Tuesday, July 31, 2012

HPHS Students Leave For Scotland

Highland Park High School students who wrote and produced a play about their school are on their way to Scotland to perform the play at the world famous Fringe Festival in Scotland.  The ten students and four adults left Highland Park this morning.    Parents, the HPHS cheerleaders, HPHS staff and district staff were on hand to send them off.  “This has been a miraculous journey,” said Highland Park Principal Beryl New.  “When we got the invitation, we had a lot of hope, had a lot of faith, but we didn’t have a lot of money.  The money came and we are so happy for them and proud of them.”
The students held numerous fundraisers in order to make the trip possible.   The word thanks was mentioned several times this morning.  “This time last year this was just a dream,” said senior Spenser Johnson.  “It was all a blessing through the community and alumni support.  We are so thankful.”  Scott Kickhaefer, head of the Highland Park High School Theater, said “It has been a very hectic year, but they (the students) are ready.”
After a short stay in London for sightseeing and a workshop with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the group will head to Edinburgh, Scotland, where they will present their play on August 7th.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Topeka High - All Sport Parent/Athlete Meeting


Topeka High School will host an ‘All Sport Parent/Athlete Participation Meeting’ and ‘St. Francis Sports Medicine Physical Night’ on Thursday, August 9th beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the THS Student Cafeteria. 

Any parent of a Topeka High student that has an interest in participating in any athletics during the 2012-13 school year, are encouraged to attend this informational meeting.  This meeting will include a General Session covering:  Philosophy of THS programs; KSHSAA rules and procedures; Eligibility and Code of Conduct requirements; Physical Forms; Insurance/Medical Release Forms; Transportation Waivers; Procedures for inclement weather; Sportsmanship; and Player/Parent/Coach communication.  The fall sports coaches’ will then host their individual sessions at approximately 6:30 p.m. in designated classrooms.

St. Francis Sports Medicine will also offer ‘Physicals’ for only $10 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the school nurse’s office on the first floor. 

Several of the required forms are available at enrollment and will also be available at the ‘All Sport Parent/Athlete Participation Meeting’ and ‘Physical Night’ on Thursday, August 9th (THS Student Cafeteria).       If you have any questions, please contact Rod Hasenbank at Topeka High School at 295-3157.                  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Public Hearing for 2012-2013 Budget

The Topeka Public Schools’ Board of Education voted tonight to publish the 2012-2013 budget that keeps the mill levy the same as last year.  The budget totals $239,396,950, which is a $12-million decrease from the 2011-2012 school budget.  The mill levy will remain the same at 56.307, despite a drop in assessed valuation in the district.  A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for August 2nd at the next board of education meeting. 
“The public is encouraged to come and weigh in as it is their opportunity to speak with us,” said Board of Education President Patrick Woods.  “Hopefully the public is pleased.  I know I am pleased that despite declining evaluations, despite several years of decreased funding from the state, this board was able to deliver a steady mill levy, no increase to the public because of our priorities we have had and the decisions we have made over the past three or four years that have led us to this point.”
It was noted that Topeka Public Schools was able to fund $18.2 million in school construction projects this year without a bond issue.

District Budget Wins Recognition

Topeka Public Schools’ budget has been recognized as one of the best in the nation.  The school district recently received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA).  The award reflects the commitment of Topeka Public Schools in meeting the highest principals of governmental budgeting.  The Topeka Public Schools’ budget was recognized for serving as a policy document, a financial plan, an operations guide and a communications device.
Pam Leinwetter, Director of Budget & Grant Accounting for Topeka Public Schools, received a Certificate of Recognition for Budget Presentation for her role in putting together the school district’s budget.  Topeka Public Schools is one of only two school districts in Kansas to receive the GFOA award.
The Government Finance Officers Association is a nonprofit professional association serving nearly 17,400 government finance professionals throughout North America.   The GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award Program is the only national awards program in governmental budgeting.

PAT President Visits Topeka

The president of the national Parents as Teachers organization praised the job that the Topeka Public Schools’ Parents as Teachers group is doing in helping families with very young children.  Scott Hippert toured the PAT facility at Pine Ridge this morning.  He heard about the many programs offered to parents to help make sure young children are prepared to enter school. “Parents as Teachers in this community is being incredibly innovative in the way they are delivering services.  They are being innovative in the funding they are bringing in to support these services.  They are having a greater impact than almost anywhere in the country," said Hippert.
The PAT Pine Ridge facility provides personalized home visits, parent group connection meetings, playgroups for parents and children and has a book and toy lending library along with a computer lab for parents.  Pine Ridge is a partnership between Topeka Public Schools and a number of local groups, organizations and indivbiduals.  Pine Ridge served 390 families during the 2011-2012 school year.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Important Enrollment Information

Attention Parents of Elementary School Students
It is important that you enroll on August 1, 2012, to ensure that your child has a seat at your home attendance school.  Maintaining optimal class sizes is a priority and failure to enroll could result in the placement of your child in another school determined by the district.  If your child should be displaced, the district will provide transportation to an alternate elementary school site.  The hours for elementary enrollment on August 1, 2012, are from 7:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

For other enrollment information, go the TPS homepage and look under parents/back to school/enrollment information and schedule

Thursday, July 5, 2012

BOE Elects Officers for 2012-2013

Patrick Woods was re-elected to a third consecutive one year term as president of the Topeka Public Schools Board of Education.  Janel Johnson was elected vice president of the Board of Education for the 2012-2013 school year.  Both votes were unanimous.  Woods and Johnson were elected to the board of education in 2007.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Foundation Music Academy Concert

Pupils who participated in the Topeka Public School Summer Music Academy performed at two free concerts at Highland Park High School recently.  Third through eighth grade students in the academy’s band and orchestra along with an honor choir of fourth through eighth graders displayed their talents on two separate evenings.  More than one hundred students participated in the four week adventure. The concerts were well-attended by parents and other community members. Michiko Snell, orchestra, Angela Dake, choir, and Tanya Smith, band, directed the Summer Music Academy.
Funded by the Topeka Public Schools Foundation, the academy offered musical instruction built on what pupils learned during the regular school year. The site of the academy rotates among the three Topeka Unified School District 501 high schools, with Highland Park High School as this summer’s host.

Pamela Johnson-Betts
Executive Director
Topeka Public Schools Foundation &
TPS Ombudsman
785.295.3018
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