Preparedness Dog Brings Message to Students

Fred the Preparedness Dog visited gifted students at Linn Education Center recently to raise awareness for family and pet preparedness in all types of emergencies. Led by his human, Michael McNulty, Fred travels to many schools and community events each year to educate kids age 5-12 about items needed for an emergency kit and to think about their pets in emergency situations.

McNulty works for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and, thanks to a grant from the Center... for Disease Control, he has been able to take Fred out to schools for almost two years now. According to McNulty, “(The students) really take the message home and they talk to mom and dad about Fred. We give them coloring books and stickers too, so hopefully they can get their families to make an emergency plan.” Thanks for visiting our students, Michael and Fred!

Quincy Students Have the Power

Fourth graders at Quincy Elementary have spent the last three weeks on a project dealing with electricity. They’ve been learning about the path electricity takes to get to their homes by looking at circuits, conductors and insulators, and by exploring switches, playing with magnets and building electromagnets. They visited Jeffrey Energy Center last week, hosted Westar Engineer Ron Gwaltney yesterday, and today they toured the Education Station at the Kanza Science Park.

During Gwaltney’s visit to the school yesterday, the students learned about safety and the protective equipment linemen wear. They had the opportunity to try on some of the safety gear to see how it protects the head, eyes, ears and hands.

At today’s visit to the Education Station, the students learned about transmission lines (the lines that feed electricity into the station) and about distribution lines (the lines that carry the electricity out and into the community). They also visited the wind turbine.

Gina Scali, the district’s 6th-12th grade consulting science teacher, helped plan the project and was pleased with the results. “The kids have been so excited about this. They didn’t know much about electricity before and they asked a lot of good questions,” she said.
Gwaltney was impressed, too. “They picked up on it very quickly and, once we began talking about it, they could anticipate what was going to happen next.”

The students will soon be holding a mini science fair to share all the things they have learned throughout the project.

Kansas Senate Honors TPS Students

Thursday, February 19th was an exciting day for five students of Topeka Public Schools. That was the day that Noah Bush, Tehya Bush, Alex Esparza-Carlos, Rigo Solis-Carlos and Jessica Widow were all honored on the Senate floor at the Kansas statehouse. The students were recognized for saving the life of a stranger they had come across while out on a cold evening earlier in the month. The man was homeless, freezing and very near death. Despite his protests, the youngsters teamed up to obtain medical help for the man. When emergency personnel arrived, they found that the man’s stocking cap was frozen to his head and his fingers had frozen together. He was suffering from frostbite and hypothermia and would likely have perished on that cold winter night had the students not intervened on his behalf.

Senator Laura Kelly shared this incredible story with her colleagues on the Senate floor as the students’ parents, principals and district administration looked on in pride. Noah, Tehya, Alex, Rigo and Jessica were the lifeline for someone in distress, and they did what needed to be done without weighing the cost to themselves.

Way to go, kids--- we're so proud of you!!

School Activity/Event Cancelations for February 17

The following school events have been canceled for tonight.


The 4th grade after school music program has been canceled tonight.  This is for sessions held at Chase, Landon and Jardine Middle Schools.

Parents as Teachers playgroup has been canceled tonight.

William Magnet PTO meeting canceled tonight.

Craig Strever - February Above & Beyond Winner

                                                          A large high school is a very busy place.  So many students, staff, programs and events. Lots of activities going on morning, noon and night. Craig Strever has been capturing those activities with his camera for seven years at Topeka high School.  “Craig has provided hours and hours of unselfish time supporting our programs at Topeka High.  His willingness to not only photograph athletic events, but to provide video and still photography for our band program is amazing,” said Topeka High Band Director Steve Holloman, who nominated Craig for the Above and Beyond Award.

 One parent said, “Many of our students would not have their high school memories captured forever it if was not for Mr. Strever.  He has continued attending and photographing our events even after his kids have graduated.”  Holloman added that Craig Strever is a very gracious man and a tremendous advocate for this fine school.

When asked why he likes doing this, Craig says he just enjoys taking pictures of the kids.  Whether it be a sporting or band event or even graduation, Crags wants to take pictures of any events that the kids will allow him to attend.  But when it comes to having his picture taken, he says he likes being behind the camera.

If you know of a staff member, parent or volunteer who goes above and beyond to help our students and our schools, nominate them for the monthly Above & Beyond Award.  You can find the nomination form on the school district website under staff/forms for staff/district program forms/Above & Beyond.

Teachers Experience Poverty Simulation

Topeka Public Schools’ students had the day off on Friday, February 6th so that the district’s teachers could participate in professional development activities. Lowman Hill Elementary School was the site of an exercise about poverty. Teachers from Bishop, Avondale West, Randolph and Lowman Hill Elementary Schools attended this session, which was led by representatives from Southwest Plains Regional Service Center.
At the beginning of the exercise, each teacher was given a randomly-assigned location in Lowman Hill’s gymnasium. Some were at tables while others were seated in groups. The folks in groups represented different families and they were given detailed information about their family’s financial situation. The people seated at tables each represented a different agency in the community. Some of the agencies included a school, a social service agency, a police station and an employment agency, among others. After learning about their family’s financial situation, each family member had to navigate through the town (“Realville”) and its agencies, attempting to make ends meet with the assets they were given.
This lesson was intended to simulate some of the real struggles that families living at or below the poverty level face. While teachers in Topeka Public Schools are already sympathetic to the obstacles faced by low-income families, this exercise aimed to give them a closer look at the realities many of their students and their loved ones must deal with. The teachers and principals who took part in this event had great attitudes and were open to learning about what poverty might feel like. They reported that this professional development activity was their favorite one yet.

McEachron Students Accept Grant Check

McEachron Elementary students, led by their principal, Vic Williams, serenaded shoppers at Joann Fabric’s grand opening celebration on Thursday, February 12th. While there, the students also received a check for $2,000 to buy craft supplies for their school. The supplies will be used to make bracelets that the students will sell to raise money for new playground equipment.
Store manager Tim Davis was on hand to present the check. He said that, though many community groups had applied for a grant through Joann’s “Inspire the Community” program, “(McEachron’s) story touched us the most.”
Students will begin selling the wristbands at the McEachron PTO Pancake Feed and Silent Auction, which will take place on Saturday, February 28th from 7:00 am to 11:00 am in the school’s gymnasium. After that, bracelets can be purchased by calling the school's office at 438-4430.

Drivers Education Enrollment - March 2nd

Topeka Public Schools Spring driver education enrollment is on Monday, March 2nd from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Topeka Driving School located at 37th and Plass.  For more information call 272-1961

Dean Smith, Topeka High Graduate Dies

                                                                             Dean Smith


Dean Smith, one of the most famous college basketball coaches ever and a graduate of Topeka High School, passed away over the weekend.  Smith was the coach at the University of North Carolina for 36 years winning two national championships.  He played multiple sports while a student at the University of Kansas.  At Topeka High, Smith played basketball, football and baseball.  He was instrumental in ending Topeka High having separate basketball teams for white and black players.  Smith was too ill to return to Topeka last year when a plaque honoring him was dedicated at Topeka High School.

Black History Month

February is Black History Month.  Topeka Public Schools celebrates the diversity of our school district.  Throughout the month of February, schools will be holding activities related to Black History Month.

 At the February 5, board of education meeting, student winners of the Living the Dream contest were recognized.  TPS students won multiple awards in poetry, essay and art.  Board of education members heard a wonderful speech from Scott Dual Language magnet School 5th grader Deandre Hicks.  His speech can be seen on the Topeka Public Schools district website,

Pictures and stories related to Black History Month in Topeka Public Schools can be found by going to the school district's Facebook page.


Did you know that African-American students make up 19% of the student population in Topeka Public Schools?

Did you know that Topeka Public Schools has had three African-American superintendents.  They are Marvin Edwards (1985-1988), Robert McFrazier (1999-2003) and Tony Sawyer (2003-2007).


Ever wonder who invented the Super Soaker? Or who came up with the traffic lights system? Or who invented the pacemaker? They were all invented by African Americans. In honor of Black History Month, here are some everyday products you might not have realized came from the creative minds of African Americans:

The Hide-A-Bed

Sarah E. Goode was the very first African American woman to receive a patent. Originally born into a life of slavery, she moved to Chicago when she was freed after the American Civil War. After she made the move to Chicago, Goode married Archibald Goode who worked as a carpenter. Goode opened a furniture store, which would later spark her widely known invention. After hearing numerous complaints from customers about not having enough space in their homes for the necessary furniture, she came up with a folding cabinet bed. When the bed was put in the folded position it looked like a desk that even had several compartments for storage. Today we now have what we call the Murphy bed and the hide-away bed/couch as a product of Goode’s invention. Goode received patent #322,177 for her creation on July 14, 1885.


More information about Black History Month will be added to this page throughout the month of February.

Wednesday - School Event Cancellations

The 4th grade after school music program has been canceled today due to the weather.  Fourth grade students who attend the program at Landon Middle School, Jardine Middle School and Chase Middle School will not have their after school music program today.


The Star Time After School Program at Shaner Elementary School has been canceled today.


Student Recognized For Good Deed

McEachron Elementary School third grader Connor Tannehill was honored at a school-wide assembly last Friday afternoon. Connor was recognized for his recent donation of 11 McDonald’s meal coupons he earned through a reading program. He gave the coupons to the... Department of Children and Families to be used to feed children when they come in to protective custody. Connor’s cousin, Diana Rose, works at the DCF service center in Topeka. Through his relationship with Ms. Rose, Connor was aware that children taken into protective custody often have to sit at the service center for several hours and often aren’t given much food to eat while they are there.
Kansas First Lady Mary Brownback was on hand to present a certificate to Conner in front of his McEachron classmates and teachers. She praised his “caring and compassionate attitude,” and added, “He saw a way to encourage others and he did it, and we all could take a lesson from him.”
Way to go, Connor! Your kind gesture will make a difference for many children struggling through a difficult time. Kids who truly care about others, and go out of their way to make this community a better place, make Topeka Public Schools a great place to be

Major Saver Campaign Underway

The Topeka Public Schools Foundation is once again offering Major Saver cards for sale through the Topeka elementary and middle schools.  Students will receive the sales packets on Monday, February 2nd and can continue to sell the $15 discount cards until Monday, February 16th.  Proceeds from the sale of Major Saver cards directly support the participating schools and the activities of the Topeka Public Schools Foundation.  Last year, the Foundation and participating schools raised over $44,500 through the sale of the Major Saver cards. 


The 2015 participating restaurants/establishments include: Pie Five Pizza, Texas Roadhouse, Boss Hawg’s, Orange Leaf, Planet Sub, Burger King, CiCi’s Pizza, Hardee’s, Bonkers, Dickey’s BBQ, Sheridan’s, Papa John’s, Ice & Olives, Hanover Pancake House, Quizno’s, Papa Murphy’s, Gage Bowls, Kansas Discovery Center & Hy-Vee.


Major Saver cards can be purchased via cash, check, online at, or on your mobile device with the new Major Saver App.  The online and App sale can be credited back to a particular student and school.  All cards purchased online will be mailed directly to the customer.  Prizes and credit to the student will be fulfilled by the end of the campaign. 


Major Saver stresses safe selling and discourages door to door campaigning. The company encourages students to sell to family members, church patrons, neighbors, or other adults the family may know; and to always make sure their parents are involved.


Please consider purchasing one or more Major Saver cards this year to help benefit the Topeka Public Schools Foundation and the students within the district. 


Thank you for your continued support! 

Preschool Information Fair

The Parents As Teachers, PAT Program, will host their annual 2015 Preschool Informational Fair on Tuesday, February 10, 2015, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Washburn University Student Union Memorial Rooms A and B. 


Each family will receive a free 2015 Parents As Teachers Preschool Directory, where they can:

·        Discover 10 signs of a GREAT Preschool.

  • Learn what questions to ask when choosing a preschool.
  • Get information on how to help their child(ren) ease into kindergarten


Parents will meet directors from over 25 preschools around the county, and hear what they have to say that makes their preschool special.  Preschools will be available for questions when the program begins promptly at 6:00 p.m.


Sponsors of this event are Washburn University Education Department, Parents as Teachers from USD#437 Auburn- Washburn, USD #345 Seaman, USD#450 Shawnee Heights, and USD#501 Topeka Public Schools.


The Parents as Teachers program is a free and voluntary program for expectant parents and their children birth to age three.  The program offers personalized home visits with certified parent educators, child development screenings, weekly playgroups, periodic group meetings, volunteer opportunities, a monthly newsletter, and resource and referral to community services for families who have needs beyond the scope of PAT services.  

What does PAT do?

·        Empower parents to support their child’s development and education from the earliest years.

·        Enhance parent-child interaction and strengthen family relationships.

·        Develop strong partnerships between parents and schools.


Research shows that families enrolled in PAT have children who are better prepared for kindergarten, regardless of their other early education experiences.


For more information about USD#501 Topeka Public Schools Parents as Teachers program, contact Rebecca Clancy, Coordinator at (785) 274-6475 or at  You can visit us in the internet, our website is:  For USD#435 Seaman Public Schools PAT contact Tina Killman, Certified Parent Educator at (785) 224-3797 or For USD#437 Auburn Washburn and USD#450 Shawnee Heights Public Schools PAT, contact Julie McGinley, Coordinator at (785) 339-4762 or  More information on the PAT program can be obtained from several websites including, the KPATA site , Kansas Dept. of Education Or KPRIC LOGO LeadLearn 300 CYMK                      

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