Inspired by the TopCity Interns program, area school human resource directors from around the city came together with the Greater Topeka Partnership in 2017 to establish a program to introduce student teachers to Topeka and show them the great resources the city has to offer. From there, TopCity Teachers was born.
Throughout several sessions in both the fall and spring semesters TopCity Teachers presents student teachers, as well as first-year teachers, with an invitation to educate themselves on the area and become involved in the Topeka community. Student teachers are offered opportunities to network with other young professionals as well as others in their field, engage in open discussions with key community leaders, and acquaint themselves in the great resources and attractions Topeka has to offer. In providing these opportunities, TopCity Teachers is working to ensure that this group of young talent are given reason to remain in the area. It is the hope of the area school HR and communication directors that this program serves as a gateway for student teachers to fall in love with the capital city and ultimately join the community.
“As you think about any kind of industry in the Topeka area, an important part of sustainability of a business and a community, is having young professional talent stay in the area and be attracted to the area.” claims Brian White, executive director of HR & Operations for Auburn-Washburn School District.
In addition to focus on adjusting students to the area, the TopCity Teacher program also promotes the many achievements currently taking place in the capital city. “Topeka is doing great things. I think what [TopCity Teachers] does for the teachers is help orient them to what’s going on.” says Matt Hirch, director of HR for Shawnee Heights. But a significant point the program is making is that these school districts are heavily involved in their community, and they want their teachers to be just as invested. “We’re not just a district, we’re part of a community.”
Misty Kruger, communications director for Topeka Public Schools, said it best: “The more connected they feel to the community as a whole, and feel like there are different opportunities to be involved and really engage in what’s happening in Topeka, it’s going to help keep them here in our community but really help them grow and help them build on what’s going on in Topeka.”
Fall dates for the TopCity Teachers program include:
Kickoff Reception – August 2, NOTO Arts Center, 4 - 6 p.m.
Welcome Luncheon – August 8, Brown V Board of Education Historic Site, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Professional Development Dinner: Parent Interactions Panel – September 4, location TBD, 5 - 6:30 p.m.