Showing posts from January, 2012

Falcon Drive at French Middle School

When French Middle School students arrive at school, most will get there via Falcon Drive. As of today, that’s the official name of the drive that goes in front of the school. French School Resource Officer Mark Hilt thought it would be a great way to honor the school and the students by naming the driveway.

This morning, Topeka Mayor Bill Bunten, Police Chief Ron Miller, district administrators and other invited guests attended a ceremony in which the sign was unveiled to students and school staff. Principal Kelli Hoffman praised Hilt for being the "best SRO in the school district" and for his efforts in the getting Falcon Drive named.

PAT Gets Grant For Fatherhood Program

Parents as Teachers got a big financial boost for their Fatherhood Program today when PAT officials accepted a $3,500 Venture Grant from Joe and Janet Aleshire. The money will enable PAT to continue to provide a meal at their weekly meeting for fathers for the next year and to pay for a parent educator.

Leslie Petty says any family which resides within the USD 501 school district can be a part of the Parents as Teachers Fatherhood Program. “Not only dads, but sometimes uncles come, grandfathers or a boyfriend that’s involved with the family.” Any male with a child from age birth to five is welcome at the meetings which are held each Thursday at 6:00 p.m. at Quinton Heights at 2331 SW Topeka Boulevard. After dinner, the fathers can visit while their children play. “A lot of times dads come and have a problem and learn that other dads are facing the same issues,” said Petty.

Students from Washburn University’s Leadership Institute helped play a role in getting the Venture Grant to …

Flash Mob at French Middle School

French Middle School students received a surprise during their lunch period today. As they were eating, members of the Topeka West High School Singers stepped out from behind a curtain and began to sing on the stage. They were joined by the 7th and 8th grade chorus at French. The students of choir director Tina Goodrich then strolled through the lunch room waving their hands and singing as part of a surprise flash mob.

HPHS Yearbook Selected as National Sample

Highland Park High School journalism teacher Heather Hooper was recently notified that the 2012 Highlander yearbook has been selected by publisher Balfour as a national sample. The book was flagged as outstanding based on the first 30 pages submitted to the company.

Balfour will print extra copies of the yearbook and share it with sales representatives and other high school staffs across the county. It was also be represented as a sample at the JEA National Conference in San Antonio next year. Only four percent of books are chosen for this honor. The last Kansas school to receive this distinction was Shawnee Mission North.

Congratulations to the yearbook staff: Karri Fulton (editor), Taylor Schley (editor), Erin Gigger, Jessica Spaulding, Cierra Sommers-Lunkins, Shantae' Talbert, Shanise Brooks, Antwanique Peppers, Delores Smith and Breanne Douglas.

Distinguished Staff Award Winners 2012

The Distinguished Staff Award winners for 2012 have been named. The TPS Board of Education will recognize distinguished staff at a ceremony on April 26 at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. A reception will begin at 6 p.m. and a formal recognition will begin at 6:30.

Certified Winners
High School Educator: Lesley Brancaccio, Topeka High School
Middle School Educator: Alaire Long, Robinson Middle School
Elementary Educator: Amy Ketterman, Lowman Hill Elementary
Administration: Teresa Songs, Chase Middle School
Certified Support Staff: Kelley Norman, Robinson Middle School

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


Legislators Hear About College & Career Programs

Superintendent Dr. Julie Ford and representatives from Highland Park High School and Topeka High School spoke before the House Education Committee today. Committee members heard some of the educational opportunities being offered by school districts across the state to prepare students for college and careers.

Dr. Ford introduced HPHS robotics instructor Bruce Babin. He showed video of the robot he is using to teach Highland Park students about robotics. The robotics program is new this year and is a partnership between the school district, Go Topeka’s Entrepreneurial and Minority Business Development Plan and Washburn Institute of Technology. Students who complete the robotics course can receive a certification with the job ready title of technician, operator or basic programmer.

Dustin Rimmey talked about the International Studies Program at Topeka High School. It is also new this year. The International Studies Program, or ISP, is a cross-curricular approach to providing studen…

KS Notable Events Unveiled at Topeka High School

Topeka High School forensics students this morning helped Governor Sam Brownback unveil the top 12 notable events in Kansas history. The event, held at Topeka High School, comes at the end of a year-long celebration of the Kansas sesquicentennial.

The twelve events are, in chronological order:

September 1, 1821 – First party leaves Missouri headed for Mexico on the Santa Fe Trail

November 4, 1838 – Potawatomi Trail of death ends in Kansas

May 30, 1854 – Kansas-Nebraska Act signed into law by President Franklin Pierce

February 11, 1859 – The Santa Fe Railway is chartered by the Kansas Territorial Legislature

July 5, 1859 – Women’s rights included in discussions of Wyandotte Constitution

March 5, 1862 – The Kansas Legislature formed the Kansas Agricultural Society

September 5, 1867 – The first load of cattle is shipped via rail from Kansas

January 1, 1881 – Kansas adopts prohibition as part of the state’s constitution

January 26, 1925 – Travel Air Manufacturing Company established in Wichita


Students Lift Off to Learn


Lopez Assists Grandmother in Need

TPS electrician Michael Lopez is the January Above and Beyond winner. Lopez has worked as an electrician for Topeka Public Schools for the past 12 years.

He was nominated by TPS attendance/truancy clerk Jerome Plunkett for an act of kindness. "Last month, I was speaking to a grandmother who is trying to raise her grandchildren. She informed me her motorized wheel chair was not working and she could not make it to an IEP meeting. Mr. Lopez found out about the situation and went to work on the wheel chair after he got off duty. That is way above and beyond," says Plunkett.

"I went over and checked out the lady's wheel chair. It took a few days to get the job done.It was something she needed and I was glad I could help," says Lopez.

TPS Computer Store

ATTENTION District Staff, Students/Student Families

Computers for sale at The Computer Store located at the USD 501 Service Center at
125 SE 27th Street

Used computer packages will be offered for sale by sealed bid only at the Service Center each week. Sealed bids will be accepted Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. until 4:25 p.m. (sharp) and Fridays from 7:30 a.m. until 12:00 noon. To view the available computers and to complete your sealed bid form, stop by the Service Center front office. Sealed bids will not be accepted after 12:00 noon on Friday. The highest bidder for each computer package will be notified each Friday afternoon. All computers packages will be sold “as is” and must be paid in full and removed from the computer store within 2 business days.

Teeter Youngest Member of Topeka Symphony Orchestra

Public Comment on Avondale East Elementary

JANUARY 17, 2012
(Response of school board members and school administrators is in italics)

• If a music theme is adopted, does that mean we do not have to use the equipment we have used for over 20 years? That will be a priority for our signature schools.

• It appears the decision to close AE has already been made; people don’t have a say. It has actually been a long process, taking comments and concerns into consideration. We will put it all together to make the best possible educational opportunity for the kids.

• Have you expanded home economics or shop classes? They are combined into other programs based on progression in how those programs have changed over the decades. The district wants to expand on career pathways within the district.

• People make multiple occupational changes over the course of careers. Need to consider if all of our high schools need to be focused on college bound.

• How many improvements have been made in…

Patzer is Horizon Award Winner

This morning, Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Diane DeBacker announced that Topeka High strings and mathematics teacher Kenya Patzer has been selected as a 2012 Kansas Horizon Award winner. Each year the program, sponsored by the Kansas State Department of Education, recognizes exemplary first-year teachers who perform in a way that distinguishes them as outstanding. Novice teachers who have successfully completed their first year of teaching are eligible to be recognized. 
Patzer began teaching at THS in the fall of 2010 and completed her first year of teaching last May, making her eligible for this year’s Horizon Award. Topeka Public Schools is allowed to nominate one elementary first year teacher and one secondary first year teacher for the Horizon Award program each year. The first year teachers selected as district Distinguished Staff Award winners in the spring become Horizon Award nominees in the fall. “Your superintendent, your principal, your colleagues, your school distri…

TPS Living the Dream Contest Winners

TPS students participated in various contests and activities this month. Here are the Living the Dream contest winners:

Essay Contest Winners

First-Second Grade
1st Place – Lorraine De La Isla, Randolph Elementary
2nd Place – Anthony Reed, Scott Magnet
3rd Place – Brooklyn Fanning, Meadows Elementary

Third-Fourth Grade
1st Place – Jorge Soto, Scott Magnet
2nd Place – Francisco Ventura-Cruz, Whitson Elementary

Eleventh-Twelfth Grade
2nd Place – Jasmine Colvin, Topeka West High School

Poetry Contest Winners

Fifth-Sixth Grade
1st Place – Levi Braun, Whitson Elementary
2nd Place – Hall Harrison, Whitson Elementary
3rd Place – Gregory Van Dyke, Jr. – Whitson Elementary

Eleventh-Twelfth Grade
1st Place – Byron Lewis, IV, Topeka High School

Art Contest Winners

Third-Fourth Grade
1st Place – Humphry Isiah De Castillo, Avondale West Elementary
1st Place – Ruth Providence Hockenbarger, Whitson Elementary

Fifth-Sixth Grade
1st Place – Jolie Regnier, Robinson Middle School
3rd Place – Tory Blosser, Whitson Elementary


MLK Ceremonial March at Topeka High School

Temperatures in the teens shortened today’s ceremonial march of the Governor’s Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. The Topeka High School ROTC color guard and drum line lead Governor Sam Brownback and marchers from a parking lot west of the school to the school’s auditorium. With students watching, the governor welcomed those attending the event. The keynote address was given by Dr. Derrick Darby, who teaches in the college of liberal arts and sciences and the school of law at the University of Kansas.

Grant Awarded for "Daddy and Me" Playgroup

Parents as Teachers recently received a grant from the Joe and Janet Aleshire Venture Grant Program for $3,500. This grant will help support PAT staff to facilitate the "Daddy and Me" playgroup. The weekly playgroup is a unique opportunity for fathers to build positive and strong relationships with their children in a learning environment that is relaxed and fun. A key component of the playgroup is the dinner that is served each week giving fathers and children an have opportunity to socialize with other families and to learn about the importance of family meal times.

Army JROTC Hosting Chili Feed, Bingo, Prizes on January 14

The TWHS Army JROTC Parent Support Group is supporting a chili feed this Saturday, Jan. 14. Proceeds are used to provide the AJROTC students with funds for drill meets, raider meets, uniform items, awards, classroom needs.

Dinner runs from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the school cafeteria, 2001 SW Fairlawn Road. Chili, hotdogs, chips & beverages are included in the $5 donation per person. Cinnamon rolls available at additional cost.

Bingo runs from 5:45 – 7:45. Several items will be auctioned, with the auction ending at 7:45. Your ticket stub is your door prize entry – Grand prize is a $300 certificate for the Chateau Avalon at Legends in Kansas City, KS. Need not be present to win; additional tickets are available while supplies last.

Former Student Retraces Freedom Riders Route

In 1961, a group of civil rights activists rode buses from Washington D.C. into the southern states to challenge local laws that enforced segregation. The group was known as the Freedom Riders. In May of 2011, Topeka High graduate Will Dale retraced the route of the original freedom riders. He was one of 40 college students chosen for the bus trip.

Seventh grade students in BJ Mays' class were studying the Freedom Riders, so she invited Dale, a former student, to come share his experiences with her students. He said the bus trip was intended for college students to explore the state of civic engagement today and how civic activism and advocacy had changed since the 1960’s.

Dale is now a student at the University of Kansas majoring in English and American Studies with a concentration in race and ethnicity.

After-School Music Program Begins Soon

Topeka Public Schools will be offering an after-school music program for 4th graders again this year. To announce the program, the Washburn University Faculty Sextet performed their music at 17 elementary schools in the district. Information about the starting date and how to apply for the after-school program will be announced soon.

TPS Takes Part in Living the Dream, Inc. Activities