Regional Chapter Reports: March 2019

View the chapter report for:


Southwest Region Chapters Report - November 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)

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

 

California School Public Relations Association (CalSPRA)

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

 

Colorado School Public Relations Association (CoSPRA)

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

 

Utah School Public Relations Association (USPRA)

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

 


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) 

Paul Tandy, APR, President

David Luther, Executive Director

Chapter well-being

MOSPRA is a thriving chapter with healthy financials and strong membership base. The current membership count sits at 215 members statewide.  This is up from 203 in June 2017.  MOSPRA has helped 20 districts create new communications departments in the past four years!  The state chapter is divided into four regions (Eastern, Mid-State, Ozark and Western) with monthly meetings scheduled in each area providing professional development opportunities for members.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

MOSPRA Board Completes Comprehensive Update of Association Strategic Plan

The MOSPRA Board, along with committee chairs and key members, met in February 2019 for their annual Winter Retreat.  The primary focus on the meeting was to update the strategic plan and to plan for the NSPRA 2020 National Seminar ,which will be held in St. Louis.

Sponsorship Program

MOSPRA currently has annual sponsors with Blackboard, SchoolMessenger, PeachJar, MarketVolt, Thought Exchange, Broadnet, Gabbart Communications and Alboum Translation Services. The partnerships are rewarding not only for MOSPRA but also for the sponsors, as they are able to build relationships and create top of mind awareness with our members.

Colleague Connections

MOSPRA established Colleague Connections to provide support, learning and professional growth opportunities for new members by establishing a collaborative, professional relationship with a MOSPRA colleague. New MOSPRA members are provided with a professional, confidential resource of school communication expertise during the first year as a member.

Document Vault

MOSPRA houses a protected document vault on our website. We ask that MOSPRA members who have participated in the MOSPRA Communications Contest submit their work from the past 2-3 years. We also ask members to submit communication plans (both comprehensive and issue specific), informational campaign work samples, crisis communication samples (including letters home), procedures for social media, and any presentations. The submissions are added to the vault for all members to have accessibility to the information whenever needed.

Social Media

The MOSPRA Board called for the development of a Social Media Committee and that group has formalized a Social Media plan of action.

Professional development programs/activities

APR Study Group

MOSPRA members, Stephanie Smith, APR, and Michelle Mueller, APR, have developed an outstanding and ongoing program to help members work towards their APR.

Fall Conference

The 2018 annual MOSPRA Fall Conference was held October 25-26 in Kansas City (Independence). The conference focused on “Generational Communications.” Daniel Thigpen, APR, presented.

Regional Outreach/Sub-Regions (AKA “Rogue” Group)

MOSPRA has expanded its “Rogue” (sub-regional) groups to five.  Three are thriving (West Central, Southeast and Jefferson County) and two are getting started (Northwest and North Central).  These groups allow those who cannot easily make meetings in the metro areas to still share time and ideas with their colleagues.  The groups meet each quarter.

Major chapter issues or concerns

No major concerns.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

TBD

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

The 2019 legislative session is ripe with danger:  vouchers and charter school expansion appear to be gaining traction.

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 are getting ready to switch from the free platform to a paid version so our virtual meetings can be longer than 45 minutes.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

We will continue to have partnerships with the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration as opportunities arise. This relationship started during last year’s teacher work stoppage and continued with OKSPRA having a presence at their statewide conference this summer.

West/School Messenger sponsored our December meeting. Apptegy is a sponsor for our February 19 meeting. Joshua Sauer has also secured FinalSite as a presenting sponsor for the remainder of the 208/19 OKSPRA year. Representatives will present at our Spring Conference in April and participate in our virtual meeting in March. We have offered them first right of refusal for the presenting sponsorship for the 2019/2020 OKSPRA meeting series.

Professional development programs/activities

OKSPRA has three quarterly meetings, monthly virtual meetings and a two-day spring conference each year. Our Spring Conference will take place April 10-12 at Quartz Mountain state park, near Altus, Oklahoma. Our meeting content will be comprised of sessions from the 2018 NSPRA Seminar. MOSPRA’s Lana Snodgrass has already confirmed her participation. Others are pending. We hope to finalize our other speakers by the middle of February.

The OKSPRA spring conference will not have an awards component again this year. We surveyed members and found that members were interested in learning best practices from other members. We are working on a way to incorporate a this into our spring conference in lieu of giving individual awards. School districts throughout the state are still experiencing a budget shortfall. Over the years the number of award applicants has declined, and the cost of awards has increased.

Major chapter issues or concerns

Membership and sponsorships continue to be a concern for the organization. FinalSite’s presenting sponsorship will help offset the expenses our chapter has incurred to bring in speakers from across the country for our quarterly meetings. Our organization is on solid financial footing, but our long-term goal is to have all of our meeting expenses covered by sponsorships. We have a lot more relationships to build to make that happen.

I look forward to learning more from other chapter leaders at NSPRA this year!

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

TBD

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Following last year’s teacher work stoppage, 16 teachers were elected to office in November. While everyone is optimistic about having a louder voice for education at the capitol, there is already pushback from other members of the state’s legislature. A bill has been filed that would prohibit teachers from repeating the events from last April. Proposed HB 2214 would make it illegal for the board of education or school district employees to strike or to threaten to strike. The proposed bill would also deny salary and permanently revoke their teacher certification.

Speaking of, the state continues to rely on emergency certified teachers. In the 2018/19 school year, there were more than 2,800 emergency teaching certifications approved in Oklahoma.

On a brighter note, on January 31 staff at the Oklahoma State Department of Education received an office visit from Governor Kevin Stitt. This is believed to be the first time a sitting governor has visited the state agency. Stitt’s plan includes turning Oklahoma into a Top Ten educational system. This plan will be something for educators across the state to watch.

Additional items of note

TBD

 

Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA)

Linsae Snider, Executive Director

Kristin Zastoupil, President

Chapter well-being

  • TSPRA membership stands at 878 Professional, 12 Associate, 18 Affiliate and 8 Retirees for a total of 916 dues paying members. In addition, membership includes another 45 honorary members. This brings total TSPRA membership to 961.
  • Financially, we have an operating budget exceeding $563,750 with an additional $543,670, in savings and investments.
  • To date, a total of $114,841 in sponsorship/web advertising funding has been secured.
  • Four of the seven recommendations resulting from the Member Review of Financial Records and Procedures (audit) Committee based upon findings of the 2018 external audit review are complete with two in progress pending the establishment of ad hoc committees to make recommendations and one in progress with completion expected during FY 2020.
  • The state of Texas has approved an assumed name certificate for TSPRA to DBA Texas School Public Relations Association as of March 23, 2018.
  • Of TSPRA’s nine regions, eight have conducted at least one regional meeting since October. North Central (Dallas/Fort Worth), San Antonio, Houston/Beaumont and Central (Austin) regions continue to schedule monthly meetings.
  • Monica Faulkenbery, APR, Northside ISD, was installed as TSPRA President on February 20, 2019, and is currently in the process of appointing committee chairs and making other necessary appointments.
  • Tony Heaberlin, APR, NSPRA South Central Vice President, attended the 2019 TSPRA Conference and provided greetings.
  • 2019-2020 TSPRA Executive Committee was installed into office during the conference. They assumed duties at the end of the conference. A list of 2019-2020 officers will be submitted to the NSPRA office.
  • The board took action and now the membership will be asked to vote on a bylaws amendment to eliminate the associate level of membership.
  • Arianna Vazquez-Hernandez CPC, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD, was APR pinned during the first general session of the conference and recognized for being TSPRA’s first dual CPC, APR.
  • TSPRA APR’s conducted readiness review panels for two TSPRA members and one OKSPRA member who are in the process of completing requirements for earning APR credentials.
  • Texas Christian University offers a Certified Public Communicator credential involving a two-year cohort program. The six recent graduates of the program were recognized during the conference and six more will complete the second year of the program in July 2019, bringing the total of TSPRA CPC’s to 26.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

  • A total of 1460 Star Awards entries were submitted. The judges awarded one Platinum Award, six Platinum Certificates of Merit, ten Crystal Commendations, 22 Crystal Certificates of Merit, 120 Best of Categories, 617 Gold Stars, 531 Silver Stars and 1114 Bronze Stars. Since TSPRA members enter only their best work, it is not uncommon for there to be very few entries that do not earn any type of award.
  • A First Year Communications Academy (FYCA) is being developed, and replicating the TASA model that has been a working model for first year superintendents. TSPRA members with less than 36 months in school communications will be eligible for the 2019-2020 cohort. Following years will be restricted to those in the first year of school communications work.
  • TSPRA 2018-2020 Organization Goals were reviewed during the February meeting of the Executive Committee resulting in:
    • Motion to dissolve Celebrate Texas Public Schools (CTPS) as an active standing committee with no future allocation of time and resources to the program until future leadership of the organization sees vision in renewing the initiative.
    • Creation of ad hoc committee to institute perimeters for regional groups in the establishment of regional crisis communication efforts.
    • Continue to explore the creation of a webinar/in-demand/just-in-time webinar series available to members.
    • Continue the development of talking about related to TSPRA
  • TSPRA has published 29 EduLeges, 16 newsletters and blasted 14 eBlasts since October.
  • TSPRA continues to collaborate with TASA by providing 8 concurrent sessions at their annual convention and hosts a Resource Center.
  • TSPRA has secured writers for publications of the following state organizations: TASA, TASB and Texas School Business.
  • The job descriptions of our at-large vice-president positions have been defined to represent areas of diversity/expertise within TSPRA as identified in the organizational goals. This has helped to determine the role they serve in leadership. Each has written an article for the TSPRA eNewsletter regarding areas of expertise.

Professional development programs/activities

  • TSPRA’s annual conference was held Hyatt Lost Pines Resort and Hotel (located between Austin and Bastrop) on February 18-21, 2019, with a record attendance exceeding 750 attendees. There were six preconference sessions, 40 concurrent sessions, 42 roundtables, eight timely topics, ten job-alike sessions, five corporate showcases, one keynoter, one guest speaker, 49 exhibitors, and 24 official sponsored events. A link to the conference program is available at http://www.tspra.org/images/download/tspra19programpagesforweb.pdf
  • Six professional awards were presented during the conference as well as a President’s Award to longtime TSPRA legend, Riney Jordan.
  • The fourth TSPRA 5K Run/Walk took place with 39 members participating and contributing $875 to the Texas Lion’s Camp, a camp for special needs children.
  • TSPRA has scheduled five Spoken Word Media and Crisis Communication Trainings throughout the state this school year with an attendance of approximately 135 individuals.
  • The TSPRA President and Executive Director are already registered to attend the 201 NSPRA Conference in Washington D.C.

Major chapter issues or concerns

  • We are currently determining location for the 2023 TSPRA Conference.
  • Our best data assures us that TSPRA has about 98% of the eligible memberships in our state – that is of positions with the title of Communications/PR/Community Relations, etc. Membership growth exists among education foundation directors.
  • We continue to address issues as we transition from a small chapter with a “club” culture to a larger professional association striving to offer a more professional, yet collegial, way of operating.
  • As the conference has significantly grown and Star Awards entries continue to increase, consideration for additional staff or contract labor is going to have to be considered at a time when we are strategically working to establish staff salaries at the industry standard.
  • We continue to see increased interest in Star Awards entries and attending the Star Awards Banquet. Three years ago, the attendance was around 300. There were 400 tickets sold for the 2016 banquet and 475 tickets in 2017. Attendance the past two years has been around 550. While this is not an issue or concern, it certainly affects the programming of the event.
  • There continue be more baby-boomers retiring and more millennials joining. It is a good thing and also creates some changes in culture while still trying to maintain tradition.
  • The Texas legislature is in session and that is always a cause for concern where public education is concerned! The current legislation on the table involves capping local entities (city, county and schools) at a 2.5% tax increase without voter approval. The Texas senate is supporting a one time $5000 raise across the board for teachers (and not librarians or counselors) with no sustained funding which will place ISD’s in a difficult financial position to sustain teacher salaries with a 2.5% tax cap. Healthcare expenses for Texas teachers are already astronomical and we hope the legislature adds some relief there. Finally, it is expected that the state will fund only 36-38% of Texas public education this biennium, leaving the burden on the local taxpayers to make up the difference. Vouchers have not yet come to the table.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

  • With only 158 of our 900+ members hold joint memberships with NSPRA/TSPRA, we continue to promote NSPRA membership.
  • We are watchful of openings for communications positions going to the “next administrator in line” regardless of experience and expertise in communications.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

  • Safety is a primary concern for Texas schools.
  • Immigration issues are a huge concern and threat to the school children of our border school districts.
  • A broken school finance system in our state is on the agenda for overhaul by our legislature. Currently, no suitable solution has been proposed.
  • It is a broken record…
    • We continue to have conflicting views about charter school memberships
    • Our public schools continue to lose students to charter schools
    • Too many high-ranking Texas officials are not supporting Texas public schools
    • Voter turnout ranks at an all-time low in Texas, particularly among local elections

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 currently has a bank balance of $14,665.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

ALSPRA recently launched a newly designed website thanks to a partnership with Blackboard. Special thanks to ALSPRA Vice President of Professional Development Whitlee Lusk with the Jefferson County Board of Education for spearheading this project and working diligently to redesign and launch the new site: https://www.alspra.org/  Special thanks also to Lindsey Fishback with Blackboard for arranging the Blackboard sponsorship of our new site.

The chapter will also be working on a partnership to provide assistance to local school districts during times of crisis. This is at the suggestion of Adrienne Mitchell, Strategy and Communications Officer for the Birmingham City School District, in response to a student being killed by another student last year in a Birmingham school. ALSPRA will formulate response teams that will be able to respond by geographic regions (North Alabama, Central Alabama and South Alabama) to assist fellow PIOs or superintendents who do not have a dedicated school PR practitioner. ALSPRA plans to reach out to the Alabama School Superintendents Association to formulate a proposed plan. 

Professional development programs/activities

Cindy Warner, APR and Lesley Bruinton, APR both presented at the 2018 NSPRA Seminar in Anaheim.  Bruinton was a featured pre-seminar speaker, where she presented a one-day workshop on RACE to a Plan in One Day: A Four-Step Approach to Building a Strategic Communication Plan. Warner was a session speaker and presented a crisis/media workshop on developing holding statements for the media.

ALSPRA held quarterly meetings on October 4, 2018, and January 11, 2019 (rescheduled from Dec. 6, 2018 due to a conflict. In addition to regular professional development offerings, a new APR study session was also embedded into the October and January meetings. The APR session is being offered based on interest from five current ALSPRA members who wanted to begin the process of achieving their accreditation. Cindy Warner, APR has led the first two study sessions, which have included an emphasis on the APR Study Guide and related reading materials. As the Southeast representative on the NSPRA APR committee, Warner will also make herself available to any of the other Southeast chapters who want to do study sessions for their members who are interested.

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 the recent selection of Eric Mackey as the new state superintendent, adequate funding for education, the push for expansion of charter schools, changes to state assessments, teacher recruitment/retention, etc…

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

The new NSPRA online Forum has been a very helpful and useful tool for sharing information and ideas!

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Immigration, racial tensions, continued eroding of trust about public education, etc.

Additional items of note

TBD

 

Florida School Public Relations Association (SUNSPRA)

Kevin Christian, APR, CPRC APR, President 

Chapter well-being

SUNSPRA remains active and continues to renew membership throughout the state of Florida. Before renewals started, we had 70 members on the roster.

Fiscally, we remain stable thanks to supportive sponsorships. As of this report, we have $21,837 in the bank. However, our executive director passed away unexpectedly in July 2018, so we’ve been less active since that time in 90 percent of our efforts. The focus now is on hiring a leader who will grow SUNSPRA into a stronger organization offering membership services above all.

In January 2018, SUNSPRA took on new leadership and a fresh approach. However, due to extenuating family circumstances, that leader abruptly resigned six weeks later. Immediate Past President Kevin Christian, APR, CPRC, resumed leadership and continues as of this report.

Chapter goals and objectives for 2018-19 are:

Goal #1: Promote SUNSPRA as Florida’s leading source of school PR professional development

Objective #1: Offer two face-to-face professional development sessions from and for SUNSPRA members over the next 12 months (December & June)

STATUS: Confirmed SUNSPRA to present two development sessions at FASA Summer Conference in June 2019. We also hope to continue our annual SUNSPRA Medallion Awards presentation at the same conference. Working to secure an awards sponsor now, and hope to continue online submissions for award announcements in mid- to late-May timeframe.

SUNSPRA presented one of two major awards at the FSBA Joint Conference in Tampa Bay on November 28, 2018 – “Outstanding Superintendent Communicator of the Year” -- during a packed luncheon session of more than 500 school board members, education leaders, guests, and others.

Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins accepts SUNSPRA’s 2018 Outstanding Superintendent Communicator Award Thursday in Tampa. Standing with Jenkins is SUNSPRA President Kevin Christian, APR, CPRC, of Marion County Public Schools (left) and Scott Howat, Chief Communications Officer for Orange County Public Schools (right).

SUNSPRA’s second major award, the “Margie Davidson Leading Light Award,” was not handed out this year due to lack of qualitative nominations.

Objective #2: Offer two Internet-based professional development sessions for SUNSPRA members over the next 12 months

STATUS: no movement on this objective.

Goal #2: Strengthen SUNSPRA membership by attracting new districts

Objective: Maintain membership at the 70-person level during the next 12 months.

STATUS: Current membership renewals underway.

Goal #3: Maintain SUNSPRA funding by securing national sponsors

Objective #1: secure at least 2 national sponsors for the 2018-19 membership year

STATUS: Work continues to secure these sponsors.

Objective #2: increase SUNSPRA treasury by at least $6,000 in the 2018-19 chapter year

STATUS: Work continues on this effort.

Goal #4: Increase value of membership by adding accredited / credentialed opportunities

Objective #1: offer the APR credential webinar this chapter year with at least two SUNSPRA members participating STATUS: APR materials and opportunities regularly shared with members. Minimal interest shown from members.

Objective #2: Add at least 1 APR accredited member during the 2018-19 chapter year

STATUS: No additional accredited members as of this report.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

  • FSBA sessions – Once again, the Florida School Boards Association specifically asked SUNSPRA to present professional development to school board members at its annual Joint Conference in late November / early December. Because of our executive director’s unexpected death and other efforts focused on higher-profile projects, SUNSPRA was unable to provide professional development; however, we did present a major high-profile award in front of FSBA membership (Outstanding Superintendent Communicator of the Year).
  • www.sunspra.org – Chapter wants to update its website with a new look and content development. Working to complete this and have one proposal in-hand.
  • FASA Summer Conference – SUNSPRA hopes to present two professional development sessions in June and hand out its Medallion Awards at the same conference.

Professional development programs/activities

SUNSPRA continues looking for professional development opportunities to offer its members.

Major chapter issues or concerns

  • Chapter leadership – Immediate Past President Kevin Christian, APR, CPRC, remains at the helm and has kept SUNSPRA afloat since the unexpected death of the organization’s executive director in July 2018. Kevin transitioned access to the bank account after multiple visits and required steps from the bank. Kevin recently received various documents and records maintained by the deceased executive director. With guidance from former chapter presidents, Kevin plans to assemble a new slate of officers with fresh outlooks to continue SUNSPRA and move the chapter forward with hiring a new executive director.
  • Chapter cohesion – Time and distance seem to prevent chapter members from “getting together” on any regular basis. A handful of members attend both the FSBA and FASA conferences, along with NSPRA’s annual conference and FPRA’s annual conference. However, getting a significant percentage of chapter members together for anything has not happened in many years.
  • Professional Development – Again, time and distance limit far-away districts from participating in awards competitions, get-togethers and other chapter functions. We’re now considering online options and webinars for professional development opportunities.
  • Membership – Given the size and geography of Florida, we continue efforts to recruit even more members from the Central Florida area. It is difficult to attract members from the Panhandle and South Florida, though we succeeded with Escambia and Miami-Dade Public Schools last year. With conferences in Central Florida, travel time and costs make it tough to attract significant new numbers to conferences and SUNSPRA events. Not sure what the solution is but we are always reaching out to potential new members.
  • Leadership Stream – President Kevin Christian, APR, CPRC, continues leading beyond his second two-year term. Previous president elect and treasurer are no longer members and not in the PR profession. Current members offer limited interest in leading but Kevin continues conversations with members for leadership development. NSPRA has offered regional and national support to increase member leadership participation, but no results have surfaced as of his report.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

  • Professional Development – We’d love to have NSPRA help offer our members professional development in Florida. SUNSPRA’s president has discussed some ideas with Karen Kleinz, APR, and continues looking for additional opportunities.
  • APR Incentive – SUNSPRA now offers a $100 rebate to anyone sitting for the CBE (ComputerBased Exam). This is on top of other incentives offered by other professional PR organizations.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

  • School security – following Marjorie Stoneman Douglas and Forest High School shootings, Florida’s legislature designated $100 million for school security and now requires a school resource officer, school security officer, or armed guardian at every public school every day. Big problem is the designated funding is not enough, and now districts are dipping into reserves to pay for the required security.
  • Charter schools continue pulling serious funding from public schools
  • Too much testing

Additional items of note

None at this time.

 

Georgia School Public Relations Association (GSPRA)

J.D. Hardin, President

Chapter well-being

The Georgia School Public Relations Association continues its service to a statewide membership of approximately 80 members. Our board stays active and engaged through regular monthly meetings both in-person and via teleconference. We held our first-ever two-day conference this past fall (October ’18) that was well attended by membership. We are now planning/preparing for our second annual one-day spring drive-in conference.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

Many exciting updates/additions developed for our chapter since the school year started. GSPRA now has an updated logo (as seen above). We also unveiled a new website for our membership, and we updated our email listserv to an easier platform for members to utilize. And as always, we continue to be a supporter of the SPARK Campaign/Initiative in Georgia with the goal of helping spread the positive news of school/education to Georgians statewide.

Professional development programs/activities

Our fall conference, the biggest gathering/networking/professional development for our membership, was another great success this year. We had great response from sponsors and members alike with regards to the content and location. We also got the chance to welcome a few new members to our organization this year, and they were excited to join the association after spending time at our fall conference.

We are now gearing up for our one-day spring drive-in conference. Last year was the first time to incorporate this event for our membership and it was well received. We are looking to replicate the success this spring with our second installment.

Major chapter issues or concerns

Nothing at the moment.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

Nothing at the moment.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Nothing at the moment.

Additional items of note

TBD

 

Mississippi School Public Relations Association (MSPRA)

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

 

North Carolina School Public Relations Association (NCSPRA)

Todd Hagans, President

Chapter well-being

Blue Ribbon Awards

The North Carolina School Public Relations Association (NCSPRA) began the 2019 calendar year with its annual Blue Ribbon Awards ceremony and brunch. Held on February 1 at the O. Henry Hotel in Greensboro, the ceremony honored members from 31 school districts for their efforts in creating effective school communications and public relations in 2018. A total of 295 gold, silver, and bronze awards were presented in eight competition categories: digital media engagement, electronic media, excellence in writing, image/graphic design, marketing, photography, publications (print and electronic), and special events/programs. Additionally, a “Best of the Best” award was given in each of the competition categories to identify the best entry. Four years ago, we revamped the Blue Ribbon Awards program to include updated and new categories; the gold, silver, and bronze award levels; and the “Best of the Best” awards. Again this year, submissions exceeded 300, which is up significantly from the 171 entries we received the year before we changed the contest format. These changes have increased interest in the awards program, created some friendly competition among school districts, and generated additional revenue for NCSPRA. Members of the Georgia School Public Relations Association judged the contest.

During the Blue Ribbon Awards ceremony, NCSPRA presented its most prestigious award – the Barry Gaskins Service Award for outstanding contributions to school public relations – to Jeff Nash, executive director of community relations for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. Jeff is a former NCSPRA President, former Southeast Regional Vice President for NSPRA, and continues his leadership for NCSPRA as the Presidential Appointee on the Board of Directors. Click here for more information: https://www.ncspra.org/domain/12.

This year, our NCSPRA Superintendent Liaison W. Jeffrey Booker of Gaston County Schools sent a congratulatory letter to the Superintendent of each award-winning school district. In the letter, he stressed the importance and value of having the district’s public relations professional involved in NCSPRA, and he encouraged the Superintendent to consider joining for the 2019-2020 year.

Membership

Our current membership is 113, which is 26 fewer people than last year. Membership includes 53 school districts, one education-related organization, a charter school, and a retiree. Six “new” school districts have joined NCSPRA – these districts were not members in 2017-2018. The Board of Directors had a discussion in January about the decrease in membership and identified the following reasons: a number of school districts that were affected by Hurricane Florence last fall did not renew; a few districts have eliminated the school public relations position or the position is vacant; and the change in our membership structure that eliminated the institutional membership option. Despite the drop in the number of members, our revenue from membership is slightly higher this year than last year (approximately +$400) because of the change in our membership structure.

The Board of Directors is already working on ways to increase membership for 2019-2020, including a promotional campaign and soliciting memberships earlier (in July). We also believe that our new online membership registration, which we are introducing this year, will make the process easier.

Finance

The Association remains financially sound with revenue that exceeds $24,000. We expect our annual commitment from Blackboard to be paid in the first quarter, which will increase revenue significantly. Our annual Blue Ribbon Awards program continues to produce a profit, and we will host our fall conference this November, which was a revenue-generator in 2017. (NCSPRA hosts the conference in odd years, and the South Carolina chapter of NSPRA hosts in even years.)

Board of Directors

All officer and Board of Directors positions are filled with very little turnover from last year to this year. We welcomed two new Board members, who won election to the Board last spring. All other members remained in place for 2018-2019. The Board of Directors conducts in-person meetings (at least one each quarter) and has an annual summer planning retreat. The Board met in September and January (the scheduled December meeting was canceled because of snow) and has a meeting scheduled for February 28. The Board will meet on May 10 in conjunction with the NCSPRA Leadership Academy program. The summer planning retreat is scheduled for June 24-25 in Wilmington.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

Our chapter projects focus on providing quality professional development, fellowship, and networking/ collaboration opportunities for members. Our upcoming, ongoing, and completed projects are listed below.

  • Fall Conference: The South Carolina chapter of NSPRA hosted our fall conference October 10-12, 2018 in Myrtle Beach. It was an outstanding program complete with excellent sessions, networking opportunities, and fellowship. NCSPRA will host the 2019 fall conference November 6-8 in Wilmington.
  • ‘Final Four’ Professional Development Series: This year’s Final Four is scheduled for Friday, March 1 at the Carowinds theme park in Charlotte. The theme is “The Twists and Turns, the Ups and Downs of School PR.” The one-day program features four sessions; the topics are crisis communication, state legislative update, student recruitment/marketing, and theme park public relations. Click the link for more information: https://www.ncspra.org/domain/39
  • Professional Development with NCCAT: For the second year, we are partnering 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. The program is in development now. Last year, 31 school PR professional participated in the retreat, which was intended for our colleagues with 1-3 years of experience in the profession. This year’s program will be for a general audience of school PR professionals.
  • Website/Social Media: We are doing well with our efforts to update the NCSPRA website (www.ncspra.org) on a regular basis. Our most recent updates provide information about the ‘Final Four’ professional development workshop and a recap of the Blue Ribbon Awards ceremony. We continue to work on efforts to provide a “members only” resources area either on our website or through the new online registration portal that is being implemented this year. Additionally, we are trying to engage members more on social media.
  • Scholarships for the NSPRA National Seminar: We are seeking applicants for 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 this year’s National Seminar in Washington, D.C. The scholarship application process will be announced during the ‘Final Four’ on March 1.
  • Election for Officers/Board Members: In April, we will conduct our annual election. This year, we have three Board of Directors positions open in addition to the four officer positions, which are one-year terms. We expect our nominating committee to recommend members for the officer positions who will continue to provide stability in our leadership.

Professional development programs/activities

Please see the second question for information about our professional development activities. Overall, our goal is to provide as many professional development and engagement opportunities as possible for our members. Our Board has discussed offering a professional development webinar/conference call in June to provide additional support and engagement for members. In early January, we conducted a survey to seek feedback from members about topics/sessions they would like to see as part of our professional development offerings. This information will be used as we plan the NCSPRA Leadership Academy and fall conference agendas.

Major chapter issues or concerns

We do not have major issues or concerns facing the Association. Our leadership is excellent, our financial situation is strong, and we are providing quality professional development for our members.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

We appreciate NSPRA’s efforts to help us promote “traditional public schools” as the best choice for students and parents as we continue to feel the effects of increased competition as a result of the “school choice” movement.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

In North Carolina, school districts are concerned about the following issues:

  • The continued increase in competition from charter schools, online schools, for-profit schools, private schools, home schools, and the state’s opportunity scholarships (vouchers) program;
  • The continued narrative associated with school safety (that is often negative);
  • News coverage of traditional public schools that tends to be negative; and
  • The state legislature-enacted law that reduces class size for grades K-3. While a good idea in theory, the law has created issues associated with the need for additional classroom space and how to pay for more personnel and resources.

The North Carolina General Assembly has begun its “long session,” which includes determining the state budget for the next two years. This often is an arduous process with plenty of political intensity. It is important to note that the General Assembly (Republican controlled) no longer has a supermajority that can override the Democratic Governor’s veto. Enough Democrats in the N.C. House and N.C. Senate were elected in November to break the supermajority that has been in place in state politics since 2010. It will be interesting to see what laws will be enacted that relate to public education now that the political landscape in Raleigh is a little more balanced than in years prior.

Additional items of note

TBD

 

South Carolina School Public Relations Association (SCSPRA)

Becky Bean, President

Chapter well-being

  • 144 members: 69 active, 9 retired, 4  affiliate, 62 institutional (15 districts)
  • $6,552.66 checking, $4,002.73 savings, $7,533.16 CD; TOTAL: $18,088.55

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

Rewards for Excellence entries are coming in. Extended deadline to March 8. Changed awards this year to include a “Best in Show” in each category, also moved it to completely electronic submissions. Judging will also be done all online, allowing us to get some great judges from around the country. We had 5 entries for our Communicator of the Year Award and 2 for our Administrator of the Year Award.

Professional development programs/activities

We held our Winter Meeting on Feb. 15 at Clemson University. Around 40 attendees. Great day. Rewards for Excellence Luncheon planned for May 10 in Columbia. Working with Blackboard and Peachjar to provide three Lunch and Learn opportunities for our members. They will be held three different locations around the state, all in the same week.

Major chapter issues or concerns

Leadership is looking at possible future officers/leaders for the chapter.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

Would love to see more of our members join NSPRA, attend conference, etc.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Watching important education legislation that will impact all SC districts.

Additional items of note

TBD

 

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)

Karen Tanner, President

Chapter well-being

CHESPRA held its membership drive and have approximately 150 members. Our theme this year is CHESPRA: Changing How Everyone Sees PR, Again and our focus has been on “You Are the Team” with a logo incorporating both themes. We are securing more sponsors interested in supporting our fall/spring conferences. We produced a video that we e-mailed to members and potential members to encourage membership.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

CHESPRA is currently working on our new website that we hope to roll out in March 2019. Our chapter is ready to participate in the NSPRA National conference in July 2019.

Professional development programs/activities

We are preparing/planning our Spring CHESPRA conference on March 28-29 in Annapolis, MD. We invited Melissa Braham, Assoc. Director for NSPRA and our regional representative, who will present a session on “Recruiting Teachers in an Era of Walkouts, Competition and Increasing Expectations” on March 29, 2019. We have one West Virginia school district, Berkeley County Schools, Martinsburg, WV.

Major chapter issues or concerns

We are trying to encourage more Maryland school districts to join CHESPRA. Our goal is to have all Virginia and Maryland school districts members of CHESPRA. Our Executive Board is currently discussing how we can address this concern.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

During our CHESPRA fall conference, we had a session of teacher recruitment and retention, so any PR strategies/best practices would be helpful. And, how to encourage neighboring states (i.e. Maryland) to join and become active.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Mental health curriculum/issues and communications to support school districts.

Additional items of note

TBD

 

Indiana School Public Relations Association (INDSPRA)

Stacey Forcey-Moore, President

Chapter well-being

Membership is growing and districts are seeking us out. We are approaching 80 school districts. Fiscally, we are the strongest we’ve ever been. Our healthy budget has allowed us to move to a nicer conference venue and expand to two days. We are currently in the process of a rebrand and website re-design. In order to distinguish ourselves from the Illinois chapter, we will now be INDSPRA.

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.

Professional development programs/activities

We are planning professional development opportunities with Blackboard and have offered that to a few other sponsors. We recently provided our own webinar on “Managing Your Social Media Footprint.”

Major chapter issues or concerns

In Indiana, vouchers are always a concern. Last year the State passed on $143 million of public money to support private and charter schools. With a Republican super majority in the legislature they are strangling public schools. The Indiana legislature is now in session with a variety of bills impacting schools. A bill to increase teacher salaries pointed to districts to siphon more of their own money into teacher salaries. A bill supported by the governor to increase teacher salaries by 5% was unsuccessful.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

Right now, we are dealing with the same things the rest of the country is. Underfunding, vouchers, gun violence (Noblesville West Middle School), teacher recruitment and retention, transgender rights, fake news.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Right now, we are dealing with the same things the rest of the country is. Underfunding, vouchers, gun violence (Noblesville West Middle School), teacher 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

Our chapter is active with 4 board meetings a year. One at the fall conference, one at the spring conference and 2 in between.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

We continue OASIS, our professional development awards program each year.

Professional development programs/activities

Our conferences offer many opportunities for professional development. Our fall conference speakers included the Marshall County Principal Patricia Greer, Commissioner Lewis, Tornado Survivor Salem High School Principal Troy Albert, Executive Director of Community Relations and Emergency Management Rick Kaufman and Anderson County Superintendent Sheila Mitchell among others. Our conference this year focused on safety.

Major chapter issues or concerns

We are currently struggling with membership and bringing in money to cover costs on our Fall Conferences. We have re-grouped, our board members are working on resolving this issue by setting a budget and developing a conference committee made up of experienced members to assist in conference planning.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

NSPRA has always provided help when we have asked, we will be asking for assistance along the way as we manage our chapter without an association manager. She retired January 31st and we have chosen as a board to divide up her duties for a few months.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

TBD

Additional items of note

TBD

 

Michigan School Public Relations Association (MSPRA)

Karen Heath, President

Chapter well-being

The Michigan Chapter of NSPRA continues to thrive!  This is most evident in our planning for our 60th Anniversary celebration which will officially begin during our Annual Conference in March. From researching our archives and learning about our history, to reminiscing about past events and realizing how much we have accomplished over six decades, there certainly is a lot for us to celebrate.  In our trip down memory lane, it was impressive to see how many of our members became national award winners as well as NSPRA board members.  It was also interesting to see that many of the professional development topics we cover today are the same as those discussed in the 1970s, 1990s and 2000s; particularly school crises.  To commemorate this “discovery” and because it is still appropriate in 2019, this year’s MSPRA Annual Conference theme is “Why is everything a crisis?  It doesn’t have to be.”

We recently welcomed two new At-Large Board Members; Judson Lohman and Judy Evola.  They, along with the rest of the board, are hard at work implementing the goals we have outlined in our strategic plan in the fall.  The strategic plan is discussed during every board meeting and progress is recorded accordingly.

We continue to utilize social media and technology to support our members.  Our newly updated website, Facebook group and our chapter app continue to help keep members up-to-date on the latest news and professional development opportunities.  These tools also allow us to continue to network and connect outside of our conferences.  Additionally, our weekly e-newsletter, the MSPRA Minute, continues to help members stay on top of the latest education resources; a benefit that members appreciate.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

After the recent midterm elections, MSPRA drafted a tip sheet informing members on how to best build relationships with their newly-elected officials.  The tip sheet was also shared with the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators and with NSPRA.  NSPRA requested the document be reworked to focus on principals as the primary audience.  The tip sheet was then included in the December issue of the PRincipal Communicator.

MSPRA, in collaboration with other state entities, created a PFAs toolkit to educate schools on what to do should certain chemicals be found in drinking water.  The toolkit resource was included in the NSPRA  Network and shared nationally.

The Michigan School Finance Research Collaborative has connected with MSPRA to share resources aimed at informing various target audiences about funding inequities in schools across the state.  MSPRA has been proactive in learning about the report and has offered opportunities for the Collaborative to share information with members so that they are educated and can support future school funding discussions.

Professional development programs/activities

Annual Conference

Over the past few months, the Professional Development Committee has been planning our ever-popular Annual Conference.  This year’s event examines the question, “Why does everything have to be a crisis?”  The first day of the two-day conference is aimed at strengthening crisis management skills.  Attendees will hear from NSPRA favorite Steve Knagg who will serve as both the opening and closing keynote speaker.  In addition to general sessions and keynote presentations, attendees will participate in a number of breakout sessions that will allow them to customize their professional development.  The conference will include a celebration of MSPRA’s Gold Medallion award winner as well as recognize the Gerri Allen Outstanding School Communicator of the Year and Superintendent School Communicator of the Year award winners.

The conference will also provide the perfect opportunity to kick-off our chapter’s 60th birthday.  Interim State Superintendent Sheila Alles will congratulate the chapter with a special joint recognition from the Michigan State Board of Education and the Michigan Department of Education.  The NSPRA Board has also agreed to share a video message congratulating Michigan’s chapter for its continued success.  Thanks to the hard work of the 60th Anniversary Committee, in collaboration with the Professional Development Committee, they have a number of fun surprises and giveaways in store for MSPRA conference participants.  In fact, a few lucky winners may receive an NSPRA Crisis Manual or other helpful publication, a prize that will definitely come in handy!  The second day of the conference will once again feature Steve Knagg where he will help school communication professionals with their mental wellness as they cope in a career full of difficult situations.  The goal of day two is to uplift and empower attendees so that they return to work with new skills and are mentally ready to handle any challenge that comes their way.

This is the second year MSPRA has offered an “investment menu” of options designed to offset professional development expenses for the year.  It is expected that this year, we will have the largest number of sponsors involved in supporting MSPRA activities.

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 have submitted presentation proposals.

Major chapter issues or concerns

We are in the process of recruiting a new group of members; superintendents.  Many school districts in Michigan cannot afford to hire a dedicated communications professional and rely on their school leaders to not only be the voice of their district, but to handle all job duties associated with public relations.  To support this group, the Membership Committee has outlined a number of strategies they plan to employ this year to attract and support this group.  The biggest obstacle we are facing in this process is gaining access to them.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

We continue to appreciate NSPRA’s support.  We routinely communicate with the staff in Rockville and are always treated with courtesy and an immediate response!  While we do not have any concerns at the present time, we are glad to know that if an issue should arise, an answer is just an email or phone call away.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

  • Government shutdown-anticipate this process to be a negotiating tool in the future...eventually schools will be impacted
  • Teacher/bus driver/substitute shortage
  • Adequate school funding:  School Finance Research Collaborative
  • School safety/mental wellness
  • Safe Drinking Water--PFAS Response website

Additional items of note

  • Full slate of board and committee members have been secured.  Open positions were filled in December (Awards and Membership).  Promoted Board Member Michelle Karpinski to Treasurer.
  • As part of the 60th Anniversary celebration, created a new logo and made plans to refresh our current logo in January of 2020.
  • Board President submitted an article for the PRincipal Communicator (published in December 2018).
  • Scheduled an NSPRA Power Hour opportunity as an added bonus to the MSPRA Annual Conference; also ordered the audio file for a second PR Power Hour to be used for member outreach.
  • In the process of securing exemptions and omissions association insurance.  As part of the process to determine which company to use, our Executive Director issued a survey to other NSPRA chapters for suggestions/input.
  • In an effort to establish a zero-based budgeting process, our former Treasurer requested samples of budgets from other chapters.
  • MSPRA was approached by the Michigan Department of Education to have a board member serve on a special committee working to improve communication practices within the department and with other state departments.  The board member has met with the group monthly.  This relationship is providing our chapter with direct access to the Department of Education.
  • The Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators has invited an MSPRA member to serve on a special work group aimed at increasing the teacher population in Michigan.
  • MSPRA submitted two ideas for best practices to support other chapters in the Leading Edge Newsletter-new member orientation and a strategic plan template.
  • After learning about how CHESPRA has created regional subgroups within their chapter, MSPRA has been investigating this possibility for our chapter.  This is a subject that will continue to be explored.
  • As part of marketing initiatives and to help strengthen the understanding of why professional school communication practitioners are needed, MSPRA is in the process of developing a series of short videos.  The videos will be used at various events and on social media.
  • At his inquiry, submitted names of several Michigan public relations professionals to Harry Roberts as possible authors for future NSPRA eNetwork stories.  Two are considering it.

 

Ohio School Public Relations Association (OHSPRA)

Patrick Gallaway, President

Chapter well-being

OHSPRA - Building for 2018-2019

MEMBERSHIP

OHSPRA membership as of February 15, 2019, stands at 144 for the 2018-19 membership cycle.

We are likely to continue adding additional members as the Spring Conference approaches in April, basically so that the member can guarantee the member rate for registration.

We also continue to work with 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 February 8, 2019

●        Checking $45,927.96

●        Savings $25,646.77

●        Total $66,580.48

SPONSORSHIP

Sponsors as reported in October include; Allerton Hill, eSchoolView, Roetzel Consulting Solutions and SchoolMessenger/West. We have added additional sponsors - Apptegy & Peachjar. Our director of partnerships is also actively working with Blackboard to also come on board as a sponsor soon.

We thank all of our sponsors for their generous support. We have set the sponsorship goal for 2018-19 at $20,000.

Current Sponsorship Levels - 2/15/2019

The OHSPRA Sponsorship window opened on September 7, 2018. The following is where we are currently with sponsors for the 2018-19 year. Our Sponsorship Grid is attached to this report. 

Gold ($5000) — SchoolMessenger/West
Silver ($2500) — Allerton Hill, eSchoolView
Blue ($1000) — Apptegy, FinalSite, Peachjar
Social event commitment for Spring Conference 2019

Food — School Messenger/West ($1,000 minimum)
Beverage - Roetzel Consulting Solutions ($1,000 minimum)

Currently, we have commitments for $13,000 plus the food and beverage will be covered for the Spring Conference social. We are still working on additional sponsorships.  

Scholarship Program for Spring Conference

OHSPRA has always hosted a scholarship program for one member to apply and receive free registration as well as accommodations for the Spring Conference. The board reviews the entries and makes the selection based on several aspects, new to OHSPRA, district may not have the budget to send the individual, individual is from an under-represented area of the state in terms of membership, etc.

New this year - OHSPRA has created an additional scholarship in honor  of Scott Ebright, who 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.

**See the info below shared with membership**

Time is running out to apply for OHSPRA Spring Conference scholarships

New-to-school PR pros take note: you may be a perfect fit for the newly established Scott Ebright Memorial Scholarship.

The Scott Ebright Memorial Scholarship was created to honor the former OHSPRA (formerly NSPRA-Ohio) president, president-elect, vice president and NSPRA Executive Board member. The scholarship will cover the registration and lodging costs for one school communicator every year to attend OHSPRA’s Spring Conference. Applicants must be new to school public relations, having served in their role less than three years.

The annual Spring Conference Scholarship, which any OHSPRA member may apply for, is designed to help school communication professionals who might not otherwise be able to afford to attend the two-day professional development event. Both scholarships cover the recipient’s lodging at the conference hotel on April 11, materials, registration fees, and meals during the conference.

Eligible applicants must hold a paid membership with OHSPRA and submit a completed application form by March 15, 2019. The OHSPRA Board of Directors will approve the scholarship recipients during their March Board meeting. Recipients will be notified at that time.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

FALL WORKSHOP – OCTOBER 4, 2018

OHSPRA partnered with the Ohio School Boards Association to present “Amplify the Positivity.” See the Professional Development section for details.

CAPITAL CONFERENCE SESSIONS - NOVEMBER 11-13, 2018

OHSPRA was selected to present two sessions during OSBA’s 2018 Capital Conference. One session focused on social media and new ways to engage your community and the other focused on surveying your community, communication surveys and more.

Professional development programs/activities

FALL WORKSHOP - OCTOBER 4, 2018

OHSPRA partnered with the Ohio School Boards Association to host the Fall Workshop “Amplify the Positivity” on October 4, 2018. The audience consisted of a diverse group of school PR professionals, school counselors, a superintendent and a few school board members. In addition to this, we had a panel of educators and students.

The turnout for the workshop was disappointing, with only 15 people attending. The board has discussed the timing of the workshop; might we get better attendance if held in September? The Board is discussing a back-to-school toolkit theme for a September workshop in 2019.

CAPITAL CONFERENCE SESSIONS - NOVEMBER 11-13, 2018

OHSPRA was selected to present two sessions during OSBA’s 2018 Capital Conference. One session focused on social media and new ways to engage your community and the other focused on surveying your community, communication surveys and more.

Both sessions were well attended and the overall feedback was positive. OHSPRA intends to continue to build a presence at the Capital Conference and will be canvassing our membership to identify possible proposal topics for 2019. 

OHSPRA SPRING CONFERENCE - APRIL 11 & 12

The OHSPRA Spring Conference is moving to a new location after two years at the Nationwide Conference Center. The new location is a Renaissance property in Westerville, Ohio, that opened in the spring of 2018. We feel it will be very attractive for members and is also a bit more centrally located (north of Columbus) and easily accessible from major highways.     

Our theme “Amplify the Excellence” will piggyback on last year as well as the OHSPRA Tagline - “Amplify Your Story”.

Sessions are currently being finalized. We are pleased to announce that we will be joined by NSPRA President, Carol Fenstermacher, to be a featured keynote for the conference on opening day! Thank you NSPRA leadership for making time in your busy schedules to join us in Ohio at this year’s Spring Conference.

Topics that are being considered for the conference include: Medial relations featuring “real-time” interview assistance, social media 101 & advanced, graphic design and photography programs that are easy to use and more advanced, video production for the novice & advanced, audience engagement, tackling the controversy (wading through the waters on tough subjects) and more.

Major chapter issues or concerns

  • Contests & Awards - We have tweaked the process a bit and received 87 entries for this year’s cycle. The judging of these took place on Feb. 9, 2019. We also want to amp up the celebration and sharing of the work of winners at the awards presentation during Spring Conference. We will also seek ways to promote the awards on OHSPRA’s website and tap into this resource for future presentations.
  • 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.
  • Website - We have selected eSchoolview to help us develop a new site and they 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 late spring. 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

  • A new Governor was elected in Ohio - We will be watching to plan for any legislative impact through the Ohio Department of Education as directed through work with districts, assessment, funding, etc.
  • 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 will play in education, prevention, treatment.
  • Overall well-being initiatives for students & schools (Suicide clusters, ideation, etc.)
  • Website accessibility (ADA compliance), translation systems for websites and electronic communications - meeting the needs of district families.

Additional items of note

COMMUNICATION TO MEMBERS

Newsletters:

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

December 2018 — Announcement of the opening of contests and awards (including procedures, etc.), Save the Date for Spring Conference & membership promotion.
January 2019 - Contests & awards reminder & push for deadline and a special new “memorial” scholarship available for Spring Conference to members. 
January 2019 - Special appeal from the OHSPRA President to inform members of the discount rate for NSPRA National Seminar in July.  

Social media:

Twitter - We have added 30 followers for a total of 1,425 (between October - February).

Facebook - We have gone from 295 to 303 likes (between October - February).

OHSPRA Board 2018-19:

  • 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, Erika Konowalow, communication & marketing coordinator at Pickaway-Ross Career & Technology Center
  • Director of Membership — Erika Daggett, communications coordinator, Forest Hills School District
  • 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 sponsorship contract with eSchoolview to complete this work and look for a spring launch of 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
  • Regularly promote the website features with e-blasts
  • 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) 

Becky Koltz, President

Chapter well-being

INSPRA continues a strong financial standing, and have made some recent investment decisions to increase the earnings of some of our assets while being sure to keep enough operating funds accessible.

We have moved our monthly meetings to a new location – Northern Illinois University’s Naperville Conference Center – and it has been well received by our members. It is much less expensive than our previous location, allowing us to provide even more benefits to our members!

Our membership remains very stable. We are growing partnerships with other school-related organizations, such as the Illinois Association of School Administrators, the Illinois Association of School Business Officials, and the Illinois Association of School Boards in an effort to increase our membership. Some organizations have given us memberships, some have asked us to speak at their conferences, but overall, they are all learning about us and finding out how partnering with us can help their organizations. We have created a speakers bureau we call “INSPRA Experts” and invited our partners to select from an expert presentation already prepared, or to request communications counseling if they do not currently have a communications person. We will grow the presentation list in short order, and hope to be a resource to districts without communications professionals as one way to grow our membership.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

After receiving an invitation, we have submitted a presentation to INDSPRA and one of our members, Patrick Mogge, will present at their conference in mid-March.

We are continuing the use of virtual meetings as they have been successful and are fitting well into the busy lives of our communications professionals. Now, as this has moved beyond use just for new members, we are trying to figure how to manage them. Do they become a “program” of sorts managed by the VPs of Programs, or are they similar to a Twitter chat that is managed by the Communications VPs? That discussion is on tap for our February 15 meeting. In any case, we see the use of virtual meetings as a great tool for new member, but increasing in use for our veteran members.

For most of the year, we have been working on updating our Strategic Plan using SMART goals. We felt that if we were going to take the time to review and update a multi-year strategic plan, the outcome should be a document we would actually use; one that would drive our work and have measurable outcomes. While this took more time than originally planned, we feel the time spent providing a quality product is well worth it. We plan to adopt a multi-year plan no later than our April board meeting.

Professional development programs/activities

Here is a link to our entire Tips & Tactics offerings for the 2018-2019 school year. Due in part to an increase in membership fees and sponsorships, we are able to increase the use of NSPRA expert speakers, such as Kristin Magette, APR, in January, and Carol Fenstermacher, APR, in February. This has been very well received by our members.

We are reviewing our mentoring program in an effort to better assist members new to the profession. At our February 15 Board meeting, we will be discussing replacing our traditional one-on-one mentoring program with a multi-faceted approach that includes creating a new membership cohort, supporting them with four virtual meetings throughout the year designed to be fluid and responsive to member needs, and use current members as subject matter experts. If approved, this would go into effect next school year.

Major chapter issues or concerns

We have been talking for several months about how to re-organize our regions. We are a state with a majority of our members in the Chicagoland area. Here is the current membership breakdown by region:

  • 93 Chicagoland
  • 67  Greater Chicago
  • 21  North
  • 10  Central
  • 2    South

Each of the regions has a representative on the board. As you can imagine, 3 of the regions have a board representative who actually resides in one of the two larger regions. We have been discussing restructuring the regions into something that fits better for our state; perhaps by large or small school districts, unit districts, or high school or elementary districts. Something that makes sense to give the districts something in common. A subcommittee has been working on this and will have a recommendation at the February meeting so we can make some changes before our upcoming board election.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

Nothing new at this time.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

e-Learning is a topic on the rise. Here in Illinois, three school districts (2 high school, one elementary) piloted e-Learning days for three years in lieu of using emergency days. The state opened it up this year to all school districts, but without any rules or guidelines like the pilot districts had to follow. Now they are talking about taking this option away. With more districts providing electronic devices to students, and severe weather seemingly on the increase, this is a topic that will continue to rise to the top.

Additional items of note

Nothing at this time.

 

Iowa School Public Relations Association (ISPRA)

Laura Sprague, 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.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

Outside of professional development programs and activities, I don’t believe we have efforts that fit this description.

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 will feature Rick Kaufman who will present four hours 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. We will also host our awards night the evening before.

Major chapter issues or concerns

No current struggles or concerns.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

It might be helpful to have quarterly web conferences with NSPRA representatives similar to what we are doing as an ISPRA chapter. Discussion around current trends and resources available at the national level to address challenges could benefit us as chapter leaders and help us to assist others in our organization.

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

TBD

 

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 173 members, and our financial standing is solid. We meet monthly. Each board member provides 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.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

We are currently collaborating with the Minnesota Association of Government Communicators and Minnesota PRSA to offer an APR Prep Course. We are also exploring a partnership with Minnesota State University-Mankato to offer credit- or certificate-based professional development opportunities. As an initial offering, MSU-Mankato is offering MinnSPRAns a discount to the “Grit Academy.”

Professional development programs/activities

Coffee CHATs (40-minute video chats on a specific topic); APR Prep Course, Emerging Leaders Academy (generally geared to aspiring directors), after-hours Think & Drink sessions (face to face conversations on a specific topic), Power Hours, fall and spring conferences.

Major chapter issues or concerns

Nothing in particular as a chapter. Our members are currently struggling with a difficult winter and a higher-than-usual number of weather-related cancellations.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

Nothing at this time.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Nothing other than the issue I identified in my last report.

Additional items of note

TBD

 

Nebraska School Public Relation Association (NebSPRA) 

Amanda Oliver, chapter co-president

Brandi Paul, chapter co-president

Chapter well-being

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

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

Our efforts continue with possibilities and were thrilled as a chapter to be hosting a lunch and learn event this April for our chapter members, superintendents and school board members throughout our state. We’re excited to welcome Tom DeLapp to Nebraska.

Collaboration continues with our local state administrator’s organization as well as other state organizations for different projects. 

Professional development programs/activities

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

Major chapter issues or concerns

Our members continue feeling very overworked. A few larger districts with superintendent changes or communications professionals who struggle on how to best use their communications person/team. Some levels of bills and discussion at the state legislature that we are 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. Hopeful that our upcoming lunch and learn event 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

Continued initiatives with state legislature for Charter Schools. Nebraska does not have charter schools.

Funding concerns and mental health remain a high concern for many of our districts.

Additional items of note

TBD

 

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 February 20, 2019 , we have 59 members which is 6 more than last year. We’re thrilled to have surpassed our membership from the previous year.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

After Lori Perlow, NJSPRA President, presented on crisis communications at the NJPSA Fall conference, she was then invited to present a full-day workshop on this topic for school principals and supervisors. With more than 7000 members and no existing communications professional development, NJSPRA is thrilled to grow this partnership. NJSPRA hopes to be the key provider of those PD services as we are with NJASA (NJ superintendents assoc).

Professional development programs/activities

We have one remaining full-day workshop scheduled this year. Some details are still being confirmed.

·         April 4, 2019 - Communications and Legal Issues with Employees and Board of Education Members

Hear from legal experts regarding communications of employees and Board members from a legal perspective, which continues to be an important topic for school districts to navigate.  Patrick Carrigg, Esq. of Lenox Law Firm will review the limitations on what public school employees can and cannot say in their role as well as navigating communications when an employee is in legal trouble. Robert Greitz, Consultant/Negotiator for NJ School Boards Association, will provide tips on communicating to the media and community during negotiations with the teachers’ union. Lastly, William Donio, Esq. of Cooper Levenson will help attendees understand the Board of Education member role, responsibilities, ethical implications, and pitfalls regarding social media as well as review the code of ethics for Board members.

In addition, we have a special event planned for April 11, 2019 - School Safety Communications Symposium: The Parent Perspective

Description: Learn effective school safety communications practices to meet the needs of your school community.

More than 110 RSVP have been received.

PRESENTERS

·         THOMAS DEMARIA, National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement

·         JEFF GALE, NJ DOE, Office of School Preparedness & Emergency Planning

·         RICK KAUFMAN, School Crisis Communications Expert

·         PAUL MINOFF, Father of two Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS Survivors

LOCATION: Burlington Township HS Performing Arts Center, 610 Fountain Avenue, Burlington, New Jersey

AUDIENCE: School administrators, school communications professionals, school safety specialists

FREE TO ATTEND. RSVP REQUIRED: http://bit.ly/NJSPRA

EVENT CHAIRS

Mary Ann Bell, Burlington Township School District

Sarah Bilotti, North Warren Regional School District

Nicholas Diaz, Union Township Schools

Anthony Giordano, Mansfield Township School District

Lori Perlow, Camden County Educational Services Commission

Dr. Scott Rocco, Hamilton Township School District

Elizabeth Scott, Burlington Township School District

Dr. Mark Toback, Wayne Township Public Schools

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

None

Additional items of note

None

 

New York School Public Relations Association (NYSPRA)

Bill Cameron, President

Chapter well-being

Our chapter membership continues to grow, we hold regular meetings and are fiscally sound. We continue to work from our Strategic Plan for direction.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

We are working with NJ, PA and Conn chapters to plan a staff development event for fall, 2019.

Professional development programs/activities

We are about to hold our spring 2019 NYSPRA Conference in Syracuse, NY https://www.nyspra.org/news/7131987 - we have over 70 registrations for this event and several sponsors.

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

We were very pleased to earn an Exemplary Chapter designation in 2018, and we are hopeful we continue on this path. We have elections for officers coming up in April, 2019.

 

Pennsylvania School Public Relations Association (PenSPRA)

Karen Smith, APR, President

Chapter well-being

PenSPRA is doing great! We’re thrilled to have engaged the Chester County IU for executive director services. A team of PR professionals at the IU stand ready to enable us to achieve our goals to grow the organization, increase our offerings to members, and raise our profile.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

PenSPRA recently entered into an agreement with the Chester County IU to provide executive director services.

Our Communications Contest is now in the judging phase, and we’re thrilled to report that we’ve received many more entries that last year.

We’ve finalized the planning for our spring conference, and we’re currently taking registrations.

Professional development programs/activities

TBD

Major chapter issues or concerns

Nothing 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

We continue to monitor developments in accessibility that can impact our members with responsibility managing comprehensive web/print/and other communications for their school district. These changing requirements have financial and legal implications – and they challenge us to consider equity in access to information not only for the impaired among our constituency, but those for whom English is not their first language.

Additional items of note

TBD

 


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

Our membership in OSPRA continues to grow. Our board meets weekly and we host two, two-day professional development conferences each year – one in the spring and one in the fall. Fiscally we are holding steady and are at a place where we’re spending down our reserves slightly and are offering more to conference attendees via national-level keynote speakers.

We’ve noticed our Facebook page is not gaining in engagement and are looking to create a hosted email list serve, much like our neighbors to the north WSPRA.

Our board experienced several resignations this year through both job changes and job responsibility shifts for our board members. We recently appointed two new board members and are actively onboarding them.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

We continue with our two award programs intended to promote and elevate the profession of school communications: Communicator of the Year and our NSPRA scholarship. Looking forward to fall, we hope to implement a superintendent/central office communicator award.

Professional development programs/activities

In response to survey feedback, we are focusing this spring on a topic that continues to be of interest among public relations professionals: internal communications. We are very excited to tap non-school communicators at this event. Our keynote speakers are from Microsoft and the PGA.

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 continue to struggle with reinstating our non-profit status and are hung up on tax filings. Post spring conference, we will be seeking professional accounting support to help us manage the higher level duties not easily managed by a treasurer at the board level. If NSPRA could offer support in this area to chapters, that would be divine.

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

As our chapter continues to grow and thrive, the WSPRA Board continues to meet monthly for operations and planning purposes. For the first time in several years, we have revamped our workshop sponsorship packages and increased our sponsorship rates to be more aligned with what our partners are providing for other chapters across the country. We are proud to report that we have already secured $25,500 in sponsorships for 2018-19, which is an increase of more than 40% more than 2017-18 sponsorships and a more than 90% increase over 2016-17 sponsorships.

At the summer 2018 board retreat, we identified four key goals for the 2018-19 school year. As a chapter we are also on track to meet our annual board goals:

1.      Increase membership by 20%

This would result in 185 WSPRA Members and 107 NSPRA Members. Beyond growing our numbers for state and national members, the board is also focused on the quality of membership services received. Specifically, this goal also includes the board’s continued focus on improving internal process around payments and reconciliation process, streamline communication between VP of Membership, VP of Finance and VP of Communications and to ensure all members are up to date and have access on our website.

2.      Increase workshop attendance by 20%

As we continue to grow and strengthen our professional learning opportunities for members and potential members, this increase would look like 56 Fall registrations, 110 Winter registrations and 117 Spring registrations at our Annual Conference in Leavenworth.

3.      Strengthen and Improve WSPRA Communication

This goal is centered around our communications and marketing strategies to engage members and reach new members. Our tactics this year include a redesign of our newsletter template in order to offer resources and inspiration throughout the year via e-newsletters, launching our WSPRA Instagram account, establishing an online submission for our annual awards event and reorganizing our website for easier access and navigation.

4.      Strengthen and improve our operations and procedures

This goal centers around improving our operations a growing organization. Reaching this goal will include identifying and documenting the purpose and long-term goals for our investment account, streamlining the membership payment process and awards payment process and reviewing and implementing checks and balances identified from our financial review.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

As of the February progress report, our work continues to achieve this year’s goals. We continue to refine our processes and overcome the challenges of balancing demanding jobs, home lives and our commitments to the WSPRA roles we serve in. Here is our status for each goal:

1.        Increase membership by 20%

As of February, we have 149 paid WSPRA, 158 registered members, for this year which leaves us about 27 members shy of our 185 WSPRA Members goal. We are currently at 90 NSPRA members in WA state, just 17 members shy of our 107 goal for this year. We are on track to increase both WSPRA and NSPRA memberships by 20% this year.

2.        Increase workshop attendance by 20%

Our Fall 2018 registration was the highest in organizational history at 69 attendees, a 43% increase in attendance over the Fall 2017 Workshop. Our Winter Workshop Registration window is still open and currently sits at 74 registered, we anticipate a rush of last-minute registrations and are hopeful to meet our goal of 110 registrations.

3.        Strengthen and Improve WSPRA Communication

Our VP of Communications is Tove Tupper, who is also the Assistant Director of Communications at Highline Public Schools, an NSPRA 35 under 35 and a current NSPRA Front Runner, continues to improve and strengthen WSPRA’s branding and marketing through our web, social media presence and direct email outreach to members and non-members alike.

4.        Strengthen and improve our operations and procedures

Our monthly board meetings continue to improve in efficiency and effectiveness. On February 28 our board president is organizing a mid-year retreat to refocus our board who is spread across the state to focus on a few key issues including our finances, our annual workshop and board recruitment for 2019-20. Key outcomes include finalizing goals for our investment account, draft agenda for the annual workshops and a targeted list for board recruits for incoming board members.

Professional development programs/activities

Please see the attached Fall Workshop Conference Agenda.

Our second professional learning opportunity of the year is on March 1 in Olympia, out state capital. This event is a focus on developing a growth mindset to engage our families and ways to better engage and influence potential employees as we enter recruitment season. You can learn more at Next Level Engagement - WSPRA Winter Workshop 2019.

Our annual workshop is shaping up to be another special event featuring national, statewide and local speakers on a variety of topics requested by our members. It will be held on May 1-3 in Leavenworth, Washington.

Major chapter issues or concerns

Our greatest struggle right now is a high-level problem we are grateful to have. Our continued growth and the high expectations of our members for high-quality professional development, on-time and on-demanded responses and resources as part of their membership, as well as expectations of increased networking and learning opportunities is creating a need for more operational infrastructure beyond the capacity of our current board. Our WSPRA board members are stellar, well-respected, highly capable school pr professionals in high profile positions in busy districts. They are also parents, spouses and highly involved community members with full personal lives. This makes the balancing of work, personal and board life a challenge.

As our financial stability as an organization has also increased, we are looking at other chapter models that support a part-time administrative coordinator or similar position to manage memberships and the annual awards process to improve and sustain efficiencies and effectiveness for members. An administrative position within our organization would allow us as board members to focus on our specific roles outside of the day-to-day operations and continue to grow our membership.

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 that 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 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; education funding and professional learning for school communication professionals.

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 do have concerns about the impact this will have on the number of communication positions in districts, particularly our smaller and rural districts in 2019-20, as well as the impact on memberships and registrations for both WSPRA and NSPRA as early as our Annual Conference and the summer conference in DC.

Additional items of note

The Seattle metropolitan area is the 15th largest in the country, with nearly four million residents who enjoy mild summers and sweeping views of the water, forests and mountains. With cultural attractions, outdoor recreation and fine dining, Seattle has unique options to draw attendees and entertain them before, during and after an NSPRA National Seminar. Many of Seattle’s top visitor spots are within mere blocks of the Convention Center. This includes Pike Place Market, Space Needle, Pioneer Square, museums, water tours, world-class restaurants, shopping and theaters.

WSPRA Members, NSPRA Members and members from chapters all around the country continue to ask when the NSPRA Seminar will come back to Seattle. The last time an NSPRA Seminar was held in the Northwest Region was more than two decades ago in 1995. WSPRA members have also asked our board to form a formal committee to help make NSPRA Seattle a reality.

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 continues to seriously consider Seattle as a location for an upcoming NSPRA seminar.

 Fall Workshop Agenda

October 19, 2018

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.                     REGISTRATION AND BREAKFAST

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.          WELCOME AND ICE BREAKER

Melissa Laramie, WSPRA President

Communications & Public Affairs Director, Kent School District

9:00 – 10:00 a.m.          PANEL DISCUSSION: WHAT DO OUR AUDIENCES WANT & NEED?

Our audiences expect tailored communication 24/7, including during a crisis. In this panel discussion, we will hear from Yakima County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Udell, KIMA TV reporter Trisha McCauly, East Valley School District Board of Directors Chair and parent Charlotte Layman, and Wapato School District teacher Michelle Burtis.

10:00 – 10:15 a.m.                 BREAK

10:15 – 11:30 a.m.      ROUND TABLE DISCUSSIONS

East Valley School District Communications Director Brittany Kaple will lead us through a series of crisis scenarios. Work with your peers to determine what you would and would not do. Think about the audiences we just heard from in the panel discussion.

 11:30 – 12:45 p.m.                LUNCH AND ICE BREAKER THANK YOU TO OUR WORKSHOP KEYNOTE SPONSOR:

12:45 – 1:45 p.m.    MENTAL HEALTH RED FLAGS & STIGMA BUSTERS

Jim Pinnell, Community Education Coordinator with Comprehensive Mental Healthcare of Yakima, will share current trends in youth mental health and how to use communications to de-stigmatize mental health issues.

1:45 – 2:30 p.m.     CREATING CRISIS RESPONSE AND PREVENTION CAMPAIGNS

Superintendent Kevin McKay and Communications Director Jessica Morgan will share how Sunnyside School District made safety and security a community effort. See how Sunnyside communicated across school district and city departments to conduct a live active shooter scenario at a school. Also learn about Safety Week, an annual event that spotlights safety drills, advisory and mini-lessons, and this year includes a new campaign to encourage students to speak up when they see or hear something unsafe.

2:30 – 2:45 p.m.        BREAK

2:45 – 3:30 p.m.      WHAT CAN YOU GIVE, WHAT SHOULD YOU GIVE: CRISIS MEDIA RELATIONS

Highline Public Schools Chief Communications Officer Catherine Carbone Rogers and Assistant Communications Director Tove Tupper will lead us in an interactive and engaging session centered on media relations. Learn and practice the strategies and skills needed when working with the media during a crisis.

3:30 – 3:45 p.m.        CLOSING

Melissa Laramie, WSPRA President

Communications & Public Affairs Director, Kent School District

3:45 – 4:30 p.m.      OPTIONAL: CRISIS COALITIONS

In this optional session, meet with neighboring districts and collaborate on how to support one another in times of crisis.

THANK YOU TO OUR EVENT SPONSORS: