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Presenting at the Seminar

Each year, the National School Public Relations Association invites leaders in the fields of public relations, communications, marketing, engagement and public education to submit proposals for sessions at the NSPRA National Seminar. NSPRA  is now accepting proposals for sessions at the NSPRA 2023 National Seminar scheduled for July 16-19 at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo. All presentation proposals are due by Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023.

All presenters accepted through the call for proposals process must be registered for the Seminar to present in July, but you do not have to register to attend the Seminar first before submitting a proposal. After proposal notifications go out (anticipated by mid-March), accepted speakers will be asked to register through a dedicated Speaker Service Center. If you submit a proposal, please wait to register to attend the Seminar until proposal notifications are issued.

You do not have to be a member of NSPRA in order to submit a proposal. You may submit as many proposals as you would like, but please be mindful that due to limited sessions capacity:

  • Up to one proposal may be accepted from each individual presenter from a non-profit/not-for-profit organization.
  • Up to one proposal may be accepted from each individual for-profit organization.

This guidance applies to both non-members and members as well as all association membership types. 

Expand each section below for additional details.

As you consider what to present on, start by asking yourself: 

  • What challenges has my profession struggled with lately?  
  • What strategies have I used this past year to effectively tackle those challenges?  
  • What unique professional insights do I have to offer others in my profession? 

Think about your answers to those questions and then consider the following feedback from past attendees on their topics of interest:  

  • Hands-on, how-to instruction for various communication tools, apps, software and accessibility features 
  • Digital communication skills (e.g., video, social media, podcasting, photography) 
  • Employee recruitment and retention strategies and campaigns 
  • Guidance for managing a communications department 
  • Leadership training for veterans looking to advance their careers 
  • Customer service initiatives 
  • Storytelling skills 
  • Writing skills, in general and specifically for speeches and scripts 
  • Presentation, public speaking and interview skills 
  • Sessions unique to the work of communicators in a BOCES, intermediate unit, regional education agency or county office of education. 

Session Focus Areas 

Each presentation proposal must fall into one of the following session focus areas: 

  • DIVERSITY–PR/communication equity and diversity (research, strategies, programs, campaigns, activities, etc.) 
  • ENGAGEMENT–Internal and/or external stakeholder engagement (research, strategies, programs, campaigns, activities, etc.) 
  • ESA–PR/communication for Educational Service Agencies, Intermediate Units, BOCES, County Offices of Education 
  • ETHICS–PR/communication ethics and law 
  • LEADERSHIP–PR/communication leadership (strategic counseling, reputation management, relationship building, organizational dynamics, mentoring/guidance, professional development, etc.) 
  • MARKETING–Marketing/branding for school systems (research, strategies, programs, campaigns, activities, etc.) 
  • PLANNING–PR/communication strategic planning (research and evaluation strategies, coordination/management of effective programs, collaborative efforts, accountability/results, etc.) 
  • TACTICS–PR/communication tactics (best practice strategies, programs, campaigns, tips, advice for implementation, media relations, COVID-19 crisis and vaccine communications, etc.) 
  • WELLNESS–PR/communication wellness and stress management (school system programs and campaigns, coaching and self-care tips for communicators) 

Now that you know what school PR pros want and how NSPRA may categorize your session, settle on a popular topic for which you have a lot of experience and expertise to offer. 

The NSPRA 2022 National Seminar attracted more than 1,500 school public relations professionals and school system leaders. Most were association members. Here are some key demographics about NSPRA’s members based on the 2022 Membership Profile Survey: 

Personal demographics: 

  • 78% identify as female, and 20% identify as male. 
  • 84% identify as white, 5% as Black/African American, 5% as Hispanic/Latinx, 2% as Asian and 1% as multi-racial. 
  • Nearly 60% are between 40-59, while 26% are aged 30-39.  
  • 53% hold a bachelor’s degree, and 39% also hold a master’s degree. 
  • 14% hold accreditation in public relations (APR).  

School system demographics: 

  • 73% work for a school system serving grades K-12 or preK-12. 
  • 10% work for a  BOCES, intermediate unit, regional education agency or county office of education. 

School PR experience: 

  • 45% are advancing or mid-career professionals with 5-15 years of experience.  
  • 32% have four or fewer years of experience. 
  • 23% are veterans with more than 15 years of experience. 

Communications office size: 

  • 41% have a team of 2-4 people.  
  • 37% are their organization’s only school communicator. 
  • 22% have a team of 5 or more people. 

The top 5 responsibilities for NSPRA members are crisis communications, external communications, social media, community relations/public engagement and media relations. 

As you review these demographics, picture the target audience for your presentation: Who would benefit most from what you have to share?  

Only in-person sessions will be offered during the NSPRA 2023 National Seminar on July 16-19. However, all presenters will be asked to pre-record their presentation for submission to NSPRA. Those recordings will be made available after the Seminar for on-demand viewing. 

The Amplify Session format is the most competitive due to limited availability of session slots. Keep this in mind when thinking about the preferred format for your presentation. 

All presenters must be registered for the Seminar, but you do not have to be a member of NSPRA in order to submit a proposal. 

Seminar Session Options 

TYPE LENGTH DESCRIPTION AVAILABLE SLOTS 
Gold Mine 20 minutes x 3 rounds  A live mini-session on a program/best practice topic, with time for Q&A, presented at a table for 8-10 people during three 20-minute rounds. A one- to two-page tip sheet on the presentation topic is required.  
 
There will be two (2) Gold Mine sessions back-to-back on Wednesday morning. Accepted presenters may be invited to present during one or both Gold Mine sessions.
Up to 40 
Skill Session 1 hour Live lecture, panel discussion or interactive session with time for Q&A.   Up to 52
Amplify Session 1.5 hours Interactive, mini-workshop or in-depth lecture/panel discussion.  Up to 10

As part of your presentation proposal, you will be invited to share: 

  • The number of times you have delivered a professional presentation or training/workshop. 
  • Your experience presenting at a NSPRA National Seminar, or if you have not done so, a reference who has observed and can speak to your presentation skills.  

Seminar planners consider presenters’ experience levels, and if applicable, past Seminar evaluations as part of the proposal review process.  

However, NSPRA members are all encouraged to submit proposals in order to gain professional development experience as presenters. If you have little or no professional presentation experience, consider submitting a proposal for a session type with more availability such as a Gold Mine and/or identifying a more experienced co-presenter to join you to ensure a stronger proposal. 

Please note that NSPRA membership is not required to submit a proposal.  

NSPRA is seeking presenters who offer unique insights, effective strategies and tactics, timely information on new and emerging issues, hands-on learning, useful resource materials, and relevant content and experiences that meet the high standards and expectations of Seminar participants.   

In selecting session proposals, NSPRA will give priority to sessions with the association’s members as lead or co-presenters. However, NSPRA membership is not required to submit a proposal. 

Vendor submissions are not accepted through the call for proposals process, but a school district or educational organization may submit a proposal with a vendor co-presenter if the proposed presentation does not include a sales pitch for vendor products and services. Vendors wishing to submit a session proposal are invited to consider sponsorship opportunities (once announced) where vendor pitches may be made.  

Information Required in a Proposal 

The presentation proposal submission website will require a variety of information about the presenter submitting the proposal and any co-presenters (e.g., contact information, district/organization details, presentation experience). 

It also will require information on the presenter's: 

  • Focus area and target audience, 
  • Title and description for the presentation, 
  • Presentation outline and methods, and 
  • Learning outcomes that attendees will take away from the proposed session.