Archive for Friday, November 12, 2010

BSHS teacher Kris Munsch receives Educating Excellence award

November 12, 2010

Kris Munsch’s passion for teaching and helping change his students’ lives has extended beyond the classroom in the last year.

His profound affect on students at Bonner Springs High School, manifested most prominently in his book, "The Birdhouse Project," and in the Soft Pine Program, was recognized Thursday when Munsch received the Educating Excellence Award sponsored by Shawnee-based firm Perceptive Software and the Kansas University School of Engineering.

Munsch, now in his fourth year as a wood shop teacher at BSHS, took lessons he learned after the death of his 16-year-old son to write “The Birdhouse Project,” using the analogy of building a birdhouse to teach others how to rebuild their lives. Several students have taken Munsch’s lessons to heart, building their own birdhouses as they work through issues in their lives.

“Students have literally bought into this,” he said. “They take these and express their feelings and their thoughts.”

He and his students then created the Soft Pine Program, in which they build infant caskets, referred to as burial cradles, for parents who cannot afford the cost of a casket after an infant’s death.

Munsch credits his students with helping him further both projects.

“It’s incredible when you create that, when you start that ball rolling with these kids, how they step up,” he said.

The Educating Excellence award includes a $1,500 donation for the teacher. The awards are given monthly throughout the 2010-2011 school year, so Munsch is the third to receive the award.

Munsch said he would use the funds to help publish the second book in The Birdhouse Project’s three-book series.

• Read more of this story in next week's edition of The Chieftain.

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