in April.

High School – Lesley Brancaccio – Topeka High School
Middle School – Alaire Long – Robinson Middle School
Elementary – Amy Ketterman - Lowman Hill Elementary
Administration – Teresa Songs – Chase Middle School
Certified Support Staff – Kelley Norman – Robinson Middle School

Students Collect Food for the Rescue Mission

Eisenhower Middle School students are doing their part to make sure people don’t go hungry in our community. Recently, some of the students delivered hundreds and hundreds of canned goods and food items to the Topeka Rescue Mission. The food was the result of a two week food drive which challenged 6th, 7th and 8th grade students to see which grade could collect the most food. The 7th grade was the winner collecting nearly half of the food.

TPS & Valeo Partnership

The Board of Education of Topeka Public Schools tonight approved the sale of three acres of land to Valeo Behavioral Health Care. The property is located on the west side of Hummer Sports Park and is adjacent to the current Valeo facility at 330 Oakley.

“The board of directors of Valeo is very excited about this opportunity to work with Topeka Public Schools,” said Valeo Chairman of the Board Allan Towle. “We have been looking for some time at the need to expand our services. Clearly there is a need in the community. We are busting at the seams in our facilities. Frankly, this property fits perfect for what we are looking for. It is right next door to what we are doing, so it is very easy access to our clientele as well as allows us to build a facility that will meet our needs and the needs to come for the Topeka community.”

Board of Education President Patrick Woods said of the agreement, “This represents yet another partnership here in Topeka. Through benefits such as the expa…