The Topeka Public Schools Board of Education is pleased to announce that, for the second year in a row, the American School Board Journal has awarded the school district with the prestigious Magna Award. This award highlights the best practices of school district leadership. Topeka Public Schools was one of only five similarly-sized schools in the nation to receive this honor. Topeka Public Schools earned a First Place Prize for its partnership with Westar Energy that has resulted in the construction of the Westar Energy Education Station substation at the Kanza Education and Science Park, job shadowing, scholarship and internship opportunities for students, the Corporate Bigs program, and curriculum development, among many other projects. Topeka Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Julie Ford said, “Westar has been a wonderful industry partner. They have worked with our district to integrate STEM skills in our curriculum and have created a learning tool for our schools and the community.”
Larry Robbins, TPS Deputy Superintendent of Operations, is also pleased the partnership is receiving the Magna Award. "We at Topeka Public Schools recognize the importance of forming business partnerships and greatly appreciate the value those partnerships bring to our educational mission. This national recognition certainly validates our approach to enhancing learning opportunities for TPS students through strategic alliances with business partners,” he said.
Westar Energy President and CEO Mark Ruelle said: “A few years ago leaders at Topeka Public Schools and Westar started talking about how we might work together. What kinds of programs can complement classroom lessons and bring them to life? The district has shown great leadership and a willingness to innovate. We’ve accomplished more than I thought possible, and we’re still growing together.”
Topeka Public Schools received a Magna First Place Award last year, as well. The Pine Ridge Prep pre-school program was honored for its efforts to provide a quality early childhood education to children in the Pine Ridge Manor community. In 2012, the district was awarded a Magna Honorable Mention for the implementation of its Truancy Prevention Dispatch Program, which resulted in a 43% decrease in truancy in just two years.
According to the American School Board Journal website, “The Magna Awards is a national recognition program co-sponsored by American School Board Journal, the National School Boards Association, and Sodexo. For the past 20 years, the Magna Awards panel of independent judges has reviewed programs that showcase school district leadership, creativity and commitment to student achievement.” The Magna awardees will be highlighted in an upcoming edition of the American School Board Journal and online at www.asbj.com/magna, as well as being honored at the National School Board Association Annual Conference which will take place in Nashville, Tennessee on March 21.