Hallway Make Over at State Street Elementary

It was difficult maneuvering the halls at State Street Elementary School today.  One had to watch out for cans of paint and people using long rollers to paint the hallways.  Principal Sarah Sharp said she wanted to paint the school halls so they will match the new addition at State Street.  The addition involves new classrooms and a black box theater.  The construction will also connect the school to nearby Chase Middle School.
Twenty teachers are spending a day or two of their summer vacation helping paint.  A volunteer at the school, who is also a member of the First United Methodist Church, helped bring more than 25 members of the church to the school to help paint.  Senior Pastor Bruce Emmert said his church has had a partnership with State Street, but that this is the first time they’ve been involved in painting the school.  “It’s a great way for the church to show God’s love in a practical way,” said Emmert.

Burnett Center - Summer Hours

The Burnett Administrative Center at 624 SW 24th Street will observe summer hours from June 4 – August 3. 
Monday - Thursday     7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday                          7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Seniors Reach Education Milestone

More than 750 students received their diplomas Saturday during commencement ceremonies at the Kansas Expocentre for Topeka West High School, Highland Park High School and Topeka High School.  The graduating seniors received more than $4.8 million in scholarships.  Earlier in the week, 58 students graduated from Hope Street Academy.

Students Cleanup East Side Neighborhoods

The final week of school brings about all kinds of activities.  For Eisenhower Middle School students, the activity was cleaning up a large area of southeast Topeka.  Groups of students walked the neighborhoods picking up trash.  Students walked from Eisenhower all the way to Highland Park High School on the east and Adams Street on the west.  While some students were working away from school, others were planting shrubs, putting down mulch and cleaning up areas around their school.  The cleanup has become a yearly event at Eisenhower.

Summer School - 2012

                                                 Summer School – 2012

High School
May 29 – June 18 (session 1) at Hope Street Academy from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
June 19 – July 10 (session 2) at Hope Street Academy from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Information:   call 438-4280

Middle School
May 29 – June 22 at Jardine Middle School from 8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Information:  call 274-6160 (before May 29) or 274-6330 (during summer school)

Elementary School
June 4- June 29 at Meadows Elementary and Scott Elementary from 8:00 a.m. – Noon
Breakfast and lunch served free to those attending summer school.
Information:  call 235-7150 (Meadows) or 235-7480 (Scott)

First Lady Tells Students to Set Goals

Kansas’ First Lady Mary Brownback spent one year attending Landon Middle Schools.  Yesterday she returned to spend some time talking with female students at the school.  She talked to the students about setting goals.  One goal she encouraged them to set was to graduate from high school.  She talked about being involved in school activities and volunteering as ways to help them set long term goals and to help decide what to do with their life.   She also answered questions from the students.  One wanted to know what it was like to live in the governor’s mansion while another asked about her husband the governor and her children.

Students Curious About Cats

Two very unusual looking cats were the center of attention at Quincy Elementary School today.  Two animal caretakers from the Cedar Cove Feline Sanctuary and Education Center at Louisburg, Kansas, brought an African serval and a baby bobcat for the students to see.  Fifth grade students had visited the sanctuary earlier in the school year and had read a book about big cats.  The caretakers explained to the students about the cat’s habitat and talked about the differences of placing the animals in a sanctuary as opposed to a zoo.

Students Win Skills Awards

Students from Topeka Public Schools helped Washburn Tech capture 14 first place, 21 second place and 12 third place awards in the annual Kansas SkillsUSA competition in Wichita.  More than 1,100 students participated in the event in 60 occupational and leadership skills.
Joseph Gonzalez from Topeka High School won 2nd place in the advertising design category.  Brett Sidesinger from Topeka West won 2nd place in cabinet making.  Eric Pahmahmie of Topeka West won 3rd place in welding fabrication.
Washburn Tech serves post-secondary students as well as students from 16 high school districts in Northeast Kansas.

Thelma Galvez a Woman of Excellence

For 24 years, the YWCA’s Leadership Luncheon has been a special event to honor and recognize women who make significant contributions to the Topeka area community. This year, Topeka Public Schools nominated Migrant Facilitator Thelma Galvez for a Woman of Excellence Award in the Education category.
Ms. Galvez is committed to helping the migrant student population achieve their goals and earn their high school diploma. Her role includes advocating for students by fostering positive relationships with school staff and community agencies. In addition, she leads programs to strengthen parent involvement and improve the home to school link for migrant students. Ms. Galvez has worked as the TPS migrant facilitator since 2010. Prior to that, she worked in the TPS English Language Learners program. Before joining Topeka Public Schools, she was employed at the Greenbush Education Center as a regional migrant recruiter and at the Kansas Department of Aging as an SHICK outreach specialist.
Ms. Galvez has volunteered with MANA de Topeka and received an education award from the organization in 2007. She has also volunteered for Meals on Wheels and Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas.
More information about the Woman of Excellence program can be found at http://www.ywca.org/site/pp.asp?c=8nKFITNvEoG&b=7966321

HPHS Student on SADD Leadership Council

Highland Park High School student Miranda Deeds-Rookstool has been chosen to serve on the SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) National Leadership Council for the 2012-2013 school year.  She will join six other students on the council.   Council members advise the SADD National Board of Directors on various issues and represent the organization at local, regional and national events.
Miranda, a junior at HPHS, is president of the school’s SADD chapter and serves as president of the Kansas SADD Student Leadership Council.   “Miranda has been an exceptional leader for SADD in Kansas, working tirelessly to ensure that teens are aware of the perils of underage drinking and other drug use.  We are confident she will thrive as an educator and an important advocate for teens nationwide,” said SADD State Coordinator Maria Torrez Anderson.
SADD is a national school-based, peer-to-peer prevention, education and activism organization committed to empowering young people to lead initiatives in their schools and communities.

Kylie Hardman Recognized for Excellent Writing

Kylie Hardman is one of the best high school writers in Kansas.  The Topeka High School junior was one of five students in the state to receive the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), 2012 NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing.  The Achievement Award in Writing recognizes some of the best student writers in the nation.  Students are judged on samples of their best prose or verse as well as themed writing. 
“I love writing,” said Kylie.  “I really like short stories and poetry, that's definitely my forte.”  After high school graduation, Kylie wants to become an English professor and someday write a novel.

NOTO Student Art Award Winners

Two Quincy Elementary Schools students were the winners of the first NOTO Student Art Award contest.  Briza Arreola-Soto and Alejandro Garay were honored at the NOTO First Friday Art Walk on May 4.  Both students are in the 5th grade at Quincy.
“The award winners, Briza and Alejandro, are recognized for their understanding of how art personally impacts their daily lives.  We are thrilled to present a gift of free art classes in the NOTO Community Arts Center to the two winners,” said Community Arts Center Director of Education Barb Quaney.
Posters with the students name and art work will be on display at Quincy Elementary School as well as at the NOTO Community Art Center at 922 North Kansas Avenue.

Early Start of Summer for Some Students

Students at Ross, State Street and Avondale East Elementary Schools  will get an early start to summer vacation this year.  Due to the closing of Avondale East and the packing and moving of school items to Ross and State Street, the final day of school for students at those schools will be May 17th.  All other students in the school district will go a half day on May 18.
Last Day of School
May 17 - Students at Ross, Avondale East and State Street
May 18 - All other students attend half day of school

Equity Council Chosen

The Topeka Public Schools Equity Planning Team recently made a call for applicants for the newly forming Topeka Public Schools Equity Council. http://cjonline.com/news/2012-04-22/usd-501-equity-council-seeking-members 

The Planning Team met on April 25 to select members from the applications submitted. Those named to the Council are as follows:

Alishia Bush, Middle School Parent
Yesenia Ceja-Ramirez, Classified Staff
Carol Christensen, District Citizen's Advisory Council Representative
William Dale, At-Large
Julie Ford, Superintendent (ex-officio)
J’Shavon Hendricks, Topeka High Student
Joan Hicks, Elementary Parent
Janel Johnson, Board of Education (ex-officio)
Antwaun Jones, Classified Staff
Madeleine Kiamco, Middle School Teacher
Edward Kirtdoll, Community/Business
Angela Locke, Classified Staff
Kimberly Minson, High School Parent
Beryl New, At-Large
Nick Nichols, Middle School Principal
Christine Saunders, Elementary Principal
Cary Sauro, High School Teacher
Marci Tarrant, Community/Business
Keith Tatum, Community/Business
Linda Wiley, High School Principal
Betty Young, At-Large
Ashley Youngbird, Elementary Teacher

(Other members will be appointed at a later time.)

Members will attend Beyond Diversity training on May 23 and 24 at Washburn Institute of Technology. More information about the purpose of the TPS Equity Council can be found here.

Henriquez Named U. S. Presidential Scholar

Topeka Public Schools has another U.S. Presidential Scholar.  Nicholas Henriquez was selected as one of only 141 students in the country to be named a U.S. Presidential Scholar.  Honored scholars are selected on the basis of their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations, community service and leadership skills.
Henriquez, a senior at Topeka High School, has numerous honors.  He is a National Merit Scholar, a National Achievement Scholar and he had a perfect ACT score.  Henriquez plans to attend Yale University.
Each Presidential Scholar can name a teacher who inspired or challenged them.  Henriquez chose Topeka High teacher Kirsten Cigler Nelson as his most influential teacher.  The two will attend an award ceremony in Washington D.C.
Topeka High School has now had a U.S. Presidential Scholar the past two years.  Sam Teeter was named a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts last year.  Before Teeter, the last time Topeka High School had a Presidential Scholar was in 1996.

Students Win Congressional Art Competition

(left to right)  Kyler Collins, Bryce Maes, Jason Berryman (art department chair) and Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins
Two pieces of art by Topeka West High School students will be displayed in 2nd District Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins Topeka office.  Kyler Collins art piece placed 2nd among more than 60 art pieces entered by students in the Congressional Art Competition.  An art piece created by Bryce Maes captured 4th place.  Collins is a junior, Maes is a senior at TWHS.  The art will be displayed in Jenkins Topeka office which is located at 3350 SW 5th Street.

Equine Education

Some Robinson Middle Schools know a lot more about how to take care of horses after they helped out at the Shooting Star Equine Rescue ranch south of Topeka recently.   Student council members from the school spent a morning grooming, worming and taking care of the horses as well as doing some fence building.  
According to Careen Cain, a social worker in Topeka Public Schools, this was an opportunity for the kids to learn about the care needed for the horses.  Many of the horses were brought to the ranch after being abused or neglected.  Cain, who founded Shooting Star, hopes the students got a positive experience from being around the horses.  “Equine therapy is a great tool for people of all ages who have had to cope with change, trauma or difficult life situations.  Working with and around horses can open up new avenues for communication change and growth,” said Cain.  After a hard morning of work, the students were treated to a picnic lunch.

Students Enjoy Musical Instruments

More than 1,000 4th grade students from across the school district got an introduction to musical instruments at White Concert Hall.  Mark Norman, director of bands at Washburn University, conducted the university wind ensemble as they played the theme music from Indiana Jones and Star Wars while animation of the movies showed behind the musicians.  Next, a student and teacher came on stage to help demonstrate some of the band instruments.
The concert is a yearly event designed to acquaint 4th grade students with the various musical instruments.  Those 4th graders will be able to take band as 5th grade students this August.

TPS Retirement Announcements and Receptions

It's that time of year and many retirement activities are being planned. The list below will be updated as retirement reception information becomes available. The district retirement dinner will be on May 8 at the Ramada.


Topeka High School will host a reception honoring Duane Pomeroy on Wednesday, May 9 from 3:15 to 4:15 in the THS media center.

Randolph Elementary will host a reception honoring Lois Waldo and Gerry Ableidinger on May 10 at 4 p.m. in the media center.

A retirement reception will be held for Linda Pierce on May 10 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at Quinton Heights.

Topeka West High School will host a reception honoring Susie Corbett, Greg Davis, Don Munn and Katy Weir on Monday, May 14 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the TWHS Cafe.

Quincy Elementary will host a reception honoring Bob Grimes and Pat Weber on May 17 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

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