School Board Recognition

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 cost of the plaque is $50 for each walnut plaque plus $20 for the engraved plate and $5 for shipping and handling each.

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.

Please Note: Nov. 27, 2017 is the last day to order to guarantee delivery by Dec. 8, 2017

Westar STEM Innovative Curriculum

2017 Westar Energy STEM Innovation Awards

Westar Energy, in cooperation with the Kansas Association of School Boards and the Kansas State Department of Education, announces recipients of the third annual Westar Energy STEM Innovative Curriculum grants.

Each project receives a $3,000 grant from Westar Energy aimed at increasing student interest and academic achievement in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines as applied to electrical energy. A focus on expanding the diversity of students involved in STEM education is of particular interest in the grant program.

Westar Energy’s Jerl Banning, senior vice-president, operations support and administration, said the project is exactly on track to meet the company’s identified objectives for continuing to fund the grants.

“The selected projects will provide students with hands-on experiences and the opportunity to explore a variety of STEM-related fields,” Banning noted. “Each project also specifically addresses the need to encourage more diversity in both the study of STEM subjects and in those pursuing careers in renewable and sustainable energy production. We have been delighted with the outcome from past projects, and look forward to seeing what the students and staff accomplish this year.”

The awards were developed through a partnership between Westar Energy, Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) and Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE). Kansas K-12 public schools are eligible to submit proposals, and each submission must include a budget, measurable goals and the link or links to state standards. A committee composed of personnel from the sponsoring organizations selects the winning applicants.

“The STEM curriculum grant program is an excellent example of how to expand opportunities for students,” said Dr. John Heim, KASB executive director. “The hands-on experiences and career exploration made possible by Westar Energy’s commitment opens up limitless possibilities for the future for many students in Kansas schools today.”

As part of the grant program, recipients will present their projects during a session of the annual KASB conference in Wichita in December 2017. They must also provide a written summary with samples of class work and photographs to Westar Energy and KASB.

2017 Westar Energy STEM Innovative Curriculum Grant 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.

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.

The alternative energy forms of lighting to be considered will consist of wind, solar, and/or hydroelectric power to energize the lighting sources throughout the park as outlined by the technicians. Research will be conducted by a team of students on alternative forms of energy, producing viable options for the park committee to consider for meeting requirements for development of the park.

Westar STEM Innovative Curriculum

Westar Energy, in partnership with the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) and Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), sponsor the Westar Energy STEM Innovation Award. The 2017 awards are the fourth annual grants given by Westar Energy. These awards support K-12 educators and school leaders in their efforts to develop, improve or expand innovative project-based instruction in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Three $3,000 awards are granted to support innovative programs that strive to increase student interest and academic achievement in the STEM disciplines as applied to electrical energy. Deadline for proposals is typically in mid-July. A selection committee, composed of personnel from Westar Energy, KASB and KSDE selects the winning applicants. Awards are announced in August and funds are available by the beginning of September.

Award winners are featured at the annual KASB conference in December. Recipients must be a member of KASB and every effort must be made by recipients to attend the award presentations during the annual conference and present a session during the conference.

Areas of Greatest Interest

Projects and programs that…

  • Focus on electrical production and conservation in Kansas.
  • Improve, advance and enrich student learning while growing their interest in STEM.
  • Spark interest in STEM disciplines among students from non-traditional or underrepresented groups (i.e. ethnic minority and female students).
  • Support student application of classroom STEM knowledge to practical applications.

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.

Westar Energy, the leading electric utility in the Midwest, is dedicated to developing human capital within 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 have partnered with the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) to create the “Westar Energy STEM Innovation Award.”

Please note: KASB may take photographs of participants, attendees and guests during the KASB Annual Conference for use in marketing or promotional materials or news publications. This includes publication of the photograph with names on the website and through the Association's social media accounts. It is the responsibility of the school district to notify KASB in writing if a student's picture and/or name cannot be released. Please send notification to Carol Pitts, KASB Assistant Executive Director for Marketing and Public Relations,

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.


The entry forms and process have been completely revised and are now online! All entries must be submitted using this online entry form and include a hot link to a posted copy of the submission.

2017 KASB/KanSPRA Publications Contest Guidelines


Certificates of Excellence and Certificates of Merit will be awarded in each category based on total points earned by the entry. Entries scoring a 9 or 10 will receive a Certificate of Excellence. Entries scoring a five through eight will receive a Certificate of Merit. Sweepstakes winners (those with the highest overall point accumulation per enrolment category) will be announced at the KASB Delegate Assembly, Sunday, December 3, 2017.

Deadline for submissions is October 13, 2017.


  • Enter as many categories as you wish, but only one entry per category.
  • To ensure your entry is accepted and judged accurately, please be sure to enter in the correct category and provide live url links to all information requested below.
  1. District Report Card / Annual Report: Annual publication to inform patrons of the district’s performance.
  2. Audio / Video: A presentation or episode of a single program, podcast, or promotional piece.
  3. Calendar / Handbook: Publication with event dates or information or yearly publication designed to inform students, staff, and/or parents about the organization and policy.
  4. Electronic Publication: External or internal communications distributed only electronically. Links to two different issues must be provided to qualify as one entry.
  5. Marketing Materials / Special Purpose Publication: Items used to communicate the appealing qualities or explain education issues of a school, district, or program. This is a single piece.
  6. Newsletters: External or internal printed publications: Links to two different issues must be submitted to qualify as one entry. Each organization may enter twice in this category - once for district-level newsletters and once for building-level newsletters.
  7. Photo / Photo Series: Photographs taken by a district representative for publication. Provide description of use in the Analysis and Planning section of the entry form.
  8. Project, Special Event or Program: Describe a project, special event, or program that supported a district initiative. Provide description, results, and samples of materials and tactics utilized.
  9. Websites / Social Media: Provide a link to your district's home page (first page of your site). Please do not submit separate entries for each of your individual school sites.
  10. Writing: Op-ed pieces, editorials, speeches, or individual articles from an official written piece intended for public distribution. Provide proof of publication.

Deadline for submissions is October 13, 2017

How to Enter

  1. Publications produced between August 1, 2016 and July 31, 2017 are eligible.
  2. Deadline to submit entries is October 13, 2017.
  3. All entries must be submitted in the form of a link on the official entry form:
  4. If the entry is not currently accessible on the Internet, submitters can upload the file(s) to a free web storage account such as DropBox, GoogleDrive, or OneDrive and then provide a link.


A judging team of communications experts from a state public relations association will serve as judges of all entries in the 2017 contest. Judging will take place between October 13 and November 10, and winners will be notified in late November.

Judging Criteria

Entries will be scored from a 1 (poor) to 10 (excellent) based on the following criteria:

  • research / assessment
  • analysis / planning
  • evaluation / results, and
  • overall appearance.

For More Information

Questions or requests for additional information can be directed to
KASB’s Ted Carter, or call 800-432-2471.

January 2018
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