Kansas Supreme Court to Hold Session at THS

Supreme Court announces cases for March 9 special session

at Topeka High School


The Kansas Supreme Court announced the two cases it will hear March 9 at Topeka High School, its next destination in the court's ongoing outreach to familiarize Kansans with the high court, its work, and the overall role of the Kansas judiciary.


It will be the Supreme Court’s first visit to Topeka High School in the court’s 155-year history and it will be the third time for the court to hear cases in the evening. The court’s first evening session was in April 2015 in Hays and it drew a record crowd of nearly 700 people. About 500 people showed up for the court's second evening session in October 2015 in Garden City.


“The Supreme Court extends a personal invitation to the people of Topeka and surrounding communities to come see the court in action,” said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. “Even though we routinely hear cases in Topeka, most people have never watched a court session because it conflicts with their work schedules. This opportunity is for you.” 


The court will be in session from 6:30 p.m. to about 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, in the auditorium of Topeka High School at 800 SW 10th Avenue in Topeka.  


The docket includes:


Appeal No. 110,610: Ron Keiswetter, et al v. State of Kansas. This is a case that originated in Norton County that seeks to establish that the state was negligent, and is therefore liable, for the death of Helen Keiswetter, who sustained injuries when she was barricaded in a closet by Christopher Zorn, a minimum security inmate at Norton Correctional Facility who entered Keiswetter's home after walking away from a work detail.


Appeal No. 111,398: State of Kansas v. Spencer Gifts, LLC. This is a case that originated in Johnson County that seeks to establish that the district court misapplied the speedy trial provision to a limited liability company. Spencer Gifts was charged with class B misdemeanors of promotion of obscenity harmful to minors. In response to a summons from the prosecution, Spencer Gifts' counsel appeared in court in 2010 and entered a not guilty plea on behalf of the company. In 2014, Spencer Gifts filed a motion to dismiss the case because its right to a speedy trial had been violated and the district court judge agreed. The state argues the speedy trial provision does not apply to a limited liability company. The issue whether Spencer Gifts was promoting obscenity harmful to minors is not a subject of this appeal.


Summaries of the cases and briefs filed by the attorneys involved are available online by following the Topeka Supreme Court Docket link under What’s New on the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org. 


The public is invited to attend the proceedings and observe the court as it hears oral arguments. After the session concludes, the justices will greet the public in an informal reception in the Topeka High School cafeteria.


Anyone who wants to attend the special session should plan to arrive at the school before 6 p.m. to allow time to get through security screening. Court security offers these guidelines to ease the process:


  • Do not bring food or drink.
  • Do not bring large bags, large purses, backpacks, computer cases, or briefcases.
  • Do not bring knives, pepper spray, firearms, or weapons.
  • Do not bring electronic devices like laptop computers, handheld games, personal digital assistants, or tablets. If you have to carry a cell phone, it must be turned off or its ringer silenced, and it must be stored out of sight while court is in session.
    Audience members are prohibited from talking during oral arguments because it interferes with the attorneys’ remarks and questions asked by the justices. If someone arrives after proceedings start, or must leave the auditorium before it ends, he or she should be as quiet as possible entering and exiting the auditorium. Talking immediately outside the auditorium is also discouraged.
    “Anyone who’s ever been curious about Supreme Court proceedings should come,” said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. “We’ve provided live webcasts of our courtroom sessions in Topeka since 2012, but people tell us there’s nothing like seeing proceedings in person.”
    Topeka High School is the court’s tenth destination since 2011, when the court convened outside of the Kansas Judicial Center to mark the state sesquicentennial. Its first stop was the historic Supreme Court courtroom in the Capitol. From there, the court conducted special sessions in Salina, Greensburg, and Wichita. The court visited Overland Park in 2012, Pittsburg in 2013, Kansas City in 2014, and Hays and Garden City in 2015.

Certified Staff Members Summer Check Information

Attention TPS Certified Staff Members:

If you would like to receive a lump-sum payment for your summer checks, the deadline to request this is Friday, April 1, 2016. This is a state-mandated deadline; no requests will be honored after this date.

Bargaining unit employees who wish to have lump-sum distribution with the second paycheck in June need to have an “Authorization Agreement for Summer Lump-Sum Payment” card on file with the Payroll Department, which is located at Burnett Center, Topeka Public Schools’ administrative office.


Any employee who already has an authorization card on file and wants to continue with lump-sum payment does not need to submit another card.


To discontinue the lump-sum payment, written notification to cancel must be received in the Payroll Department by April 1, 2016.


For more information, or to request an enrollment card, contact Jana Grant in the Payroll Department at 295-3043 or e-mail jgrant@tps501.com.

Landon Students Show Support for Local Child

Today's kids don’t always get shown in the best  light, but here at Topeka Public Schools, we know that our students are every bit as giving and compassionate as those in the generations that went before them.

Case in point: the students at Landon Middle School have rallied together in support of a complete stranger- a young child they’ve never met- who is battling leukemia.

It all started a couple of weeks ago when 8th grade science teacher Stacy Schreiner wore a bright orange shirt adorned with the words “Team Blake” to school. The inquiring students wanted to know who Blake was, and why he had a team. Schreiner told her class about the little boy, her cousin’s child, who had burned his hands by climbing over a railing in his home and touching a hot wood-burning stove. When Blake’s hands failed to heal normally, his doctor ordered tests that determined he was suffering from acute monoblastic leukemia. The family’s friends and loved ones came together to offer support, and a family friend who owns T-Shirts Etc., a local screen printing shop, offered to print shirts with proceeds benefiting the family.

It was one of those t-shirts that sparked the interest of the Landon Middle School community. Since the students heard about Blake’s struggle, they have been working together to show support and raise funds to help the family. Schreiner said kids have been emptying their pockets to give money, often giving all the change they have-- no small sacrifice for a middle school student. Many of them have purchased t-shirts, which they now wear on Wednesdays in support of the tiny stranger. Numerous staff members have also joined Team Blake. “I didn’t ask them for any of it,” Schreiner said. “They just wanted to help, to try to make things better for Blake and his family.”

Schreiner, who has worked at Topeka Public Schools since 1993, has been “overwhelmed” by the compassion the students have shown. “I have been teaching here at Landon for a couple of years after being out of the classroom for three years (as an instructional coach), and the way these kids have rallied in support of Blake has reaffirmed that I’m in the right place and doing the right thing.”

Landon principal David Boggs attributes part of the students’ involvement to the relationship they have with Schreiner. “She’s really built relationships with them,” he said.

One-year-old Blake is pictured here with his parents, Jaclyn and Chris Cazier.

Landon Middle School students have proven themselves to be concerned young citizens, eager to help a fellow child who is struggling through a difficult time. We are so proud of the Landon Lancers for stepping up to make a difference!

If you would like to send a card or donation to the family, they can be sent to:
Landon Middle School
Attn: Stacy Schreiner
731 SW Fairlawn
Topeka, KS 66606-2336

Jardine Students Attend Career Fair

In recognition of Black History Month, Jardine Middle School students recently took part in a career expo.

Twenty African-American community leaders signed on to speak to students about their career paths and the skills and training necessary to achieve success in the professional world. Many Jardine students were invited to take part in this event, where they were able to meet and converse with local black leaders. “We want our students to be aware that they can achieve their full potential,” said Jardine principal Mike Haire.

Some of the presenters included TPS administrators Larry Robbins, Dr. Beryl New, Dr. Jennifer Gordon and Leosha Giardina. The Topeka Metro Operations Director, the Marian Clinic Director, a corrections officer, an accountant, a social worker and an IT specialist were some of the other presenters.

 The students were clearly intrigued by the guest speakers and listened attentively as they learned about different careers. They had the opportunity to ask many questions, and the presenters also took time to find out more about the students’ goals as well.

 We think this is a creative, informative way to celebrate Black History Month—way to go, Jaguars!!

Check out more pics here:

Thank you to all of this morning’s presenters:

Al Bradley- Operations for Topeka Metro
Linda, Canady- Mary Kay Cosmetics
Lesia Carter- THS Social Worker
Glenda Duboise- Interim Director of Marian Clinic
Fiana Martin- Clinical Social Worker
Dr. Jennifer Gordon- McClure Elementary Principal
Leosha Giardina- IKE Assistant Principal
Joan Hicks- Accountant
Trenton James- Corrections
Trevin James- IT Governance Analyst
Dr. Beryl New- HPHS Prinicpal
Michele Flueranges-Parker
Larry Robbins- Director Superintendent of Operations
Akilah Scott- Accountant
Timothy Smith- HPHS Classroom Teacher
Yolanda Taylor- Photographer/Veteran Affairs
Ashley Wallace- I.T. Specialist
Glenda Washington- Go Topeka
Leslie Fleuranges- Director of Upstream Innovation-- Hills Pet Nutrition
Lynn Smith- Parrs
Officier Gene Dixon- Law Enforcement
Dr. Norma Juma- College Professor

Ross Hosts Hip-Hop Dancers

Ross Music and Fine Arts Magnet students were treated to an electrifying performance by the Houston-based Fly Dance Company. Five dancers from the company were on hand, showing off some impressive hip-hop moves and teaching the kids fun, new ways to express themselves through dance. The children were completely captivated by the high-energy performance.

Thanks, Fly Dance Company, for inspiring our young performers at Ross!!

Ross Students Learn About Ocean Animals Through Music

Ross Elementary 2nd graders were in for a treat today when guest presenter Jon Schwartz visited their classroom.

Schwartz represents Rockademix, a non-profit organization that teaches through the use of music and the arts. Schwartz, an avid underwater-photographer from San Diego, uses his book, “The Kid From Cabo,” to teach school children that living things are built in ways that help them survive. Specifically, how several species of fish are darker on top than they are on the bottom, protecting them from predators.

Schwartz used songs to help him deliver his lesson, a tool he utilized during his 15-year career as a classroom teacher. “When I first started to use music to help my students learn, my 1st graders were picking up everything from phonics to geography to mathematics through song. After a lot of encouragement from education professors, I started looking at developing a curriculum that other teachers could use,” Schwartz said.

Stacy Neumann, music coordinator at both Ross Elementary and Eisenhower Middle School, was thrilled to have Mr. Schwartz back at Ross for the second year in a row. “We’ve gotten so much district support for (these kinds of presentations) that we knew we wanted to keep providing them for our students,” she said.

The students here in land-locked Kansas had a great time learning about aquatic oceanic animals. Thank you, Mr. Schwartz, for presenting such an entertaining lesson!

HPHS Grad Sworn in as Federal Judge

Ever wonder what Topeka Public Schools grads are up to today? One of them was recently sworn in as a federal judge!

Erin Wilder-Doomes, a 1990 Highland Park High School graduate, is the newest federal magistrate judge of the US District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana in Baton Rouge. She had previously been a member of Baton Rouge law firms where she gained experience in both civil and commercial litigation.

Judge Wilder-Doomes graduated from the University of Iowa, where she earned a BS in psychology, and from Louisiana State University, where she earned her law degree. TPS is proud of the solid foundation we provided for her to expand her knowledge in institutes of higher learning.

In addition to the education she received in Topeka Public Schools, Wilder-Doomes also received a college scholarship from our partner, Westar Energy. She was awarded the Western Resources (now Wester Energy) College Scholarship for four years.

Congrats, Judge Wilder-Doomes-- we're so proud of your accomplishments!!

Jardine Students Win Writing Awards

Congratulations to Jardine Middle School 7th graders Psalm “Sam” Babiera and Josie Curls! They were each announced as winners in the Midwest Scholastic Art and Writing contest.

Sam received a Gold Key award, which means she placed in the top 5-7% of applicants. Hers was a science fiction/fantasy story about life in the year 2045. She has been invited to attend an award ceremony in Iowa in September.

Having placed in top 10-15% of applicants, Josie received an Honorable Menti...on for her science fiction/fantasy story about morality.

Way to go, Sam and Josie! We’re so proud of your talent and dedication to the art of writing!

Topeka Public Schools Announces New Superintendent!

The Topeka Public Schools Board of Education has selected Dr. Tiffany Anderson to lead the district starting July 1, 2016.

“We had a number of very qualified candidates to review and meet with, but in the end Dr. Anderson had the experience we need at Topeka Public Schools,” said Patrick Woods, President of the TPS Board of Education. “Her time successfully leading districts with diverse populations and improving test scores is something that resonated with our board.”

Dr. Anderson will be replacing Dr. Julia Ford who will be retiring from the district on June, 30, 2016. Anderson has been the superintendent of the Jennings School District in St. Louis, Missouri since 2012.
Welcome to Topeka Public Schools, Dr. Anderson!

Parent Power Program

Pine Ridge Prep recently celebrated the success of their new Parent Power program.

Parent Power is a program for Pine Ridge Prep families that encourages family and school involvement. Through the program, which began in August 2015, families signed up to post pictures of family and education-related activities in exchange for points. As they hit certain point milestones, they received gift cards and yesterday, the two families who had accumulated the most points were recognized.

The Flores family earned 185 points for their family involvement and Rickquette, Rasaan and family earned 146 points for theirs. A celebration was held at the school to celebrate all PRP families, and each child received a book and activity to take home. Second semester offers a new opportunity for families to sign up to take part in Parent Power, and computers were available for parents wanting to sign up to participate in the program.

PRP Site Coordinator Katie Englehart said she was pleased with the amount of families who participated during first semester. “We have 50 students and 20 families took part during our very first semester (of the program). But we’re hoping even more will participate this semester.”

Parent Power was made possible thanks to a grant awarded by the Shawnee County Early Childhood Collaborative, which received funding from the Kellogg Foundation.  

According to the National Education Association, “regardless of family income or background, students with involved parents are more likely to earn higher grades and test scores, pass their classes, attend school regularly, have better social skills, show improved behavior, adapt well to school, graduate and go on to postsecondary education.” 

Thank you to all the individuals and agencies that made the Parent Power program possible, and congratulations to all the families who participated—you did an outstanding job!!

Featured Post

Neighborhood Veteran Volunteers to Help Keep Kids Safe: September Above & Beyond Award

On a rainy Wednesday morning, Matthew Davis is found in a neon yellow jumpsuit and army boots directing school buses, cars and students safe...