Prairie Band Donation Supports Summer Program

Topeka Public Schools appreciates all the businesses and individuals who make donations to Topeka Public Schools.  For example, the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation recently donated $1,000 to the Indian Education summer program.  This program gives students an opportunity for learning that they might not have had without such a donation.  Thank you Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and all who donate to help our students have more educational opportunities.

2015 Distinguished Staff Award Winners

Congratulations to all of our Distinguished Staff Award (DSA) winners this year. The DSA is the highest honor Topeka Public Schools bestows on its employees and these remarkable staff members will be honored at a reception on April 1st at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. In the meantime, feel free to congratulate them on this wonderful achievement!

Custodial- Catherin Southern, Highland Park Central
Operations and Maintenance- Ron Morehead, THS and Service Ctr
Office Personnel- Carleen Lister, Burnett Ctr
Support Staff- Laura Maike, Burnett Ctr
Food Service- Patricia Adolphson, Eisenhower MS
Paraprofessional- Julie Smoot, Eisenhower MS

Pre-K-5th Educator- Adriane Evans, Quincy Elem
Middle School Educator- Lynette Stueve, French MS
High School Educator- Erich Singer, THS
Support Staff- Angela Dick, Burnett Ctr
Administrator- Brady Dean, Burnett Ctr

First Year Teacher-
Elementary- Amber Bagwell, Lowman Hill
Secondary- Barbara Atkins, Robinson MS

Eisenhower Students Go Healthy

As we welcome in a new year, many of us make New Year’s resolutions. The most common changes Americans resolve to make involve their health and fitness. Making better nutrition choices, exercising more and losing weight all seem to be priorities for folks in January. However, the students at Eisenhower Middle School don’t need a new year to motivate them to make healthy decisions; each school day offers that opportunity!
Once upon a time, in the not-too-distant past, Eisenhower students arriving at school would sit on bleachers in the school’s gym, waiting for the first bell to ring. This ritual went on for years, until one day when the staff decided to try something new. The bleachers were pushed up into the wall and when the students walked in, rather than plop themselves on the bleachers, they were instructed to walk laps around the gym until it was time for first hour. The kids were free to listen to music on their personal devices and chat with their friends, just as long as they kept moving. The activity went over so well with the students that the Eisenhower staff decided to make it a regular activity, folding up the bleachers in favor of “Walk and Talk” three times per week. However, those efforts failed when, on a non-walk day, the students decided to forgo the bleachers and walk laps instead. That’s right: the kids decided on their own to walk laps rather than sit and chat! Now, the bleachers remain packed away every morning and Walk and Talk is a daily activity for Eisenhower students from 7:20 to 7:40 a.m.
P.E. teacher Sandra Ortiz reports that, in addition to being a healthy habit, Walk and Talk has also been a positive enhancement to the culture of the school. Before the program began, students arriving to school would have to enter the gym when many of their peers were already seated. When a student entered the gym, all eyes would be on them, making them feel self-conscious. “It was just a negative atmosphere when they’d have to walk across (the gym) with everybody already sitting in the bleachers. Now the kids are talking or listening to music or even reading books while they’re walking, not staring at who is coming through the door,” Ortiz said.
After the successful implementation of Walk and Talk, Ortiz decided to incorporate a healthy foods activity into Eisenhower’s routine. She applied for, and was awarded, two $2,000 fruit and vegetable grants, one last spring and another this past fall. The grant money was used to purchase fruits and veggies that the students may not have had the opportunity to try. Those healthy foods were then sent to classrooms for the students to sample. Ortiz hopes the students will be exposed to healthy new foods that they can add to their diet at home.
Ortiz worked with Eisenhower food service manager Patricia Adolphson to select four fruits and four vegetables to be served on eight different days throughout the semester. Some of the foods they selected included kiwi, asparagus, cauliflower and blueberries. We visited Eisenhower on the final day of their food-tasting journey, when they were offered sugar snap peas. Some of the students were reluctant to try them, but 7th grader Ja’Nea thought they were “delicious.”
Ortiz has applied for another grant to continue to expose the students to nutritious new foods. “We hope they’ll talk to their families about adding these items to their grocery list. We want it to be a learning experience, but also something that will improve their health in the future.”
Eisenhower Middle School is a shining example how easy it can be to add a little fitness and nutrition into your daily routine. We hope their story will inspire you to reach your health goals this year. Schools that offer students opportunities to stay active and healthy- and kids who are willing to try something new (even exercise and peas---gasp!)- make Topeka Public Schools a great place to be!

TPS Staff Gather Honors

Congratulations to Jessica Figueroa, principal of Whitson Elementary. She was one of 14 women to graduate from YWCA Topeka’s first Women’s Leadership Academy class, “Women’s Leadership Momentum,” this fall where she represented Topeka Public Schools.
Also, congratulations to Juanita Erickson, General Director of Elementary Education, and Brandon Evans, para-professional at Williams Science and Fine Arts Magnet School. They were selected as members of the 2015 Leadership Greater Topeka class, a program sponsored by the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce. According to the Topeka Chamber of Commerce, this program identifies outstanding potential leaders from various components of the community and teaches participants how to lead in a community setting. Class members will attend a retreat and eight day-long sessions between January and May to learn about challenges facing the City of Topeka and Shawnee County and how they can work to influence community issues and problems. The 2015 class, which is comprised of 37 individuals, was selected from more than 200 nominees representing a variety of backgrounds and a cross-section of the community.

Pat Mahoney - Above & Beyond

Meet Pat Mahoney, Topeka Public Schools' latest Above and Beyond Award winner...
After a full day in the classroom, most students aren’t interested in going to another classroom, but that is not the case at the Topeka Rescue Mission. Pat Mahoney, the community liaison for homeless
students, says kids flood into the classroom once they get off the bus at the Mission. Pat spends a lot of time at the Rescue Mission and is making a difference for the children who stay there.
For these reasons, Pat Mahoney is TPS' latest Above and Beyond Award winner. “Pat is one of those employees who goes way above and beyond,” says Sue Grosdidier, who nominated Pat for the award. “She spends her own time and resources to assist families at the mission. She has been so good at finding resources for those kids. We have a STEM program there that she has absolutely evolved.”
Pat is in her third year working with the students who stay at the rescue mission. She is part of a team that includes a teacher and tutor who are paid for by a grant. The classroom is open after school for any student staying at the mission and who is enrolled in school. The classroom is also used for a summer school program. Attendance is voluntary and about 20 students attend each school day.

For Pat, she just loves working with the kids. “I just like to give them the consistency that all children need. I feel the staff and I are giving them a secure place to be, a place where they know it is safe and they can come in and ask questions. We can review what happened with them in school and read with them and enhance their math skills”.

Thank you, Pat, for all you do for Topeka's kids!

Dias de Aplication para Educacion a Temprana Edad

Early Childhood Application Day

Summer Sports Camps

                                Topeka Public Schools - Summer Sports Camps

Camps are free and available to all TPS students who are currently in the 4th and 5th grades.  Camps will be held at the middle schools.  Campers will work on developing and improving skills and general game knowledge.  Campers can attend sessions for volleyball, football and basketball.  Campers may attend one or more sessions.

Enrollment forms and additional information will be available at parent-teacher conferences on February 18 and 19.

High School Elective Fair

Few transitions in a student’s life are as nerve-wracking and uncertain as that of the switch from middle to high school. To ease her students’ minds, Landon Middle School’s 8th grade guidance counselor, Jean Ryan, organized the school’s first High School Elective Fair on Thursday, January 22nd. This event provided an opportunity for next year’s freshmen to select electives that will interest them. “A lot of the students didn’t know what electives to enroll in for high school. The course blurbs don’t give a lot of information,” Ryan said. So she set up the Elective Fair to give the students an idea of what to expect in elective classes next year. Students spent the morning visiting a table for each elective-- 22 in all-- that was manned by a current high school student who could tell them about the class and answer questions. The 8th graders had four minutes to spend at each table before moving on to the next. Students from Topeka High School and Topeka West High School (the schools most Landon 8th graders will attend next year) volunteered their time for the event.

Eighth graders will soon be making enrollment decisions for the 2015-2016 school year and can use their newfound knowledge to select classes. As freshmen, students have the opportunity to take two elective classes in the fall and two in the spring. When enrolling, they will select ten elective classes they’d be interested in taking, then rank them from their first choice to their tenth. Counselors use this information to make sure the kids get the classes they most want to take while also working toward their graduation requirements.

Ryan said the event was a success and hopes to offer it again next year. We think the High School Elective Fair is a great idea that not only helped answer students’ questions and ease their anxiety, but also increased their excitement and enthusiasm for the next new chapter in their life.
Guidance counselors that go the extra mile to ease transitions for their students not only help kids be successful, they make Topeka Public Schools a great place to be!

Living the Dream Contest Winners

Congratulations to the following TPS students who are 2015 Martin Luther King Living the Dream contest winners in poetry, essay and art.



5th & 6th Grade
Ryleigh Atkinson-McLaury              2nd place           Jardine Middle School

7th & 8th Grade
Tierra Jones                                       1st place             Jardine Middle School

11th & 12th Grade
Brianna Jackson                                1st place            Topeka High School       



3rd & 4th Grade
Tiffany Dismang                                  1st place            McCarter Elementary School     

11t h& 12th Grade
Devin Locke                                          2nd place           Topeka West High School

11th & 12th Grade
Khadijah Davis                                    3rd place              Topeka West High School



1st & 2nd Grade
Andre Douglas-Counts                      1st place           Quincy Elementary School

1st & 2nd Grade
Veida Dias                                           2nd place             Quincy Elementary School

1st & 2nd Grade
Cate Falk                                             3rd place              Randolph Elementary School         

3rd & 4th Grade  
Marlene Bermudez                           1st place             Quincy Elementary School

3rd & 4th Grade
Crystal Romero                                  2nd place             Quincy Elementary School

3rd & 4th Grade                                      
Kayla Ann Marr                                  3rd place           Highland Park Central Elementary

7th & 8th Grade
Maggie Stokes                                   1st place              Jardine Middle School

7th & 8th Grade
Kristianna Guerrero                          2nd place            Jardine Middle School

9th & 10th Grade
Alene Pham                                         3rd place           Highland Park High School

11th & 12th Grade
Christian Wakolee                              1st place           Highland Park High School

11th & 12th Grade
Jasmine Mares                                     3rd place            Highland Park High School                                                                                                                                                          


Hiring Fair - January 14

Topeka Public Schools – Hiring Fair

Wednesday, January 14

2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Burnett Center

624 SW 24th Street


If you have a love of working with youth and are available one or more days a week, even ½ days, we will be interviewing for the following substitute positions:


·        Substitute Teachers (60 college hours required)

·        Substitute Paraprofessionals

·        Substitute Food Service

·        Substitute Custodial



Educacion a Temprana Edad

Feria Informativ para Educacion a Temprana Edad de las Escuelas Publicas de Topeka.

Cuando:  jueves, 15 de enero del 2015           Donde:  Quinton Heights, 2331 SW Topeka Blvd.

Venga y hable con representantes de los siguientes programas de educacion a temprana edad:

Accion Communitaria Head Start
Padres como Maestros
Programa de Intervencion Preescolar
Programa de Dos Idiomas Scott
Sheldon Head Start
Pre-kinder Estatal

Preguntas?  Llama al:  785.295.3109

Early Childhood Information Fair

Topeka Public Schools will hold an Early Childhood Information Fair on Thursday, January 15th from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the Quinton Heights Education Center at 2331 SW Topeka Blvd. 

Come and meet representatives from the following early childhood programs:

Community Action Head Start
Parents as Teachers
Preschool Intervention Program
Scott Dual Language Program
Sheldon Head Start
State Pre-K

If you have questions, call (785) 295-3109

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...