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Showing posts from May, 2016

Kindergarten Academic Preparation Program

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Williams Student Wins $500 in Westar Contest

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Williams Science and Fine Arts Magnet 5th grader Lilly Windsor received $500 check from TPS corporate partner Westar Energy in a ceremony this morning. Lilly was awarded the check thanks to her successful performance in a Westar wind car race.


This year, Lilly, along with eight fellow students, took part in the Westar Corporate Bigs program. As part of the program, they met with their "Bigs" (Westar employees) at the utility's corporate office each week to receive mentoring and participate in STEM-related activities. Recently, the "Littles" each constructed cars that could be propelled with a fan, and Lilly's unique double-sail construction launched her car across the room, making her the winner.
Westar VP of Operations and Administration Jerl Banning and State Treasurer Ron Estes presented Lilly with her giant check this morning outside Westar's corporate office. "The Wind Car Project not only provided students an opportunity to be creative an…

Two TPS Teachers Selected to Become Kagan Trainers

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Topeka Public Schools utilizes teaching methods created by Kagan Professional Development in each of our classrooms throughout the district, from pre-school through 12th grade. These teaching methods are designed to engage students in the learning process, through everything from the way desks are arranged to the way students respond to a teacher’s questions. The Kagan method is research-based and has proven to be a highly effective way to increase student participation and achievement.
Topeka Public Schools is proud to announce that two of our teachers have been selected to become Kagan trainers. Sara Gering and Lauren Peel, along with just 18 other educators, were selected out of hundreds of applicants from across the nation.The utilization of Kagan Cooperative Learning is the district’s longest-running initiative and we’re thrilled to have not just one, but two of our educators accepted into the coveted program this year.
Topeka Public Schools already has one Kagan Associate Na…

Williams Principal to Retire After 40 Years with TPS

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Most elementary school principals spend the last part of each school year preparing for the one that lies ahead. They make schedules, assemble class lists, coordinate summer projects for the building… generally prepare for the upcoming school year. This year, however, one long-time building principal will be doing something a little different: packing up his office. After a 40 year career in Topeka Public Schools, Williams Science and Fine Arts Magnet Principal Marty Gies is preparing to retire.

Gies grew up in Tecumseh, Kansas and graduated from Shawnee Heights High School in 1972. He then attended to Washburn University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science and later his Master of Education degrees. A career in education seemed a perfect fit for the young Gies, whose father, Jack Gies Sr., was principal of Quinton Heights and whose mother, Bette, worked at both Highland Park High School and at the TPS administrative building. Gies’s brother, Jack Jr., was also an educator, having…

Avondale West Students Offer a Helping Hand

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What started out as a class discussion about setting goals turned into a donation of over $1,200 for the Helping Hands Humane Society.

Earlier this year, Alyssa Gleason’s 4th grade class at Avondale West Elementary learned about setting and achieving goals as they worked to raise money for the local animal shelter. Their goal was to raise $500 for the center and, when they quickly reached that goal, they raised it again to $1,000. Bake sales and school penny wars generated $1,230 dollars, which was recently presented to Helping Hands. Gleason’s class was in attendance for the donation and enjoyed a tour of the facility before heading back to school.






The kids had a great time raising money for a wonderful cause, while learning that, with a little hard work and some help from friends, they can accomplish anything!
Way to go, students!!

Robinson SRO Hollar Honored

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Congratulations to Robinson Middle School SRO Ron Hollar—today he was honored by the Topeka Downtown Optimist Club with the Respect for Law Award. The award was established in 1965 as a way to recognize outstanding law enforcement members in our community for the work they do each day to ensure safety and positive relationships with law enforcement in their communities.

His colleagues in the TPS Police Department, as well as Robinson Principal Tammy Hazelton and Assistant Principal Todd Berry, were all on hand to congratulate him.
Way to go, Officer Hollar

Kindergarten Academic Preparation Program

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McCarter 1st Graders Celebrate Their Fathers

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Father's Day is still a month away, but that didn't stop McCarter Elementary 1st grade teacher Cherie Garrett from throwing a dad's day party. Yesterday, the students' fathers attended a baseball-themed soiree in their honor, complete with a performance by the students, who sang, "Take Me Out to the Ballpark." They enjoyed rootbeer floats, peanuts, sunflower seeds and books written by the kids especially for the occasion. The students had a great time hosting their dads!






Free Summer Meals Program

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Hope Street Student Receives Scholarship

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Congratulations to Hope Street Academy junior Kelly Nemechek-- she has received a scholarship to attend the Youth Civic Leadership Institute this summer. It will be held at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics on the campus of the University of Kansas. Only about 60 incoming seniors from across the state were selected to attend this program, which is designed to enhance leadership skills and encourage public service.
Kelly is very excited about the workshop. “I’ve never done anything like this before,” she said. We think she’s going to have a wonderful time! Congrats, Kelly!

TPS Employee Makes Healthy Changes, Transforms Life

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They say everyone has a breaking point. Trapped in her own body, which tipped the scales at over 380 lbs., Topeka Public Schools Account Clerk Jana Dreher knew she had to make a change. In March of 2015, she was enjoying a girls’ weekend with her friends in Branson, Missouri when the group decided to tour one of the region’s many caves. Too heavy to descend the 125 steps into the cave, Jana had finally reached her breaking point. As her friends toured the cave without her, she thought about all the things she was missing out on. “I came back from that weekend and decided that I’d had enough. Right then, I changed my whole life.”


Jana’s journey toward a healthier life began that March. Since then, she has lost over 180 lbs. and has completely transformed her life. She started by cutting out sugar, a decision she made when recent bloodwork indicated she was borderline-diabetic. “I used to eat whatever I wanted. My go-to food was candy, especially chocolate. There were times that I would …

HPHS Dance Team Members Sign Letters of Intent

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Yesterday was an exciting day for five of Highland Park High School’s Rhythmic Belles dance team members as they signed letters of intent to dance at the college level next year.

Zora Green, Ajanea Gunby, Zhane Rainey and Brittany Sowell all plan to take their talents to the Coffeyville Community College Red Ravens dance team.
Asianah McCracken will share her skills with the Ottawa University Braves dance team.
With lots of friends and family in attendance, the girls thanked those that helped them achieve their goals.

Congratulations, ladies! You’re going to have a great time dancing—and learning—in college!

TPS Students Receive Westar Scholarships

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Westar Energy recently awarded the 2016 Westar Energy/Haines –Weber Scholarships and four were awarded to Topeka Public Schools’ students. The students each received a Community Scholarship, which provides a $2,000 scholarship, renewable for four years, for a total of $8,000. The students will also receive campus mentoring support and will be honored at a recognition dinner.
Trey Austin, Topeka West High School, will be attending Kansas State University and plans to study computer science.



Eric Hoyt, Topeka West High School, plans to study nuclear engineering at Kansas State University.



Jirani Smith, Topeka High School, will attend Washburn University and plans to pursue a degree in actuarial sciences.




Skylan Wagner, Topeka West High School, will attend Kansas State University and hopes to study computer science.


Congratulations, Trey, Eric, Jirani and Skylan—have fun and study hard!

Scott Students Visit Washburn University

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Sixteen members of the Scott Magnet MALE (Males Achieving Lifelong Education) Group recently visited Washburn University. Led by Scott’s Community Liaison Leo Cangiani, the students had the opportunity to visit with WU football players Bryce Chavis (senior, wide receiver), Kyle Emerick (redshirt freshman , linebacker) and Jackson Kirby (redshirt freshman , fullback) and defensive line coach Skyler Parker. The players told the students about the skills they would need to be successful students, athletes and young men. The kids had an opportunity to ask lots of questions and think about how they could apply what they learned to their own lives.

After their meeting, the coach and players took the students on a tour of the university’s weight room and football locker room. The boys loved hanging out with the college students and were very excited at seeing the possibilities their futures hold.


Thanks for a great tour, guys—our students had a fantastic time!

2016 Friends of Education Recipients Recognized at Board Meeting

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The 2016 Topeka Public Schools Friends of Education recipients were honored at the May 5th Board of Education meeting. Thank you to the following honorees for all you do for TPS students and staff:

School Volunteer Category: Rev. Tony and Dr. Rita Stanley Nominated by: Rebecca Morrisey, Principal of Eisenhower Middle School


Rev. Stanley can frequently be found volunteering in the Eisenhower cafeteria, visiting with students and assisting staff. As he makes his way through the lunch room, he takes time to stop at each table to ensure he has made a connection with every group of students. “His guidance has led to improved behavioral choices and celebrations for success for many of Eisenhower’s students,” said Principal Rebecca Morrisey. “He provides a positive male influence for students who may not have a father figure in their lives.”
While juggling the demands of a physician’s schedule, Dr. Stanley still makes time to contribute to the Eisenhower Middle School community. She often provid…

Robinson Students Learn How to Ride the Bus

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The students in Robinson Middle School's after school club learned a practical new skill recently: how to ride the city bus.














Representatives from Topeka Metro stopped by to give the kids a lesson on how to board and exit the large vehicle and how to load their bikes onto the bus's bike rack, among other things. The students also had the opportunity to sit on the bus and to ask questions about navigating the city. The information they learned will serve them well this summer, as Topeka Metro offers students free riding privileges while school is out.
Thank you, Topeka Metro, for all you do for our students!

Janice Dean the Weather Machine Visits Quincy

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New York-based meteorologist Janice Dean visited Quincy Elementary School yesterday. There, she read the childrens book she authored, "Freddy the Frogcaster and the Terrible Tornado" to the students. She also talked to the kids about storm safety and developing emergency storm kits. Through her work as a television meteorologist, Dean has covered Hurricanes Rita, Wilma, Katrina and Sandy and the 2011 Joplin, Missouri tornado.
Thank you for visiting Quincy Elementary, Janice-- the kids loved having you!

TWHS Student Collects Books for Ross Elementary

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Ross Elementary students will enjoy nearly 200 new books thanks to the efforts of Topeka West High School senior Lacey Clark.




Lacey was the first student at TWHS to pursue completion of the Teaching and Training Pathway. As part of the coursework, Lacey was required to complete a service project and she chose to collect books for Ross Elementary. She was able to acquire nearly 200 books, which presented to the school yesterday.
Thank you, Lacey, for the hard work it took to collect so many books. The students at Ross will enjoy them for years to come!

TPS Student Demonstrates Woodworking Skills in Competition

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Congratulations to TPS student Michael Ramirez-- he is being recognized for his hard work on a Toys for Tots community service project.
Michael is a Topeka Public Schools and Washburn Tech student who has been studying cabinetry and millwork. He and two Washburn Tech classmates competed as a group in the Kansas State SkillsUSA competition recently, where they presented their Toys for Tots project. They received a gold medal and will be headed to Louisville, Kentucky in June to compete at the national level!
According to the Washburn Tech newsletter, "In the SkillsUSA competition, contestants work against the clock and each other while proving their expertise in occupations such as computer technology, cabinetmaking, precision machining, baking and advertising design. It is designed to showcase the best career and technical students in each state and eventually in the nation."

Congrats, Michael-- your talent and dedication to your craft will take you far!

TPS Students Win Art Contest

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The Topeka Bar Association recently hosted a coloring contest as part of their 2016 Law Day celebration, and five of the six winners are Topeka Public Schools students! Their work was displayed in a full-page ad in a recent edition of Topeka Capital-Journal. The winners will also be recognized at the TBA’s May membership luncheon on May 6 at the Topeka Public Library. Each of the winners will receive a $25 gift card.


Congratulations to all the talented winners:
1st grade – Ivan von Soosten, State Street Elementary
2nd grade – Ricky Adkins III, Ross Elementary
3rd grade – Devez Oliver, Whitson Elementary
4th grade – Addison Brooks, Whitson Elementary
5th grade – Jaliyah Hill, Highland Park Central Elementary