Topeka West Girls Bowling Team Wins State Title

The Topeka West High School Girls Bowling team recently took 1st place in the 5-1A division at the state bowling meet at Northrock Lanes in Wichita.

The girls team consisted of:
Kelly Koontz (Top 10 at Regionals, 1st team all-city, 2nd team all-league)
Kylie Lewis-Gentry (2nd team all-league)
Kayla Faulkner
Hannah Baker

Renee Howland (2nd individually at State, 1st team all-city, 2nd team all-league)
Brittany Cooper (Top 10 at Regional, 2nd team all-league)
Makaila Cowdin (13th at State, top 10 at Regionals)
The girls competed in 12 total meets this season, they placed 3rd at the Free State Invitational (16 teams, top finish for a 5A team), 1st at the Bishop Miege Invitational (12 teams), 2nd in Centennial League (10 teams), 2nd in Regionals (12 teams), and 1st at State (12 teams).
In the 10 years of bowling at Topeka West the girls team has been to state 6 times. The previous 5 trips resulted in finishing 2nd, 3rd twice, 4th and 7th. This is the first state championship for Topeka West in bowling.
Way to go, Chargers!!!

Robbins to Chair United Way

Topeka Public Schools Deputy Superintendent of Operations Larry Robbins was formally introduced as the new Chairman of United Way of Greater Topeka’s Board of Directors. At UWGT’s annual meeting, Robbins spoke about his new position on the board. “I welcome this role as chair of a board of truly committed volunteers,” he said.

Robbins has served as a board member for multiple years and is motivated to offer his time and talents to UWGT because he has witnessed the positive impact the agency has had on the community. A love of Topeka- the city in which Robbins was raised- is another reason he has chosen to play an active role at UWGT. “We have a good community. But it’s a good community that can be improved. Community impact is United Way of Greater Topeka’s purpose. Bringing together people, companies and non-profits to affect positive, sustainable change in our community--- that’s what we’re all about. Focusing on education, financial stability and health, United Way is facilitating the work necessary to have the community that all of us can be proud of.”

Robbins will serve as UWGT’s Chairman of the Board for two years.

Energy Topic of Science Fair

Fourth graders at Quincy Elementary held a mini science fair recently to showcase what they’ve been learning about energy. Thanks to a grant provided by Westar Energy, the 4th graders were able to spend six weeks increasing their knowledge of different forms of energy. They recently invited their parents and their peers to see what they’ve been working on and they demonstrated different types of energy in action. “The kids loved it,” teacher Amy Wilson said. “They had no experience with science fairs before and they learned a lot.”

Canty, Teacher of the Month

Congratulations to Topeka High teacher Teresa Canty. She was recently named KSNT’s Teacher of the Month.

The award, sponsored by Capital City Nissan of Topeka, solicits nominations from the KSNT viewing audience for teachers who are making significant contributions to their students, schools and communities.

Canty’s name was selected from the scores of nominations they receive each month and was added to a list of teachers who are in contention for Teacher of the Year. Canty received an amazing 13 nominations from students. Among the comments were the following: “Ms. Canty taught me a lot about myself, who I’m becoming and want to be” and “she is always there for me when I need help and she motivates me to never give up on my future.”…/features/teacher-of-the-month-features/

Commended Merit Scholars

At the March 5th Topeka Public Schools Board of Education meeting, two of the district’s seniors were recognized for their stellar performance on the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Both Topeka West’s Victory Rose and Topeka High’s Lucas Ryan received Letters of Commendation. About 1.5 million students take the test each year and only 34,000, or just 2%, receive Commendations from the program.
Victory plans to attend Washburn University next year and Lucas has not yet selected a college, but hopes to study on the east coast.
Congratulations, Victory and Lucas, we’re so proud of you!

March Above & Beyond Winner

A great teacher is one who challenges students to succeed.  That best describes Randolph Elementary 5th grade teacher Tamyra Heim.  “She pushes students to meet their maximum potential.  She challenges her students with differentiated instruction so that all of their needs are met.  Tamyra is always coming up with new ideas to engage her students,” said Tasha Ullom, a co-worker who nominated Tamyra for the Above & Beyond Award.

Tamyra has been a teacher for eight years, all of them at Randolph Elementary School.  She says her job is made easier by the students in her class.  She especially likes their sense of humor.    “They make me laugh at lot every day.  They are very witty and give me a lot of hope for our future,” said Heim.

Randolph Principal Karen Williams is well aware that Tamyra goes above and beyond in her work at school.  “One thing we started this year was an after school pick up schedule for our school,” said Williams.  “Tamyra provided consistency in getting it going and she volunteered every day to do duty to help us get if off the ground and she trained others to do the job.”  Williams also says students in Tamyra’s class are trained to excel and she knows they will all do great in middle school because of her guidance.

The Above and Beyond Award can be given to staff, parents or a volunteer who are going above and beyond to serve the students and staff of Topeka Public Schools.  To nominate someone for the award, go to the district website, and click on staff/forms for staff/district program forms/ Above and Beyond.

TPS Receives Magna Award Again

The Topeka Public Schools Board of Education is pleased to announce that, for the second year in a row, the American School Board Journal has awarded the school district with the prestigious Magna Award. This award highlights the best practices of school district leadership. Topeka Public Schools was one of only five similarly-sized schools in the nation to receive this honor. Topeka Public Schools earned a First Place Prize for its partnership with Westar Energy that has resulted in the construction of the Westar Energy Education Station substation at the Kanza Education and Science Park, job shadowing, scholarship and internship opportunities for students, the Corporate Bigs program, and curriculum development, among many other projects. Topeka Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Julie Ford said, “Westar has been a wonderful industry partner.  They have worked with our district to integrate STEM skills in our curriculum and have created a learning tool for our schools and the community.”


Larry Robbins, TPS Deputy Superintendent of Operations, is also pleased the partnership is receiving the Magna Award. "We at Topeka Public Schools recognize the importance of forming business partnerships and greatly appreciate the value those partnerships bring to our educational mission.  This national recognition certainly validates our approach to enhancing learning opportunities for TPS students through strategic alliances with business partners,” he said.


Westar Energy President and CEO Mark Ruelle said: “A few years ago leaders at Topeka Public Schools and Westar started talking about how we might work together. What kinds of programs can complement classroom lessons and bring them to life? The district has shown great leadership and a willingness to innovate. We’ve accomplished more than I thought possible, and we’re still growing together.” 


Topeka Public Schools received a Magna First Place Award last year, as well. The Pine Ridge Prep pre-school program was honored for its efforts to provide a quality early childhood education to children in the Pine Ridge Manor community. In 2012, the district was awarded a Magna Honorable Mention for the implementation of its Truancy Prevention Dispatch Program, which resulted in a 43% decrease in truancy in just two years.


According to the American School Board Journal website, “The Magna Awards is a national recognition program co-sponsored by American School Board Journal, the National School Boards Association, and Sodexo. For the past 20 years, the Magna Awards panel of independent judges has reviewed programs that showcase school district leadership, creativity and commitment to student achievement.” The Magna awardees will be highlighted in an upcoming edition of the American School Board Journal and online at, as well as being honored at the National School Board Association Annual Conference which will take place in Nashville, Tennessee on March 21.



Chiefs Player Eats Breakfast With Students

The students of Meadows Elementary had an exciting morning recently when Kansas City Chiefs player Dustin Colquitt visited to help serve breakfast. The NFL punter was at the school to celebrate National School Breakfast Week while he helped students make their breakfast selections. After each student had received breakfast, Colquitt even joined them in their classroom to eat and chat.
Meadows Principal Nicole Dial is thrilled with the new breakfast program at her school. This is the first year the students have been able to eat their morning meal at their desks in the classroom. The foods are offered in each pod and the students go through a serving line to select their items before sitting down with their classmates to eat. Eating in the classroom rather than the cafeteria makes for a smaller, calmer mealtime. “It’s a peaceful way for them to start their day,” Dial said.
Second grade teacher Konchetta Johnson agrees, crediting the environment and nutritious meal with reducing discipline issues and helping the children start their day in a better mood. She also enjoys the relationship-building that takes place when the students get to enjoy their breakfast together.
The students had great time meeting Dustin Colquitt and we're so glad he could join them in celebrating National School Breakfast Week!

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