NSPRA National School Communication Awards

2019 NSPRA National School Communication AwardsNSPRA's 2019 National School Communication Awards contest is now open. Discover three outstanding ways to earn national recognition for your district and school communication efforts:

Review award criteria, rules and deadlines or download the awards contest brochure (PDF).

Earn National Recognition for Your Outstanding Communication Programs

The National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA), recognized as the Leader in School Communication, has honored the best work in school communication for more than 50 years. Add your name to the list of educators and public relations professionals who have earned recognition for their districts and schools by entering the 2019 NSPRA National School Communication Awards programs.

Consider entering your best work for any or all of the three award programs:

  • Gold Medallion Award — The top award honoring superior school public relations/communications programs, projects and campaigns.

  • Golden Achievement Award — For exemplary public relations activities, programs, projects and campaigns.

  • Publications and Digital Media Awards — For outstanding work in all types and forms of education communication and marketing, including print, electronic, video, audio, websites, social media, and more.


Gold Medallion Award logoGold Medallion Award

NSPRA’s Gold Medallion Award is the top national 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; community or vocational/technical colleges; state/national education groups; education service agencies/intermediate units/BOCES; and any agency, consultant or business in partnership with any of the above education entities.

One Gold Medallion will be given for each winning entry selected by competition judges (additional medallions may be purchased). Winners will be recognized nationally and presented with their Gold Medallions at the 2019 NSPRA National Seminar on July 14-17 in Washington, D.C.

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 applicable box on the entry form (PDF).

Categories

Gold Medallion entries will be considered based on the specific categories listed below:

  • Comprehensive, strategic, year-round communication program

  • Public engagement/parental involvement

  • Bond/finance campaign (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

  • Special communication projects/campaigns (e.g., education advocacy, school closings/consolidation, boundary changes, health initiatives, cultural diversity, environmental campaigns)

  • Marketing/branding campaigns

 Judges may select more than one winner or no winners in a category.

Award Criteria

  • A planned, written presentation of your Gold Medallion Award entry (see winning examples) is necessary, submitted electronically, organized in the four strategic planning phases of research, analysis/planning, communication/implementation and evaluation (RACE/RPIE). In your presentation, 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.

  • Entries will be judged on: concept clarity; good writing; research and 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. Each entry is judged on the overall excellence of the entry as well as its quality compared to other entries in the category.

  • Entries are judged by experienced school public relations professionals. 

  • Read the rules carefully. If you fail to follow the rules, the judges will subtract points in judging your entry.

Award Rules

  • All Gold Medallion Award entries must be submitted electronically to awards@nspra.org. Compile all application materials into a single PDF document. Multiple support materials will not be accepted. Submit the completed entry form (PDF) with payment check or money order separately by mail unless you are paying by credit card.

  • Programs/projects/campaigns must have been underway or completed between March 2018 and the contest deadline of March 11, 2019. Note: For submitted Bond/Finance Campaign entries, all election results need to be final by the deadline to be eligible for an award this calendar year.

Award Entry Guidelines

The total award entry, including entry form and all application materials, is limited to no more than 26 pages and must include:

  • Cover page with entry form information - Include entrant's name and title, district/organization name, address, phone, email, title of entry, entry category, number of communication staff, size/type of district/org.
  • Synopsis of the program/project/campaign that provides a clear, concise overview (maximum 350 words).
  • Summary (not to exceed six pages) of the program/project/campaign - The summary should include links to any key support materials (document PDFs, websites, videos, social media, etc.)

Additional support material demonstrating the RACE/RPIE strategic planning process steps outlined below may be included, but may not exceed the 26 page total. Samples or brief synopses of support materials are sufficient (e.g., no need to include complete survey results or reports). Organize the summary carefully around the four-step PR planning process and clearly describe each component. Please do not include large JPG photo files that make the entry difficult to transmit.

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.

  • Analysis/Planning — Describe planning and development of the program, campaign or activity, including how target audiences were identified, the specific roles of key leaders and their related responsibilities, and how communication vehicles were selected/created. Outline the specific budget and resources that were determined and set.

  • Communication/Implementation — Outline the specific timelines (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.

  • Evaluation — Explain how the assessment component was included and implemented. Clearly state measurement indicators of success and include demonstrated evidence of effectiveness of strategies/messaging. Explain how improvements, changes/revisions, additions and next steps were identified and incorporated into future planning.

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 judges’ comments by emailing awards@nspra.org no later than July 30. Summaries will be provided in late August/September.

Payment Guidelines

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. (Provide credit card information on the awards entry form.) Payment must accompany all award entries; an entry will not be considered entered until payment is received. Purchase orders or vouchers cannot be accepted.

Complete the entry form (PDF) and mail it with payment to:

NSPRA
2019 Awards Program
15948 Derwood Road
Rockville, MD 20855

When mailing payment, be sure to allow enough mailing time so that both the payment and the award entry are received by the contest deadline.

If you are paying by credit card, you have the option to instead submit an electronic copy of the entry form (PDF) along with your entry to awards@nspra.org.

Submission Guidelines

Email the award entry PDF file, including cover page with entry form information and all application materials, with subject tag “2019 Gold Medallion Award” to awards@nspra.org.

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

Winners will be notified by phone in May.

Deadline: March 11, 2019.

View a list of past Gold Medallion winners.


Publications and Digital Media Awards

NSPRA’s Publications and Digital Media Awards recognize outstanding education publications, e-newsletters, digital media programs, radio/TV/video programs, social media, infographics, blogs and websites.

Eligibility and Awards

The contest is open to all public or private schools or districts, including special schools such as vocational-technical institutes, regional or county education service agencies, education agencies and private businesses serving as partners with those organizations.

Prizes are awarded according to publication type and type and size of organization. Your entries are judged only against those from similar organizations. Each entry is judged on the overall excellence of the entry as well as its quality compared to other entries in the category.

The top award in each category is the Award of Excellence. Awards of Merit and Honorable Mentions are also given in each category. Award of Excellence winners receive a display plaque in August. Merit award recipients and Honorable Mentions receive certificates suitable for framing. All winners will receive a notification letter in late June. Publications Award of Excellence winners will be asked to provide a copy of their publication to be displayed at NSPRA's 2019 National Seminar in Washington, D.C. A winners list will be posted on the NSPRA website Awards page in late summer.

Note: Student-written and/or produced newsletters or other publications and audio/visual media are not eligible to enter.

Category — Publications

  • Annual Report — Published yearly to summarize goals, activities and achievements.

  • Calendar — General information and specific dates for school/district activities and events.

  • Print Newsletter/Newspaper — External or internal, published periodically. Two different issues of a newsletter (i.e., two different months, quarters, etc.) must be submitted to qualify as one entry.

  • E-Newsletter — External or internal, published periodically. Two different issues must be submitted to qualify as one entry (please submit print copies).

  • Handbook — General information about policies and regulations, issued to students, parents and staff.

  • Infographic — Visual representation of important content designed in a quick, impactful way.

  • Finance Publication — Information about tax levies, bond issues, budgets and other financial topics. Single or series of publications accepted.

  • Magazine — News and feature articles, issued periodically. Submit one issue per entry.

  • Special Purpose Publication — External or internal booklet, brochure, poster, or material not included in other categories. One item per entry.

  • Branding/Image Package — Logos, banners, stationery and other graphic treatments for a package of materials. These will be judged for creativity, consistency, unity, graphic design, clarity and overall image and brand. Submissions must include three or more separate pieces. Send only printed pieces or photos of other collateral material.

  • Marketing Publication — Brochures, flyers, newsletters, promotional packages, ads, etc., designed to market an individual school or the district to potential families or recruit students, staff and business partners. Submit no more than three items.

  • Excellence in Writing — One article from a newsletter, newspaper op-ed piece, editorial or speech; 500 to 5,000 words; judged for clear, concise and vibrant writing. Submit only the relevant article, not an entire publication.

Category — Electronic Media Communication

  • Video — Programs designed for websites, video newscasts, special events, mobile apps, etc.; judged for professional quality, sound, color, motion and content. Video entries may be submitted with a link to the site, Quicktime or MP4 digital file format preferred. Include a one-page explanation of the video’s purpose, where and when it is being used, the target audience, how it is supporting effective communication, outcomes achieved and the URL for Internet access if video is located on YouTube or a website. Limit each entry to a single program, presentation or episode.

  • Internet/Intranet Website — Entries are judged on content clarity, appropriateness and freshness, graphic design, usability, functionality and overall depth of information. Special purpose or short-term project websites also are accepted. Intranet entries must include password or other log-in information so judges can access the site. Limit to one website per entry.

  • Infographic - Visual representation of important content designed in a quick, impactful way.

  • Marketing Materials — Videos, CD/DVDs, movie/TV/radio ads, mobile apps, etc., designed to market an individual school or the district to potential families or recruit staff and business partners. Include no more than three examples of materials either in print format or on a single CD/DVD or flash/jump drive and/or provide a URL for Internet access.

  • Social Media — Communication efforts or campaigns using Facebook, Twitter or other social media outlets. Include a one-page explanation of how and why the social media is being used and the outcomes achieved. Include print copies of three relevant postings and provide a URL for Internet access.

  • Blog — General or special focus blog posted regularly (at least monthly) that supports district/school communication efforts. Submit print copies of three consecutive postings and include URL for Internet access.

  • Podcasting/Audio — Message board information, news releases/bulletins, promotional announcements, public service announcements; judged for professional quality, sound, content. Include a one-page explanation of how and why the podcast/audio is being used and the outcomes achieved. Submit on a single CD/DVD or flash/jump drive and/or provide a URL for Internet access. Limit each entry to a single recording, program or project.

Award Criteria

  • Submit entries per category instructions.

  • Publications entries (including e-newsletters) will be judged on graphic layout and design, writing and content (exception: Excellence in Writing entries).

  • Digital media entries will be judged for professional quality. Programs for radio and television must be broadcast quality. Sound should be emphasized for radio, and color and motion for television.

  • 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

  • DO NOT send summary sheets for Publications and Digital Media Awards. (Exception: Entries in the video and podcasting/audio categories require a one-page explanation. Review guidance with category listing above.) 

  • Entries compete only against others in the same category and organizational classification.

  • Submit as many entries in as many categories as you wish. Video productions must be provided as links (YouTube, Vimeo, Google drive, etc.) or on flash drives, and radio entries as a link. One flash drive/link may be submitted per entry fee paid.

  • Newsletter/newspaper/electronic newsletter entries must include two different issues (e.g., two different months or quarters) to qualify as an entry. Blogs require a minimum of three different samples.

  • Branding/image packages must include three or more separate printed pieces to qualify as an entry.

  • Student-written or produced newsletters or other publications and audio/visual media are not eligible.

  • Enter only materials produced since March 2018. Previous entries may not be re-entered.

  • A specific publication or electronic media item may be entered in only one category (exception: Excellence in Writing entries).

  • All material submitted becomes NSPRA’s property and may be reproduced, displayed, referenced or summarized in NSPRA publications or resources. Entries cannot be returned.

  • Any entry submission constitutes entrant’s representation that all material is original and free from unauthorized use of copy, design, art or photographs from other sources.

  • Fee per entry: $72 for members, $95 for non-members per entry. Payment must accompany all entries. Please send ONLY one check or money order payable to NSPRA with your entry or entries; purchase orders or vouchers cannot be accepted. Complete awards entry form to pay by credit card. Due to the large number of contest participants, NSPRA cannot provide a receipt for entry payment. Please copy all entry forms for your records and use your canceled check or credit card statement as your receipt.

  • Attach an entry form (PDF) to each separate entry. Send all entries and payment to NSPRA, 2019 Awards Program, 15948 Derwood Road, Rockville, MD 20855. An email confirmation will be sent once the entry is entered into the contest database.

  • Deadline: Entries must be postmarked by March 25, 2019.


Golden Achievement Awards

NSPRA’s Golden Achievement Award recognizes exemplary work in all aspects of school public relations, communication, marketing and engagement.

Eligibility and Awards

All public and private schools and education organizations are eligible to enter. Each entry will be judged individually against the contest criteria — not against other entries. Judges will select as many winners as meet the criteria. Each winning entry will receive a certificate suitable for framing, a letter of commendation and recognition on NSPRA’s website.

Category Examples

There are no specific entry categories; the following are examples of activities, programs and projects to consider entering:

  • Community outreach and public engagement initiatives
  • Parent involvement campaigns/programs
  • Video/podcasting programs/projects
  • Education TV programs/series
  • Social media and other electronic communication initiatives
  • Marketing/branding campaigns (e.g., to recruit students and staff, promote schools of choice)
  • Finance election campaigns
  • Media relations activities
  • Internal communication programs
  • Staff and student recognition programs
  • Staff morale-building programs
  • School safety/violence and bullying prevention programs
  • Crisis communication and response
  • “Green” environmental campaigns/initiatives
  • Anniversary/special event celebrations
  • Customer service programs
  • Business-school partnerships
  • Education advocacy programs/coalitions
  • Public Service Announcement campaigns (TV, radio, outdoor, print, etc.)

Award Criteria

  • Each entry must be summarized on one page and be based on the RACE/RPIE strategic planning process steps. There must be clear evidence of each step: 
  • Research — Evidence of careful analysis of the need for the program/project/campaign/activity, stated goals and measurable objectives.
  • Analysis/Planning — Evidence of thoughtful planning to address the need for the program/project/campaign/activity, including target audience identification, budget/resource allocation and staff responsibilities.
  • Communication/Implementation — Evidence that activities, including communication, were carried out as planned (e.g., timelines, strategies/activities, communication components, quality of support materials).
  • Evaluation — Evidence that an evaluation component was included in plan development and carried out. Evaluation must include ways to measure success and evidence of objective evaluation in communication techniques used. The evaluation should include a recommendation for future improvements or next steps.
  • Do not submit more than five pages of supplemental material for your entry, and do not include video tapes or flash drives.
  • 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

  • Activities in the entry must have been underway or completed between April 2018 and entry deadline of April 8, 2019.

  • Fee per entry: $72 for members and $95 for non-members per entry. Send one check or money order payable to NSPRA or fill out the credit card information on your entry form. Purchase orders or vouchers cannot be accepted.

  • Attach an entry form (PDF) to each separate entry. Submit a separate form for each entry.

  • Mail entries with entry forms, postmarked by April 8, 2019, to NSPRA, 2019 Awards Program, 15948 Derwood Road, Rockville, MD 20855.

  • Each entry will be judged against contest criteria — not against other entries. Judges will select as many winners as meet contest criteria.

  • Previous winning entries may not be entered.

  • Winners will be notified by mail.

  • Deadline: Entries must be postmarked by April 8, 2019.

View list of past Golden Achievement winners.


Judging Award Entries 

  • NSPRA uses independent, outside judges to evaluate entries in the Gold Medallion Awards, Publications and Digital Media Awards, and Golden Achievement Awards.
  • Judges have no pre-set limit on the number or types of award that may be given in each category. They may also opt to issue no awards in a category if no entries are deemed worthy of recognition.
  • Individual judging assessments for the Publications and Digital Media Awards and the Golden Achievement Awards are confidential and will not be released.
  • Gold Medallion entrants may request a summary of judges’ comments by emailing awards@nspra.org no later than July 30. Summaries will be provided in late August/September.

Entry Forms

Submit a separate awards entry form for each award entry. You may submit more than one entry in each award program.

Mail all Publications and Digital Media Award and Golden Achievement Award entries with entry forms and Gold Medallion Award entry forms only to:

NSPRA
2019 Awards Program
15948 Derwood Road
Rockville, MD 20855.

Gold Medallion Award entry PDFs must be sent electronically (separate from check or money order payment) to awards@nspra.org with subject tag “2019 Gold Medallion Award.”