Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wellness Captains Go Above & Beyond



The latest winners of the Above & Beyond Award are the wellness captains, part of the Topeka Public Schools’ Wellness Program since 2010.  Each building has a person who has volunteered to be a wellness captain. Their job is to coordinate activities, communicate policies and changes and guide employees to a healthier lifestyle.  Marie Carter, who nominated the wellness captains for the award, said “Their willingness to lead, the selfless contributions they make in behalf of their co-workers and the wellness program and the daunting tasks they are prepared to do are endless and greatly appreciated.  It is without reservation that I nominate collectively every wellness captain who is currently serving or who has served in the past.”

Wellness Captains:
1.       ABERNATHY, JANNA
2.       ASHMORE, DEBORAH
3.       BABIERA, PETER
4.       CARLSON, MARCY
5.       COLBURN, HALEY
6.       DALY, JEANNETTE
7.       DAVIS, ANGELA
8.       DESHAZER, TERRI
9.       DIAL, NICOLE
10.   DICKERSON, DEBBIE
11.   DOBBINS, DAWNELLE
12.   ELPHICK, GERALDINE
13.   FINCHAM, RENEE
14.   FISHER, PEGGY
15.   FORSEMAN, MARVALIE
16.   GLEASON, ANGELINE
17.   GRANADO, KANDACE
18.   HALVERSON, COURTNEY
19.   HAMPTON, GEORGE
20.   HANIKA, CONSTANCE
21.   HODGE, SUSAN
22.   HOLLOMAN, HEIDI
23.   JEFFERSON, LENORE
24.   JOHNSONT, BETH
25.   LARSON, KRISTINE
26.   LONG, KIMBERLY
27.   MC.DONALD, GAYLE
28.   MEJIA, PILAR
29.   MERCER, LOUELLA
30.   MICHAELSON, CARMEN
31.   MILLER, AUDREY
32.   MOORE, KAREN
33.   NADEAU, CHARLES
34.   PATRICK, SUSAN
35.   PRUITT, SHELLY
36.   REMER, BRIDGET
37.   ROBERTS, STEVE
38.   RUBOTTOM, VICTORIA
39.   RUSSELL, SHANNA
40.   SHELTON, ANGELA
41.   SLOOP, SANDRA
42.   SNEPP, SUSAN
43.   STALLBAUMER, JENNIFER
44.   STARBUCK, SCOTT
45.   STEGMAN, BRIDGET
46.   STINE, GAYLE
47.   VIETOR, STEPHANIE
48.   WHISLER, NANCY
49.   WHITAKER, AMY
50.   WILLIAMS, CONNIE



If you would like to nominate a TPS staff member, parent or community volunteer for the Above & Beyond Award, you will find the nomination form on the school district website (www.topekapublicschools.net).  Find it under staff/forms for staff/district program forms, TPS Above & Beyond.







Tuesday, October 30, 2012

TPS Nominees to State Programs Announced

The district selection committee is pleased to announce the Topeka Public School nominees to the Kansas Teacher of the Year (KTOY) program and the Master Teacher program.



Kirsten Cigler Nelson
The TPS nominee for KTOY in the secondary teacher category is Kirsten Cigler Nelson. Ms. Nelson has been a teacher at Topeka High School since 1997. During her career, she has taught journalism, ninth and tenth grade English, and Advanced Placement English courses. Topeka High Principal Dr. Linda Wiley says, “Kirsten is an exemplary classroom teacher and prepares her students to the highest academic levels. Her students have been provided with a high-level, challenging and outstanding high school education in English when they graduate from Topeka High.”

Pat Nash

Scott Magnet P.E. teacher Pat Nash is the KTOY elementary nominee. Pat began teaching in Topeka Public Schools in 1979. She has been at Scott Magnet for the past one and a half years since transferring after the closing of Lundgren Elementary. “Ms. Nash makes physical education lessons enjoyable, educational and beneficial for all students,” says Scott Principal Deborah Sidwell. “Her enthusiasm motivates everyone around her to participate. Pat Nash is an icon of what an extraordinary physical education teacher should be.”

Kelley Norman


Kelley Norman is the TPS nominee for the Master Teacher Award. She began teaching with TPS in 2004. Ms. Norman is currently a mathematics coach for Chase Middle School and Robinson Middle School. Chase Principal Teresa Songs says, “Ms. Norman exemplifies the qualities of a distinguished educator. She has impacted student achievement through her work with teachers, students and the educational profession.”





Sponsored by the Kansas State Board of Education, the Kansas Teacher of the Year Award recognizes, representatives of excellent teaching in Kansas elementary and secondary classrooms. TPS nominees Kirsten Cigler Nelson and Pat Nash will complete an application process to be considered for the 2013 award.

Emporia State University established the Kansas Master Teacher awards in 1953. The awards are presented annually to teachers who have served the profession long and well and who also typify the good qualities of earnest and conscientious teachers. As the TPS nominee, Kelley Norman will complete application materials and submit them to Emporia State University for consideration as a 2013 Kansas Master Teacher.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Barnhart Recognized For Medicaid Improvements



Dr. Jennifer Barnhart, director of special education services, has been awarded the Green Acres Award.  She was recognized for her work, both locally and across the state, in improving Medicaid processes.  Dr. Barnhart was invited to make a presentation at the Kansas Medicaid Summit last week which drew people from throughout the state to study the complicated issue of Medicaid.

17 Year Partnership with Highland Park Central



Highland Park Central Elementary School has a very good friend in Capitol Federal Savings.  Last week Capitol Federal President and CEO John Dicus and Highland Park Central Principal Cleo Gardner renewed their business-school partnership, a partnership that begins its 17th year.   Capitol Federal employees began volunteering to read with students and tutor them back in 1996.  Volunteers continue to do so today along with volunteering to help with various school events.  “Seeing the students’ progress toward their goals is so gratifying,” said Dicus.  Gardner commented, “Capital Federal’s commitment to our students and their educational progress is incredibly valuable.  They are wonderful role models for our students.”

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

College & Career Ready Students



College and Career Ready is a phrase you hear a lot about these days in education.  Topeka Public Schools is committed to preparing all students to be college and career ready upon graduation.  This morning, school district leaders and representatives of business, industry, government and higher education met to talk about the subject.  “The meeting is to ask for input from business and industry about what we need to do to prepare our students for their future careers.” said Superintendent Dr. Julie Ford.  “That may include college, technical school or could be on the job training.  What do we need to do as a district to get there.”   

KBS Constructors Vice President Neal Fisher was one of those attending the meeting.  “There’s more and more competition for the skills that we need to keep our business going, so the ability and opportunity to get involved and create that pool of qualified employees is huge.” 

Ideas and information gathered at the meeting will help Topeka Public Schools design courses that will help prepare students for a job or career, but also help businesses and economic development in the Topeka area.“The information we get will be implemented into our post secondary and career vision for preK-12th grade as well as developing specific courses and programs that we can offer in our secondary schools beginning in the fall of 2013,” said Director of School and Career Programs Eileen Caspers.

Topeka Public Schools already offers students courses in robotics, bio-technology and health care.  The school district is also introducing students to future careers through internships and partnerships with Westar Energy, Stormont-Vail HealthCare and other local businesses.