Regional Chapter Reports: July 2019

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Southwest Region Chapters Report - July 2019

Trent Allen, APR, senior director of community relations, San Juan Unified School District, Carmichael, Calif.

Southwest Region Vice President (ASPRA, CalSPRA, COSPRA, USPRA)

 

Arizona School Public Relations Association (ASPRA)

Emily Waszolek, president

Chapter well-being

The well-being of the Arizona School Public Relations Association is active and growing. We have 126 members from across the state and are in great shape financially. This year we are proud to announce that we raised over 10k dollars in sponsorship from vendors for our state conference. Throughout the year we hosted four quarterly professional development meetings across the state + our yearly state conference.

We also elevated the brand of ASPRA with the purchase of table cloths and chargers as a member give away for our annual conference.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

We implemented a Twitter account this year and continued the practice of live streaming all of our professional development so people from all counties can participate and learn. We also moved our ASPRA*tion Awards Luncheon to October instead of April to allow for greater participation and added an award category titles Copper Medallion for overall school PR accomplishments.

Professional development programs/activities

This year we hosted 4 quarterly meetings and an annual conference all geared towards professional development. Topics included, teaching principals how to market their schools, staying organized with media and where to spend marketing dollars, community engagement through social-emotional learning, and the use of free adobe products, etc.

This year we increased our NSPRA scholarships for members from 3 to 5. Three ASPRA members are taking advantage of the scholarships.

Major chapter issues or concerns

Although we have increased our efforts of making members from around the state feel more included it is a challenge to engage PR professionals from Tucson to Flagstaff. However, the new board next year has representation from 4 counties for the first time ever.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

We would love recommendations for affordable or free professional development and keynote speakers.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Last year we all experienced #REDforED and recommend the nation and NSPRA stays up-to-date on possible teacher walkouts. The State budget and education funding is always an issue in Arizona and one we watch carefully. Vouchers is also a continuous issue, using state money to fund private schools taking funding away from public schools.

Additional items of note

N/A

 

California School Public Relations Association (CalSPRA)

Kindra Britt, president

Chapter well-being

GROWING! Both in membership, board members (extended), and sponsorships. We are healthy and loving it. Our 18-19 membership is just over 365, and we have now extended our CalSPRA board to include 7 regional chairs, two Superintendent chairs (northern and southern, and as a bonus- one is a district supe and one is a COE supe), a membership chair, communications chair, APR chair, and partnerships chair.  We are also seeing an uptick in our members earning their APRs which is fantastic!

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

The newly established regional chairs has helped us reach our members in new ways. We have regional events throughout the year which allows us to have touchpoints with our members more than just the annual conference. Also, our regional chairs reach out as a system of support if our colleagues need some help with a crisis.

We have really worked hard to identify key partners to expand our network in other professional education organizations. Last year we presented at CSBA and have been asked to do that again. We are expanding work with SSDA (Small School Districts Association) to spread the good word of CalSPRA for districts with under 5,000 students who might not have a communications person. We are finding it’s a mix of both: don’t know the importance of a school PR professional, or don’t have the funding. So letting them know how CalSPRA can help with both has been great outreach for us. We have 3 scheduled presentations in the next few months as they meet in regional areas throughout the state.

Professional development programs/activities

We are gearing up for 19-20 regional events. Now that we have 7 identified regions throughout the state, we can tailor our professional development opportunities to what’s hot in specific regions, based on what our members are asking for. As mentioned before, it also provides a way for us to connect face-to-face with members more often than just the annual conference. Our regional chairs are working hard on getting the feedback from members in order to provide the PD that they need and want. We have also used these new events as a way to leverage ongoing sponsorships with our amazing partners, to also continue those relationships more times throughout the year, which they love. They can also target specific regions based on their own sales needs.

Major chapter issues or concerns

There is always room for improvement, but honestly right now, we are doing great with membership, full board, and financially sound. No real struggles, but again, room for improvement always. It’s a year for strategic planning so will have more to update here in the fall.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

NSPRA isn’t always responsive or proactive in their outreach to chapters, other than this coming from the regional chair. Our regional chair is amazing and I know if we needed anything, I could reach out and ask, but I don’t know what I don’t know. I know the NSPRA board has met, but I never really saw anything that gave a report or overview on what was accomplished just as an FYI, and as it might pertain to us in California. I am also the new President and no one has reached out to me for any passing of the guard or welcome/congrats. I think it would be great, knowing we change officers in May, if there was some kind of welcome, or communication to let us know how NSPRA can help and what’s new and exciting, and to just generally acknowledge new officers. I haven’t updated my email address since a job change in January, so maybe some of this is due to that, but I also think it’s a bit on NSPRA to make sure they have contact info for President of one of their largest chapters, as well as regular communication. Also I emailed NSPRA 2 1/2 weeks ago for some information and have yet to hear back from anyone.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

TBD

Additional items of note

Sex Ed Sit Outs, wildfires, AB 1266, IDEA funding in CA is at 8% (15% nationwide, but should be 40%), teacher shortage, etc.

 

Colorado School Public Relations Association (CoSPRA)

Tammy Schiff, immediate past-president

Chapter well-being

Member numbers – We are currently at 128 and steady. We are missing representation from Colorado’s largest district Denver Public Schools, which at one point was 12 members - we surmise this is due to turnover at that district and may improve. We are recruiting more members outside of the Denver metro area, which is a bright spot. We are moving forward with an established membership drive/renewal window in August/Sept., which will assist with recruitment efforts.

Attendance at the spring conference was around 90, slightly lower than last year. We saw more members participate in our awards season this year, which is good for COSPRA’s revenue and for school PR in Colorado.

We held regular monthly WebEx board meetings throughout 2018-19. Planning a board retreat in July 2019 and continued remote monthly meetings with the newly installed 19/20 board.

Chapter is in excellent and solid financial condition. We secure 4-5 major sponsors each year to supplement membership revenue.

Chapter has a full and engaged executive board for 2019-20 with many returning and four newly recruited board members on the executive board. For this coming year, we will have Co-presidents - one returning board member and one “new to the board” member in order to grow and mentor new leadership.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

COSPRA’s leaders and several other COSPRA members have engaged in a Colorado public schools initiative called Our Schools, Our Community. – An advocacy effort focused on changing the narrative around public education in our state. We co-wrote an OpEd signed by Superintendents across the state that was published in the Colorado Sun on April 14 and actively support a social media campaign initiative promoting the @COSchoolsProud and #COSchoolsProud. President Tammy Schiff, VP Kerri McDermid, and Tracy Rudnick serve on the Advisory Board of Our Schools-Our Community.

By-Laws Project: – A subgroup of the board undertook rewriting the Chapter by-laws this spring, which are currently with the NSPRA Board for approval…that is exciting!

Professional development programs/activities

Fall Conference is a day- long professional learning event.


Spring Conference and Award Luncheon – morning is PD (we had Brian Woodland return this May to present his Superpowers presentation and Dr. Jason Glass speak about Our Schools Our Community. Luncheon and awards follow.


We provided one scholarship to NSPRA 2019 (only one person applied).

Major chapter issues or concerns

None

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

Proactively engage in recruiting/messaging on the value of NSPRA membership and programs. NSPRA should get out on the road to hold events or regional meetings throughout the year in addition to the national seminar. It is hard to sell smaller rural districts on the value of NSPRA when it is a one time a year opportunity. Mid-July is a hard time for people to get away considering principals return mid-July in Colorado. The cost of the seminar including travel is prohibitive for many districts to fully participate.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

See above Our Schools-Our Communities

School funding in Colorado continues to be a political issue in the state

School Safety (especially in light of STEM Douglass and Sol Pais incidents in Colorado.)

Additional items of note

None

 

Utah School Public Relations Association (USPRA)

Steven Powell, president

Chapter well-being

The Utah Schools Public Relations Association is an active, robust state chapter of NSPRA. In the past few years our organization has experienced growth in membership as we’ve welcomed school communicators from several small districts and other public education entities. Meetings are held at least seven times per school year, with agendas that include current events/challenges, professional development opportunities, guest presenters, and strategic planning. The chapter maintains a healthy budget, and all expenditures from year to year are kept within revenue limits. We hope to include more rural districts in our meetings through the use of video conferencing. As many of these districts do not have a designated communications director, our goal is to provide training and support to administration where possible.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

I’m pleased to report that USPRA communications channels are always open. When one member receives a suspicious GRAMA request, an unusual inquiry from a news reporter, or has a general question about daily operations they will often send a mass email to the USPRA group for feedback. These email chains occur at least a few times a month, and colleagues are able to collaborate on the spot in difficult situations. Additionally, phone calls between members are frequent. These communication channels help us create a unified message on any given topic.

We’ve also begun initiatives to boost the image of public schools statewide. We set the groundwork for a campaign titled ‘I Love My Utah Public School,’ with the goal of creating short vignettes of prominent Utah citizens talking about their public school experience. However, this and other campaigns have languished in recent years and it is my goal to see them move toward completion this coming year.

Professional development programs/activities

Professional development opportunities are most commonly found during our regular meetings. Throughout the year we devote time for guest presenters and USPRA members to share relevant strategies and tactics. During the previous year we were privileged to hear from journalists, state education representatives working on safety communications, and colleagues who had presented at the most recent NSPRA seminar. We also set aside money for colleagues who may not have financial backing from their school districts to attend the NSPRA seminar.

Major chapter issues or concerns

I believe our struggles mirror those of other chapters nationwide. We are constantly working to uphold the values of public education in an age of misinformation and distrust. During the past year we’ve grappled with a news outlet who made it their goal to ‘uncover’ education stories as part of an ongoing series. Many of these stories were aggressive, misrepresentative, and at times untrue.

Aside from the usual challenges we are unique here in Utah in that we have the highest amount of children for our population. Therefore, we have multiple districts within the same metropolitan areas. This allows us to strategize and collaborate together, but it also means our districts are often in competition with one another. We compete to attract families and recruit teachers, often by racing to boost salaries and provide other employee incentives. For a state with a serious teacher shortage these efforts are positive, but the pitting of school districts against one another to attract talent can lead to sour feelings. Thus far these conflicts haven’t spilled over to USPRA, thankfully. Though I wonder if in the future we will find ourselves looking at each other with a more competitive eye.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

I feel NSPRA currently provides a very helpful array of professional development opportunities. I also find the daily forums helpful, especially for areas I have little or no experience. Nothing comes to mind in regard to additional supports needed.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

We are noticing certain media outlets using unscrupulous tactics to get the footage or soundbites they’re looking for. As newsrooms continue to decrease staff we are moving past the era in which we work with specific reporters on education stories. Instead, we communicate with reporters who have numerous assignments, and therefore do not have the time to build relationships. This creates situations where outlets are bypassing our offices, talking with employees who are not designated spokespersons, or illicitly talking to or filming students on school property without permission.

Additional items of note

None

 


South Central Region Chapters Report - November 2019

Tony Heaberlin, APR, South Central Regional Vice President

 

Arkansas School Public Relations Association (ArkaNSPRA)

No report submitted.

Chapter well-being

TBD

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

TBD

Professional development programs/activities

TBD

Major chapter issues or concerns

TBD

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

TBD

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

TBD

Additional items of note

TBD

 

Kansas School Public Relations Association (KanSPRA)

No report submitted.

Chapter well-being

TBD

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

TBD

Professional development programs/activities

TBD

Major chapter issues or concerns

TBD

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

TBD

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

TBD

Additional items of note

TBD

 

Missouri School Public Relations Association (MOSPRA) 

No report submitted.

Chapter well-being

TBD

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

TBD

Professional development programs/activities

TBD

Major chapter issues or concerns

TBD

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

TBD

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

TBD

Additional items of note

TBD

 

Oklahoma School Public Relations Association (OKSPRA)

Cara Adney, President

Chapter well-being

Membership currently stands at 111. This year we added monthly virtual meetings using ZOOM. Content from our virtual meetings is pulled from NSPRA’s Gold Mine sessions. Presenters from these sessions have volunteered their time to share their work with our members. These are a member’s only benefit, and they have been a great success!

Our quarterly meetings tend to average 25-30 participants. Our ZOOM meetings have pulled in 20-25 participants. The virtual meetings attract members who don’t normally attend the in-person meetings. It’s been a great value-added benefit to being an OKSPRA member. We have had great success with our virtual meetings and we have moved to the paid version of ZOOM to allow longer presentations. We have sessions scheduled through August. During the upcoming NSPRA Conference representatives of OKSPRA will attend the Gold Mine session to scout presenters for the upcoming year!

Our organization HAS to focus on securing sponsorships for the upcoming year. We have invested quite a bit of our budget into bringing NSPRA speakers to our quarterly OKSPRA meetings. We have not made a profit because of this expense, but we know it is worth it. The only way we can continue this level of service is through sponsorships. We have a new officer on our team that will be a great asset to securing sponsorships. The officer team is meeting to put together sponsorship packages and a plan to connect with sponsors. We will get additional ideas of who to approach at NSPRA!

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

West/School Messenger sponsored our December meeting. Apptegy was a sponsor for our February 19 meeting, but sadly we had to cancel it due to winter weather. Joshua Sauer and FinalSite presented during our Spring Conference, with FinalSite coming on as a presenting sponsor for the remainder of the year. FinalSite will have first right of refusal for the presenting sponsorship for the 2019/2020 OKSPRA meeting series.

This summer, we are extending Honorary OKSPRA membership to individuals from across the nation who have invested in our chapter’s growth (predominately previous NSPRA South Central Vice Presidents). This level of membership does not allow individuals to vote or hold office, but they will be able to attend quarterly meetings for free, take part in our virtual meetings and attend the spring conference at the member rate.

Our greatest partners have been NSPRA members who have volunteered their time to share with members through the virtual meetings.

Professional development programs/activities

OKSPRA has three quarterly meetings, monthly virtual meetings and a two-day spring conference each year. We have already secured meeting locations for our quarterly meetings and have a proposal for our spring conference. We traditionally have our conference in rural parts of Oklahoma, but this year we are hoping to have it in Norman, a suburb of Oklahoma City. We are optimistic that a more centralized location will allow more people to attend (even if they can’t stay the night) and will make it easier to get speakers to the location.

Major chapter issues or concerns

Sponsorships, sponsorships, sponsorships!

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

N/A

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

N/A

Additional items of note

N/A

 

Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA)

No report submitted.

Chapter well-being

​TBD

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

​​TBD

Professional development programs/activities

​​TBD

Major chapter issues or concerns

​TBD

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

​TBD

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

​TBD​

Additional items of note

TBD

 


Southeast Region Chapters Report - November 2019

Mychal Frost, Director of Communication, Rock Hill Schools (S.C.)

Southeast Region Vice President (ALSPRA, SUNSPRA, GSPRA, MSPRA Miss., NCSPRA, SC/NSPRA, TNSPRA)

 

Alabama School Public Relations Association (ALSPRA)

Cindy Warner, APR, President  

Chapter well-being

The Alabama School Public Relations Association currently has 52 active members.  The chapter held its annual membership drive from August-October 2018.  The chapter holds quarterly meetings in March, June, October, and December, with the March meeting usually designated as the annual state conference meeting.  Membership has remained steady over the past several years. The chapter has a healthy bank balance.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

ALSPRA President Cindy Warner was a guest speaker at the GSPRA A Day at the Drive In conference on March 22, 2019. Warner presented to GSPRA members on Digital Storytelling through Print and Video.​

Warner is also serving as the NSPRA Southeast Region representative on the NSPRA APR Accreditation Committee. She has been mentoring a couple of APR candidates from the SE Region, including Yolanda Stephens from Troup County School District (GA) and Nora Shoptaw from Guilford County Schools (NC).  Stephens recently passed her APR exam and Shoptaw has passed her Readiness Review and is preparing for the written examination. 

Professional development programs/activities

ALSPRA held professional development meetings on March 8 (state conference) and June 20.  For the state conference, ALSPRA partnered with Blackboard to provide their Crisis Readiness online course that features Rick Kauffman and David Voss. A total of 36 ALSPRA members attended the event and participated in the Crisis Readiness online course modules prior to the meeting. The course modules walked participants through a step-by-step of developing comprehensive crisis communication plans for their district.  As part of the March 8 meeting, Blackboard arranged for Rick Kaufman to join us via a webinar link for a one-hour session.  The state meeting also included the ALSPRA Annual Awards event. Adrienne Mitchell from Birmingham City Schools was recognized as Communicator of the Year and Whitlee Lusk from JeffCo Board of Education was the winner of the Nez Calhoun Distinguished Service Award.

The June 20 meeting was a quarterly meeting which featured presentations by Jason Gaston on tracking data to prove our worth to district leaders, a recap from Whitlee Lusk on the state TASSRO (The Alabama Association of School Resource Officers conference see attended earlier in the month, a review of the Communications Officer Report by Blackboard and Project Tomorrow, and a demonstration on using StoryboardThat to effectively plan visual story projects/videos. 

The June meeting also included the installation of new chapter officers - Whitlee Lusk (President), Jason Gaston (VP of Professional Development, Whit McGhee (VP of Membership), Nicole Knight (Treasurer). Cindy Warner will remain on the executive board as Immediate Past President in an advisory role for one year to assist new officers in their roles.

Major chapter issues or concerns

ALSPRA as a chapter is not struggling with any particular issue, but we continue to monitor issues that impact our state including a number of recent laws passed by the Alabama State Legislature which impact education. https://www.al.com/news/2019/06/here-are-the-changes-alabama-lawmakers-made-to-schools-this-year.html

The most critical of these is the Alabama Literacy Act, which requires all third-grade students to be reading on grade-level beginning in the 2021-2022 school year or they will be retained to repeat third grade. This new change may provide opportunities for ALSPRA members to jointly plan communication strategies to communicate these changes to our respective stakeholders in the coming months.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

We are excited that our very own Lesley Bruinton is the President-elect of NSPRA. We know that she will lead our national organization well! Having led our state organization,  Lesley will bring a good perspective and some fresh ideas on how NSPRA can support local state chapters.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

See link under question 4.  Some of the other measures passed by the state legislature could have potential national implications.

Additional items of note

None at this time.

 

Florida School Public Relations Association (SUNSPRA)

No report submitted. 

Chapter well-being

TBD

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

TBD

Professional development programs/activities

TBD

Major chapter issues or concerns

TBD

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

TBD

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

TBD

Additional items of note

TBD

 

Georgia School Public Relations Association (GSPRA)

No report submitted.

Chapter well-being

TBD

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

TBD

Professional development programs/activities

TBD

Major chapter issues or concerns

TBD

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

TBD

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

TBD

Additional items of note

TBD

 

Mississippi School Public Relations Association (MSPRA)

Geri Hill, president

Chapter well-being

Mississippi School Public Relations Association has had two productive years after being in a stalemate pattern for the two previous years. The president of the organization left school public relations to pursue another avenue of PR. Thankfully, we were able to put together a board and get the chapter up and running once again. Due to this transition, we had a two year period where the IRS forms were not completed due to the fact that we were inactive. Our treasurer is working with an attorney to right this situation.

We have approximately 60 members who participate in MSPRA. The MSPRA executive board trains school boards and school systems across the state on current practices.

There is a MSPRA winter conference in February and a fall conference in September. We also partner with Mississippi Association of School Superintendents and Mississippi Association of School Administrators. These conferences and partnerships help us to be better communicators in the educational field. We bring in MS FBI agents to talk about crisis communication plans. We have an attorney and his associates conduct conferences on current school law and legal terms.

Fiscally, we are in good condition, with a balance of $15,290 in checking and $7,807 in savings.

We will have officer elections in July with the new board taking over on August 1. Our awards program will actually take place at our September conference in Jackson, MS.

 

North Carolina School Public Relations Association (NCSPRA)

Todd Hagans, President

Chapter well-being

The North Carolina School Public Relations Association (NCSPRA) had another successful year in 2018-2019 with quality programs and professional development opportunities for membership. The Association is very active, and leadership is already making plans for a productive 2019-2020 year.

Board of Directors Election

In May, NCSPRA conducted its annual election. The following members were elected to serve as officers for the 2019-2020 year: Todd Hagans, Gaston County Schools, President; Dr. Patricia Hollingsworth, Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools, Vice President; Ken Derksen, Wayne County Public Schools, Treasurer; and Randi Davis, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Secretary. Three Board of Directors positions were open. Elected to those positions were Dr. Greg Shull, Cleveland County Schools; Molly McGowan Gorsuch (new), Henderson County Public Schools; and Brent Anderson (new), Onslow County Schools.

Appointees to the Board include Jeff Nash, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Presidential Appointee; Sharon Spence, Lee County Schools, Immediate Past President; Valerie Newton, Bladen County Schools, State Coordinator; and Dr. Jeffrey Booker, Gaston County Schools, Superintendent Liaison. Additionally, Chris Fuller was approved to serve as executive director.

With only two new members elected to the Board of Directors (as noted above), the leadership for NCSPRA remains strong and committed to moving the Association forward.

Finance

NCSPRA remains financially stable. The Association has approved its annual sponsorship commitment with Blackboard, and with our membership campaign beginning in early August, we expect to see a significant increase in revenue. Also this year, NCSPRA will host the annual fall conference, which is held in partnership with SC-NSPRA. We expect a significant revenue increase as a result of hosting the conference, and we anticipate another successful Blue Ribbon Awards program, which has been netting $3,000 - $4,000. Obviously, the Board wants to maintain revenue levels, but ways to increase revenue are being considered.

Membership

NCSPRA concluded the 2018-2019 year with 118 members representing 55 school districts, one charter school, one auxiliary organization, and one retiree. Membership is lower than the previous year, but it is in line with the non-conference hosting year of 2016-2017. Typically, membership drops when SC-NSPRA hosts the fall conference – we have offered a membership-registration combo deal in years when we hosted the conference. Despite the lower membership total, revenue generated from membership was $10,135, which was about $1,000 more than the previous year. This increase is due to our restructuring of membership dues last year. For 2019-2020, the Board set a goal of having 150 members and 60 school districts involved in NCSPRA.

Summer Planning Retreat

The Board of Directors held its annual summer planning retreat June 23-25, 2019 at the Embassy Suites Riverfront Hotel in Wilmington, the site of our fall conference. The Board spent a significant amount of time reviewing the past year, planning for the year ahead, and brainstorming ways to advance NCSPRA. See next section for a list of the events/activities discussed by the Board.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

The Board has identified providing quality professional development and engaging more members in professional development as one of its goals for 2019-2020. We want programs that also provide fellowship and networking/collaboration opportunities for members.

Our upcoming, ongoing, and completed projects are listed below.

  • Professional Development with NCCAT: For the second year, we partnered with NCCAT (North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching) to sponsor a two-day professional development retreat on the NCCAT campus in Cullowhee (adjacent to Western Carolina University), May 9-10. Called the “NCSPRA Leadership Academy,” 29 people registered for the event, which was similar to last year when 31 people registered. Ten sessions were offered, and the theme was “Action-Packed PR: Reveal the Superhero in You.” The sessions focused on effective communication in a digital world, crisis communication, hurricane recovery efforts, web design and social media, current trends in education, and other topics. Half of the presenters were from outside the school PR world, which offered attendees a different perspective on communications and public relations. NCSPRA and NCCAT were again pleased with the program, and our third annual retreat at NCCAT has already been scheduled for March 19-20, 2020.
  • Fall Conference: Our annual fall conference (in partnership with SC-NSPRA) will be held November 6-8, 2019 at the Embassy Suites Riverfront Hotel in Wilmington. The Board is working now on securing a full slate of presenters and planning several special activities as part of the conference.
  • 50th Anniversary: In spring 2020, NCSPRA will celebrate its 50th anniversary of becoming a charter organization of NSPRA. To commemorate the occasion, a 50th anniversary luncheon and program is tentatively planned for May 1, 2020. This event may include a professional development component in lieu of holding a “Final Four” professional development program this year.
  • Scholarships for the NSPRA National Seminar: Again this year, NCSPRA awarded two scholarships to members: the Bonnie Reidy Mentor Legacy Scholarship, which is given to a member with less than three years of experience in school PR, and the Nora Carr Presidential Scholarship, which is given to a member who has not attended the NSPRA National Seminar in the past three years. The scholarships cover registration to attend the National Seminar in Washington, D.C. The recipients are Tracey Scruggs (Person County Schools) and Leigh Anna Marbert (Asheboro City Schools).
  • Blue Ribbon Awards: NCSPRA is expecting another highly successful Blue Ribbon Awards program, which recognizes effective school communications and public relations. The awards ceremony is tentatively planned for January 31, 2020. The Georgia School Public Relations Association (GSPRA) will judge our contest, and in turn, we will serve as judges for this year’s GSPRA contest.
  • Online Membership Program: For 2019-2020, NCSPRA will implement an online membership management system. MemberClicks will make it possible for members to complete the membership process online as well as register for conferences, professional development, and other activities.
  • Website Update/Social Media: This year, NCSPRA is working with Blackboard to give an updated look to our website, www.ncspra.org. We also want to increase our use of social media to engage members.

Professional development programs/activities

Please see the second question for information about our professional development activities. 

Major chapter issues or concerns

No issues/concerns to report.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

No issues/areas to report.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

School districts across North Carolina are watching budget negotiations that are taking place now between the N.C. General Assembly and Governor Roy Cooper. Among the education-related issues are teacher and principal pay, K-3 class size, school performance grade scale, calendar flexibility, hiring practices/licensure, and funding for school capital improvements. We continue to see legislative “favoritism” toward charter schools, virtual schools, and opportunity scholarships (vouchers).

Additional items of note

As NSPRA identifies locations for future National Seminars, we hope you will give highest consideration to progressive cities/states where diversity and inclusion are embraced.

 

South Carolina School Public Relations Association (SCSPRA)

Becky Bean, President

Chapter well-being

SC/NSPRA is a growing, viable chapter in a very good position as we head into the 2019-20 school year.  Currently, we have 145 members:  69 active, 4 affiliate, 63 institutional, and 9 retired.  Financially, we are in good shape, with over $16,000 currently in the bank to support programs and scholarships for members this year.   The newly named Executive Board met on June 26 to plan for the 2019-20 year, and leaders are excited about many new ideas and opportunities for member engagement.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

In the spring, SC/NSPRA held its annual “Rewards for Excellence” program in Columbia.  This is one of the organization’s largest programs of the year, recognizing more than 60 districts and schools across the state for their work in public relations.

Professional development programs/activities

With the help of our sustaining sponsors Blackboard and Peachjar, two different “lunch and learn” opportunities were held in the Upstate region (Greenville) and Midlands (Columbia).  Representatives from both vendors presented on new trends in communication in schools, and led group discussions on tools/methods to improve communication with internal and external stakeholders.  Both events were well attended and received positive feedback.

Major chapter issues or concerns

None to note.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

We are constantly seeking ideas for chapter professional development meetings, in terms of session topics and current tools/trends to keep offer to our members.  On the same note, we are always interested in NSPRA members from other state chapters who are willing to offer such sessions either in person, or virtually.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

None to note.

Additional items of note

N/A

 

Tennessee School Public Relations Association (TNSPRA)

No report submitted.

Chapter well-being

TBD

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

TBD

Professional development programs/activities

TBD

Major chapter issues or concerns

TBD

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

TBD

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

TBD

Additional items of note

TBD

 


Mideast Region Chapters Report - November 2019

Thomas Scheidel, public information coordinator, Allegan (Mich.) Area Educational Service Agency

Mideast Region Vice President (CHESPRA, INDSPRA, KYSPRA, MSPRA Mich., OHSPRA)

 

Chesapeake School Public Relations Association (CHESPRA)

Kenita Bowers, APR, President

Chapter well-being

CHESPRA continues to hold steady with approximately 150 members. We are currently developing strategies to deploy a new membership drive.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

CHESPRA is gearing up to be the host chapter for this year’s NSPRA conference in Washington, D.C. We have selected some great giveaways to represent the VA/DC area and the CHESPRA chapter. CHESPRA is also finalizing its new website to be unveiled at our 2019 fall conference.

Professional development programs/activities

We are looking ahead to our 2019 fall conference and will identify opportunities for professional development programs and activities to be included as part of the program. Many CHESPRA members have also expressed an interest in the APR process are pursuing local boot camps and cohort prep opportunities. Also, all CHESPRA members who are attending the NSPRA conference are encouraged to participate in as many sessions as possible to share best practices and lessons learned at our fall conference.

Major chapter issues or concerns

We are still putting forth more efforts to increase the number of Maryland school districts to join CHESPRA. We are also having difficulty identifying a payment system platform that would integrate with our annual communications contest. We have contacted other SPRA chapters and public relations organizations for suggestions.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

We are currently exploring options and open to suggestions on added benefits for members to help increase membership. We would like to offer our members other incentives, opportunities, and resources to add value to being part of CHESPRA.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Unfortunately, gun violence has become a big issue in certain parts of Virginia. Being responsive to these tragedies that are occurring in our communities has become a growing concern.

Additional items of note

N/A

 

Indiana School Public Relations Association (INDSPRA)

Donna Petraits, Executive Director

Chapter well-being

Membership is growing and we have been able to maintain our membership to a higher degree than in past years by being consistent in our contact and outreach. Recognizing the need to expand present leadership and develop new leaders, we have set a goal for the next year to expand our board with committee chairs and maximize our video meeting capability.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

We are expanding our outreach and being more of a resource for our state education agencies. These state agencies are increasingly pushing out our information to their memberships. Four of our members will be making presentations at the annual ISBA/IAPSS conference this fall.

Professional development programs/activities

We convened a board retreat earlier this month and established a number of ambitious goals for the next two years, which will include additional professional development opportunities.

Major chapter issues or concerns

In Indiana, vouchers are always a concern. The Republican supermajority in the statehouse did very, very little in this recent session to improve education or its funding.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

Keep the issues facing our nation’s schools front and center!

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

We continue to deal with the same things the rest of the country is: underfunding, vouchers, gun violence, teacher pay, recruitment and retention, transgender rights, fake news.

Additional items of note

An INDSPRA Board member represents INDSPRA during monthly legislative issues discussion meetings with a coalition of public education advocates led by the Indiana Coalition for Public Education. Other participants include:

  • the Indiana Department of Education,
  • the Indian State Teachers Association,
  • the American Federation of Teachers,
  • the Indiana Parent Teachers Association (PTA,)
  • the Indiana Association of Career and Technical Education Directors,
  • the Indiana Association of School Principals,
  • the Indiana School Boards Association,
  • the Indiana Small and Rural Towns Schools Association
  • and the Indiana Urban Schools Association.

 

Kentucky School Public Relations Association (KYSPRA)

Wayne Walden, President

Chapter well-being

KYSPRA is active with four board meetings per year – one at the fall conference, one at the spring conference and two in between. Our membership has stayed relatively the same since the last report.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

KYSPRA’s Oasis program (professional development awards) continues.

Professional development programs/activities

KYSPRA currently offers fall and spring conferences, but we are also looking into offering one-day workshops for professional development.

Major chapter issues or concerns

We are working on boosting membership and making financial gains to recover from previous conferences in which we lost funds.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

Since our association manager has retired, we have had to divide up her duties among the board. We may need assistance with this in the future.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

The state of Kentucky is still dealing with a pension crisis. The outcome of this issue is still uncertain.

Additional items of note

N/A

 

Michigan School Public Relations Association (MSPRA)

Gerri Allen, executive director
Karen Heath, president

Chapter well-being

The Michigan Chapter of NSPRA was excited to learn that it was deemed an Exemplary Chapter for the 10th year in a row!  The recognition is a wonderful birthday gift as our members continue to celebrate our 60th Anniversary this year. This achievement is the result of winning two Mark of Distinction Awards, one for Professional Development and one for Collaboration.  We are very proud.

We had an outstanding annual conference in March where we kicked-off our 60th Anniversary celebration with special recognition from Michigan’s interim state superintendent, the state Board of Education and the Michigan Department of Education.  Members enjoyed a number of celebration treats including tributes, resource materials and cake!  The Anniversary Celebration Committee continues to share information about our chapter’s history with members and is in the process of developing a timeline graphic that will be shared with each members’ superintendent as well as a “thank you” letter for encouraging school staff members to be a part of MSPRA.

Our professional development activities continued with our Summer Drive-In Conference focusing on Diversity, Equity & Cultural Sensitivity for Communicators.  Attendees spent the day with Dr. Jay Marks, a Diversity and Equity Consultant.  Dr. Marks provided tips and ideas on how to approach these timely and essential topics with our school communities, how to effectively communicate a district’s work within this area, and how school communicators can help support this important work.

We hosted our 2019 Communication Awards contest.  Entries were received for MSPRA’s Gold Medallion award, the Gerri Allen Outstanding School Communicator of the Year and Superintendent School Communicator of the Year award.  Judges are currently being recruited and winners will be announced this fall. 

We continue to work on our goals outlined in our Strategic Plan.  As part of that plan, the Membership Committee deployed a survey to measure member engagement as well as requested feedback relative to new needs.  The survey results will be used to guide decisions made at our upcoming retreat (August 2019) where the Strategic Plan will be reviewed and updated.

Our Administrative Guide continues to grow as we develop and institutionalize our business practices.  Most recently, we developed an Evaluation Rubric for our Executive Director which will be used to provide annual feedback.   We also purchased Directors and Officers Insurance and Professional Liability Insurance as a precautionary measure.  We also developed listserv best practice protocols, created a budget template and budget proposal process, and reviewed and updated our bylaws (which will be submitted to NSPRA for approval before being voted on by our general membership).

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

MSPRA has had the great fortune to work collaboratively with the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators on multiple projects.  After developing a strong relationship with MASA’s staff, MSPRA is now receiving requests to support non-member superintendents in need (two large issues in the past two months).  As such, MSPRA developed an “immediate response” template to support school administrators in the initial steps of mitigating a school crisis.  This template, while simple in its approach, has proven to be a valuable tool for struggling school leaders.

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) communication team recently underwent a communication audit and identified areas of disconnect both internally and with local school districts across the state.  MDE personally invited a member of our board to serve as a consultant to provide a “boots on the ground” perspective to the Department as well as serve as an advisor in the Department’s effort to realign its communication practices.

Professional development programs/activities

Annual Conference

The 2019 Annual Conference was a hit!  This year’s event examined the question, “Why does everything have to be a crisis?”  The first day of the two-day conference was aimed at strengthening crisis management skills.  Attendees heard from NSPRA favorite Steve Knagg, who served as both the opening and closing keynote speaker.  In addition to general sessions and keynote presentations, attendees participated in a number of breakout sessions that allowed them to customize their professional development.  The conference included a celebration of MSPRA’s Gold Medallion award winner as well as recognizing the Gerri Allen Outstanding School Communicator of the Year and Superintendent School Communicator of the Year award winners.

The conference also provided the opportunity to kick-off our chapter’s 60th anniversary.  Interim State Superintendent Sheila Alles congratulated the chapter with a special joint recognition from the Michigan State Board of Education and the Michigan Department of Education.  The NSPRA Board also shared a video message congratulating Michigan’s chapter for its continued success.  (Thank you!  It was wonderful!)  MSPRA provided members with a special birthday gift, copies of Trinette Marquis’ book “Engaging Data,” and a few lucky winners went home with NSPRA Crisis Manual and other helpful publications.  The second day of the conference again featured Steve Knagg.  His presentation helped school communication professionals with their mental wellness. Steve worked to uplift and empower attendees so that they returned to work with new skills and were mentally ready to handle any challenge that could come their way.

June Drive-In Conference

On June 18, MPSRA members learned about Diversity, Equity & Cultural Sensitivity from Dr. Jay Marks, Oakland Schools Diversity and Equity Consultant. Dr. Marks also discussed Social Justice and cultural relevance in our daily practices and in our communication. After lunch, Dr. Marks helped facilitate a discussion on how school communicators could apply what was covered in the morning to their everyday work and to facilitate such topical conversations with our school community. Attendees left the day with a call to action and a more inclusive approach to their work.

Upcoming Fall Drive-In Conference

MSPRA is excited to share that Cathy Kedjidjian, NSPRA Vice President at Large for Communication Technology & Innovation and Director of Communications and Strategic Planning for Glenview School District 34 from Illinois is our scheduled speaker.  Cathy will be sharing strategies for school communicators to promote Human Resource initiatives. The afternoon portion of the Drive-In will feature a special #K12PRChat to help teach MSPRA members how to participate in the Twitter activity.

National Seminar

MSPRA members are beginning to plan their trip to Washington, D.C. for this summer’s National Seminar.  A number of board members have committed to attend and a few are serving as national presenters!

Major chapter issues or concerns

We have been dealing with the improper use of our listserv by members who are also business owners or members who are also association representatives.  We recently developed listserv guidelines and shared them with members however, we are having difficulty enforcing our expectations.  We were wondering if other chapters required members to sign acceptable use agreements as part of their membership.  MSPRA asked if Mellissa Braham would be willing to do some research for us. She was extremely timely and helpful in her response. Although no chapter indicated that they require members to sign an agreement, we did learn that many chapters are struggling with the same issue.  While we appreciate knowing that we are not alone in this situation, it is a topic that others may need to address.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

We do not have any specific needs at this time.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Additional items of note

  • Held annual election which resulted in term extensions for current Board President Karen Heath and President Elect Anne Cron as well as the election of the Secretary, Holly McCaw.
  • Hosted an “MSPRA Up North” Power Hour professional development activity in northern Michigan using a recorded Power Hour (thank you NSPRA).  The event was so successful that MSPRA is discussing offering more regional opportunities across the state.
  • Developed topics to be discussed at the MSPRA Board’s August retreat including long-term planning, succession planning, membership development and event marketing.
  • Worked to refresh the Resource section of the MSPRA website so that more topics are addressed.  Reached out to membership to collect resource materials.
  • Participated in the NSPRA Executive Leader Webinar.  (This was an extremely helpful benefit!)

 

Ohio School Public Relations Association (OHSPRA)

Patrick Gallaway, President

Chapter well-being

Mark of Distinction - We won - Thank you NSPRA!  

The chapter may now use the 2019 Mark of Distinction logo on its website, letterhead templates and other chapter publications. 

Summer Board Retreat

The Board gathered on June 6 & 7 at the Renaissance, Polaris/Westerville for our annual retreat. We had

one new board member elected this year to onboard, Alicia Mowry, director of membership and we said farewell & thank you to Erika Daggett who served on the board for 11 years.

The retreat provided an opportunity for each director to focus on the year in review for their board seat and then with the group support brainstorm for the future and plan activities and set goals 2019-20.    

Membership

OHSPRA membership as of June 19, 2019, stands at 162 for the 2018-19 membership cycle.

We added some additional members as the Spring Conference approached in April, basically so that the member can guarantee the member rate for registration. We have also reinstated an early bird discount incentive, essentially lowering the membership fee for members.

Due to our chapter’s strong financial standing, this year we have initiated an “early bird” incentive for renewing members that we announced at the Spring Conference on April 12, 2019. The rates of our individual membership have been $90 in the past and an institutional (up to 3 members) was $200. The incentive, if paid prior to the beginning of the membership year (Sept. 1, 2019) is 15% off the cost.  

$75 Individual
$168 Institutional (3 members, $55 each additional)     
We also have a new director of membership elected this spring, Alicia Mowry, public relations supervisor, Delaware Area Career Center. She has already begun to make some changes to the way we recruit, track and interact with members. She is going to be a great asset to the board and help people feel more connected, especially as they renew their memberships.

We will continue to work with on our partnership with the Ohio Department of Education, the school communication officer contact information database was again updated within the past six months. This is a major recruitment tool for us in addition to mining past membership rosters to increase our chapter membership.

Budget/Finances
The chapter continues to be fiscally viable and responsible.
-As of June 19, 2019:

  • Checking $29,678.85
  • Savings $25,650.96
  • Total $55,329.81

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

OHSPRA continues to develop relationships with a variety of sponsors to support our programming and member opportunities throughout the year. As mentioned previously, at our retreat in June of 2018, we redesigned the sponsorship levels and then set a timeline to open up the window of when OHSPRA would be accepting sponsorships on September 7, 2018. Please see the sponsor grid below.

OHSPRA sponsor grid

Within the first five minutes of the sponsorship window opening, here's where we landed:

  • Gold ($5000) - SchoolMessenger/West
  • Silver ($2500) - Allerton Hill, eSchoolView
  • Blue ($1000) – FinalSite​

Social event

  • Food ($1000+) - School Messenger/West
  • Beverage ($1000+) - Roetzel Consulting Solutions (this sponsor committed after the opening of the sponsorship window.)  

In the opening day, OHSPRA had commitments for $11,000, plus the food to be covered for the social. We continued to work on sponsorships additional vendors eventually partnering with these additional sponsors:

Blue ($1000)

  • Apptegy
  • Blackboard
  • Edlio
  • MarketVolt
  • Schoolpointe
  • Smore
  • Peachjar

Sponsorship was another focus of the retreat we held on June 6 & 7 at the Renaissance in Westerville, Ohio. Erin Graham the director of partnerships will be evaluating the grid and the opportunity to provide additional opportunities to sponsors outside of the spring conference experience.

Professional development programs/activities

Spring Conference

OHSPRA’s  2019 Spring Conference, was held on April 11 and 12 at the Renaissance Columbus Westerville-Polaris Hotel at 409 Altair Parkway in Westerville, Ohio.

This year's conference, "Amplify the Excellence," built upon the theme of the 2018 conference. The OHSPRA Board was excited to offer many learning opportunities with speakers eager to celebrate our craft and offer school public relations tips.

We were also pleased to host Carol Fenstermacher, president of NSPRA's Executive Board, to the conference as a keynote speaker. Building upon more than 30 years in communications, including 19 in school public relations, Carol shared her top 10 rules to survive just about anything that gets thrown at you. The presentation focused on the origin of these rules, the stories behind each, and how the equity and diversity work Carol has been involved with impact these rules. Her presentation offered great perspective for our attendees.

View the full conference program.

Attendance

  • 112 registrations:
  • Full Conference: 77
  • Thursday Only: 11
  • Friday Only: 8
  • Luncheon Only: 16
  • Comp'd registrations: 34 (This includes OHSPRA Board, Sponsors, and Scholarships)
    Based on the generosity of our sponsors, we had the ability as a board to offer five scholarships to incentivize people to attend that may not otherwise have the means from their school district. This is up from two in past years. Additionally, in recognition of their receipt of national recognition from NSPRA, we also offered comped rooms and registration to three award winners:
    • Amanda Lloyd, Director of Communications - Fairview Park City Schools​
      NSPRA 35 Under 35
    • Jonathan Davis, Superintendent - Circleville City Schools​
      NSPRA announced the 2018-19 Superintendents to Watch
    • Matthew Miller - Superintendent - Lakota City Schools​
      NSPRA National Communication Technology Award

We established a new “in honor of” scholarship in the name of Scott Ebright. Scott served on OHSPRA’s (formerly NSPRA-Ohio) board as president, president-elect and vice president. He also served one term on the National School Public Relations Association's Executive Board representing the Mid-east Region. Scott lost his battle with cancer in April 2018.

Additionally, we celebrated the winners of this year's OHSPRA Achievement Awards and recognized the hard work that school public relations professionals do around the state.

Contests & Awards
OHSPRA distributed 86 awards at our Spring Conference on April 11, 2019. The categories are as follows: Website, e-Newsletter, Social Media Campaign, Social media, Special Purpose Publication, Print Newsletter, Video, Print/Quality Profile/Annual Reports, Electronic Quality Profile/Annual Reports, Photography, Writing, PR Marketing Plan, Marketing Materials, Student video, Friend of Education Award

School public relations is more than a one-person or one-department job. With that in mind, OHSPRA annually sponsors the Friend of Education Award to recognize those unofficial members of the school public relations team. Recipients can be individuals or groups of students, parents, volunteers, employees or community partners.

A full list of recipients is available here.  

Buckeye Association of School Administrators - BASA
Social Media Trials & Tribulations - June 13, 2019

OHSPRA had several members both in attendance and as presenters at this workshop focused on social media. Over 50 people from around the state were in attendance.

Presenting on Social Media 101: How to get started (and keep going) Kirk Koennecke, Supt. Graham Local Schools, now moving on to Indian Hills Schools.

My Top 10 Social media Tips & Tricks - Mary Beddell, OHSPRA Chapter Manager and Public Relations Director - Plain Local Schools.

Social Media Trials and Tribulations workshop description   

Major chapter issues or concerns

Contests & Awards - We are working with some of the feedback from this year’s awards cycle to make improvements for next year.

  • I appreciate all the work that went into it! The awards ceremony is always a great time to celebrate others!
  • I wish we could have seen images of the winners & at least the best of the best videos.
  • Add video category for student-produced videos versus school PR and/or third-party videos.
  • Video seems to be the big one that most outsource....it would be nice to have an in-house category.  

We are still working to identify ways to boost engagement on the Networking Center on our website. It is not utilized enough by our members, so we continue to think of ways to draw them in, etc. We are hoping that with the news site coming later this summer, we will relaunch and have a more robust system.

Website - We are working with a beta site now with eSchoolview, who have agreed to host it for free. Our goal is to make it more of a destination for members, a networking resource and support system for best practices with a variety of sample communications. A launch is set for later this summer. Our current site is www.ohspra.org.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

I think we are good at the moment.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

  • School funding is a hot topic in the state currently as we approach the final state budget. A number of school districts with a cap on funding are threatening to sue the state if they do not adequately fund. The current funding formula has been ruled unconstitutional for years.
  • This continues - School safety issues, walkout support, arming teachers, metal detectors, mental health, etc.
  • Vaping is all the news as well as the latest products to hit the market - nicotine toothpicks for example, edibles and more. The continuing drug epidemic (opioid crisis) — what role schools play in education, prevention, treatment.
  • Overall well-being initiatives for students & schools (Suicide clusters, ideation, etc.)

Additional items of note

COMMUNICATION TO MEMBERS

Newsletters:
OHSPRA Amplify Your Story newsletter header

It has been published over the last quarter according to the following schedule:

Amplify Newsletter Archive for 2018-19

Social media:

  • Twitter - We have added 26 followers for a total of 1,451 (between February and June). 
  • Facebook - We have gone from 295 to 303 likes, with 383 following (between February and June). 
  • We have recently just launched Instagram as well after discussing it at our board retreat earlier in June.

We have added an incentive performance bonus for our chapter manager to assist our director of communications with growing our social media presence among members and non-members and to utilize it as a recruiting tool.  

OHSPRA Board 2019-20:

  • President — Patrick Gallaway, director of communications, New Albany-Plain Local Schools
  • Past President — Crystal Davis, public relations coordinator, Pickerington Local Schools  
  • President-Elect — Lou DeVincentis, director of communications, Orange City Schools
  • Treasurer — Patti Koslo, K Communications & eSchoolView
  • Secretary — Erika Konowalow, communication & marketing coordinator at Pickaway-Ross Career & Technology Center
  • Director of Membership — Alicia Mowry, Public Relations Supervisor, Delaware Area Career Center
  • Director of Communications – Kurt Moore, director of communications, Marion City Schools
  • Director of Professional Development- Kari Basson, community relations coordinator, Kettering City Schools
  • Director of Contests and Awards — Olivia Bronczek, communications director, Massillon City Schools
  • Director of Partnerships — Erin Graham, communications consultant, multiple districts northeast Ohio

Mary Beddell, public relations director, Plain Local School District, serves as chapter manager (not a Board position).

GOALS

Focus for 2018-19

  • Revamp website and make it more useful for members - entered into a sponsorship contract with eSchoolview to complete this work and look for a spring launch for a new site.  
  • Meet or exceed the goal of $20,000 in sponsorships
  • Continue to enhance partnership opportunities with other educational associations in the state (presenting at Ohio School Boards Association, Buckeye Association for School Administrators, Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators, Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators and more.)  
  • Overhaul awards presentation and process for Spring Conference
  • Focus on the new menu of sponsorship levels and attract new sponsors
  • Continue to publish quarterly Amplify Your Story newsletter
  • Improve the website’s online resources area
  • Provide regular social media updates

 


North Central Region Chapters Report - November 2019

Peg Mannion, APR, community relations coordinator, Glenbard Township High School District

North Central Region Vice President (INSPRA, ISPRA, MinnSPRA, NebSPRA, WSPRA Wis.)

 

Illinois School Public Relations Association (INSPRA) 

Kristine Liptrot, APR, president

Chapter well-being

Fiscal Health: The chapter remains in strong financial health and we took advantage of a few longer-term investments to help secure our financial future. This year we re-located our monthly meetings to a new venue, saving a substantial amount of money.​

Membership: We are currently in our membership renewal period. We have instituted a Google Form for membership renewals this year as the previously used spreadsheet file had numerous errors and we needed additional information from members as part of how we are now utilizing our board directors to communicate with members. We are hoping that the Google Form helps update all membership information so it can easily be uploaded into INSPRA’s new association management software program, once purchased.​

Bylaw Change: To better address the need of our membership, INSPRA changed the board position of ‘Regional Director’ to ‘District Director.’ Previously these five directors worked with the members depending on the region in which they were located. This resulted in one director serving only two members, while a director in the Chicago region served more than 100 members. To better align our efforts, District Directors will now serve certain types of districts (elementary > 3,500 students; elementary < 3,500 students; unit districts; high school districts; non-district/co-ops). This evened out the responsibilities of the directors and will improve service to our membership. This change was voted on and approved by the INSPRA membership. Since it is a bylaw change, it has been sent to the NSPRA Board for its approval as well.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

INSPRA ended the year strong with record-breaking attendance at its Distinguished Service Awards. More than 200 people were in attendance at the event that recognizes public relations advocates for their support of their local schools and districts. Nominees are evaluated on their ability to support or improve understanding and communication in the school/district; foster cooperative partnerships between the school and community; and strengthen the overall support for education by stakeholders. Sixty-one individuals and teams were recognized in the categories of Administrator, Board of Education Member, Community Member, Faculty/Certified Staff Member, Parent, Support Staff Member, and Team. NSPRA members from 13 states served as judges.

Our board worked to re-define INSPRA’s Strategic Plan, revising all initiatives into SMART goals to help the board remain accountable and provide a clear direction for the organization.

This year we will be looking at possibly instituting a state communications conference and a new member boot camp. We hope to work with WSPRA, INDSPRA, and MOSPRA as mentors for this initiative. Also, INSPRA members participated as speakers at this year’s INDSPRA conference in March, as well as at our state’s education conference sponsored by Illinois business officials, administrators, and board members.

INSPRA made ‘collaboration with other state organizations’ part of the job description of our President-Elect. We have met with individuals from our state’s business officials and human resources organizations and have a meeting slated for June with our technology partners. Partnership opportunities include state conferences and micro-credentialing.

Professional development programs/activities

We had another successful year of our monthly Tips & Tactics professional development workshops. The new INSPRA Board will be meeting in June to talk about professional development programing for next year (including the possibility of initiating a state communications conference and/or boot camp for new members).

Concerning INSPRA Board PD, this year will be the first time that both the former and the new board will meet together at the summer planning meeting (June 27). We instituted this to help with the transition due to the number of one-year board terms and to make sure everyone is on the same page regarding successes and challenges as we plan for the next year.

We are also working on a micro-credentialing initiative.

Major chapter issues or concerns

Structure and timelines: To help our chapter function more efficiently, we are looking at restructuring our timelines to be consistent with the school year calendar (July 1-June 30). This would include our board elections, membership, budget, sponsorship year, etc.  Currently the new board takes over in April, our budget starts in August to coincide with NSPRA requirements, membership renewal is in September, and our sponsorships and management services contract are on a calendar year.  We have just changed our membership renewal to be July 1-June 30. The board will look at changing the date the new board members take office to July 1 as well. We are working with our management services contract and sponsors to do the same. The only thing we cannot change due to national rules is our budget year. We would appreciate some context as to why NSPRA chose August as the start of the budget year.

Data Management: The newly elected Board is continuing discussions on purchasing association management software to better serve the INSPRA membership. We are currently using Excel files, which are labor-intensive and prone to mistakes. With INSPRA’s current reserves, we believe this is an appropriate time to make this improvement to our organization. We are hoping that this purchase will reduce administrative workload for our association management company, and therefore reduce the amount we spend on those services. In addition, the software will provide a number of benefits to members, including the ease of registration, a more accurate membership database, better financial reporting, and even the ability to use the system to keep track of APR maintenance points for our accredited members. 

Sponsorships: We need to review and possibly restructure our sponsorships. We have encountered various issues regarding budgeting, timelines, and sponsors overstepping.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

  • Is NSPRA considering a program for members to earn micro-credentials, or should we just start this at the state level?
  • Why does NSPRA use an August date to start its budget year?
  • Does NSPRA have any recommendations or special pricing on association management software?
  • Can the PRincipal Communicator newsletter be sent to members electronically? We want to share it with our principals, but since we only get one hard copy, it ends up in the “circular file.”

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

N/A

Additional items of note

N/A

 

Iowa School Public Relations Association (ISPRA)

Laura Sprague, APR, president

Chapter well-being

The Iowa School Public Relations Association (ISPRA) chapter continues to be a thriving, growing association. Membership continues to grow and joining our group has become the norm for any new school public relations professional in the state. It’s been gratifying to see school districts adding school public relations professionals (if even on a part-time basis) which is evidence of the important role our profession plays in the K-12 environment.

The Association is also in good financial health; to date, our total balance of all accounts is $21,377.81.

Our state chapter comes together twice a year for a fall conference and spring awards night/conference. We actively use a Google group to ask and share information; this has been beneficial for new and old members alike. This year, we implemented a monthly Zoom meeting between all chapter members to share updates and information. This has been a helpful way for members to stay connected with one another between face-to-face networking opportunities.

As we wrap up the 2018-19 school year, we will see some new faces join the ISPRA leadership board. We are excited to see new people and their ideas take on a bigger role in our organization. We will have a summer planning and transition meeting in late June.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

Continuing to recruit and retain school communicators; once on-boarded with ISPRA, we are making more of an attempt to provide any and all resources we can and help them find (veteran) school PR people in their area to form relationships. We will be offering a specific new member day in August 2019 to bring all new members together to share resources and help them get better acclimated to their roles. (Ongoing project)

Forming better relationships with state associations, such as the School Administrators of Iowa, Iowa Association of School Business and Finance, Iowa Association of School Boards. We want these groups to see us as valuable partners in the whole picture of school/district vitality. (Ongoing project)

It is my hope as president to write a strategic plan for the chapter that would provide direction and initiatives for the next three to five years. (New project)

Our past president has taken on the idea to create a speaker’s bureau of Iowa school PR practitioners that can be used by outside organizations if they are looking for a resource. Examples: A smaller district would like to hear from someone on crisis communications – they can use our speaker’s bureau to identify someone who excels in crisis communications and we would speak to their group. (Ongoing project)

Professional development programs/activities

Our chapter sponsored a successful fall conference that centered around the effective use of social media, evaluating efforts, and future trends. In addition, we have held quarterly web conference meetings which serve as informal, open agenda discussion forums where members can discuss celebrations, challenges, and gain support from others in the organization. This quarter’s forum featured discussion around broadcasting board meetings, news media relations, website launches, and the upcoming spring conference and awards night.

This spring, our conference featured Rick Kaufman who presented and led tabletop exercises on “Managing the Unthinkable: Crisis Communications in the Age of Social Media” followed by School Administrators of Iowa attorney, Matt Carver, who will present a legal primer related to school communication issues. The annual awards night was the evening before, celebrating the hard work of our members.

We continue to advocate for our members to obtain their Accreditation in Public Relations (APR). The state PRSA chapter welcomes school practitioners to join their classes and we have had good interest from our membership in taking the course and completing the requirements.

Major chapter issues or concerns

This is an ongoing issue; I think we are struggling to be seen as an equal “player” amongst other school administrator/business services. As mentioned above, we are putting more effort into letting statewide organizations know we are here, we are professionals, and we play a vital role in the daily operations of our school district. As our group gains credibility and (favorable) reputation, I hope to see that reflected in how are roles are viewed within individual school districts.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

None at this time.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

We all acknowledge that our society is changing. Several of us have the scars from trying to manage and lead our way through situations where stakeholders take to social media to rally support or organize attacks on school officials when unpopular decisions are made. The polarization of thought that continues to grow in our country may have implications beyond the political arena - it may eventually lead to a leadership crisis in our schools. We need to use our platform as an organization to help stakeholders see the value in dialogue, seeking to understand, and working through conflict in productive ways--and understand the potential risks to a healthy K-12 system (and ultimately students) if we don’t.

Additional items of note

None at this time.

 

Minnesota School Public Relations Association (MinnSPRA)

Barbara Olson, APR, President

Chapter well-being

MinnSPRA continues to be a vital chapter. Our membership is strong with 179 members, and our financial standing is solid. We met monthly from September through May. Each board member provided leadership to specific areas, including racial equity, the MinnSPRA website, online learning and networking, one-day specialty workshops, in-person networking, and ongoing growth/leadership development. We’ll now take the summer off and resume in August.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

We completed our collaboration with the Minnesota Association of Government Communicators and Minnesota PRSA through the offering of an APR Prep Course. More than 10 MinnSPRA members are set to proceed with the panel review and exam within the next year. We are continuing to explore a partnership with Minnesota State University-Mankato to offer credit- or certificate-based professional development opportunities.

Professional development programs/activities

Coffee CHATs (40-minute video chats on a specific topic); year-long APR Prep Course, year-long Emerging Leaders Academy (geared to aspiring directors), after-hours Think & Drink sessions (face to face conversations on a specific topic), Power Hours, fall and spring conferences; Leadership Seminars: Emerging Leaders 2.0 and Veteran Leaders 2.0 (both of these are follow-ups to sessions held last summer, facilitated by Peter Krembs, a leadership consultant and former instructor at the University of Minnesota and University of St. Thomas).

Major chapter issues or concerns

We are continuing to assess our sponsorship program. While we’ve had relatively robust revenue from sponsors, we know the list of potential sponsors is dwindling and we need to find different ways to provide value to them.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

Sharing ideas re how other SPRAs handle sponsorships would be appreciated. We’ll also be doing our own research.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

We are continuing to monitor the Cruz-Guzman vs State of Minnesota lawsuit alleging that state laws (particularly around school choice) have led to racial segregation, and that the resulting segregated schools are failing to provide an adequate education to children of color. The court has ordered the parties to engage in mediation in summer 2019. If mediation is unsuccessful, trial is set to begin in late 2020.

The work of Reimagine Minnesota is relevant to other states, also. The goal of Reimagine Minnesota is to eliminate disparities and to improve access, equity and opportunity for ALL students.

Additional items of note

N/A

 

Nebraska School Public Relation Association (NebSPRA) 

Amanda Oliver, chapter co-president

Brandi Paul, chapter co-president

Chapter well-being

Nebraska continues to hold regular monthly meetings throughout the year. Our members remain engaged and active during meetings. Most of our school districts remain understaffed for their size of district, so members continue to be overloaded within their day-to-day jobs.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

Our efforts were successful and were thrilled as a chapter to host a lunch and learn event in April 2019 for our chapter members, superintendents and school board members throughout our state. Excellent guest presenter that brought in power messages from a national level.

Continued collaboration with our local state administrator’s organization as well as other state organizations for different projects and opportunities. Our chapter will be presenting to administrators at an upcoming state conference in July. 

Professional development programs/activities

Mentioned above in question #2.  We’re also working on continuing a school law professional development opportunity for the start of the school year.

Major chapter issues or concerns

Continued efforts to show and grow the communication efforts in school districts across our state. A few districts with struggles on how to best use their communications professionals, or even having a communications presence. Some levels of bills and discussion at the state legislature that we are always watching and monitoring.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

Still interested in suggestions on how to get non-school PR individuals involved in NSPRA. We have most of the school PR individuals in our state but we are still small in numbers. Would like to involve more principals, superintendents or others who have communication duties in our group. Working on possible events that will draw in more interest from the non-PR education folks in the state.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Funding concerns and also social/emotional health remain a high concern for many of our districts.

Continuing to monitor initiatives with state legislature for Charter Schools. Nebraska does not have charter schools.

Additional items of note

N/A

 

Wisconsin School Public Relations Association (WSPRA)

No report submitted.

Chapter well-being

TBD

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

TBD

Professional development programs/activities

TBD

Major chapter issues or concerns

TBD

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

TBD

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

TBD

Additional items of note

TBD

 


Northeast Region Chapters Report - November 2019

Lana Mueller, operations manager, Lawrence Township Public Schools, Lawrenceville, N.J.

Northeast Region Vice President (ConnSPRA, NJSPRA, NYSPRA, PenSPRA)

 

Connecticut School Public Relations Association (ConnSPRA)

No report submitted. 

Chapter well-being

TBD

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

TBD

Professional development programs/activities

TBD

Major chapter issues or concerns

TBD

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

TBD

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

TBD

Additional items of note

TBD

 

New Jersey School Public Relations Association (NJSPRA) 

Lori Perlow, President

Chapter well-being

Our chapter continues to grow and become more diverse with various school employees joining. As of June 18, 2019, we have 71 members which surpasses our membership from the previous year.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

Collaborations with NJASA and NJPSA are expected to continue in the new year.

Professional development programs/activities

All of our professional development offerings received positive feedback. Most importantly, we’re seeing a higher average of attendees at each workshop. Just three years ago, we averaged 20 attendees and now we’re averaging 40. This is generally a mix of members and individual attendees.

Major chapter issues or concerns

None

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

None

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

This is an interesting story out of NJ. The censorship issue is one aspect, but the teacher is also opposing the district’s policy that states the superintendent is the designated spokesperson. Read the article for more information. We will be monitoring this closely to see if anything comes of it.

NJ.com – June 7, 2019

“N.J. teacher behind infamous Trump yearbook censorship wants her bosses fired”

https://www.nj.com/education/2019/06/nj-teacher-behind-infamous-trump-yearbook-censorship-wants-her-bosses-fired.html

Additional items of note

None

 

New York School Public Relations Association (NYSPRA)

Adrienne Leon, APR, president

Chapter well-being

NYSPRA has a growing membership – up from 145 members in June 2016 to 228 members this past March. We are currently conducting our annual membership drive (as part of our annual communications contest). In addition, this spring we held the largest and most successful conference in NYSPRA’s history with 110 registrants (up from 64 in 2018) and 17 professional development sessions (up from 7 in 2018).

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

Planning is underway for the 2020 annual NYSPRA conference – set for March 2020 in Syracuse, NY. In addition, NYSPRA has partnered with NJSPRA, ConnSPRA and PenSPRA to hold an event this fall. A two-day event, the Northeast Regional Communications Summit will feature a crisis communications workshop with Rick Kaufman and a school branding workshop with Joe Sanfelippo. The summit will take place Oct. 15-16 at Southern Westchester BOCES in Harrison, NY. In addition, the annual NYSPRA Communications Contest is underway, with entries due July 18, 2019 and NYSPRA is seeking nominations for the annual Communicator of the Year award.

Professional development programs/activities

The events listed above – the annual conference and the Northeast Regional Communications Summit are intended to be professional development efforts for members.

Major chapter issues or concerns

None at this time.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

None at this time.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

None at this time.

Additional items of note

None at this time.

 

Pennsylvania School Public Relations Association (PenSPRA)

Angela Linch, president

Chapter well-being

PenSPRA is having a very exciting hear. Attendance at our spring conference was exceptional – and we have already held another local regional workshop since. We have also held our elections online this year with help from our executive director and her team at the CCIU. The new PenSPRA president in Christine Liberaski of North Penn School District, and the new president elect is Christa Fazio of Unionville Chadds Ford School District. Angela Linch will remain on the Board as immediate past-president, and professional liaison to other professional organizations and NSPRA.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

PenSPRA recently engaged the efforts of the Chester County Intermediate Unit to provide executive director services. This provides us with access to the entire CCIU communications staff – and so far the collaboration has resulted in an update to our website and conference marketing materials, a far more professional spring conference for our attendees, and a staff that is full of ideas for ways that we can better serve our members in the future.

Professional development programs/activities

We have recently revised our executive board to add a “liaison” role – tasked with communicating and seeking collaboration opportunities with other professional organizations that serve educational professionals in Pennsylvania.

Major chapter issues or concerns

None to report.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

None at this time.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Major changes proposed in the charter school laws in the Commonwealth on both sides of the issue. Republicans in the legislature are seeking broader power for charter schools to take over closed school buildings, while Democrats are seeking limitations on funding when a school district has an in-house cyber or other alternative education option.

Additional items of note

None.

 


Northwest Region Chapters Report - November 2019

Curtis Cambell, Public Information Officer, Shoreline Public Schools (Wash.)

Northwest Region Vice President (IdSPRA, OSPRA, WSPRA Wash.)

 

Idaho School Public Relations Association (IDSPRA)

No report submitted.

Chapter well-being

TBD

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

TBD

Professional development programs/activities

TBD

Major chapter issues or concerns

TBD

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

TBD

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

TBD

Additional items of note

TBD

 

Oregon School Public Relations Association (OSPRA)

Doreen McKercher, President

Chapter well-being

This spring, we held a two-day conference with an all-time record 54 attendees. Last winter, we reported that our membership in OSPRA continues to grow and that we’re spending down our reserves slightly and are offering more to conference attendees via national-level keynote speakers; this remains to be true.

We are about to launch a listserv to better reach our members and to create conversations around both new and recurring topics.

While our board experienced several resignations this year through both job changes and job responsibility shifts for our board members, we have a newly elected board and will enjoy both seasoned board members as well as fresh faces. In July, we’re taking a deeper dive at our annual planning session expanding it from one day to two and hosting it at the Oregon Coast. Our hope is to dig into our bylaws and practices while creating an opportunity for relationship growth.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

Our Communicator of the Year award and our NSPRA scholarship continue to be great ways to recognize and support our members. Looking forward toward next year, there are currently beginning plans for a joint WSPRA/OSPRA conference in the spring--an endeavor we’ve not done in about a decade.

Professional development programs/activities

In response to survey feedback, we focused our spring conference on a topic that continues to be of interest among public relations professionals: internal communications. Survey results from the event indicated it was one of our best conferences to date.

Major chapter issues or concerns

No major issues or concerns at this time.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

We’ve made progress on our struggle to reinstate our non-profit status and have submitted all overdue tax filings. We’ve engaged professional accounting support to help us manage the higher level duties not easily managed by the treasurer at the board level.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

These are topic that tend to be a constant for us:

  • Funding, as always, is generally a top concern for Oregon districts.
  • Equity
  • Communicating with diverse audiences
  • Threats to schools and students
  • Mental health of students

Additional items of note

We are excited about the progress our chapter is making this year.

 

Washington School Public Relations Association (WSPRA)

Melissa Laramie, president

Chapter well-being

WSPRA is proud to report another year of positive growth in the Pacific Northwest. 2018-19 has been a year filled with membership growth, the highest quality professional development in school communications we have ever offered, record breaking workshop attendance, record breaking sponsorship revenue, new partnerships, new board members and the momentum has lit the well into next year. We are #WSPRAProud.

Our 2019-20 WSPRA Membership Goal was to increase our membership by 20% to 185 members, as of June 24,2019 WSPRA has ended the year at 177 members, 95.67% of our goal. We are #WSPRAProud.

Our 2019-20 NSPRA Membership Goal was to increase our NSPRA membership by 20% to 107 members, as of June 24,2019 WSPRA has ended the year at 87 members, 87% of our goal. We are #WSPRAProud.

Professional development programs/activities

We brought in the highest amount of sponsorships to date, memberships and had record-breaking attendance at our workshops overall this year. What we are most #WSPRAProud of is that we were able to provide relevant, high-quality professional learning that met the needs of our diverse members.

  • The WSPRA fall workshop was devoted to Crisis Communications. We invited Jim Pinnell an expert from outside of school communications from the mental health field to speak about suicide and provide critical crisis response and prevention campaign resources. Preparing for a Crisis Response - Superintendent, Sunnyside School District Superintendent Kevin McKay, shared how he and his Communications Director worked together with their community to prepare for a crisis response proactively through a community wide drill and the lessons they learned. Catherine Carbone Rogers, Chief Communications Officer and Tove Tupper, Assistant Communications Director or Highline Public Schools shared What Can You Give, What Should You Give: Crisis Media Relations - Sample Holding Statements.
  • The WSPRA winter workshop featured a national Keynote speaker, Kendra Coates, D.Ed., Mindset Works who walked our members through a half-day Growth Mindset Workshop, including a design thinking session on how we might use a growth mindset to consider how we might better communicate with our students and families. Additionally, this workshop featured an engaging presentation “Essential Roadmap to Building a Social Media Recruiting Program” Adriana Kevill, KRT Marketing and a panel of chairs from local universities with teacher prep programs just in time for recruitment season.
  • The annual conference had a broader focus with truly something for every school communications professional of every department and district size featuring:
    • How to Make a Communications Plan Your Road Map to Success - Carol Fenstermacher, APR, NSPRA President
    • Strike Communications: A Regional Perspective from the Hotbed of Activity - Lori Oberheide (Assistant Superintendent of Communications and Public Engagement) and Monique Dugaw (Director of Communications and Public Engagement), Educational Service District 112
    • Lessons from the Frontiers of Data Storytelling - Catherine Hinrichsen, APR, Project Director, Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness
    • Power in the Palm of Your Hand - Create Professional Looking Videos on Your Smartphone! - Kelly Guenther, North American Video Specialist, Shootsta
    • Listen to your Heart and Align to your Purpose - L. Michelle, Executive Director of Communications, Issaquah School District
    • Are you Communicating a Reflection of Reality - Heidi Otero, Director of Communications, Arizona School Boards Association
    • Gold Mine Roundtables

Major chapter issues or concerns

Beyond the balancing of work, home and life, our 2019-20 planning has us facing the realities of the historical and recent legislative state funding impacts on school districts small and large across Washington State. Budgets are being impacted tremendously, and it is not the first time school communication professionals are experiencing tremendous cuts to materials, supplies, professional learning, travel, and staff in the next two years.  WSPRA will support members through traditional and innovative free, paid and member only benefits as we weather this all too familiar storm together.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

WSPRA feels strongly there needs to be a continued local, regional and national focus from all sectors in education on eliminating the opportunity gap and promoting birth through career success for all children of color. The education system in Washington State and in our county needs to be responsive to each and every child, including a child that is homeless, hungry, or living in the trauma of poverty.  Our education systems must start funding programs at the local and district level that not only treat children equally but also treat children equitably. Some children need more programs, more resources, and more support than other children — and our schools and laws must offer those programs if we are to create a system that believes that each and every child can succeed in school and can enter a living wage career.​

As related to WSPRA and NSPRA, we need to ensure that we are equipped to talk about race, equity and inclusion in a way that speaks power to truth, translates across languages and cultures, and reaches all levels of our communities. As communication professionals we need to be equipped to lead as agents of change and communicate in ways the leverage the tools available to us today, that we can address the topics most impacting those we serve and ensure that we are able to measure our impact so that we can have data informed conversations about how and where we use our resources.​

For these reasons and more we would appreciate NSPRA’s continued focus on issues of race, equity and inclusion.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

School districts around Washington are adjusting to the new state model for funding basic education and all that it means. Last summer, the state Legislature increased its share to shoulder the cost of basic education and equitably support those needs among the state’s 295 districts. Simultaneously, it significantly reduced the amount districts may collect in their local levies as an offset to the increased state funding. The Legislature believes its work is finished; you would be hard-pressed to find a school communications professional, educational leader, board member, or educator that agrees, as an organization we disagree.  Increasing state funding while decreasing local levy lids had very different impacts to school districts depending on the location. This was a challenge for many WSPRA member districts in 2018-19 and will continue to be for 2019-20 and years to come, from teacher and paraeducator strikes, to reductions in force, budget reductions, mixed media messages and general confusion of education funding the impact on school communications and public relations is profound. We know now many districts are facing reductions in force, potential strikes, and more this coming school year and next as a direct result.

Additional items of note

As we continue to grow our state memberships, our NSPRA memberships, our partnerships and our presence in the NSPRA community we do ask that NSPRA continue to seriously consider Seattle as a location for an upcoming NSPRA seminar.  We as a board continue to be committed to growing our memberships for WSPRA and NSPRA, partnering with our fellow SPRAs in Oregon, Idaho, and California to help them increase their state chapter memberships and NSPRA memberships just as they have helped us.  Our region is supportive in helping share ideas for professional learning, providing member benefits and more. We appreciate the collaboration and support from our fellow west coast SPRAs! 

In the words of our own Seattle Seahawk’s Russell Wilson, we respectfully ask, “Why not us?” The WSPRA Board respectfully requests that NSPRA consider Seattle as a location for an upcoming NSPRA seminar.