Showing posts from August, 2012

Topeka West Student Named Scholar Recipient

Topeka West High school is pleased to announce that senior Carlos Serrano has been named one of the scholar recipients of the 2012-13 National Hispanic Recognition Program by The College Board. Topeka West Principal Jean Carton says, “This is quite an honor for Carlos and we are so proud of his achievement.” The National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) identifies academically outstanding Hispanic/Latino high school students. Each year, the NHRP honors nearly 5,000 of the highest-scoring students from the approximately 235,000 Hispanic/Latino juniors who take the PSAT/NMSQT®. These students are from the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Mariana Islands and the Marshall Islands, as well as U.S. citizens attending schools abroad. Approximately 200 of the top-scoring PAA™ students from Puerto Rico are also included. In order to be eligible, a student must meet certain requirements including: Take the PSAT/NMSQT in October of your junior year …

Joe Teeter in Tchaikovsky Competition

Joe Teeter, 16, an eleventh-grader at Topeka High School, will be traveling to Montreux, Switzerland, for an international music competition Sept. 4-16.  The 7th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians is the junior division of the prestigious Tchaikovsky Competition.  Joe will join 120 other young musicians in the three-stage competition for pianists, violinists, and cellists.  He will join forty-five other cellists from nine countries, including China, South Korea, and Russia.   Musicians must be age 16 years or younger.  Joe was chosen based on an audition tape and recommendations he submitted.  He will be staying in Switzerland with a local family.

This is the official website:

And this is the Facebook page, which lists the contestants and some other information:        click on the Events tab

Students Produce Therapy Dog Video

Some Capital City Schools students have created a video that highlights Gracie, a professional therapy dog.Gracie was adopted from the Helping Hands Humane Society by Stephanie Avila, a school psychologist with Topeka Public Schools.Professional therapy dogs are used to teach tolerance, model good behavior, provide stress relief and teach students about responsibility. Gracie is one of five professional therapy dogs in Topeka Public Schools. You can view the student produced video at

501 Professional Therapy Dogs Lend a Paw
Did you know Topeka Public Schools “employs” a number of Professional Therapy Dogs? Although their salary is minimal, they are invaluable to their handlers by supporting them in the provision of their duties. These dogs are also highly valued by students as well as staff around the district. “It isn’t unusual for us to barely sit down at our desks only to receive a phone call requesting that a s…

Highland Park High Open House

Highland Park High School will hold an open house on August 29 from 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.Departmental displays, a robotics demonstration, iLitReading Program using i-pads and a presentation on standards based math will be among the exhibits and displays available to those attending the open house.Communities in Schools and a parent resource center will be open during the open house as well.

TWHS Teacher to Communication Hall of Fame

Melanie Ralston, forensics and public speaking teacher at Topeka West High School, has been selected to the 2012 Kansas Speech Communication Association Hall of Fame.  Induction and Awards will be presented at the annual KSCA conference to be held in Emporia, Kansas on September 7, 2012.  The KSCA recognizes past and present members of the association who have been leaders and pioneers in the fields of speech communication and drama education in the state of Kansas.  Members of this elite group are drawn from the ranks of secondary, high school, college, and university instructors.

Crawford Receives "Make A Difference Award"

The Board of Education recognized Karen “K.C.” Crawford at their August 16 meeting for her award from Valeo Behavioral Health Care. She received the You Make a Difference Award for her outstanding partnership between Topeka Public Schools and Valeo.She was honored for her involvement in helping individuals with a disability find jobs in Topeka Public Schools.Karen is the substitute services coordinator for the school district.

Positive Behavior Promoted at Schools

Setting the right expectations in the first few days of school can make all the difference in the world when it comes to student behavior.School leaders at Meadows Elementary know how true that is.To kick off their Positive Behavior Intervention System (PBIS), staff held an assembly on August 17 to make sure the kids know what is expected of them when it comes to behavior at school. The students went wild when Principal Nicole Dial entered the gym driving a mini toy car convertible.Following closely behind her was Assistant Principal John Litfin.Meadows students and staff racing to responsibility is the program’s theme.“We will have a race every week on the primary and secondary side.They (classrooms) win the race by having the most positive behavior points,” said Meadows counselor Deb Hess.Principal Nicole Dial gave the students high marks for their behavior the first three days of school and she encouraged them to keep it up through the school year.“Remember to work hard, show your t…

TPS Foundation Presents Nook to Teacher

August is the month annually that the TPS Foundation embarks on an employee capital campaign. This year in addition to the regular employee campaign, the Foundation is placing an emphasis on raising dollars to support a new Foundation fund, Bridges To The Future.
Bridges To The Future provides grants to qualified students served by the TPS Migrant Education Program to reduce the financial burden of attending the Washburn Technical Education program while still in high school.
For the first time the Foundation set up a booth at the TPS employee benefits fair to increase employee awareness of the benefits the Foundation provides to the District and to solicit additional employee contributions.

As part of the fun, a Nook e-reader was offered in a drawing. The lucky winner was Dee Ann Seelbach an elementary teacher at Ross. Pamela Johnson Betts, Foundation Executive Director and Bonnie Robles, Foundation Board member recently made the presentation to the teacher in her classroom.

Students Return to School

Elementary and some middle and high school students returned to school today after a hot summer vacation.At the elementary schools, kids waited for the doors to open, excited about seeing their new teacher.It was extra special at Ross and State Street Elementary Schools, which now have a number of new class rooms due to recent construction projects at the schools. At the middle schools, only the in-coming 6th grade students were at school today.For them, it was the first day finding their way around their new school, trying to locate their lockers and going from class to class. It was the same story in the high schools where only the freshmen showed up today so that they could also learn how to get around the big schools.Upper classmen were there to assist each student and make the transition a little easier. Tomorrow, the 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th and 12th grade students will end their summer vacation and return to school.

TPS Benefits Fair Drawing Winners

TPS Benefits Fair Drawing Winners 2012

Rebecca Hackett        McClure $50 Wally Card                      Med Trak RX Kelli Bartow               Topeka High             Piggy Bank of Chocolate         Edward Jones Rebecca Morrisey       Eisenhower             Golf Package                        Great Life Fitness Mary L. Simpson        Burnett

Schools & Social Agencies Meet to Help Students

Topeka Public Schools provides many services for students both in and out of the classroom.School psychologists, social workers and counselors work as a team to provide certain services.Today, those three groups met to form individual school mental health teams and to plan and talk about their common needs when it comes to helping students. The school psychologists, social workers and counselors also were involved in a speed networking exercise with representatives of 24 community agencies.“There’s a variety of people here all the way from the Antioch Family Life Center to pregnancy prevention groups to the public library,” said Stephen Greer, coordinator of social workers for Topeka Public Schools.“These agencies are giving us information about how their services can benefit our students and families.”

1st Day of School

Wednesday, August 15 - The first day of school for kindergarten through 6th, 9th,  Hope Street and Capital City students.

Thursday, August 16 - The first day of school for 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th and 12th grade students.

Golf & Life Lessons To Be Introduced To Students

Many students never have a chance to be exposed to the sport of golf, but a new program being introduced to physical education teachers in Topeka Public Schools could change that.Representatives from First Tee showed P.E. teachers how to simply golf instruction and how to introduce golf to students today at a meeting at Chase Middle School. First Tee began in 1997 and is now in nearly 5,000 schools across the country. The mission of the organization is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.Life skill lessons taught include how to manage emotions, how to set goals, how to resolve conflicts and how to communicate with others.First Tee’s program is geared to elementary students, but older students can also benefit. Community Action of Topeka will help find sponsors to fund the programs at schools.The First Tee program will be introduced to students throug…

Pine Ridge Prep Ribbon Cutting

Numerous studies have shown that children who are in a learning environment at an early age are better prepared when they enter kindergarten.That’s why the opening of Pine Ridge Prep will be so beneficial to some East Topeka families. Four year olds living in and near the Pine Ridge Housing area of East Topeka will have a spectacular new learning center when they arrive for the first day of school on August 23.Pine Ridge Prep is described as a demonstration learning community.That means children from Head Start, special education and the Kansas Preschool Program will learn together in the same classroom.Sixteen students will attend for three hours in the morning and will receive breakfast and lunch.Another 16 will attend for three hours in the afternoon and get lunch and a snack.The children come from families who live in the neighborhood and who meet certain criteria. Two certified teachers and two paraprofessionals will be at Pine Ridge Prep to help the youngsters expand their vocabul…

TWHS Teacher a Summer Scholar

Connie Jacobson, a teacher at Topeka West high School, was selected as a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar.She was one of only four Kansas teachers to receive the honor.She attended a week long program entitled “Crossroads of Conflict:Contested Visions of Freedom and the Missouri-Kansas Border Wars.”The program was held at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Participants visited several historic sites including the cities of Lawrence and Lecompton and the site of the Battle of Westport.They also studied with scholars on the Civil War in Missouri and Kansas.Jacobson and the other teachers will share their program experiences with students this school year. The National Endowment for the Humanities is a federal agency that each summer supports Landmarks of American History and Culture workshops so that teachers can study with experts in humanities disciplines.

Topeka Mentoring Challenge - August 16

Former Highland Park High School Principal Dale Cushinberry and Highland Park High School basketball coach Ken Darting are hosting an event with national mentoring experts to guide Topeka's youth to make positive decisions and walk productive paths.

National leadership development organization, L.E.A.D.E.R.S.H.I.P. 1st, will present the Topeka Mentoring Leadership Challenge on August 16, 2012, at the Highland Park High School auditorium from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  The school is located at 2424 SE California.

A panel of local athletes will discuss how young people can successfully transition from different points in life to accomplish their dreams.  "I support this event because it is great for the kids and adults," said Darting.  "It's time to put into action the most important aspect of the community, which is relationships."

The meeting is open to the public and will serve as the first of subsequent mentoring activities in Topeka.

TPS - Employer of the Year

Topeka Public Schools has been chosen as Employer of the Year by Valeo Behavioral Health Care.The school district was honored today for its willingness to hire and accommodate individuals with a disability by providing them with employment.“Sometimes all they need is help in getting started and getting over the rough patch of starting their job," said Kristin Farley of Valeo.   "USD 501 has been very helpful in getting them through that transition." Substitute Services Coordinator for Topeka Public Schools, K.C. Crawford, was guest speaker at the Valeo Awards Ceremony.She accepted the award on behalf of the school district.She was joined in the award presentation by Deputy Superintendent Larry Robbins, General Director of Human Resources Carla Nolan and Manager of Certified Personnel Marie Carter of Topeka Public Schools.

Enrollment Day

You know that a new school year is near when enrollment day arrives.Today, hundreds of elementary and middle school parents visited their child’s school to fill out paperwork, pay fees and pick up information about the upcoming school year.Students still have a couple of weeks of summer left.The first day of school for most students is Wednesday, August 15th.For students in 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades, the first day of school will be Thursday, August 16.