Reser's Fine Foods Hands Out Checks to Schools

We want to send a special thank you to Reser's Fine Foods. Williams Magnet, Scott Magnet, Meadows Elementary School and Chase Middle School each received a check for $500 for supplies and projects as well as a box of paper. Jeremy Harvey, Reser's employee and "Reser's Cares" committee member said that the company recognized some of the issues that teachers face when returning to school and setting up their classrooms. "We thought it would be nice to help off set some of that," Harvey said. Donating money, time and talents to Topeka Public Schools makes a real difference to our students and staff. Thank you, Reser's!!!

Kansas Education Commissioner Visits Topeka Public Schools

Dr. Randy Watson, the Kansas Education Commissioner, today got to see first-hand some of the great programs serving the students and families of Topeka Public Schools.  Superintendent Dr. Julie Ford and Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Tammy Austin, took Watson to Highland Park High School so he could see and learn about the robotics programs.  He also visited a bio-medical technology class at the school.  Commissioner Watson also toured the Pine Ridge Facilities that serves pre-school students and their families, Scott Dual Language School and the Kanza Education and Science Park.

Watson says school district tours, since as the one today, allows him to get out and see what is happening in schools across Kansas.  He is visiting the larger school districts like Topeka first, but hopes to visit as many small school districts as possible.  “I want to learn and listen about the issues, the problems, the things that we can correct at the education department,” said Watson.  “Things I can advocate for and areas where we can make our local efforts even better.”

Casino Delivers School Supplies to TPS

The people who work at the Prairie Band Casino and Resort like doing things for kids.  With reduced funding for public education, they decided to ask casino patrons to bring school supplies to the casino and did they respond.   “We had people with truckloads of supplies arrive at the casino.  We would help them unload the supplies.  They would get free play for their donations,” said Casino Marketing Manager Joy Knudson.

Being the largest school district in the area, Topeka Public Schools was the top choice of many people.  Before the August 20 school board meeting, a large Prairie Band Casino and Resort truck pulled up in front of the Burnett Center.  Casino workers began unloading box after box of school supplies, 44 boxes to be exact.

Ten of the big boxes of school supplies were placed in the room where the school board meets.  When board members entered the room, they were surprised to see all the school supplies.  John Tuckwin, director of casino marketing, told board members about the school supply drive which took place in one day.  He and his fellow workers had their picture taken with Superintendent Dr. Julie Ford and board of education members.  It was a great way to begin a school board meeting.

Students "Linked" to High School

The first day of high school is usually a nerve-wracking experience for students. However, the Topeka West High School freshmen seemed quite at ease on their first day. That's because the school's Link members were on hand to welcome the incoming students and help them get to know the school.

The Link crew consists of 10th, 11th and 12th grade students who, in addition to being active at T-West throughout the year, generously gave up the most treasured of all days: their last day of summer break. They did an awesome job of showing the new Chargers around the school and helping them get to know one another. Link members will continue to act as mentors to freshmen all year long.

Two Named to "20 Under 40"

Congratulations to Juli Watson and Leo Cangiani for being named to the Jayhawk Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, annual Topeka’s Top “20 Under 40” award.  This is the sixth year for the awards which recognize contributions both professionally and personally.  Watson is an assistant principal at Highland Park High School.  Cangiani is community liaison at Scott Dual Language Magnet School.  The two are among 20 honorees who will be recognized by the Jayhawk Council at a banquet in November.

Porch Visit

The August heat wasn’t enough to keep the Williams Magnet faculty inside! For the second year in a row, the teachers took a break from prepping their classrooms to reach out to their community. Armed with materials for parents, they ventured out into the Williams neighborhood hoping to make connections with as many of their students’ families as possible.

Vanessa Hill, Williams teacher and Title 1 Community Liaison, said this activity is very important to the school’s staff and families. “We believe that the first positive moment is very important to students and parents. We want to show them that we care enough about our students to come out to their house on a hot day to see them,” Hill said.

With dedication like that, the Williams Wildcats are sure to have an awesome school year!

Teachers Gather to View Documentary

Excitement filled the room as teachers, paraprofessionals, principals and other certified staff of Topeka Public Schools gathered for a special professional development event at Topeka Performing Arts Center on August 7th..

The well-appointed TPAC set the stage for the main attraction of this year’s back-to-school PD: the premier of Paper Tigers, a documentary film by none other than James Redford. (You may have heard of his father, Robert.)
Paper Tigers is an intimate look into the lives of selected students at Lincoln High School, an alternative school that specializes in educating traumatized youth. Set amidst the struggling rural community of Walla Walla, WA, the film closely examines the inspiring promise of Trauma-Informed Communities-- a movement that is showing great promise in healing youth struggling with the dark legacy of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Following six students over the course of a school year, viewers watch as Lincoln’s staff try a new approach to discipline: one based on understanding and treatment rather than judgment and suspension. Paper Tigers is a testament to what the latest developmental science is showing: that just one caring adult can help break the cycle of adversity in a young person’s life.

"We are very excited to screen Paper Tigers to our staff during our back-to-school convocation,” says Dr. Julie Ford, Superintendent of Topeka Public Schools. “Our district has many children that have had Adverse Childhood Experiences which impact their school career and transition to adulthood. Our staff is eager to learn more about trauma-informed care and brain development in order to assist our children to become successful adults. This includes strategies for preventing and de-escalating problem behavior and learning more about ACEs."
Former principal of Lincoln High School, Jim Sporleder, was also on hand to give a post-screening talk on healing trauma in the school setting and will also lead a workshop for principals and guidance staff. Having over twenty years of experience as a teacher, Sporleder came to Lincoln in 2007. Under his leadership, the school gained national attention due to a dramatic decrease in out-of-school suspensions, increased graduation rates, and a higher number of students going on to post-secondary education. Since retiring, Sporleder has continued to work as a trauma-informed education consultant with Children’s Resilience Initiative, based in Walla Walla, and travels the country to present on the topic of trauma.

Steve Graner spoke to TPS staff, as well. Mr. Graner is currently serving as the Project Director for the Neurosequential Model in Education for the ChildTrauma Academy and is active withCTA in training teachers and school personnel in trauma-informed educational practice. Mr. Graner highlighted emerging concepts and practices of trauma-informed care and brain development in order to assist educators in understanding student behavior and performance.

It was a fun and educational morning for our staff at Topeka Performing Arts Center. We are honored to be able to provide our outstanding TPS team with such a great opportunity!

Special thanks to the sponsors of this event: Architect One, Bartlett and West, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Durham School Services, Eagle Auto Wash, Frito Lay, Hy Vee, Jimmy John's, Pepsi, Schmidt Vending, Schwerdt Design Group, The Burger Stand, Wendy's, and Westar Energy.

Topeka High "All Sports Parent/Athlete" Meeting


Topeka High School will host its annual ‘All Sport Parent/Athlete Participation Meeting’ on Thursday, August 13th beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the THS Student Cafeteria. Any parent of a Topeka High student that has an interest in participating in athletics during the 2015-16 school year, are encouraged to attend this
informational meeting.  This meeting will include a General Session covering:  Philosophy of THS programs; KSHSAA rules and procedures; Eligibility and Code of Conduct requirements; NEW Physical Forms;
Insurance/Medical Release Forms; Transportation Waivers; Procedures for inclement weather;Sportsmanship; and Player/Parent/Coach communication.  The fall sports coaches’ will then host their individual sessions at approximately 7:00 p.m. in designated classrooms.

The ‘Student-Athlete Handbooks with all of the required forms will be available at the ‘All Sport Parent/Athlete Participation Meeting’ on Thursday, August 13th (THS Student Cafeteria), so please plan on
attending.  Remember, that this is where you can get all of your questions answered and introduce yourself to your child’s coaching staff.      

If you have any questions, please contact Rod Hasenbank at Topeka High School at 295-3157.

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