Scott Students Receive New Coats

Many little ones from Scott Magnet Elementary will be much warmer this winter thanks to the efforts of Let’s Help and Communities in Schools.  These organizations distributed over 140 brand new winter coats to students of Scott Magnet on October 30th. Jess Wothke of Communities in Schools, and Bob Young of Let’s Help, brought in the winter wear after hearing that many Scott Magnet children were in need. According to Wothke, the strong relationship between the school and it’s families helped make parents more comfortable in requesting the assistance. Parents were able to notify the school at enrollment and at parent/teacher conferences if their child would be needing a new coat this winter. The donation was made possible through private contributions, discounts given by big-box retailers, and a Knights of Columbus pancake feed. The youngsters had fun picking out their coats and will appreciate the warmth and generosity all winter long.

TPS Foundation Grants Awarded

It was an exciting day as seven Topeka Public Schools teachers were surprised with shiny, red balloons and large checks when the Topeka Public Schools Foundation Grant Patrol made their rounds on October 23rd. The foundation’s board members visited Whitson Elementary, McClure Elementary, and Landon Middle School to award grant money to 29 TPS teachers whose grant applications received full or partial funding. Other recipients  received notice of their awards by e-mail.The 2013-2014 TPS Foundation annual Educational Grant Awards distribution to TPS totaled $39,835.20. 
The money will be used in a variety of ways, from purchasing books, musical instruments and electronics to assisting students with the cost of the Advanced Placement and GED tests. Students from pre-schools, elementary, middle, and high schools, alternative schools, and adult education centers will benefit from the funds.  Pamela Johnson-Betts, executive director of the Topeka Public Schools Foundation, said “The grant allocations support educator ideas and invigorate them, which is so important because educators are the critical source for engaging students and providing enrichment.” The foundation’s board members, Ryan Hellmer, Cheyenne Manspeaker, Kim Minson, Erin Rodriguez, and Aaron Mays joined Johnson-Betts in distributing the grants.

Special Mission: Accomplished

What began two years ago as a dream has now become a reality as a special-needs classroom at Topeka High School has undergone the finishing touches on an extreme makeover. THS senior Jack Hishmeh took the initiative on a project to update and improve the school’s special education classroom in 2011 after he befriended some special-need students.
More than $20,000 was donated, and the room today sports new laminate flooring, carpeting, wooden window blinds, new wooden cabinets, an oven, cook-top, refrigerator and dishwasher. The public was invited in to see the renovated classroom at an open house on October 12th. Many contributors, community members and staff dropped in to celebrate the successful conclusion of Jack's project.
Also through Jack's efforts, a Special Opps group was formed through which students would spend their lunch periods in the special-needs room, or would take the special-needs students to the cafeteria where they could eat lunch with the rest of the student body.
Today, Jack takes great satisfaction in knowing the project was completed before his graduation. He said he couldn’t have accomplished the project without the assistance of scores of other students, teachers, parents and people from the community, including businesses that generously donated to the project. He and his family also gave special thanks to special education teacher Claudia Shover-Daily, principal Dr. Linda Wiley, Pamela Johnson- Betts, and the Topeka Public Schools Foundation for their support and guidance throughout the project's progress.
 “There’s a warm feeling when you enter the room,” Jack said. “We were shooting for a more homey feel, and I think that’s what we got.”
Though Jack is in his final year at Topeka High, the Special Opps group is likely to continue after he is gone, as most of the 40 students involved are sophomores and juniors. 

Speech and Debate Program at TWHS Highly Ranked

Topeka Public Schools is proud to announce that the Topeka West High School speech and debate program is ranked among the top 10% of schools nationwide. The Topeka West program has earned membership into the National Forensic League’s prestigious 100 Club for achieving 100 or more degrees. Students earned these degrees based on their competitive and service-related activities. In addition to achieving  this notable distinction, the students also learned many life skills along the way, such as effective communication, research, listening, writing, and organizational skills. This is just another way Topeka Public Schools shines bright!

TPS Celebrates American Education Week

American Education Week—November 18-22, 2013—is a time to celebrate public education and honor individuals who are making a difference in ensuring that every child receives a quality education.  During American Education Week in Topeka Public School, there will be a special theme each day of the week.

Monday, Nov. 18 
Thank an Educator – Students will write a message on a post card and send it to their favorite teacher or educator.
Tuesday, Nov. 19
NEA-T Day – “Wear Red for Public Ed”
Wednesday, Nov. 20
Celebrate Teaching – A very special TPS teacher will be recognized on this day.
Thursday, Nov. 21
Board of Education – Students will present gifts to Board of Education members during their meeting.
Friday, Nov. 22
School Spirit Day – Staff and students are encouraged to wear their favorite school logo clothes.

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