All-State Elementary Choir

Do-re-me-fa-so-la-ti-do! Third, fourth and fifth graders everywhere have been practicing their vocals in the hopes that they will be selected to participate in the next All-State Elementary Choir. This is the second year that the All-State Elementary Choir has been held and over seven hundred Kansas students submitted audition tapes of themselves singing a capella, “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” (America). Of the seven hundred students who auditioned, a little over one hundred students were selected to be part of this performance.

Four of our own Topeka Public Schools students have been selected to be a member of the All-State Elementary Choir! Fourth-grade students at Meadows Elementary, Emma Culbertson, Kayleigh McCray and Natalie Ortiz along with a fifth-grade student at State Street Elementary, Emily Estrada were thrilled to find out that they have been chosen.

The hard work doesn’t end there; the students will have only two months to prepare for the President’s Concert at the Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA) in-service workshop on February 23, 2017. With the help of a rehearsal CD, family support and dedicated teachers (Josh Yoho, Molli Haller, Jennifer Gilbert and Bethany Linville), the students will learn the music before joining the other selected choir members that day in Wichita. Led by Elizabeth Nunez, a clinician/children’s choral director from New York, the choir will meet and rehearse February 23, with only a few breaks and then present their concert that evening.

Congratulations Emma, Kayleigh, Natalie and Emily, we are proud of all our fine musicians.

Ike Students Collect Donations for Salvation Army

The students at Eisenhower Middle School celebrated the holiday season with a Community Service Challenge last week. Each day, the students were challenged to bring in different donations, such as hygiene products, hats, gloves, socks, and nonperishable food items. The event was organized and promoted by Ike's Eagle Advisor Council, (the school's student council organization), providing the students with an opportunity to use their leadership skills to give back to the Topeka community.

The Community Service Challenge was a resounding success, with 937 items collected! The donations will be given to the Salvation Army for distribution to community members in need.

Great job, Eisenhower Eagles-- your impressive work on this project is inspiring!!


TWHS Students Contribute to City of Character Calendar

Topeka West High School hosted the unveiling ceremony for the Topeka City of Character 2017 calendar. Sponsored by the Topeka Capital-Journal, the calendar features the photographic work of TWHS juniors and seniors in David Meske’s JAG, or Jobs for America’s Graduates, class.

The students in the class worked together on the content of the calendar, which includes photos, quotes and words associated with character traits, like hospitality, respect and wisdom. The kids were proud to show off their handiwork to the audience, which included representatives from the Topeka Chamber of Commerce and students from nearby McClure Elementary. McClure boasts a character education program and the young students were eager to see traits they have learned about being featured in the calendar.

The finished product is an absolutely beautiful 12 month calendar that contains stunning images of familiar Topeka landmarks, such as the Brown v. Board building, Washburn University and Grace Cathedral. Calendars can be purchased by visiting

Great work, Chargers!

2017 Certified Distinguished Staff Award Winners Named

Topeka Public Schools is excited to announce the winners of the 2017 Distinguished Staff Award in the certified categories. The following employees will be honored at a ceremony in April:

Elementary Educator Category: Debbie Dickerson, 4th Grade Teacher, Stout Elementary

Middle School Educator Category: Robert Schawo, Social Studies Teacher, Jardine Middle School

High School Educator Category: Kirsten Cigler Nelson, Language Arts Teacher, Topeka High School

Certified Support Staff Category: Peggy Fisher, Coordinator of Speech and Language Programs, Lundgren/Holland Education Center

Building Leader Category: Dustin Dick, Principal, Topeka West High School

District Leader Category: Larry Robbins, Deputy Superintendent of Operations, Burnett Center

Congratulations to all the winners!

The Distinguished Staff Award selection committee will select winners in the classified categories later this month.

THS Student Named Kansas JAG Vice President

It's been a busy first semester so far, but we couldn't let it wrap up without acknowledging the achievement of one of our Topeka High School students.

Kyia McWilliams, a junior at THS, was voted Vice President of JAG-Kansas. She was first elected as her school's JAG VP, then attended a state-wide JAG convention where she presented a speech to over 800 students and adults. Her stellar speaking sk...ills helped her get elected to the state JAG VP position, and this month she will travel to Washington, D.C. to compete at the national election.

According to the program's website, JAG, or Jobs for America's Graduates, is "a state-based national non-profit organization dedicated to preventing dropouts among young people who are most at-risk, (and has helped) nearly three-quarters of a million young people stay in school through graduation, pursue postsecondary education and secure quality entry-level jobs leading to career advancement opportunities." Fifty-six Kansas schools have JAG programs.

Way to go, Miss McWilliams-- Topeka Public Schools is very proud of your accomplishment!

Topeka West Grad First KC Coast Guard Recruit

Topeka Public Schools' graduates are going on to do some amazing things!

Melanie Yates, a 2013 Topeka West High School alum, is one such individual. She recently joined the US Goast Guard as their very first recruit from the newly opened recruiting office in Kansas City. Yates then shipped out to basic training in Cape May, New Jersey. As a member of the US Coast Guard, she will defend and protect coastlines and waterways, attend search and rescue missions, respond to pollution incidents, patrol the ocean and, most importantly, save lives.

Thank you, Ms. Yates, for your service!!

Angela Soper Named Principal of Jardine Elementary

Congratulations to Bishop Elementary Principal Angela Soper-- the Topeka Public School's Board of Education named her as the principal for the Jardine Elementary, which is set to open for the 2017-18 school year.

Soper has been in education since 1994, and has worked for TPS since 2002, holding positions such as:

K-5 technology teacher, 2002-2005...
4th grade teacher at McCarter Elementary, 2005-2010
Literacy Instructional Coach, Eisenhower and French Middle Schools, 2010-2014
Assistant Principal, Landon Middle School, 2014-2016
Interim Principal, Bishop Elementary, 2016 to present.

Soper holds a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education from Washburn University, a Masters of Science in Education from the University of St. Mary and a Masters of Science in Educational Leadership from Kansas State University.

Bishop Elementary is scheduled to close at the end of 2016-17 school year, as students from that school will move over to Jardine Elementary.

Congrats, Angela!

Two TPS Administrators Named "20 Under 40"

Topeka Public Schools is proud to announce that two of our principals were recognized with the "20 Under 40" award at a special reception yesterday evening. Topeka West High School Principal Dustin Dick and Scott Dual Language Magnet Principal Sarah Lucero were both honored for their leadership skills, work in the community and the potential they have going into the future.
We're so proud of you, Dustin and Sarah! Congratulations!!

Find out more about Dustin Dick at:...

Scott Students Receive Etiquette Lesson for Big Night Out

Ten Scott Dual Language Magnet students recently received a mealtime etiquette lesson in preparation for a big night out.

The students recently attended the annual “20 Under 40” dinner reception at the Ramada Downtown Convention Center. There, they watched as their principal, Sarah Lucero, was honored with the award, which was presented by Jayhawk Area Council of Boy Scouts.
To prepare for the event, Scott’s student council sponsor, Zuleika Reynoso, planned for the students to brush up on their table manners from etiquette coach and retired TPS teacher Evelyn Rivera. Rivera recently visited the students during their lunch time to give them tips on formal dining etiquette. The kids are all part of Scott’s student council, through which they serve as leaders in the school. TPS Deputy Superintendent of Operations Larry Robbins purchased a table at the "20 Under 40" reception so that the students could watch their principal being awarded for her hard work and leadership skills.

 Lucero said the kids were very excited about their night on the town and hopes they will be inspired by what they see at the reception. “It’s not often that elementary students have the chance to attend such an event, so we’re excited that they have this opportunity. We hope they were able to see themselves in the people being honored.”

According to the “20 Under 40” Facebook page, “(This program) is designed to promote mentorship and professional development by introducing these leaders to the established business community and by promoting them as role models for the younger Topeka generations.”
We hope our Scott Magnet students had a great time at the reception and are inspired to continue pursuing leadership opportunities.

Congratulations to Scott Magnet Principal Sarah Lucero and Topeka West High School Principal Dustin Dick for being named to the "20 Under 40" class of 2016!!

Chase Middle School Holds Mock Election

On October 27th Chase Middle School held a mock election to help students understand the power of voting. The social studies classes discussed topics related to the election for two weeks before voting, including learning about the political parties, this year's candidates, and the history of equal voting rights. Each student had the opportunity to cast their vote during their lunch period, with 73% of the student body participating in the election.

Each student that voted received an "I Voted" sticker. The ballots, stickers and voting signs were donated by Shawnee County. Students were asked to bring their school ID in order to vote. Chase Middle School let everyone vote despite the fact that only 26% of the voters had their student ID.


"We used this as a teachable moment showing that in real life they would not have been able to vote if they didn't have their license. But our focus was to teach the students the process and give them experience in the voting process." said Dr. Keith Jones, Chase Middle School principal.

TPS Announces PSAT Commended Scholars

Topeka Public Schools is proud to announce that Alex Fry of Topeka West High School and Thomas Teeter of Topeka High School have both been named Commended Scholars for their stellar performance on last year's Practice SAT (PSAT) test. Their scores place them among the top 2-3% of the nation's 1.6 million PSAT test takers.

Congratulations, Thomas and Alex!!

Thomas Teeter
Alex Fry

TPS Announces Substitute Hiring Fair

TPS Music Teachers Honored

Congratulations to State Street Elementary music teacher Mollie Haller and to Highland Park High School music teacher Chris Reynolds-- they were recently named Outstanding Young Director of the Year and Music Teacher of the Year, respectively, by the Northeast Kansas Music Educators Association. They will be honored at an upcoming Board of Education meeting.

Congratulations, Mr. Reynolds and Ms. Haller!

Roadrunners Visit Eisenhower Middle School

About 50 students of Eisenhower Middle School got to enjoy their lunch with special guests today: members of the Topeka Roadrunners!

Six players on the hockey team came out to the school to connect with the students while they ate, then stuck around for two afternoon P.E. classes. There, they taught the kids hockey fundamentals.
Ike P.E. and Health teacher Sandra Ortiz invites the players to spend time with the students each year. "It gives the kids a chance to see what kinds of possibilities are out there for them," she said.
Thank you, Roadrunners, for spending time with our students!

Eisenhower MS Colorguard has Debut Performance

Last year, Eisenhower Middle School received a Kansas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Innovation grant to start a colorguard, dance and cheer team. With the grant money, they purchased t-shirts, pep band music, poles and flags. The KU Colorguard also donated a stunning set of flags and poles to expand Ike's new collection.

The Eisenhower MS Colorguard's first appearance was in last Friday's Highland Park High School homecoming parade, where 5th grade students from Ross Elementary also joined in.

"We're so excited about this collaboration between not only great staff members, but also three schools," said Sandra Ortiz, physical education teacher at Eisenhower. "This offers our students the opportunity to be physcally active, become leaders and build spirit of the game."

We couldn't agree more-- way to go, Ike Colorguard!!

Robinson Students Enjoy Biking Fun

About two dozen Robinson Middle School students ventured out for a bike ride after school last Friday. Led by Principal Tammy Hazelton and a group of Robinson teachers and paraprofessionals, the students headed to Shunga Trail for an afternoon of biking fun. Assistant Principal Todd Berry met up with the group to provide bottles of cold water—a much-needed treat, as the heat index soared into the mid-90’s.

This outing was made possible thanks in part to a donation of bikes and helmets from Advisors Excel. Thank you for providing this resource to our students!


Three TPS Students Named Merit Scholar Semifinalists

Topeka Public Schools is proud to announce that three of our students have qualified as National Merit Semifinalists: Toma Dimitriu from Topeka High School, and Blaine Fry and Tristan Myers from Topeka West High School.

According to the National Merit Scholars website, 1.6 million high school juniors take the Preliminary SAT, or PSAT, test each year. Less than 1% of those students achieve scores high enough to qualify as Semifinalists. To become a Finalist, Semifinalists mus...t complete a detailed scholarship application that indicates an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be recommended by an official from their school, write an essay, and produce SAT scores that reflect their performance on the PSAT. National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from the pool of finalists and will be awarded scholarships.

“We congratulate our National Merit Semifinalists and look forward to honoring them at an upcoming Board meeting. They are exceptional students who have shown a commitment to their own academic excellence. Each of them have a remarkable academic history and a commitment to life-long learning. Having three National Merit Semifinalists representing most of our high schools is an example of the excellent academic foundation in Topeka Public Schools and I am so proud of our outstanding student body and our staff,” said Superintendent Dr. Tiffany Anderson.

Tristan Myers, TWHS

Toma Dimitriu, THS

Blaine Fry, TWHS

Seventh Annual Family Fun Fitness Night a Success

On Wednesday, September 14th, Topeka Public Schools held the 7th annual Family Fun Fitness Night at Hummer Sports Park.

The event provided an opportunity for the district’s families and staff members to come together for a night of fun and free physical activities.

Each of our schools hosted wellness booths, as did 30 additional community agencies.

Tammy Austin, TPS Assistant Superintendent and Co-Chair of the district’s Health Council, said that the event is intended to “provide information about what it means to live a healthy lifestyle and to encourage daily physical activity and good nutrition as a starting point.” A former physical education teacher herself, Austin is keenly aware of the issues surrounding childhood obesity. “It is one of the most serious health challenges of the 21st century.  One in three American kids and teens are overweight or obese and this statistic has tripled since the 1960's.  It's important that we help our students and their parents understand that genetics can be a factor of obesity, however, most causes of obesity are due to environmental and behavioral factors, which can be preventable with some healthy behavioral changes.”

The event was estimated to be the best-FFFN event yet, with over 2,000 people in attendance.  

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