Friday, May 29, 2015

GEAR UP Grant To Benefit Middle School Students

Sixth and seventh grade students at Chase and Eisenhower Middle Schools will benefit from a seven year, $2.2 million grant that will follow the students through their high school graduation at Highland Park High School in 2020 and 2021.

The GEAR UP Grant is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.  Its goal is to transform youth from low income households, first generation students and students with disabilities into college success stories.


Researchers from the University of Kansas Center for Educational Opportunity Programs (CEOP) are partnering with Topeka Public Schools.  Director Tonya Waller said, “Our objectives include improved academic performance, more rigorous curriculum such as college advanced placement classes, increased postsecondary enrollment and raised expectations for achievement among students, parents and teachers.  We aim to build more of a college-bound culture in these schools.”

Friday, May 22, 2015

8th Grade Promotion - May 27

8th Grade Promotion will be held at our middle schools on Wednesday, May 27.  Below are the times.
 
 
 
May 27, 2015
 
8:00 a.m.  Jardine Middle School
8:00 a.m.  French Middle School
8:00 a.m.  Landon Middle School
8:15 a.m.  Chase Middle School
8:30 a.m.  Eisenhower Middle School

8:30 a.m.  Robinson Middle School

Summer Warrior Reading Challenge

Whitson Elementary School recently kicked off their new summer reading program, the Summer Warrior Reading Challenge. Through this program, each of the children in kindergarten through 4th grade will receive two new books and a bag to hold them. Then, each Thursday afternoon throughout the summer, the children can bring the books back to the school and exchange them for different ones. In August, Whitson will celebrate all students who read at least eight books over the summer and completed the Summer Warrior Reading Challenge.

This reading program is brand new to Whitson Elementary and was made possible thanks to donations from Title 1 Family Engagement, Barnes and Noble and from Whitson families. Teachers and other Whitson staff members have volunteered their time to help students exchange their books each week.

Summer reading is an important activity for students of all ages. Studies show that students who read during the summer months gain reading skills, while students who do not read during their time off school actually lose some of their skills. The National Summer Learning Association estimates that students lose about 2 months, or 22%, of their school year progress during a summer without reading, and that teachers usually have to spend at least a month re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer break.
Summer reading is free, fun and full of benefits. We hope that all of our students will take time to read this summer!!

Egypt Comes to Jardine Middle School

The 6th graders in Robert Schawo's and Mike Jennings's world history classes at Jardine Middle School got the opportunity to practice their sleuthing skills as they explored the school’s newest classroom: King Tut’s tomb.

Thanks to a grant provided by Topeka Public Schools Foundation, Schawo and Jennings, and several artistically-inclined parents, have spent much of their free time this semester turning an empty room in the school’s basement into a new, fun way to learn... about history. Inspired by a similar project at Robinson Middle School, the teachers painted the room to look like King Tut’s tomb and planted color-coded clues around the chamber. The students, armed with flashlights, ventured into the tomb to collect their clues. They hoped their discoveries will help them develop theories about how the young Egyptian king may have perished. This project accompanies the content they learned about earlier in the school year.

The students had a great time working in teams, getting out of the traditional classroom atmosphere and, of course, playing with their flashlights. And perhaps, in the process, one of the students will finally be able to solve the mystery surrounding King Tut’s early demise!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tammy King Goes Above & Beyond

Above & Beyond Winner – Tammy King
                                                                         May 2015


Tammy King has been serving food to Quincy Elementary students for the past 16 years.  Food service may be Tammy’s main job, but she does so much more at her school and that is why she is the Above & Beyond winner for the month of May.
Tammy was nominated by Jennifer Jackson, a co-worker.  Jennifer wrote that Tammy leads and support many school activities and is one of Quincy’s greatest assets.  Principal Susan Liotta said, “Tammy is one of those hidden treasurers.  You wonder how things get done, then you find out it was Tammy who got them done.”  Tammy plans the school carnival, attends every PTO and booster meeting, directs the school fundraising activities, bags popcorn for students every Thursday, helps set up the school garage sale and spends countless hours in the Quincy community garden.
When told of being the May Above and Beyond winner, Tammy said, “I am very surprised.  I normally try to hide from things like this.” 

Thank you Tammy and all of this year’s Above & Beyond winners for the difference you make in Topeka Public Schools.  

Monday, May 18, 2015

Summer Reading Challenge

Whitson Elementary School recently kicked off their new summer reading program, the Summer Warrior Reading Challenge. Through this program, each of the children in kindergarten through 4th grade will receive two new books and a bag to hold them. Then, each Thursday afternoon throughout the
summer, the children can bring the books back
to the school and exchange them for different ones. In August, Whitson will celebrate all students who read at least eight books over the summer and completed the Summer Warrior Reading Challenge.

This reading program is brand new to Whitson Elementary and was made possible thanks to donations from Title 1 Family Engagement, Barnes and Noble and from Whitson families. Teachers and other Whitson staff members have volunteered their time to help students exchange their books each week.
Summer reading is an important activity for students of all ages. Studies show that students who read during the summer months gain reading skills, while students who do not read during their time off school actually lose some of their skills. The National Summer Learning Association estimates that students lose about 2 months, or 22%, of their school year progress during a summer without reading, and that teachers usually have to spend at least a month re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer break.


Summer reading is free, fun and full of benefits. We hope that all of our students will take time to read this summer!!

Summer Food Program Available at Multiple Sites

The Summer Food Program will begin on June 1st.
Topeka Public Schools Summer Meal Sites:
June 1 - July 10

Antioch Family Life Center
1921 SE Indiana
8:00 - 8:30 Breakfast
12:00 - 1:00 Lunch


Asbury Mt. Olive
1196 SW Buchanan
8:30 - 9:00 Breakfast
11:30 - 12:30 Lunch

Avondale East/NET Reach
455 SE Golf Park
12:00 - 1:00 Lunch

Central Park Comm. Ctr.
1534 SW Clay
8:45 -9:15 Breakfast
11:45 - 12:45 Lunch

Chase Middle School
2250 NE State Street
11:30 - 12:30 Lunch
2:30 - 3:00 Snack

Countryside United Methodist Church
3221 SW Burlingame Rd
12:00 - 1:00 Lunch
June 8 - July 2

Forest Park Retreat Center- Begins June 15th
3158 SE 10th
8:30 - 9:00 Breakfast
11:45 - 12:45 Lunch

Highland Park High- Begins June 8th
2424 SE California
7:30 - 8:30 Breakfast
11:45 - 12:45 Lunch

Hillcrest Comm. Ctr.
1800 SE 21st
11:30 - 12:30 Lunch
2:45 - 3:15 Snack

Lowman Hill Elementary
1101 SW Garfield
12:00 - 1:00 Lunch

New Mt Zion Baptist Church
2801 SE Indiana
12:00 - 1:00 Lunch

Oakland Community Center
801 NE Poplar
9:00 - 9:30 Snack
3:30 - 4:00 Snack

Quincy Elementary
1500 NE Quincy Ave.
7:45 - 8:45 Breakfast
11:30 - 12:30 Lunch

Scott Dual Language- Ends June 26th
401 SE Market
7:30 - 8:30 Breakfast
11:30 - 12:30 Lunch

The Bridge
1023 SW 8th Ave
12:00 - 1:00 Lunch

Westminster Church
1275 SW Boswell
12:00 - 1:00 Lunch

YMCA Downtown
421 Van Buren
11:15 - 12:15 Lunch

YMCA Southwest
3635 SW Chelsea Dr
11:30 - 12:30 Lunch

BOX LUNCH SITES:
June 1 - August 7

Echo Ridge
2021 SE Market
11:00 - 11:30 Lunch

Pine Ridge
1100 SE Highland
11:45 - 12:15 Lunch

For additional sites, please call 295-3070.
All sites will be closed July 3rd.
Topeka Public Schools is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Little Caesars Love Kitchen Stops at Meadows Elementary

The students of Meadows Elementary were in for a fun lunchtime treat recently when the Little Caesars Love Kitchen pulled up outside their school.

Thanks to the efforts of Little Caesars franchise owner Darren Knox and community volunteer Phil Ritchey, the Love Kitchen was able to make a special stop the school. The Love Kitchen is an 18-wheeler that boasts a full kitchen and travels around the country making pizzas for those in need. When Ritchey and Knox heard that the truck would be in the area, they teamed up to bring it to Meadows Elementary. Knox's employees worked on the truck to make 100 pizzas for the students before the truck departed to Des Moines, Iowa to feed the homeless later in the day.

According to the Little Caesars website, the Love Kitchen has been traveling the U.S. and Canada since 1985 and has fed more than 2 million people. It often visits the sites of natural disasters, supporting people when they need it most.

Knox, who owns many Little Caesars restaurants in Kansas, was more than happy to provide support and ingredients so that the Meadows students could have a special treat. "We really enjoy being able to give back to the community," he said.

In addition to fresh pepperoni pizza, the children also enjoyed a visit from officers from the Topeka Police Department, who passed out stickers and smiles.

Thank you to all who worked to make this special lunch happen!!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Retirement Receptions

                                                 Retirement Receptions

There will be a number of retirement receptions taking place over the next couple of weeks.  Below are the receptions that we are aware of with date, time and names of those retiring.


May 6   2:30-4:00 p.m.   Highland Park High School Media Center      
Steven Atherly & Beverly Jones

May 11 4:00-6:00 p.m.  McCarter Elementary School
Jenny Lee & Aaron Zeikle

May 13 4:00-6:00 p.m.  Lowman Hill Elementary Media Center
Diane Ingels & Ramona Smith

May 14 3:30-5:30 p.m.  Eisenhower Middle School Little Theater
Tammy Call, Mary Clark-Thomas, Alan Haimowitz & Toni Stewart

May 14 3:30 p.m. French Middle School Media Center
Pam DeFries, Eleanor Bruch & Janet Harbaugh

May 14 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.  Bishop Elementary
Kevin “Sonny” Fleming & Lynn Janousek

May 18 4:30-5:30 p.m.  State Street Elementary Gym
Sandy Sloop & Cindy Constantino

May 19 4:00-6:00 p.m.  Sheldon Head Start
Scott Henson, Lynne Saunders & Kathy Blosser

May 20 3:30-5:00 p.mTopeka High School Student Cafeteria
Paul Adams, Lesley Brancaccio, Gail Cox, Valerie Patterson & Nancy Vega

May 22 6:30 p.m. -8:30 p.m.  Robinson Middle School at Garden House at Lake Shawnee
                                                    (3720 SE Yacht Court)
Mike Bency, Janet Campbell, Ann Fincham, Onecia Mercer, Cindy Stevens, Jenay Weekly
& Sondra Rankin-Lovelace


Students Give Helping Hand to Helping Hands

The students in Lori Yoder’s Work Study class at Topeka West High School were recently named Group Volunteer of the Year by Helping Hands Humane Society. The class of 5 students walks to the animal shelter every Wednesday and spends time cleaning the center and interacting with the animals.
HHHS Executive Director Dick Kline appreciates the commitment the students have made to the animals. “We were very happy to acknowledge the work these students have done at Helping Hands,” he said. Kline was also pleased to be able to offer opportunities to the student of Yoder’s class. “There are things kids need to learn that aren’t necessarily taught in the classroom.”
The students enjoy their time at Helping Hands Humane Society. Shelby, a senior, said that her favorite part of working at the shelter is spending time with the dogs. In fact, she even came over to volunteer during her spring break this year. She hopes to be a veterinarian technician someday.
Another student, Michael, loves spending his volunteer time socializing the center’s cats. And the felines clearly adore Michael; they gravitate toward his lap to snuggle up for a bit whenever he visits.

Congratulations to Ms. Yoder and her students for winning this award. Topeka Public Schools is proud to have students and staff making a difference in the community!

Two Students Awarded Dean Smith Scholarship

In February of this year, Topeka High graduate Dean Smith (THS 1949) passed away. At the suggestion and lead gift of former Senator Nancy Kassebaum (THS 1950) a scholarship honoring Mr. Smith was established.

Whitney Holloman and Jordaan Ramirez-Jennings are the first recipients of the Topeka High Dean Smith Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to a boy and girl graduating from Topeka High who earned above average grades, participated in varsity sports at Topeka High and will be attending a Kansas college.

Whitney, will graduate number two in her class. She was active in track and field, basketball, tennis, band, National Honor Society and Math Honors Club. She signed a letter of intent to play collegiate tennis at Washburn University.

Jordaan played basketball and was on the Link Crew. He’s in the top 10% of his class, National Honor Society, Math Honors Society and was a Wendy’s Heisman Winner. He went to the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy Camp. He signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Ottawa University.

Dean Smith graduated from Topeka High in 1949. He coached North Carolina basketball for 36 years, won 879 basketball games, won the Atlantic Coast Conference championship 15 times, was ACC Coach of the Year nine times, National Coach of the Year three times, coached the 1976 gold medal Olympic team and last November was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.

Contributions to the Topeka High Dean Smith Scholarship can be sent to the Topeka Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, at 5431 SW 29th St, Topeka, KS 66614


Students Learn About Money & Credit Cards

Money and credit card debt are big problems for millions of adults in this country. Thanks to a program at Highland Park High School, students will be better prepared to deal with those subjects as young adults.  Seventy students in the EverFi Kansas Financial Scholars Program were awarded certificates last week for completion of the web based program. The program is intended to empower young people with skills needed to make sound financial decisions. Such topics as credit cards, student loans, mortgages and credit scores are covered in the program.


This is the first year for the EverFi program at Highland Park High School.  Representatives from Capital City Bank and the Kansas Securities Commissioners Office were on hand to congratulate the students on their successful completion of the program.

Friday, May 8, 2015

McEachron Elementary is a Kansas School of Character

Congratulations to McEachron Elementary! This school has been selected as one of only three in the state to receive the 2015 Kansas School of Character by the Kansas State Department of Education and Character.org.

The Kansas Schools of Character recognition program recipients are schools and/or districts that have demonstrated education principles that include: creating a caring school community, engaging families and community members as partners in character-building efforts, fostering self-motivation, and implementing meaningful and challenging academic curriculum that respects all learners, develops character, and helps students succeed.


McEachron principal Vic Williams accepted the award on behalf of the school at a ceremony at the Brown v Board of Education Historical Site, along with two staff members and three students.
Way to go, Mustangs!!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Kids Ride Free

Information from Topeka Metro:


 “kids ride free” special that lasts all summer long from May 15 to August 15. Anyone 18 or younger can ride on all fixed-route Topeka Metro buses for free anytime we run (Monday-Saturday, approx. 6 am to 6:40 pm). Information about routes and schedules is available at www.topekametro.org.