20/30 Club Grant For Special Classroom

A $3,000 grant from the Topeka Active 20/30 Club is helping a Topeka High School student continue his program to help special needs students at the school.  The Topeka Active 20/30 grant came about through the Topeka Public Schools Foundation.  Foundation Executive Director Pamela Johnson-Betts said, "The impetus for seeking funding and a major driver of this project is a Topeka High School student named Jack Hishmeh along with some support from his mom, Cheryl and the Topeka High School Special Opps (special opportunity for all students) club he founded." She noted, "His determination and extraordinary caring for others is leading the way to make this project a financial reality."

The plan is to do a Special Opps classroom makeover so that special needs students at Topeka High have a class room that is welcoming and has activities to encourage interaction. Through funding contributions, the special education class room makeover will include development of a lounge area to promote relationships and relaxing together with games and activities, a kitchen area that will give special needs students access to learning life skills with other students, new paint, carpet and window treatments.

The grant from the Topeka Active 20/30 Club will help move the project through phase two of the project. Lowes Home Improvement has been a great supporter and is assisting in development of the project along with the Junior League of Topeka, Russ Ball Cabinets and several individual donors. More donations are needed to help finish the project and can be submitted to the Topeka Public Schools Foundation, a 501 c (3) organization at PO Box 5883, Topeka, KS 66605.

Hope Street Students Volunteer to Help Others

Helping others is what this time of year is all about.  At Hope Street Academy, students are again volunteering to help the younger generation enjoy the Festival of Trees.  “Hope Street has a volunteer group called United Hope,” said Hope Street Social Worker Amy Whittaker.  “Any student who wants to volunteer is welcome.  They do need to show leadership skills in the way of their grades and how they behave at school.”

On this particular day, the Hope Street students were assisting young children from the Sheldon Child Development Center.  “We help the kids with little projects, handing out snacks etc.,” said Hope Street senior Brooke Shinn.  “I really enjoy it.  I love the kids.”  This is the first year Brooke has been involved in volunteering at the Festival of Trees.  The United Hope volunteer students have been helping the past seven or eight years at the Festival of Trees.  They also volunteer at the Renaissance Festival in Kansas City as well as other activities in the Topeka area.

Did You Know. . . TPS Has a Mental Health Crisis Intervention Team?

The original District Crisis Intervention Team Plan was written by Bob Clark and first approved by the Topeka Public School Board in 1988. The format of this plan was updated in February of 2012 to comply with the National Incident Management System and the Incident Command System. This new plan includes a District Mental Health Crisis Intervention Plan that provides services to schools through a Mental Health Crisis Intervention Team that includes counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers. The team provides building and district level mental health support

·         when there is a staff or student death in the building or outside the building,
·         with suicide prevention training and suicide prevention support,
·         when a staff member loses a family member,
·         when threats occur in a building or the district, and
·         when psychological first aid is requested.  

The Mental Health Crisis Intervention Team services are typically requested by the principals; however, the team is always available for consultation. Meg Braun (235-7602) and Steve Greer (235-7601) chair the Mental Health Crisis Intervention Team and are available at the principal’s request.

Cruz Goes Above and Beyond

Topeka High School paraprofessional Sal Cruz is the TPS Above and Beyond winner for the month of November. He was nominated by Topeka High band director Steve Holloman. Cruz has been a part-time para for TPS since 1998. From the appearance of his packed schedule, one would never guess he is only a part-time employee. Holloman writes the following about Cruz and his work:

“Sal Cruz is a tireless worker at Topeka High School. His official schedule requires about two and half hours of service each day, but he puts in way more time. He works year-round with the Topeka High percussionists, providing instruction and performance opportunities. His drumline has performed well over 20 times already this school year for audiences in Topeka, Shawnee County, Humboldt, Harveyville and Overbrook (among others). His performance schedule usually entails upward of 60 appearances each year. Sal puts in an enormous amount of time for the love of his students and love of music.”

Cruz also teaches at Mater Dei Catholic School. In 2008, he was selected as a Topeka Public Schools Distinguished Staff Award winner. Congratulations Mr. Cruz!

Challenge Award Winners

Four schools were recognized by the Confidence in Kansas Public Education Task Force earlier this month with the Challenge Award.  The Challenge Award recognizes schools for outstanding achievement and uncommon accomplishments based on Kansas Assessment Tests.  It also factors in ethnicity and the socio-economic status of the students taking the tests.  The following schools were honored by the task force.

Eisenhower Middle School – 7th grade reading
Chase Middle School – 7th grade reading, 8th grade reading and math
Highland Park High School – 11th grade math
Hope Street Academy – 11th grade reading

Featured Post

Neighborhood Veteran Volunteers to Help Keep Kids Safe: September Above & Beyond Award

On a rainy Wednesday morning, Matthew Davis is found in a neon yellow jumpsuit and army boots directing school buses, cars and students safe...