Amplify Sessions

Crossroad for Innovation and Transformation NSPRA 2022 National Seminar logo

Don't miss out on this year's dynamic slate of Amplify Sessions! Formerly known as Action Labs and Special Sessions, each of these 90-minute breakout sessions will dive deep into an area of school communications to amplify strategies you can apply right away in your district or organization. There are Amplify Sessions available for both in-person and virtual Seminar attendees.

Amplify Sessions will be offered on July 18-19, and during the in-person Seminar, will take place from 1:15 - 2:45 p.m. CT at the Sheraton Grand Chicago Hotel. 

Check out this year's offerings below:


Amplify Sessions

Actionable Leadership: Communications and the Superintendent

Matthew Miller

Presenter: Matthew Miller, Superintendent, Lakota Local Schools, Liberty Township, Ohio

Leading superintendents rely on relationships that are built out with viable input from the school PR/communications team. Learn how to start up or revise a communications plan with and alongside superintendents and district leadership teams; how to amplify the positive work done by students, staff and community members; and how to help build (or rebuild) a brand that encompasses all sectors of your community. The shared investment has everyone in your community working towards the same outcome for your students and school district.

In Person: Monday, July 18, at 1:15 - 2:45 p.m. CT
Virtual: TBA

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Advanced PowerPoint

Richard GoringPresenter: Richard Goring, Director, BrightCarbon

Discover advanced skills for creating clear, compelling PowerPoints that will revolutionize the way you create presentations. Even if you’ve used PowerPoint for years, these tips will surprise you! Gain new skills for improved visualization, layout, images, animation, incorporating Excel charts, creating online presentations and more.

Virtual Only: Monday, July 18, time TBA

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An Ethics Framework for Communicators

Michael MeathPresenter: Michael Meath, founder and president, Fallingbrook Associates, LLC

Professional communicators are often called upon to help make decisions on what to say (or not) regarding complex, controversial issues. How do we process those decisions? Are there times when full disclosure is not in the best interest of the organization? During this interactive session, you will learn the differences between morality and ethics, work through some real-life scenarios, and explore how to make better decisions and ethically advise those who look to you for trusted counsel.

In Person Only: Tuesday, July 19, at 1:15 - 2:45 p.m. CT

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Culture Clash: Issues Management in the Age of Instant Communication

Joan SahlgrenPresenter: Joan Sahlgren, Director of Communication and Community Engagement, Loudoun County Public Schools, Ashburn, Va.

Upcoming midterm election cycles mean more interest in schools and school boards than ever before. In Virginia, a culmination of culture-clash, the effects of an ongoing pandemic and an off-cycle gubernatorial campaign created an emotionally charged environment. This resulted in organized campaigns that brought out unusually large crowds for every school board meeting, dominating every local and national news cycle for months. Explore what does and doesn’t work when anxiety over schools becomes a talking point in an election cycle.

In Person: Monday, July 18, at 1:15 - 2:45 p.m. CT
Virtual: TBA

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Data-Driven Content Marketing: Analytics in Action

Suzy FinnPresenter: Suzy Finn, Marketing and Strategic Partnerships Supervisor, Wichita (Kan.) Public Schools

With an overwhelming amount of data available to communicators and marketers, how can busy school public relations professionals use the information available to make strategic choices about content creation? One effective approach: partner with an expert in digital data to review the customer journey, identify the data points most relevant to the journey, and let that data shape your approach to content marketing. Learn about the Wichita Public Schools team’s journey to using analytics strategically, and practice the individual parts that led to a holistic marketing approach.

In Person: Tuesday, July 19, at 1:15 - 2:45 p.m. CT
Virtual: TBA

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Frame Your Messages for Maximum Impact

Dr. Julie SweetlandPresenter: Julie Sweetland, Ph.D., FrameWorks Institute

Understanding what is and is not a narrative and how narratives work can help you be a more effective storyteller. When attempting to effect social change, it can also empower you to build stronger counter-narratives. Learn how to increase the impact of your school district’s messages by applying the FrameWorks model of narrative form to real-world social issues facing public schools today.

In Person: Monday, July 18, at 1:15 - 2:45 p.m. CT

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Intentional Recruiting for School Communications Departments

Panelists: NSPRA Communication Equity and Diversity Task Force

Diversity within a communications department can have a positive effect on the equity and inclusiveness of a school district’s communication practices. Listen as a panel of current and past department leaders explore the barriers that prevent districts from attracting a more diverse spectrum of applicants for communications positions. Panelists will offer strategies for reducing bias in recruitment practices and share their ideas for developing a more diverse pipeline of future communication leaders.

In Person Only: Monday, July 18, at 1:15 - 2:45 p.m. CT

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Keys to Better Relationships With Your Business Community

Dr. Laura MurilloPresenter: Laura Murillo, Ed.D., president and CEO, Houston (Texas) Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Dr. Laura Murillo will share what is on the minds of business leaders today and offer tips for public information and community engagement officers who are looking to build collaborative, sustainable relationships between local public schools and the business community. Attendees will be invited to share their own experiences with business partnership/sponsorship programs and to brainstorm program enhancements and new ideas based on Dr. Murillo’s tips.

In Person Only: Monday, July 18, at 1:15 - 2:45 p.m. CT

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Petersburg Rising: A Film Screening and Panel Discussion

Moderator: Leigh Ann McKelway, writer-editor, Chesterfield County (Va.) Public Schools

Panelists:

  • Alan Blankstein, award-winning producer and author
  • Marcus Newsom, Ed.D., director, Virginia Superintendent’s Leadership Academy; 

All school districts–even those not achieving at high academic levels–have stories to tell: inspiring, emotional, hopeful, memorable stories. And telling those stories can help move schools toward success. Award-winning film “Petersburg Rising” tells the stories of three students in the boom-to-bust city of Petersburg, Va., and documents the power of courageous leadership and community commitment to equitable education. This session will inspire you to find and share meaningful stories of students, staff and schools and cut through the day-in-day-out grayness that education information can become.

Virtual Only: Tuesday, July 19, time TBA

Racial Justice Starts with You: Taking the Next Step in Your Journey

Naomi Hunter, APR, and Music Watson, APRPresenters: 

  • Naomi Hunter, APR, Founder, Naomi Hunter Communications
  • Music Watson, APR, Chief of Staff, San Diego County (Calif.) Office of Education

Books, movies, podcasts and articles about race can help us better understand our country’s history, but learning leads to new questions: How do I use my voice sensitively and appropriately? What can I do that will matter? What are my motives on this journey? How do I speak the truth without shutting down conversation? Change won’t happen without personal reflection, and the demands of our job leave little time for that.

This is a reflective writing workshop designed to give you the space to think about where you are on your own journey and where you want to go next.

In Person Only: Tuesday, July 19, at 1:15 - 2:45 p.m. CT

 

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Teachers in the News: Understanding and Strengthening Media Coverage of Educators

David Schleifer and Brian SchulzPresenters: 

  • David Schleifer, Ph.D., Vice President and Director of Research, Public Agenda
  • Brian Schulz, Communications Associate, Public Agenda

Public Agenda—a non-partisan, non-profit organization that seeks to strengthen democracy by expanding voice and participation opportunities for all Americans—recently analyzed newspapers’ coverage of teachers from 2009 to 2020 and conducted a representative survey of K-12 public school teachers. During this session, Public Agenda will first present a high-level overview of findings and implications from the media research, focusing on how newspaper portrayals of teachers have changed since 2009. Participants will then engage in interactive small group discussions to develop and share strategies for strengthening coverage of teachers in the news.

In Person: Tuesday, July 19, at 1:15 - 2:45 p.m. CT
Virtual: TBA

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Walk the Line: Navigating the Tightrope Between the Board and Your Boss

Trent Allen, APR, Devra Ashby, APR, Randy Barber, Danielle Clark, APRPanelists: 

  • Trent Allen, APR, Chief of Staff, San Juan Unified School District, Carmichael, Calif.
  • Devra Ashby, APR, Chief Communications Officer, Colorado Springs (Colo.) School District D-11
  • Randy Barber, Chief Communications Officer, Boulder Valley (Colo.) School District
  • Danielle Clark, APR, Chief Communications Officer, Harris County (Texas) Department of Education

In today’s polarized political environment, school districts have become the front line in the battle for control. During a panel discussion, these veteran school public relations professionals will talk about how to walk the tightrope between your boss and the board. Learn how to navigate the choppy waters of school board politics and get practical tips for how to stay in the neutral zone.

In Person: Tuesday, July 19, at 1:15 - 2:45 p.m. CT
Virtual: TBA

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