2017 NSPRA National School Communication Awards

2016 NSPRA National School Communication AwardsNSPRA's National School Communication Awards contests are now open. Discover three outstanding ways to earn national recognition for your district and school communication efforts. The Gold Medallion Awards are for superior educational public relations programs. The Publications and Electronic Media Awards are for outstanding work in all types and forms of educational communications: print, digital, video, audio, websites, and more. The Golden Achievement Awards are for exemplary public relations activities, programs and projects. Review contest rules, deadlines and guidelines on each award's specific page.

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 2017 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 Electronic 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 logo

Gold 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 2017 NSPRA National Seminar in San Antonio, Texas.

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.

Categories

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.)

Criteria

  • 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 2016 and the contest deadline of March 13, 2017. (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, 2017 Awards Program, 15948 Derwood Road, Rockville, MD 20855.

  • Email the entry PDF or Word file with subject tag “2017 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: Entries must be postmarked by March 13, 2017.


    View a list of past Gold Medallion winners.
     


Publications and Electronic Media Awards

NSPRA’s Publications and Electronic Media Awards recognize outstanding education publications and marketing/informational materials (print and electronic), video/TV/radio programs, social media and websites.

Eligibility and Awards

All public and private schools and education organizations, as well as private businesses serving as business partners, are eligible to enter. Awards are given according to the type of communication vehicle and the type and size of the district/organization, which means that 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 Mentionsare also given in each category. Award of Excellence winners receive a display plaque. Merit award recipients and Honorable Mentions receive certificates suitable for framing. All winners will receive a notification letter in late June. Award of Excellence winners will receive their plaques in August. Publications Award of Excellence winners will be asked to provide copies of their publications for the 2017 Seminar Exchange Center in San Antonio. A list of all winners 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 on DVD or flash/jump drive, 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.

Criteria

  • Submit entries per category instructions. Publications category entries will be judged on excellence of graphic layout and design, writing and content. Electronic Media Communication category entries will be judged on professional quality, content, ease of access and usability.

  • 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

  • Enter only materials produced since March 2016.

  • Previous entries may not be re-entered.

  • Entries compete only against others in the same category and district/organization classification.

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

  • Submit as many different entries in as many categories as you wish.

  • All material submitted becomes the property of NSPRA and may be reproduced, displayed, referenced or summarized in an NSPRA publication, website or other resource. Entries cannot be returned.

  • Submission of any entry shall constitute the entrant’s representation that all material is original and/or free from unauthorized use of copy, design, art and/or photographs from other sources.

  • Fee: $72 per entry for NSPRA members, and $95 per entry for non-members. Send one check or money order payable to NSPRA, or pay by credit card. Payment must accompany all entries. Purchase orders or vouchers cannot be accepted.

  • Attach an entry form to each separate entry. Send all entries and payment to NSPRA, 2017 Awards Program, 15948 Derwood Road, Rockville, MD 20855.

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

  • Winners will be notified by mail in late June.

  • Deadline: Entries must be postmarked by March 27, 2017.
     


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 (i.e., to recruit students and staff, promote schools of choice, etc.)
  • 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.)

Criteria

  • Summarize each entry on a maximum of two pages and include clear evidence of the following four essential steps of public relations programs. A maximum of 5 pages of additional supplemental material may be included. Video, audio and other electronic media entries should be submitted on CD/DVD or flash/jump drive and/or provide a URL for Internet access. Quicktime or MP4 digital file format preferred.
  • Research — careful analysis of the need for the program/project/campaign/activity, stated goals and measurable objectives.
  • Analysis/Planning — planning to address the need for the program/project/campaign/activity including target audience identification, budget/resource allocation and staff responsibilities.
  • Communication/Implementation — timelines, strategies/activities, communication components implemented as planned, and quality of support materials (print and electronic).
  • Evaluation — assessment component included and conducted. The evaluation should include a measurement of the success of the program/project/campaign/activity, and recommendation for future improvements or next steps.
  • 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 must have been underway or completed between March 1, 2016 and April 10, 2017.
  • Previous winning entries may not be re-entered.
  • Fee: $72 for members; $95 for non-members. Send one check or money order payable to NSPRA, or pay by credit card. Purchase orders or vouchers cannot be accepted.
  • Attach an entry form to each separate entry. Send all entries and payment to NSPRA, 2017 Awards Program, 15948 Derwood Road, Rockville, MD 20855.
  • An email confirmation will be sent once the entry is entered into the contest database.
  • Winners will be notified by mail in late June.
  • Deadline: Entries must be postmarked by April 10, 2017.

View list of past Golden Achievement winners.
 


How All Award Entries are Judged

  • NSPRA uses independent outside judges to evaluate entries in the Gold Medallion Awards, Publications and Electronic 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 Publications and Electronic Media Awards and Golden Achievement Awards are confidential and will not be released.
  • Gold Medallion entrants may request a summary of the judges’ comments, which will be provided in late August/September.

Entry Forms

You may submit more than one entry in each award program. Include an entry form with each individual entry. Duplicate forms as necessary. Mail all Publication and Electronic Media Award and Golden Achievement Award entries with entry forms, and Gold Medallion Award entry forms only to NSPRA, 2017 Awards Program, 15948 Derwood Road, Rockville, MD 20855.

Gold Medallion Award entry PDFs or Word documents must be sent electronically (separate from payment) to awards@nspra.org with subject tag “2017 Gold Medallion Award.”