Gold Medallion Award

The Gold Medallion is NSPRA's top program award, recognizing superior educational public relations programs. Entries may come from public and private schools; vocational-technical schools or community colleges beyond 12th grade; state/national education groups; and public relations agencies, consultants or private businesses serving such schools and colleges. Judging is against criteria as well as other entries - highly competitive. Winners receive medallions at the NSPRA National Seminar.

Gold Medallion Award logoGold Medallion Award

NSPRA’s Gold Medallion Award is the top competition recognizing superior education public relations programs, projects and campaigns in North America. This award is highly competitive.

Eligibility and Awards

Entries may be submitted by: public school systems; private/charter schools; education service agencies/intermediate units/BOCES; vocational/technical centers and community colleges; education associations; state/county offices of education; and any agency, consultant or business in partnership with any of the above education entities.

Each entry is judged on the overall excellence of the entry as well as its quality compared to other entries in the category. One Gold Medallion will be given for each winning entry (additional medallions may be purchased). Winners will be recognized nationally and presented with their Gold Medallions at the 2016 NSPRA National Seminar in Chicago, Ill.

Please Note: Entries that are not awarded the Gold Medallion may elect to be entered for Golden Achievement Award consideration at no additional entry fee by checking the box on the entry form.


Gold Medallion entries will be considered based on the specific categories listed below. Judges may select more than one winner or no winners in a category.

  • Comprehensive, Strategic, Year-Round Communication Programs

  • Public Engagement/Parent and Community Involvement Programs and Initiatives

  • Bond/Finance Campaigns (Note: When election results will not be available until after the Gold Medallion Award deadline, the campaign is eligible for the next year’s award program.)

  • Crisis Communication and Response

  • Marketing Communication
  • Special Communication Projects/Campaigns (i.e., education advocacy, school closings/consolidation, boundary changes, health initiatives, marketing/branding, cultural diversity, environmental campaigns, etc.)


  • Submit a detailed description and thorough explanation of the program/project/campaign. Include links to supporting materials, websites, and examples that outline the program/project/campaign process from start to finish. Information should be organized using the four-step public relations process — Research, Analysis, Communication and Evaluation.

  • Entries will be judged on: clarity of concept; planned goals, objectives and strategies; successful implementation and communication effectiveness; demonstrated outcomes and measurable results; and evidence of objective evaluation of the project/program/campaign. Entries are judged by experienced school public relations professionals. Each entry is judged on the overall excellence of the entry as well as its quality compared to other entries in the category.

  • Read the Award Rules carefully. If you fail to follow the rules and guidelines, points will be subtracted during judging or your entry may be disqualified.

Award Rules

  • All Gold Medallion Award entries must be submitted electronically. Compile all application materials into a single document (PDF or Microsoft Word). Include specific entry form information as indicated on the cover page.

  • Programs/projects/campaigns must have been underway or completed between March 2015 and the contest deadline of March 14, 2016. (Note: For submitted Bond/Finance Campaign entries, all results need to be completed by the deadline to be eligible for an award this calendar year.)

  • Guidelines — Total entry is limited to no more than 26 pages plus a cover page with entry form information. Entries must include a brief Synopsis of the program/project/campaign that provides a clear, concise overview (between 250 and 300 words) and a “Program/Project/Campaign Summary,” not to exceed 6 pages.

    The summary should include links to any key support materials (document PDFs, websites, videos, social media, etc.). A maximum of 5 pages of additional support material for each of the RACE PR process steps outlined below (not to exceed 20 pages total) may be included. Samples or brief synopses of support materials are sufficient (i.e., it is not necessary to include complete survey results or reports). Organize the summary carefully around the four-step PR process and clearly describe each component.

    The judges will evaluate on a point scale and are looking for strategic quality, not mass quantity of examples/materials.

    • Research — provide a careful analysis of the need for the program/project/campaign; include stated goals and measurable objectives (up to 5 pages of additional support materials may be included).

    • Analysis/Planning — describe planning to address the need for the program, campaign or activity including: how target audiences were identified; the specific roles of key leaders and their related responsibilities; how communication vehicles were selected; and outline the specific budget and resources that were determined and set (up to 5 pages of additional support materials may be included).

    • Communication/Implementation — outline the specific timelines (i.e., start and end dates, key target dates, etc.); describe the strategies/activities, communication components carried out; provide examples of the quality of written and graphic materials; and demonstrate how key messaging supported goals (up to 5 pages of additional support materials may be included).

    • Evaluation — explain how the assessment component was included and implemented. Clearly state measurement indicators of success and include demonstrative evidence of effectiveness of strategies/messaging. Explain how improvements/changes/revisions/additions and next steps were identified and incorporated into future planning (up to 5 pages of additional support materials may be included).

  • All entries become part of NSPRA’s resource files. All materials submitted may be reproduced, displayed, referenced or summarized in any NSPRA publication, website or other resource.

  • Entrants may request a summary of the judges’ comments, which will be provided in late August/September.

  • Fee: $159 per entry for NSPRA members; $215 per entry for non-members. Send a check or money order payable to NSPRA, or pay by credit card. Payment must accompany all entries. Purchase orders or vouchers cannot be accepted.

  • Complete the entry form and mail it with payment to NSPRA, 2016 Awards Program, 15948 Derwood Road, Rockville, MD 20855.

  • Email the entry PDF or Word file with subject tag “2016 Gold Medallion Award” to

  • An email confirmation will be sent once the entry is entered into the contest database.

  • Winners will be notified by phone in May.

  • Deadline: Entries must be received by March 14, 2016.

    View a list of Gold Medallion winners.