The Kennedy Center
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Kennedy Center and
National School Boards Association
2015 National-Level Award Nomination
Submission Form
NEW THIS YEAR: There is no limit on the number of nominations per U.S. state that may be submitted to the Kennedy Center and NSBA for adjudication.

The Kennedy Center and the National School Boards Association (NSBA) are pleased to recognize a local school board for outstanding support of the arts in education. This national award has been presented annually since 1989 to a school board that has demonstrated support for and commitment to high-quality arts education in its school district.
The Kennedy Center and NSBA Award is presented at the annual national conference of the NSBA. The winning school board receives a plaque and a cash award of $10,000 to use for their arts education programs.
This national award is adjudicated by the Kennedy Center and NSBA.

Nominated school boards must demonstrate the following.
  • A significant contribution in support of arts programs/curricula in the district’s schools.
    • This should include exemplary programs of standards-based, sequential, curriculum-based arts education and must include curriculum offerings in at least four arts disciplines—visual arts, music, theater, and dance—offered as part of the school day and throughout elementary, middle, and high schools.
    • Evidence of equitable access to instructional programs in at least four arts disciplines (including visual arts, music, theater, and dance) across all elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the district.
  • Financial support of arts instruction in the school district.
  • Evidence of district-wide policies and long range plans for or that substantively include arts education, addressing at least four arts disciplines (visual arts, music, theater, and dance) at all elementary, middle, and high schools.
  • Collaboration with community cultural resources across all elementary, middle, and high schools, including academic and artistic programming from universities, art museums, symphonies, opera, dance and theater companies, professional artists, or other arts partners.
  • Appropriate administrative and instructional support, including ongoing professional development for classroom teachers and arts specialists, adequate instructional materials and facilities, and administrative oversight.
  • Incorporation of the arts into local educational reform efforts through inclusion of state standards for arts education and the development and use of assessments in the arts.
  • Promotion of the value and importance of arts education at the school, district, community, state, or special jurisdiction levels.
  • Current membership in its NSBA Member State School Boards Association and fulfillment of the responsibilities of effective school board members as prescribed by the NSBA in its Code of Ethics for School Board Members. (This link will download a Microsoft Word document to your computer.)
  • Willingness to accept and participate in publicizing the award, if it is granted.

  • NEW THIS YEAR: There is no limit on the number of nominations per U.S. state that may be submitted to the Kennedy Center and NSBA for adjudication.
  • Each nomination must be coordinated with the State School Boards Association.
  • Evidence of the State School Boards Association support must be provided in the form of a letter of support (see question 13).
    • A directory of State School Boards Associations can be found online.
Award winners are required to attend the NSBA Conference to receive their award.
  • The winning school board is responsible for any travel and conference registration fees.
  • The award winner's nomination form will be posted on the Kennedy Center website.
  • Only complete nominations submitted by the deadline will be considered.
  • Nomination materials cannot be returned. 
A Complete National-Level Nomination Includes the Following Sections:
  • General Information
  • School District Profile
  • Access to Arts Resources
  • Evidence of Exemplary Arts Education Programs
  • Role of School Board
  • Letters of Support
  • Long Range/Strategic Plan
  • Photo and Verification
Recommendations for High-Quality Nominations
  • The Kennedy Center recommends that nominees make clear distinctions in their nomination materials between the work of the school board and the work of the superintendent, arts supervisor, principals, and others.
  • The Kennedy Center recommends that nominees make clear which partnerships, programs, professional development opportunities, courses, and other arts education resources are available to which schools and grade levels, as well as the outcomes of those efforts.

A national award panel that includes but is not limited to representatives from the NSBA and the Kennedy Center will review all submissions and make a final selection from among the qualifying nominations.
  • October 27, 2014: Last day Kennedy Center staff are able to answer questions and provide technical support for the online form
  • November 3, 2014: Nominations due to the Kennedy Center
  • Early 2015: The Kennedy Center hosts the review panel; the award winner is notified; the winner confirms travel plans to the 2015 NSBA Conference with NSBA and Kennedy Center staff
  • April 2015: All nominees are notified of the results; the winner travels to the NSBA Conference to receive award plaque and check; the Kennedy Center sends national press release about the award winner
It is strongly recommended that you prepare your nomination in a separate document that you can save and revise as you wish, and then copy and paste the final draft of your submission into the online form.
Please contact the Kennedy Center at or 202-416-8843 before you submit a nomination to ensure that your school board is qualified. You are also encouraged to contact your State School Boards Association.
To review the guidelines and questions prior to submission, please use this form. You may download the Quantities Form as well.
Form Limitations
The Kennedy Center cannot be responsible for work lost in the online form. We recommend you allow yourself time to test the online submission of your nomination prior to the date it is due. If you find you have trouble with the online form, Kennedy Center staff will be able to answer questions and provide technical support prior to October 27, 2014. Contact Cecily Hart at or 202-416-8843 with questions.
Filling Out the Form
  • This form is designed to have answers pasted into its fields and not have text typed directly into them. You may not be able to view a complete answer in the fields below, but you will have a chance to review your nomination prior to submission.
  • Click the "Save Progress" button at the bottom of the page to save your work. It will only be saved in the same browser and on the same computer. It cannot be retrieved either when working on a different computer or in a different web browser on the same computer. The Kennedy Center cannot guarantee that this save feature will work on your particular computer or Internet browser. This is the most important reason to create and finalize your nomination in a computer program that allows you to save and edit your work.  
  • All uploaded documents must be labeled with your school district name and question number.
  • There are two types of fields below that will allow you to enter text.  
    • Short answer fields are used for text maximums under 1000 characters. Short answer fields will automatically delete text that is over the character limit.
    • Large answer fields are used for text maximums greater than 1000 characters. Large answer fields will not automatically delete text over the character limit. However, you will not be able to submit your nomination if the text you've entered exceeds the maximum. We recommend you perform a word count in another program prior to pasting your text into this form.
    • Spaces count as characters.
  • This form does not allow you to bold, underline, or italicize text.

Submitting the Form 

  • When you have completed this form, click the "Review and Submit" button.
  • If you click "Review and Submit" and the page does not advance, that indicates there are answers that you must revisit and modify. Look for red text above a question to determine what changes to make.
  • After you click "Review and Submit" and the page advances, you will have a chance to read and review your nomination.
  • From the review page, when you are ready, click "Submit Form" to submit your final nomination to the Kennedy Center for review. No modifications can be made to your nomination once it is submitted.
  • Once your nomination is submitted, you will see a confirmation page. If you do not see this page, your nomination was not submitted.
  • On the confirmation page, you will see a link to a Microsoft Word version of your nomination that you can download for your records. To save this document, click on the link and you will be prompted to download the document.
Troubleshooting Tips
A few public school Internet service providers will not allow the "Review and Submit" button or the "Submit Form" buttons to work.
    • This is one reason we recommend you work on your nomination in a computer program, such as Microsoft Word, that allows you to easily revise, save, and return to your work. 
    • It is also why we recommend you allow yourself time to test the online submission of your nomination prior to the date it is due. If the submission process does not work from your school computer, it is recommended that you submit this form from a home computer.

Items marked with an asterisk(*) are required.



Please provide publication-ready contact information for your school board and district.
Name of Nominated School Board (for publication)*
Name of School District Overseen by this School Board*
Address 2
Zip Code*
Website (include "http://")*
Please provide contact information for one person who will act as the Kennedy Center's primary contact. This person will be notified of the results and any nomination submission issues.
First Name*
Last Name*
Organization or School District*
Job Title*
Address 2
Zip Code*
Please provide contact information for the school district's primary press contact.
First Name*
Last Name*
Organization or School District*
Job Title*
Are there additional contacts who should be notified of the award results? Please list their e-mail addresses below and separate them using semicolons.
E-mail Addresses
Please list the names of the school board members, any board offices they hold, and the number of years they have served on the school board. Please also list the superintendent of the district and his or her tenure.
Board Information*
Superintendent Information*



Please download, fill out, and then upload the Quantities Form.
  • You must fill in all gray boxes in the form.
  • All uploaded documents must be labeled with your school district name and question number. For example, the Quantities Form that you upload should have a name such as "Springfield School District_6." 
  • You will see the term full-time equivalent (FTE) used in this form.
    • FTE calculates your staff capacity by adding together all of the hours for which your district or schools pay staff in one week and dividing the sum by 40, which is the number of hours one full-time employee works in a week.
    • For example, if the district employs 34 theater teachers to work 40 hours per week and 55 theater teachers to work 15 hours per week, you would arrive at FTE through this calculation: (34 x 40) + (55 x 15) = 2185 weekly hours of theater teacher staffing for the district; 2185 hours per week / 40 hours = 54.625 FTE theater teachers for the district.
Upload Quantities Form*
Given the community setting and profileincluding the statistics you included in the Quantities Formplease describe any pertinent challenges the school district has faced in developing and maintaining a comprehensive arts education program for all students.
Text (1 page/3000 character maximum)*



Describe the distribution of arts expenditures, arts teachers, supplies, and other arts resources among the schools and students in the district, and how decisions are made about which students, grades, and schools have access to arts education. How does the school board address equality of access to the arts for students? Are there assistance programs for interested students who cannot afford fees associated with arts learning?
Text (1 page/3000 character maximum)*



Is the school board involved in the arts-based professional development opportunities that are offered to classroom teachers and arts specialists? If yes, what is their involvement?
Text (1/2 page/1500 character maximum)*
List any partnerships or collaborations the school board has developed with cultural institutions and community arts resources, including, but not limited to artist residencies, field trips, professional development opportunities for teachers, etc. For each partnership, include how the board works with the partnering organization and describe the board's financial commitment to the partnership.
Text (1 page/3000 character maximum)*



List how the school board has actively contributed to the development of arts education within the school district, including policy development; long range plans for arts education; increasing funding for the arts as well as securing grants to support arts programs. Please provide specific examples.
Text (1/2 page/1500 character maximum)*
Are the arts included in your district's strategic plan or mission statement? Please paste the text of your mission statement below. (Question 14 asks you to upload your plan.)
Text (1/2 page/1500 character maximum)*



Please upload the following required letters of support. 
  • Please have each letter signed; this will require that each final letter be scanned and then uploaded.
  • Each letter can be, at most, one megabyte (MB) in size.
  • Each letter should not exceed one page; additional pages cannot be shared with panelists.
  • All uploaded documents must be labeled with your school district name and question number. 
A) One signed letter of support from the chairperson or other officer of the school board in which a rationale is put forth for submitting the nomination, including evidence of long range planning for arts education and school board decision-making in support of arts education*

B) One signed letter of support from the district superintendent describing quality in and access to arts education for students*

C1) One signed letter of support from state or national professional arts education associations such as the state music educators organization, NAfME; state art educators organization, NAEA; state dance educators, NDEO; or state theater educators, AATE, EdTA, etc.*
C2) One signed letter of support from state or national professional arts education associations*

D) One signed letter of support from a partner organization described in question 10*

E) One signed letter of support from the State School Boards Association*



Please upload the following items.
  • If the item is very long or a very large file, we recommend submitting an executive summary, an excerpt with an explanatory first page, or another abridged version that will help panelists to understand how the arts are taught, assessed, and valued in district-wide planning.
  • Each uploaded document can be, at most, three megabytes (MB) in size.
  • All uploaded documents must be labeled with your school district name and question number.

A) A copy of the most recent strategic or long range plan for the district, with preference for plans about or addressing the arts*

CURRICULA – Maximum of 2 Files (Optional)
B1) Sample course curricula for at least one artistic discipline (this may include visual arts, music, theater, or dance)
B2) Sample course curricula

ASSESSMENTS – Maximum of 2 Files (Optional)
C1) Sample arts assessments for at least one artistic discipline (this may include visual art, music, theater, or dance)
C2) Sample arts assessments



Please upload one digital, print-quality photograph of the school board suitable for publicity purposes.
School Board Photograph (10 MB maximum)*
"I verify that all content and uploaded documents submitted with this nomination form are complete and true."*
How did you hear about this award?*
If other, please specify: