Summer Arts Academy

Creativity is the word of the day as some 40 students are painting, drawing and creating wonderful pieces of art this summer.  During the school year, the kids attend Quincy Elementary School.  Thanks to a signature arts grant, the students are spending four weeks at the Children’s Summer Arts Academy.   The final week is being held at the NOTO Arts Center.  The students receive breakfast and lunch each day of the academy.  The academy is free to any Quincy student. 
There is also an after school arts program during the school year for students at Quincy.  The program combines academics and art and usually attracts about 90 kids for the daily two hour program.

TPSF Golf Tournament A Success

The TPS Foundation hosted the 19th annual Winfred Tidwell Memorial golf tournament at Firekeepers golf course. Pamela Johnson Betts, TPSF executive director, said " The tournament was another success as more individuals played and the number of sponsors supporting the event remain constant" She noted that for the first time in many years TPS had a superintendent that played golf and who was front and center at the tournament. 
Feedback from the Foundation tournament evaluations and community participation support continuation of this event. Look for it's return and get the date May 30, 2013 on your calendars.
24 teams participated this year, the tournament profit will be used to support funding of the Foundation innovative teacher education grants to be distributed in the fall.
If staff have not applied for a 2012-2013 Foundation education grant you are encouraged to do so. The education grant application can be found on the TPSF website and must be submitted to the Foundation office (Burnett Pod A) by September 21st.
Pamela Johnson-Betts
Executive Director
Topeka Public Schools Foundation &
TPS Ombudsman
Visit our TPSF Website at:

HPHS Theater Group Reaches Financial Goal

The Highland Park Scots Theater Group can now officially pack their bags for Scotland.  After months of fundraising activities, the $95,000 needed for the trip has been reached.   The students and their leaders will leave July 31st to attend the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.  It is the world’s largest and most prestigious arts festival with over 1,800 performances of music, theater and dance.
Scots Theater, long recognized for its entertaining and innovative productions, was selected by the American High School Theater Festival to represent the United States as part of this year’s festival.  The production the Scots will present was written and produced by the students.
The Highland Park Scots Theater Group wants to thank all the people who helped make their trip to Scotland possible.  Contributions are still being accepted.  Contact Scott Kickhaefer at

Sheldon Head Start - Application Information

Sheldon Head Start is accepting applications for the 2012-2013 school year Applications are available in both English and Spanish.

Troubled Area Near High School Cleaned Up

An area of trees and heavy brush near Highland Park High School that had been a drawing card for students skipping school and illegal activities is gone.  On June 8, the sounds of power saws could be heard as TPS campus police, school resource officers and community partners cleared many of the trees and brush from the area just south of the school.  Highland Park School Resource Officer Larry Gonzales said the area was thick with trees, heavy vegetation and poison ivy and had been a nuisance for criminal activity.  “We want to clean it up so people from the streets can see what’s going on and contact police.  It also sends a message that this is private property,” said Gonzalez.
This is not the first project to clean up areas around the high school.  Last year, trees and brush that had grown around several houses west of the school were cleared.  Art students made colorful doors and windows for those  houses. 

These are examples of CPTED, which stands for Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.

Students Tour Jeffrey Energy Center

Do you know how electricity is produced?  Some students from Topeka Public Schools know first-hand after touring the Jeffrey Energy Center near St. Marys.   The students from Topeka High, Topeka West and Highland Park High Schools are taking part in the Westar Energy Summer Partnership in conjunction with Youth Entrepreneur of Kansas.
The students put on hard hats, safety goggles and ear protectors as they toured the largest coal-fired plant in the state.  They learned how coal is burned to heat water which produces steam that turns the turbine generators that produce electricity.  Thirty-six thousand tons of Wyoming coal is used each day and 24,000 gallons of water is used in producing electrical power for much of eastern Kansas. 
Besides the tour, students learned about the role environmental factors play at the coal-fired plant as well as the possible employment opportunities in the utility industry.  It was an eye opening experience for the students.  “I was pushed by my teacher to give this program a look and once I looked into it further I found this was a great opportunity for someone like myself searching for a future career,” said Topeka High student Zach Burkett.   Luis Garcia, who attends Topeka High and who is interested in the engineering field saw the tour and program as a great opportunity.   Superintendent Dr. Julie Ford joined the students on the tour.  “It was great for the students to be able to apply some of the things they’ve been learning in school especially in their science and chemistry classes.  I was also really impressed with the training of Jeffrey workers that was explained to the students.”
The tour and student summer program are part of the on-going partnership between Westar Energy and Topeka Public Schools.

Curriculum & Assessment Teams at Work

For the past three summers, the curriculum and assessment teams in all grade levels have been meeting to refine Topeka Public Schools’ curriculum and assessment documents.  The documents include the areas of standards and assessments. 
The teams of 30 educators help provide a focus and set of resources for all teachers in the school districts in the four core areas of math, science, language arts and social studies.  The focus this summer is on the transition to the common core standards in language arts and mathematics.

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