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Sarah Loughlin, Communications Manager
National School Public Relations Association
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VALUE OF SCHOOL COMMUNICATION PROFESSIONALS EVIDENT AS MORE SERVE ON CABINET/LEADERSHIP TEAMS THAN EVER BEFORE
A new report from the National School Public Relations Association finds that the majority of school communicators are considered a member of their school districts’ cabinets and/or leadership teams, with a jump of nearly 10 percentage points in four years.
ROCKVILLE, MD. (Sep. 5, 2023) – A new national survey report issued by the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) finds that in the ever-changing world of both education and communications, the roles and responsibilities of school communication professionals are evolving, and that the value of a school communicator is embraced more than ever before.
Based on 562 (499 complete, 63 partially complete) responses representing nearly a quarter of NSPRA members in November 2022, 67% of school communication professionals, who primarily serve as a school district’s communication director or public information officer, reported that they are members of their school districts’ cabinets and/or leadership teams, an increase from both 2020 (59%) and 2018 (58%).
“Over the last four years, more superintendents and district leaders have come to better understand the vital role school communication professionals play in advancing the district’s goals and mission,” said NSPRA Executive Director Barbara M. Hunter, APR. “School communicators have the pulse of their communities, and having a seat at the leadership table not only makes sense, but it is also critical to ensuring authentic engagement with and transparent information to families and stakeholders.”
The survey also found that the size of district communication departments experienced subtle but significant shifts from both 2020 and 2018. The percentage of school communicators who reported being a one-person communication office for a school district remained largely unchanged this year (37%) as compared to 2020 (39%) and 2018 (39%). Notable, however, is that more respondents this year reported a department size of 2-4 (41%) than any other department size. This is the first time a one-person communication office was not the most-reported department size over the last decade, suggesting that districts are increasing their communications staff.
As might be expected, one-person communication offices are most likely to be seen in districts with an enrollment of fewer than 2,000 students. This represents a shift, however, from 2020, when one-person communication offices were most likely to be employed by school systems with an enrollment of 2,000-4,999. Based on the significant increase of NSPRA membership from 2020 to 2022, it could be reasonable to consider one such factor of this shift to be that smaller school districts that did not previously have a communications-specific position added one over the last two years.
Other notable findings of the Profile of a School Communicator report include:
The Profile of a School Communicator report for media can be downloaded at www.nspra.org/profile2022.