Kansas CTE Scholar Program to Honor Outstanding High School Seniors

Posted October 27, 2021

If you have a senior — or you teach or advise seniors — enrolled in Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes, here’s your chance to help them secure a statewide honor to recognize their hard work.

What’s the Kansas CTE Scholars Program?

The Kansas CTE Scholars program celebrates outstanding students who’ve met several key criteria during the spring of their senior year. There is no limit to the number of students statewide who can be honored, but historically fewer than 50 students have applied for this honor each year. Our team at the Kansas State Department of Education wants to grow that number, and we need educators and parents to help us celebrate our talented students who have put in long hours in high school to prepare themselves for their future careers.

What Criteria Must Be Met for This Statewide Award?

The criterion for this honor includes:

  1. Students must have senior-level status. Most likely they will have needed to begin on their CTE coursework prior to their senior year to have met the other requirements.  
  2. They must have earned or be presently enrolled in three or more CTE credits with documentation of technical skill attainment. Two or more of these credits must be above the introduction level. Credits can be across pathways if career goals aren’t aligned within one pathway. (Technical skill attainment can be verified in a number of ways; see the scholars program guide for details.)
  3. For completed CTE courses above the introduction level, students must have a GPA of a 3.5 or higher.
  4. The student must complete a civic engagement project or a minimum of 100 hours of validated community service. (See the scholars program guide for more information on how to verify this requirement.)
  5. Honored students must have completed a work-based learning experience, including school-based experiences, internships, clinicals, or supervised agricultural experiences, or have worked at community-based or student-led businesses. These experiences should reflect the student’s career interests and industry expectations. A minimum of 80 hours of practical experience is expected prior to submission. The student must reflect on their experiences in a one-page outline and a short essay (maximum of 175 words). (See scholars program guide for more information.)
  6. Applicant must write a career vision statement (maximum of 175 words) describing how CTE courses and experiences help them reach their career choice and build their career vision.

What’s the Deadline for Application?

The student must complete and submit the application, a photo and required documentation to KSDE by midnight on March 1, 2022. Applications can be submitted online or via snail mail. See scholars program guide for more information.

What Do Honorees Receive as Part of This Designation?

Honorees will be celebrated by KSDE at the Kansas State Board of Education meeting in April and in a video that will be promoted online statewide. Students will receive an honor cord and commemorative pin, and be promoted in local and state media. Individual technical and community colleges may offer scholarships to recognized students. This honor should be included on postsecondary college applications, scholarship applications and resumes for future employment.  

On the local level, high school CTE programs are encouraged to celebrate their winners in additional ways, including hosting a pin-awarding ceremony at an all-school assembly or senior honors night, nominating the student for a feature story in their hometown or school media, recognizing local winners at a board of education meeting and adding the achievement to students’ transcripts.

Help Us Celebrate Kansas’ Outstanding Senior CTE Students!

KSDE hopes to grow this program into a prestigious honor to celebrate our state’s most dedicated and hardworking CTE students. We suggest high schools and parents encourage their seniors to apply, and we look forward to honoring your students next spring.

Stacy Smith is the Assistant Director for the Kansas State Department of Education. His position includes supporting the State Board of Education goal of implementing Individual Plans of Study and providing leadership for Kansas high school Career and Technical Education programs. In these roles, Stacy guides teams providing support and guidance for school administrators and teachers as they strive to support the Kansas Vision to Lead the World in the Success of each Student. Mr. Smith earned a Bachelor of Education in English/Language Arts Teacher Education from Kansas State University. He went on to later earn his master’s degree in education technology at Ottawa University. Prior to working for KSDE, Stacy spent eighteen years as a high school educator, teaching Language Arts and A/V Media courses at various high schools in the state of Kansas.