Family Fitness Night Draws Big Crowd

Topeka Public Schools’ annual Family Fitness Fun Night continues to attract more and more people.  The health and fitness event held on September 12th drew more than 1,500 people to Hummer Sports Park.  Nearly every school had a booth promoting healthy activities and exercise.  A number of health-related organizations and businesses had a table set up where they dispersed information or handed out flyers about a healthy life-style.   While some people walked around the track, kids were bouncing on a big ball, jumping rope, swinging a plastic golf club or playing under a colorful umbrella.  There were performances from high school dance teams and fitness demonstrations by ROTC students.  The fun event is one of the many ways that Topeka Public Schools encourages its staff, students and parents to live a healthy life-style.

Broadway Star Visits Topeka High

Two time Tony nominee and Topeka High graduate Jayne Houdyshell returned to her alma mater today to talk about her acting career.  Houdyshell, who graduated in 1971, met with some drama students who were excited to see the Broadway star.  She told the students that the training that she received at Topeka High was terrific.  She complimented her teachers Miss Herrick and Mr. Fly for giving her the work ethic that has helped her in her acting career.  She said she walked out of Topeka High thinking she could do anything.  

Houdyshell has appeared in more than 200 plays in regional theaters.  She received a Tony nomination in 2006 for her role in the Broadway production of Well.  She received another Tony nomination last year for her role as Hattie Walker in the revival of Follies.  Her other Broadway credits include Wicked and Bye Bye Birdie.  Houdyshell has been cast in the Broadway production of Dead Accounts with Norbert Leo Butz and Katie Holmes, which opens in November.

Students Get Sackpacks

All Avondale West Elementary School students when home with a new sackpack last week thanks to the National Foundation for Women Legislators and the Office Depot Foundation.  Nearly 300 sackpacks containing essential school supplies were handed out to students from kindergarten to 5th grade.  The sackpacks were distributed by Lana Gordon, representing Women Legislators and Angela Beach from the Topeka Office Depot store.  The two groups have donated sackpacks and backpacks to the students of Topeka Public Schools for the past several years.

Reading at Home Encouraged This Year


Reading is the foundation of a child’s education, it is essential for a successful student.  That’s why
Topeka Public Schools is asking that every PreK-12th grade student read a minimum of 20 minutes per night.  Parents, listening to your child read or reading to them is a gift that will stay with them for a lifetime. Watch for “celebrity readers” reading stories to children on TPS-TV, channel 14 on Cox Cable.  More exciting information about the importance of daily reading is coming your way this school year.

Quotes about reading:

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents”
Emilie Buckwald

“The more you read, the more things you know.  The more
you know, the more places you’ll go.”
Dr. Seuss

“There is no substitute for books in the life of a child.”
Mary Ellen Chase

“Once you learn to read, you will be free forever.”
Frederick Douglas

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.”
Margaret Fuller

 “There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world.  Love
of books is the best of all.”
Jacqueline Kennedy

“Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body.”
Richard Steele

2012 Standard of Excellence Schools

The Kansas State Department of Education released a list of Kansas schools achieving the 2012 State Standard of Excellence.  TPS Schools making the list include McCarter Elementary, McEachron Elementary, Randolph Elementary, Jardine Middle School, Hope Street Academy, Topeka High School and Topeka West High School.

To receive a Standard of Excellence in reading for grades 3-6, at least 25% of students must be in the exemplary category on the state assessment. To receive the same standard in math for grades 3-6, at least 25% of students must also be in the exemplary category on state testing. For a grade or building to receive a Standard of Excellence in reading or math, the building must make AYP in the “All Students” group.

McCarter Elementary – 4th grade and 5th grade mathematics
McEachron Elementary – 4th grade reading
Randolph Elementary – 5th grade and building wide mathematics
Jardine Middle School – 7th grade reading
Hope Street Academy – reading building wide
Topeka High School – reading building wide
Topeka West High School – reading and mathematics building wide

Foundation Community Breakfast

The Topeka Public Schools Foundation hosted it's 3rd annual community breakfast to a full house Thurs., Sept 20 at the Ramada Inn. Pamela Johnson-Betts said the Foundation and TPS administration and Board members were pleased to see so many in attendance. She noted that the Foundation was especially gratified that the community and staff came out to show their support.
The Foundation presented the 2012 Foundation Patron Award to the law firm of Goodell, Stratton, Edmonds and Palmer LLP. The Patron Award is presented to an individual or organization that supports TPS through Foundation service and contributions. The firm has had a presence on the TPS Foundation Board and financially contributed to TPS through the Foundation the last 18 years. Larry Bork, J.D. in accepting the award said,"What the Foundation is all about is trying to provide a better opportunity, a better experience, for the children of USD 501," Bork said, "Over the years, I think we've done that."
A Foundation video highlighted some other TPS partners that included, John Dicus, Capitol Federal, Jim Parrish, Parrish Hotels, Carol Wheeler, Stormont Vail HealthCare, Dr Jennifer Gordon, McClure, Scott Kickhaefer, HPH, Kelli Hoffman, French, Perry Hartman, TPS Music Library, and the grandchildren of staff members:Marie Carter, Mary Simpson and Marilyn Greeve. Westar Energy President and C.E.O., Mark Ruelle also spoke at the breakfast and highlighted  his organization's student internship partnership with TPS. TPS Superintendent, Julie Ford gave a briefing of TPS staff and student successes. 
Pamela Johnson-Betts
Executive Director
Topeka Public Schools Foundation &
TPS Ombudsman
Visit our TPSF Website at:

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