Friday, May 5, 2017

Celebrating the Teachers of Topeka Public Schools

As Teacher Appreciation Week closes, I wanted to take a moment to thank all of our teachers and staff for the work you do each day to mold young minds. The commitment of our teachers and staff makes a tremendous difference in Topeka Public Schools. Today in The Topeka Capital-Journal, teachers and students are highlighted from McClure for being named the National School of Character. Congratulations McClure! They represent the amazing staff we have across the district. Thank you for your commitment. Have a wonderful weekend. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Making Health a Priority for Topeka Public Schools

On Thursday, April 27, Dr. Anderson served as the keynote at the Governor's Public Health Conference in Manhattan.

What is the state of public health care in the Topeka Public Schools? The Shawnee County health index is low due to many of the social determinants which include housing, health care access, and other factors. Topeka has included well being as part of the five-year strategic plan that was approved at this school year.  Initiatives that Dr. Anderson has placed as a priority include increasing health care access with free immunizations being given this school year, free dental care services will be provided in 2017-18 to all schools through the generosity of the mobile dental units through Grace Med and mental health services are being expanded by expanded counseling services in schools.   

The Topeka Housing Authority has continued its longstanding partnership with Topeka Public Schools through the Pine Ridge Partnership. Mrs. Shanna McKenzie and the Housing Authority have plans to continue to expand beyond the wellness center they have implemented in 2016, the preschools and the aquaponics center they have implemented in past years. See the video by clicking on the Pine Ridge link -  Pine Ridge Partnership.

Healthy children have healthy minds and it's part of Topeka's mission to ensure the growth and development of every child is fully fostered by serving the whole child physically and mentally.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Invest in Public Education

Dr. Anderson on the red carpet at this year's Academy Awards.
Topeka Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Anderson explains why everyone must invest in public education at the Oscars in this video.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Students Earn President's Volunteer Service Award

Topeka High students Kelsey Cott, left, and Marissa Fillyaw

Topeka High students Kelsey Cott and Marissa Fillyaw recently were awarded the President's Volunteer Service Award. The two won the award for their hundreds of hours of volunteer service that they have done during their high school careers. 
Cott volunteered more than 500 hours with Special Olympics, at Williams and Scott Elementary schools, church camps, coaching activities and assisted various other school groups. Fillyaw worked more than 200 hours at the YMCA volleyball camp, United Way Christmas project, The Bridge as a student educator, Festival of Trees and with elementary schools. 
"I never planned on using volunteer hours for an award because it came naturally to me," Fillyaw said. "To receive the President's Award makes me really realize that my contributions made a difference in my community and it's really a heart warming feeling." 
Cott agreed. "I wouldn't trade what I've done and the time I've spent at all of these activities over the years. I love volunteering and I truly believe that this award is special not only for those I've helped but for all of those acts that helped me." 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Topeka Public Schools Implements Initiatives to Close the Achievement Gap

501 expands support services and approves new staff at Highland Park 

During last week's school board meeting there were exciting announcements regarding Highland Park High School that we want to share with you. 
To further support improvements in eliminating achievement gaps at the highest poverty schools and to fulfill the commitment to ensure all schools offer equitable service across the district in college and career readiness, Highland Park will expand college courses in 2017-18 to align more closely with offerings at all high schools with an increase of expanded college credits being available in 2017-18.
Through a grant, an improvement specialist will be located at Highland Park and they will serve needs at schools across the district in addressing achievement gaps. Announced at the March 16, 2017 Board meeting, a $650,000 donation to Highland Park was announced and a scholarship fund for students is being established for 2017. 

·         New Principal Named
·         College Courses Expanded
·         Grant-fund Improvement Specialist Hired
·         Scholarship Fund Established
New Highland Park principal Shana Perry. 
Additionally, in the 2017-18 year, the new Highland Park principal has been selected and approved by the Board of Education. Former 2012 principal of the year from Oklahoma, Ms. Shana Perry is the new principal starting July 1, 2017. Ms. Perry is currently the principal at Summit Middle School in Edmond, OK. With over 20 years in education, Ms. Perry brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Topeka. Highlights from Ms. Perry's career include:
·  Oklahoma Excellent Educator Award, 2002
·  Most Valuable Player Award from Mid-Del Public Schools, 2010
·  Oklahoma Middle School Principal of the Year, 2012 
·  Top Three National Finalist for the MetLife/MASSP Middle School Principal of the Year, 2012

Topeka Public Schools remains committed to supporting all students and with the investment being made at Highland Park, we expect graduation rates, ACT rates and college indicators will meet or exceed state standards in future years across the district. The scholarship funds from this donation will be available to students starting this school year.