Awards, Grants, Recognition

KASB Awards and Recognition Programs

We believe is saying "THANK YOU" and "JOB WELL DONE!" KASB has a number of award programs to acknowledge all of the hard work of individuals in your organization. Use these opportunities to express appreciation and to inspire others to excel.

We are also honored to be joint sponsors - along with the Kansas State Department of Education and Westar Energy - of the STEM Innovative Curriculum Grants!

 Westar STEM Innovative Curriculum

Three $3,000 grants to support innovative project-based instruction in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are available from Westar Energy. 

The year 2018 marked the fifth year for the awards. Funds can be used to increase student interest and academic achievement in the STEM disciplines as applied to electrical energy. A focus on increasing the diversity of students involved in STEM education is of special interest area.

The awards are a partnership between Westar Energy, the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) and Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE). A selection committee composed of personnel from Westar Energy, KASB and KSDE will select the winning applicants.

About Westar Energy

Westar Energy, the leading electric utility in the Midwest, is dedicated to investing in the communities we serve. Specifically, we are developing partnerships that allow us to invest in our workforce – both current and future. As a part of this effort, we developed a partnership in 2014 with the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) to create the “Westar Energy STEM Innovation Award.”

For more information other award programs offered by Westar Energy, see

2018 Awards

Watt’s Up, Baldwin City?

Baldwin Elementary School Intermedia Center, Baldwin City USD 348, Dr. Jana Hare, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment

Fourth grade students will participate in a year-long citizen science project by designing energy consumption research projects using Wattmeter Kits purchased through the grant. The student will become the research experts in the areas of energy consumption, learn to analyze the data and apply their findings to a community-based approach to energy conservation.

Data collected from household appliances and other devices in use at home, school and in the community will be used to develop an educational program on resource management to share with the community through the public library, city commission and chamber of commerce.

A key part of the project will be to collaborate with others in the community to gather data. A limited number of Wattmeter devices will be available for checkout from the local library as part of the data collection process.

Students will use math, science and language arts skills to create and share regular reports and materials on the school’s website, on social media pages and with the public. Students will also explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math through subscription-based resources and a field trip to the Baldwin City Power Plant.

Investigating Alternative Fuels and Storage for Our School Community

Derby Middle School, Derby USD 260 School, David Brown, Project Lead the Way teacher, and Melanie Wood, language arts and math teacher

Sixth grade students will design projects to investigate various forms of energy, determine the potential for alternative fuels use by the school district and project potential costs savings and reductions in harmful emissions.

One part of the project will focus exploring electric or compressed natural gas as the fuel source for the district’s bus fleet. They will partner with district staff to develop a feasibility study, conduct research and experiments and then share an action plan with the district. Their recommendation would be to invest any cost savings into future green energy projects at the district’s 12 schools.

Solar power will be used to run a water electrolyzer to collect hydrogen and oxygen gases into storage tanks to power a PEM fuel cell. Using kits purchased through the grant they will build a self-contained solar hydrogen system that can be used to power a model car.

Students will develop a plan to meet the Green Schools criteria set by both the Kansas and U.S. departments of education and gain a greater understanding of careers in the field of energy production and environmental protection.

‘Lego’ Make Energy

Oregon Trail Middle School, Olathe USD 233, Jessica Sadler, sixth grade science teacher

Female students in grades 6 through 8 will use the Lego brand “Education Simple and Powered Machines Kits” to work with energy supply transfer, accumulation, conversion and consumption. The girls will build hand cranks that create joules to drive the Lego jeeps they build, solar panels to measure voltage and amps created by the sun, wind turbines and solar powered cars.

The grant resources will also be used with ELL (English Language Learner) students to learn about both energy production and careers available in science, technology, engineering and math.

Students will invent their own simple motorized machines to demonstrate the use of kinetic energy and other forms of energy production. Using pneumatics kits funded by the grant students will design and produce their models, documenting the entire process, then create bilingual video presentations to share on the school’s website and in social media.

The project will include a STEM Challenge to focus on renewable energy and pneumatics, with the pictures of winners posted in the STEM Hall of Fame and winning designs on display in the school’s library. Part of the project includes collaboration with another district school to practice how to design as a diverse team and co-create presentations.

Past Recipients

STEM Pals: An Intergenerational Learning Partnership, Lincoln Elementary School, Hays USD 489, Hays, Kansas. Monica Dreiling, 5th Grade Teacher, Elaine Rohleder, Principal

Fifth grade students will explore electrical engineering and sustainability concepts by developing projects and conducting experiments under the mentorship (via monthly meetings) of residents with interest/expertise at a local assisted living/nursing home facility. The projects will include designing pencil box alarm circuits, solar cookers, hot air balloons, Bess Beetle penny pulls, electric boats to race in water, and holiday trees made from circuits for their intergenerational team members to display in resident rooms.

Students will also explore global environmental challenges. Projects will include using solar cells to create a seven-inch house and a solar panel system that collects, stores, and uses solar energy; creating and building a working solar still to desalinate water to address water shortages; and building a testing a working oil containment boom to clean up an oil spill.

As part of their assessment, students will create digital portfolios with project plans, photographs and presentations describing the learning process. These will be shared with peers, younger students, families, other community members, and their intergenerational pals.

Ascent: STEM Outreach for Underrepresented Minorities, Lawrence Free State High School, Lawrence USD 497, Lawrence, Kansas. Julie Schwarting and Sandhya Ravikumar

This project funds research and engineering projects for the new Ascent outreach project designed for underrepresented groups in the study of science, technology engineering and math and related careers.

Students will study the science behind clean energy innovation and design a 1000-watt wind turbine for Lawrence Free State High School. The students will be responsible for gathering data and evaluating the ideal location for installation, then build the turbine and connect it to an outdoor commons area/charging station. Demonstrations of the project will be given to the district’s kindergarten through eighth grade students.

Three key objectives of the program are increasing exposure of underrepresented minorities to STEM fields and encouraging entrance into STEM-related post-secondary education; providing educational support for minority students, including special programs, tutoring, networking, and research projects in energy development and conservation; and expanding career counselling for students who face inequalities in entering research/development programs for topics such as climate change research and clean energy innovation.

Lighting the River, Eileen Caspers, director of school and career programs, Topeka USD 501, Topeka, Kansas

Students enrolled in the Topeka Public Schools STEM Energy pathway will research and design lighting for the soon-to-be constructed Oregon Trail, a part of the Kansas River Restoration Project in Topeka. A specific goal of the program and the STEM Energy pathway is to increase enrollment of females and ethnic minority students in this area of study.

The Kansas River Restoration Project is a community-wide initiative with participation by City of Topeka, Shawnee County, the State of Kansas, the Topeka-Shawnee County River Front Authority, Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area, the Topeka Housing Authority and Heartland Visioning.  The students will join the project committee and participate in the Riverfront Authority Park Development process by proposing their ideas of alternative energy forms for lighting of the Oregon Trail Park.

2016 Grant recipients/projects include:

“Powering the Future of STEM,” Blue Valley-Randolph High School, Blue Valley-Randolph USD 384, Ruth Hutson, science teacher. This hands-on learning project will center on four sources of energy production in Kansas: coal, nuclear, wind and solar. Students will explore how electricity is generated and provided to consumers, and guest speakers from each of the four related industries will help students connect to career potentials. Projects will include designing a circuit board and building a miniature house to demonstrate how electricity travels from the power plant to a home; exploration of how radiation is created and controlled in a nuclear reaction; designing and testing a wind turbine; and finally, tracking the sun’s path to determine the optimum angle for energy generation by a solar panel. Students will also design a solar panel bank and determine how much water can be pumped over a set period of time using both parallel and series circuitry.

“After-school STEAM with Wind, Jewelry and Electricity,” Cottonwood Elementary School, Andover USD 385, Shari Rooks, principal. A new after-school program focused on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) will focus on environmentally friendly energy, magnets and electricity. Students will study how energy is produced and creative ways to use electricity. Hands-on projects will include designing wind turbines and studying circuitry. Students will then create electric bracelets and artwork using their new knowledge. An electricity art show in May will include a fashion show for the bracelets and an art display.

“Electrical Education,” Schlagle High School, Kansas City USD 500, Mike Allen, teacher, Nathan Litka, student. In a project-based learning environment, dubbed Schlagle Research and Development, students will study the nation’s power grid by focusing on the wires and power stations that deliver electricity. The project will include both generating and consuming energy. Students will build a portable, working model of the U.S. power grid system that can then be used by other classes and schools to learn about the power grid. The mini-grid will include working outlets where students can plug in devices and monitor system-wide changes. The mini-grid will also be used to demonstrate alternative energy sources, including solar, human, wind and propane generators. Because the power grid is a working model, students will also learn how to monitor consumption and manage voltage for greater efficiency.

“Women in Engineering, Science and Technology (WEST),” Washington and Cedar Creek elementary schools, Olathe USD 233, Olathe, Kansas

WEST is an after school program for fourth and fifth grade girls. The program will focus on exploring the engineering process and the field of electrical engineering using a number of resources, including the “Engineering is Elementary” curriculum developed by The Museum of Science. The focus is on women in engineering careers. Students will gain not only an understanding of the concepts required for STEM careers, but also learn about women who are leaders in the various disciplines. A particular goal is to increase the students’ confidence and interest in engineering, leading to future study.

“Wind Energy: EmPOWERing Girls into STEM Careers,” Amelia Earhart Elementary School, Goddard USD 265, Goddard, Kansas

This project focuses on fourth graders and provides resources for students to build their own wind turbine using motors, corks, cardboard and rulers. Voltmeters and fans will then be used to test the designs. A part of the project includes a presentation and demonstration to classmates and visitors. Resources used will include reusable kits that provide hands-on experiences in the field of engineering. The kits include the K ‘NEX Education Exploring Wind and Water and the K ‘NEX Education Investigating Solar Energy.

“Biofuels: Finding Real World Solutions,” Topeka USD 501, Topeka, Kansas

The grant will be used to fund and equip an environmental science/energy lab for the Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Careers (TCALAC), leading to the creation of a new career pathway open to all Topeka high school students in energy and environmental science. The project outlines three goals, supported by the grant and through community partnerships: (1) Using the scientific method, investigate real world solutions using local natural resources to produce cost effective biofuels. (2) Form partnerships with community organizations, such as waste management and parks and recreation agencies, to use as information resources. (3) Create hands-on learning projects that will serve as a foundation to expand elementary and middle school curriculum used to recruit students into STEM Energy Career Pathway.

Parsons USD 503 | Bryan Walker, Student; Bruce Rea, Drafting and Design | Parsons High School HUMVEE - Electric Humvee Charging Port

The next phase in a project started eight years ago that resulted in a student-designed, engineered and constructed three-fourths scale Humvee that uses only renewable energy to operate. The idea for a car-port style charger is now ready to go from concept to fully operational using solar panels as the renewable energy source.

Wichita USD 259 | Hannah Kelderman, Science Department Chair | Wichita North High School Physics for All Students: Building a Bridge into STEM Careers

All students are now required to take biology, chemistry and physics. The school plans to use the CPO Science Lab Data Collection Starter Kit as a part of the curriculum to help teach real-world applications to non-traditional physics students. One of the goals is to help guide students into considering STEM careers.

2019 Award Window

The 2019 Application Window is expected to open in April 2019. Please watch for more information from KASB.

2018 Application Process

CLICK HERE to download RFP form (pdf form) and award criteria.

Award Timeline

  • April 23, 2018 – RFP Issued
  • July 13, 2018 – Proposal Deadline
  • August 1-3, 2018 – Awards Announced
  • August 31, 2018 – Award checks mailed to recipients.
  • December 1, 2018 – Preliminary report due to Westar Energy and KASB (includes presentation at 2018 KASB conference).
  • December 1, 2019 – Summary Report due to Westar and KASB.


Successful applicants will be teachers or administrators in KASB-member districts.

  • This award is intended for resources needed for individual classroom projects, or projects sponsored by school-affiliated, STEM-themed clubs and organizations. If more than one classroom is undertaking a similar project, only one grant per district may be awarded.
  • Upon completion of the projects, recipients will provide a written summary with samples of class work and photographs to Westar Energy and KASB.Curriculum and instructional materials will be property of both Westar and KASB.
  • Further, recipients will present their project during a session of the annual KASB conference in December.
  • Successful applications will include projects dealing with science, technology, engineering or mathematics in the context of the generation, transmission or distribution of electrical energy.

Requests that incorporate the following components are of the greatest interest:

  • A focus on electricity, electrical production and conservation in Kansas.
  • Designed to improve, advance and enrich student learning while growing their interest in STEM.
  • Designed to spark interest in STEM disciplines among students from non-traditional or underrepresented groups (i.e. ethnic minority and female students).
  • Provide activities that support student application of classroom STEM knowledge to practical applications.
  • (New this year) Successful applications will have a significant element of community service woven into their proposals.
  • Clearly explain how the items requested for funding are vital to the project’s successful completion.
  • Clearly articulate a plan to complete the projects during the coming academic year.

What is not supported by this grant:

  • Salaries or compensation for outside speakers, guest presenters or any school personnel.
  • School laboratory supplies or equipment for general school use.
  • Media equipment (computers, cameras, DVD players, white boards).
  • Projects that require multiple academic years for completion.
  • Admissions fees and stipend for conference, workshops or competitions.
  • Transportation, incentives, meals and refreshments.
  • Previously funded projects from past winners.

Award Plaque

KASB offers an 8'' x 12'' walnut plaque in the shape of the state of Kansas with an engraved gold brass plate.

The engraved plate can be customize with a personalized inscription, including any logo of your choice or the KASB logo. Please note: If sending your logo, send a camera-ready copy of the logo.

The plaque is available for purchase to honor retiring school board members or any district personnel. Orders are accepted year-round. For end-of-year awards, any orders placed prior to May 20th will guarantee delivery by the end of the school year.

See additional information and order form at right.

The Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) in conjunction with the Kansas School Public Relations Association (KanSPRA) conducts a publications and electronic media contest each Fall. The contest recognizes the top publications produced by Kansas school districts, cooperatives and vocational-technical schools.

This recognition program is open only to KASB members.

2018 KASB/KanSPRA Publications Contest Guidelines

Deadline for the 2018 Publications Contest is October 12, 2018.


Certificates of Excellence and Certificates of Merit will be awarded in each category based on total points earned by the entry.

January 2019
School Board Recognition Month!

This is a great time to focus on the crucial role an elected board of education plays in our communities and schools. They are extraordinary people who voluntarily tackle the enormous job of governing school districts. Their actions and decisions affect the present and future lives of our children.

Plan now to show your school board members you appreciate their dedication and hard work.

Use the resources in the boxes at right to begin your planning. And be sure to use the hashtag #thankboe on your posts and tweets so we can share!

Patricia E. Baker Scholarship

About Pat Baker Patricia E. Baker (1947-2009) served as staff attorney, senior legal counsel and associate executive director/general counsel of the Kansas Association of School Boards for 30 years. She was a champion for public education and a driving force behind the development of the NSBA Council of School Attorneys where she served on the board for 11 years and as chair in 1989-90. She received her J.D. with Dean’s Honors from Washburn University School of Law and served as an adjunct professor of law at Washburn for more than 15 years. Pat’s passion for education law, dedication to the education of others in the profession, and advocacy for public schools and the children they serve will be long remembered. Purpose of the Scholarship To honor Pat’s legacy and her contributions to the field of education law, KASB asked the NSBA Council of School Attorneys (COSA) to partner with the association to administer an annual scholarship in Pat’s name. The scholarship allows a member of COSA who could not normally attend due to financial hardship to attend the annual School Law Seminar. The scholarship fund was started with a generous endowment from KASB, the Baker family and COSA members. The scholarship recipient will be known as the “Baker Fellow” in the year that they receive the award and will receive a complimentary registration and travel assistance so that they can attend the School Law Seminar held in conjunction with NSBA’s Annual Conference and Exposition.  Travel assistance may include: airfare, 2 nights hotel, and reimbursement of actual and reasonable out of pocket expenses incurred in compliance with NSBA’s travel reimbursement policy.  Scholarship winners must book travel directly with NSBA. Eligibility and Award Criteria–Eligible individuals:
  1. Must be an attorney representing public school districts and a member in good standing with their state attorneys’ council and COSA
  2. Must submit a complete application for the scholarship to COSA by the appropriate deadline
  3. Must demonstrate financial hardship, i.e. they could not otherwise attend the School Law Seminar
  4. Must demonstrate a passion for school law and the development of the profession
  5. Must demonstrate a commitment to “excellent and equity” for  public school children and be an advocate for public education
  6. Must demonstrate professional leadership

John W. Koepke School Boards and Quality Public Education Foundation

John W. Koepke retired June 30, 2010, as the executive director of the Kansas Association of School Boards, Topeka, Kansas. He began his 40 year affiliation with the association in 1970 as the publications director, and soon assumed additional duties as part of lobbying and advocacy. In 1979 he was promoted to assistant executive director, then associate executive director in 1982 before his appointment to the role of executive director in August 1983. During his tenure as the chief executive officer for KASB there were vast changes in the role of local school boards, and equally considerable changes in the operation of KASB. Under John’s direction KASB successfully expanded its mission to provide relevant services to school board members and administrators in the state.  The John W. Koepke School Boards and Quality Public Education Foundation was established by the Kansas Association of School Boards to honor John’s many contributions to Kansas public education. The Koepke Foundation The Foundation was formed to recognize individual school board member(s) and a school board(s) who have demonstrated leadership at the local, state or federal level as evidence by:
  • A significant contribution to develop community support for the critical role of public education;
  • Improving student achievement;
  • Strengthening professional development to support public education, school board member training and development, the role of school boards, and school leadership
  • Engaging the public, parents and community in school improvement;
  • Aiding, fostering and promoting the development of the role of public schools and public education in preserving and promoting democracy;
  • Individual or group activities to support a quality public education at the local, state and federal level and the work of local school boards;
  • Leadership and service to school boards, public education and/or the Kansas Association of School Boards as demonstrated by committee work, attendance at KASB seminars, regional meetings, FRN, conventions, public policy committees, nominating committee, whole board training, McRel, Leadership for Tomorrow, workers compensation board and/or advocating for public education.
The Foundation also seeks to acquire local, state, federal, private and/or public grants to further a full range of educational initiatives and projects. This include supporting the mission, beliefs, vision and goals of the Kansas Association of School Boards and assisting local boards of education and related educational entities in their responsibilities to assure a quality public education for all students. Accomplishment of these goals could include:
  • Working with local school boards in their efforts to support student learning and achievement;
  • Providing and expanding awareness of high quality services and best educational practices;
  • Promoting an environment of mutual trust and cooperative efforts with other entities;
  • Reviewing and addressing the issues which affect public school governance;
  • Developing a variety of opportunities for members and others to communicate and learn about innovative educational programs, practices and issues;
  • Expanding and evaluating training for school district leaders, school board members, parents and community members;
  • Assisting school boards and school districts to continuously improve the delivery of educational opportunities, programs, processes and procedures; and
  • Involving parents, patrons and the community in supporting public education and student achievement.
Scholarship Awards The Foundation seeks to award yearly scholarships to recognize and honor an individual school board member (s) to attend the national convention and a local school board (s) to attend KASB’s annual convention. Scholarships will be awarded for attendance at the annual convention by school board member (s) and local school board(s) who have exemplified outstanding leadership by promoting and supporting public education as demonstrated by any of the following:
  • Active involvement on any of the KASB member services boards (Worker’s Compensation, Legislative, Nominating) or participation in the KASB Leadership For Tomorrow, McKrel, Whole Board Training or KASB seminars and Regional Meeting opportunities.
  • Advocacy and leadership in support of a quality public education and/or student achievement at the local, state board, legislative or congressional levels.
Selection of Recipients Scholarship recipients will be selected by a committee consisting of the current KASB executive director and the executive committee of the KASB Board of Directors with assistance and recommendations from KASB staff and members including the KASB Leadership Academy.

Leadership Awards

More and more, leadership is what “makes all the difference.”

KASB believes you deserve formal recognition for the time and talent you devote to your community’s most important responsibility—public schools!

The demands on school board membrs and school administrators continue to expand as new federal, state and local responsibilities are added. With budgets tighter and public scrutiny sharper, the stakes are higher - but so are the results accomplished by good board members and administrators.

  • To make available to school board members and administrators, a comprehensive development program that includes opportunities to learn and develop.
  • Knowledge and skills needed to operate effectively on a school board and as a school administrator.
  • To provide a comprehensive and high quality program.
  • To be able to demonstrate that school board members are the best prepared public officials in Kansas.
Board Members and Administrators will receive the following levels of recognition:

(1) Level One Certificate: 25 to 74 points

(2) Level Two Certificate: 75+ points

  • Silver Pin: 75+ points
  • Gold Pin: 75+ points in two consecutive years

(3) Platinum Level Plaque: 75+ points in five consecutive years

(4) Whole Board Certificate: 25+ points earned by each board member

(5) Individual recognition

  • Attending KASB seminars and convention
  • Attending National School Boards Association conferences
  • Presenting at KASB Seminars
  • Serving on KASB Legislative or Nominating Committee
  • Testifying before committees of the Kansas Legislature
  • McREL training
  • Leadership for Tomorrow
  • Whole Board Training
  • Board Self-Evaluation
  • Strategic Planning
  • Vision and Goal Setting
  • Specific Student Achievement Training
  • Hosting KASB Regional Meetings and/or Seminars