Regional Chapter Reports: November 2019

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Southwest Region Chapters Report - November 2019

Joe Ferdani, APR, Southwest Region Vice President

 

Arizona School Public Relations Association (ASPRA)

Zachery Fountain, President

Chapter well-being

The Arizona School Public Relations Association (ASPRA) membership is strong and growing. Between 2017 and 2018 an additional ten memberships joined the ASPRA ranks. For 2019, membership is currently at 139 paying members and 12-lifetime memberships with additional plans to attract small district superintendents who do not currently school communications and public relations professionals.  ASPRA still has membership requests from vendors, private/public competitors, and contract public relations professionals. Efforts have been made to ensure such groups are in the membership category, but may not have a professional membership that allows for voting in ASPRA related votes.

Additionally, new leadership is beginning to take route throughout the executive team with growing requests to be part of the elected positions in the coming years - an issue that had been difficult in prior years. This may be in part to growing geographic participation throughout the state with representation on the board from three counties outside of Maricopa County in addition to a new school PR professionals joining the ranks statewide.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

ASPRA*tions Annual Award Luncheon - The premier recognition of school PR materials and activities in Arizona was held on October 31st at the Madison Performing Arts Center - a new location in central Phoenix.  Costs to ASPRA have remained stable through the years with greater participation allowing for expanded services at the event.

ASBA Conference Support - ASPRA will once again support the Arizona School Boards Association Annual Conference.  A partnership of 20+ years, ASPRA supports ASBA through social media coverage and photography support throughout the event.  This year, ASPRA will have a table at the event and will push registration opportunities for ASPRA and NSPRA at the three-day event and highlight the work of school PR professionals across the state.

Professional development programs/activities

September 6 - Quarterly ASPRA Meeting in Queen Creek

  • Topics: What I Wish I’d Known Before I Took a Job in #SchoolPR, NSPRA Seminar Recap, Election Info

October 31 - ASPRA*tion Awards at Madison Performing Arts Center

  • Topic: K12 PR Wellness, Mindfulness and Meditation, Census, and Cybersecurity Recap

November 6 - Quarterly ASPRA Meeting in Tolleson

November 17, 18, & 19 - ASBA Annual Convention Coverage and Support

February 7 - Quarterly ASPRA Meeting in Tucson

April 3 - Quarterly ASPRA Meeting at Creighton 

June 8 & 9 - ASPRA Conference in Flagstaff

Major chapter issues or concerns

While ASPRA is in a really good spot financially and with membership, the Executive Board is focused on upgrading practices for the organization including the ability of members to access content on the go.  The team is looking to purchase equipment for livestreaming to meet the needs of the expanding geographic coverage throughout the state.

Additionally, with more connections to other ‘SPRA’s, ASPRA has identified opportunities with vendors to expand offerings and is currently benchmarking against other practices.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

OCR Website Reviews:  The Office of Civil Rights is now targeting third-party vendors who provide support to districts in the way of policy bridge tools and now putting districts under-tightening review for private companies’ non-compliance.

YouTube and COPA:  Arizona districts had their YouTube channels and content revoked without notice leaving some districts unable to access their created content.  While also a national issue, some districts had this issue dovetail with website accessibility practices and no practical tactics to address the issue.

Branding Resources:  Districts continue to navigate long range branding issues in relations to copyright standards. Payson High School, Arizona, was recently hit with a copyright claim over the use of the longhorn graphic and had to promptly pull back its use of the logo after the University of Texas challenged the use. Resources pertaining to the graphic design standards and copyright practices will be beneficial for members.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

NSPRA should keep an eye on the competitive nature of education in Arizona and assist state organizations and members with resources to justify public relations and communications budgets.  Any assistance in providing benchmarked data on budgets of public versus private providers would be invaluable to members as they seek to justify their value to their organizations and communities.

Additional items of note

N/A

 

California School Public Relations Association (CalSPRA)

Kindra Britt, President

Chapter well-being

No report submitted.​

 

Colorado School Public Relations Association (CoSPRA)

Christy McGee and Abbe Smith, Co-presidents

Chapter well-being

Overall, the chapter is stable and in good health. The membership drive was not a focus of ours, and thus our membership list/roster is missing a few regular districts/members. We seem to do a good job of keeping the same districts/members engaged and attending events. I have seen where a few new names and members are taking advantage of our listserv, asking colleagues questions and sharing on that tool.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

The Chapter is focused this year on implementing a membership and registration tool. We would like to use our sponsorship money to help pay for something that will help keep us professional, and hopefully help us expand our reach and increase membership. COSPRA also needs to continue to look at its relationship with CASE, the Colorado Association of School Executives, in order to raise awareness and the standing of school PR professionals in the state. 

Professional development programs/activities

COSPRA held its annual Fall Conference on Friday, Oct. 11 at the Denver Zoo. Approximately 80 people attended. We had a very diverse set of speakers and topics, and think that, plus the location, were part of what made the event successful. Many people stayed for the after-hours event, which featured beverages, appetizers, and an animal engagement experience. Overall, we heard from many members that this was one of our most successful conferences in recent history. In September, we also held two workshops with Census 2020 in order to learn more about what they were doing and how school PR professionals could support their effort. Approximately 10-15 people attended each session, including non-members.

Major chapter issues or concerns

It would be good for the chapter to find ways to provide more robust professional development, especially for those members who cannot or do not attend NSPRA in a given year. Longer PD would benefit the health and connections among chapter membership, as well as the financial/sponsorship piece of the chapter as sponsors are requesting this. However, Chapter leadership struggles with helping or motivating chapter membership to make longer PD a priority. Streamlining membership, enrollment, reminders, event payments and registration is a key area where the chapter can improve to provide a more professional experience, too.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

It would be good to know what chapters are the same size as COSPRA and what their professional development looks like, year-round. COSPRA should also consider implementing an APR program or position on the board, and it would be good to connect with other chapter APR people or know what programs other chapters have in place.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

This fall, the state is looking to pass Proposition CC. Proposition CC would allow the state to retain revenue it is currently required to refund under the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR). Retained funds would be used for education and transportation purposes. The TABOR Amendment limits the amount of money the state of Colorado can take in and spend. Revenue above a certain limit is refunded to taxpayers. Many districts are also going to the ballot for mill levy overrides and bond questions this year. 

Superintendents and districts from across the state have joined to start changing the way public education is discussed and viewed in Colorado. This communication effort is called Our Schools, Our Community and prominently, graphically features the Colorado “C” from the state flag. The goal of the effort is to help show that good schools and good students are part of and contribute to great communities across Colorado. While COSPRA is a key player, a lot of time is spent discussing this effort among partner entities like CASE and CASB in order to empower ALL school districts to participate and change the narrative.

Additional items of note

N/A

 

 

Utah School Public Relations Association (USPRA)

Steven Powell, President

Chapter well-being

No report submitted.​

 


South Central Region Chapters Report - November 2019

Tony Heaberlin, APR, South Central Regional Vice President

 

Arkansas School Public Relations Association (ArkaNSPRA)

Brian Bridges, President

Chapter well-being

The ArkaNSPRA chapter is very active and continues to grow. We are still in the process of our membership drive and we have already exceeded last year’s record number of members. We now have over 50 ArkaNSPRA members and while that may seem small compared to other chapters, it’s big for us.

Chapter members actively recruit new members and school districts are also actively seeking out our group. Word of mouth has spread about our organization and the benefits that go along with being a member. Our chapter president also sends out an email to superintendents across the state making them aware about the benefits of ArkaNSPRA.

We also hold meetings at least four times a year. A different central Arkansas school district hosts the meetings. For the first time we are also thriving fiscally. More and more businesses are now seeking us out to sponsor our working lunch meetings. These sponsors provide important information to our members that may benefit their school districts.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

Our newly elected chapter leadership, (President, Vice President, and Secretary/Treasurer) met in September to go over duties and collaborate on the upcoming school year. We discussed challenges districts faced and our vision for the new year.

Our chapter continues to focus on recruiting new members and making sure school districts are aware of ArkaNSPRA. Each year, more and more school districts are realizing the need for communication professionals and creating new positions on their administration teams. When a new communications person is hired, we are normally the first people they call to help ease their transition.

Professional development programs/activities

Over the past few years we have focused on inviting companies, businesses, and organizations that pertain to our field, to our meetings to present their products and services to our members. We also encourage our members to share what is working/not working in their school districts. Also, if our members have attended the National NSPRA Conference or any other workshops, we encourage them to present to our group and share what they have learned with everyone.

Major chapter issues or concerns

At one point we struggled with chapter funding, however, as of right now we are doing well.

Also, the majority of our members serve as the only communications professional in his/her district. Some also hold multiple positions along with being their district’s communications director/coordinator/specialist. It can be a struggle being a one-man-band.

One of the issues we also talked about at our October meeting was the nonstop negative stories from the media. It seems like lately, school districts constantly have to defend themselves and that we are guilty until proven innocent. Then once we are proven innocent it’s no longer a top story and it’s buried in the newscast IF they even follow up at all. Also, reporters are using social media and community Facebook groups to get their story ideas. They are often one-sided, not from reputable sources, and never tell the full story. 

We are not sure how to communicate to journalists to help them understand the full story when we can only give limited information due to privacy issues. We try our best to foster great relationships with the media so we can trust each other but it becomes hard with new reporters rotating in and out.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

In reviewing other chapter reports, we are in awe of how involved and how big chapters are in other states. It would be nice to have an easy way for chapters our size or even bigger to share ideas and information. Other chapters may be doing something that we could implement as well.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Currently, many people are watching and focusing their attention on one of our largest school districts in the state. The Little Rock School District has been battling for local control of their district after the state assumed control back in 2015.

The state board recently came up with a plan that would return limited local control to LRSD but many feel it will resegregate public schools Little Rock. Now there is talk of a teacher strike.

Additional items of note

N/A

 

Kansas School Public Relations Association (KanSPRA)

Michele Jones, APR, President

Chapter well-being

KanSPRA is a growing chapter! We currently have 82 members – up 7 members over last year at this time

Our KanSPRA Board meets 5 – 6 times throughout the school year. 4 of those meetings are in person and the others are through Zoom

We are looking for 2 members to join our Board – we have a communications position open and a West Region VP position open. We will have no trouble filling the communications position. The West Region VP is a hard to fill position. We don’t have a lot of school districts in the western part of Kansas that have a communication positions.

We currently have a checking account balance of $51,339.20. Our chapter is financially strong.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

KanSPRA is working with the Census 2020 group from Kansas to make sure all of our communications professionals have the information that they need to assist in Census 2020 efforts

KanSPRA and the Kansas Association of School Boards have updated the annual Publications Contest. We awarded certificates at our annual conference last week.

Professional development programs/activities

We just completed our annual Fall Conference. We had 47 members attend.
I attached a copy of our Fall Conference Agenda

  • Highlight was having Kelly Avants as our final speaker of the conference!

NSPRA in St. Louis – since the 2020 NSPRA conference is so close to Kansas next summer, we are planning some fun activities to encourage a large KanSPRA presence at NSPRA

  • KanSPRA members taking the train/coach bus to St. Louis
  • KanSPRA t-shirts (we aren’t in Kansas anymore)
  • And more!

Major chapter issues or concerns

We have 3 goals that we are working on this year:

  • Simplifying our membership and conference registration process through USA-Kansas
    • It has been difficult to get current KanSPRA membership updates so we worked with USA-Kansas to get a monthly reporting of membership
  • Celebrating our members
    • Keeping in contact with our members more regularly – how do we do that? The Board is talking through possible ideas
  • KanSPRA Website
    • We have an outdated website (embarrassing!) so we are researching possible new websites/layouts/refresh of logo/etc.

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 at this time.

Additional items of note

It is a pleasure to serve as the KanSPRA President!

 

Missouri School Public Relations Association (MOSPRA) 

Kelly Wachel, President
David Luther, Executive Director

Chapter well-being

MOSPRA continues to thrive and grow.  Our financials are in excellent shape and our membership is at an all-time high of 216 members.  MOSPRA has four regions - the Eastern and Western regions hold monthly meetings that are very well attended and the Ozark and Mid-State regions meet every other month. The 2019-20 MOSPRA Board met in September and mapped out goals for the year.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

MOSPRA formalized what we call our “Rogue Groups,” which are sub-regional groups that meet quarterly.  The program was recognized by NSPRA at the 2019 National Seminar.  Such localized meetings allow those who can’t make the larger regional meetings to come together and share best practices and PR challenges.  Because of the Rogue Groups we have furthered our mission of providing professional development and growing membership.  MOSPRA also began an APR preparatory cohort several years ago which has led to a significant increase in our members obtaining their APR credentials.

Professional development programs/activities

Beyond our regional meeting and Rogue Group meetings, MOSPRA holds a series of one-day workshops, an ongoing APR cohort (via webinars), and two annual conferences.  Our Fall Conference is Nov. 7-8 and will focus on Brand Reputation Management.

Major chapter issues or concerns

We have launched a new membership/event software called Memberclicks.  It has a steep learning curve, but we are confident that it will help us track membership and payments more effectively.

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

Charter School Expansion and school vouchers are an ongoing issue in Missouri.

Additional items of note

None.

 

Oklahoma School Public Relations Association (OKSPRA)

Cara Adney, President

Chapter well-being

For the past few years our organization has struggled with sponsorships. We had a shift in chapter leadership and during a “down” year sponsorships fell off the radar. As you can imagine, not having the additional cash flow significantly hindered our ability to provide quality content for our members. I’m thrilled to report that has changed!

Finalsite came on late last year and agreed to a modified sponsorship. They increased their investment in OKSPRA this year and have even introduced new sponsors to us! Blackboard has committed to two chapter meeting sponsorships. We are currently working on sponsors for our spring conference that will be in April 2020. We are on track to have a very successful year thanks to the support of our sponsors.

Last year we modified our sponsorship opportunities and after visiting with other SPRA chapters and learning what has worked well for them I anticipate we will revisit this issue in the spring to create additional opportunities for organizations to support us and the work we do for our school districts and communities.

We are still recruiting new OKSPRA members (until Oct. 31 and, well, anytime they want to join!) but we have a lot of new (and active) members from the K12 community. In Oklahoma, a majority of the active members have been from the CareerTech system. Our members have been intentional about connecting with other K12 schools to talk to them about OKSPRA and inviting them to attend a meeting and/or join. School districts in the OKC metro area are also adding communications people and we are reaching out to them to invite them to attend.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

We have partnered with FinalSite and Blackboard for sponsorship opportunities. We are still working to gain more support for OKSPRA.

We also invited MOSPRA to log on to our virtual meetings this year. We have previously limited this to OKSPRA members but realized that maybe we need to shift focus and use this platform as a way to recruit members. We will discuss this more as an officer team and put together a plan for next year. 

Professional development programs/activities

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

Major chapter issues or concerns

Sponsorships, sponsorships, sponsorships!

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

N/A

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

N/A

Additional items of note

N/A

 

Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA)

Linsae Snider, Executive Director
Monica Faulkenbery, APR, 2019-2020 President
Veronica Castillon APR, 2019-2020 President-Elect
Kristin Zastoupil, 2019-2020 Immediate Past-President

Chapter well-being

Tracie Seed assumed duties as TSPRA Communications Coordinator on August 5, replacing Eric Betts who served in the position for the past seven years.

An external audit review of our organization was conducted during the month of August resulting in a report of sound accounting practices and diligent and responsible management of funds.

The Member Review of Financial Records and Procedures (Audit) Committee conducted its audit of the 2018-2019 fiscal year on September 11, 2019, reporting sound accounting practices, efficient office operations and making six recommendations to the Executive Committee, mostly addressing long-term stability and operations of the association.

The TSPRA 990 for the 2018-2019 fiscal year will be filed with IRS by the end of this week.

We continue to accept dues 2019-2020 renewals until October 31, 2019.  After that date, a late fee of $45 will be added.  We are hopeful that membership may top 1000 members this year!

All but one of the nine TSPRA regions has hosted (or has scheduled) to host at least one meeting during the fall of 2019 with SPRINT, CASPRA, SASPRA and HASPRA hosting monthly meetings.

TSPRA Executive Committee met in Dallas on September 19, 2019, resulting in a summary of the meeting actions, discussions and information being shared with membership via the weekly newsletter.

The TSPRA Nominating Committee also met in Dallas on September 19, 2019, to slate Executive Committee candidates for 2020-2021.  Electronic voting takes place November 5-December 6, 2019.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

Two new APRs have been pinned:  Jeff Meador, Granbury ISD and Tami Sophia, Brazosport ISD.  Another 2-3 are expected to be pinned by the February conference.

A total of 26 TSPRA members have earned CPC (certified public communicator) credentials from the TCU program with another ten enrolled and having completed the first year of the two-year program.

The state office continues to publish twice-weekly EduLeges, weekly eNewsletters, eBlasts about important announcements, reminders and postings of communications related positions on our website. In addition, numerous Facebook postings and twitter messages are posted on an ongoing basis.  The TSPRA Facebook page houses photographs from regional meetings and also a “Member Monday” feature where we feature a TSPRA member each week.

H-E-B Chairman and CEO, Charles Butt, was named 2019 Key Communicator and received recognition on September 20, 2019, during the first general session of the 2019 TASA TASB Convention held in Dallas. Butt, heir of the Texas grocery chain, has contributed over $10M in awards to Texas educators in addition to funding scholarships for teachers and principals, creating the Holdsworth Center (for leadership development) and Raise Your Hand Texas (public ed advocacy).

We continue to be pleased with the Member 365 member management system and continue to learn new features realizing that no MMS is perfect!

Star Awards entries are being accepted until November 4, 2019, through Open Water, a system we also invested in two years ago, with an expectation of receiving approximately 1200 entries.

Open Water will also be utilized this year for professional awards nominations and judging when nominations open on November 1, 2019.

The TSPRA executive director continues to be asked to present to the TASA First Year Superintendent Academy each year.  TSPRA members delivered eight concurrent sessions for the TASA/TASB Convention and will schedule 8 sessions for the Superintendent’s Midwinter Convention in addition to hosting a large resource center in the exhibit area of each conference.

TSPRA continues to utilize ‘GoToMeetings” making ad hoc and standing committee meeting time and resources more efficient without the hassle or expense of travel.

Applications for three TSPRA conference scholarships, valued at $1920 each, will be accepted until November 22nd with the recipients being named on December 11th.
The TSPRA president served on the selection committee that named the 2020 Texas Teacher of the Year.

TSPRA continues to author articles for the TASA publication, INSIGHT that is delivered to all TASA members quarterly.

TSPRA has contracted for conference locations in 2021 (Denton Embassy Suites), 2022 (Kalahari in Round Rock) and are in negotiations currently for 2023 location.

TSPRA enrolled in the NSPRA cash-back incentive program to recruit new members with required communications planned for blasting on November 15, 2019 and March 13, 2020.

Professional development programs/activities

120 proposals to present at #TSPRA20 were accepted by the October 24, 2019 deadline.

Conference 2020 registration is open with 130 registrations received by mid-day the first day! Already, the hotel block at the conference hotel is at capacity and an overflow hotel has 65 bookings resulting in 463 booked rooms to-date.

The conference planning committee meets on November 7, 2019, to slot concurrent sessions, determine the “timely topics” and “job-alike sessions” and to make F&B selections. 

Tony Heaberlin, NSPRA South Central Vice President has been asked to bring greetings from NSPRA.  Six preconference sessions are scheduled along with one keynoter, 40 concurrent sessions, 45 roundtables, 10 “job-alike sessions” and 10 “timely topics.” Forty-five of 50 exhibitors are already secured.  Keynoter is Anne Grady, Anne Grady Group, who will address courage, resilience and triumph.  In addition, there will be a 5K run, sponsored evening receptions and events and the annual Star Awards Banquet emceed by Tim Carroll, APR.  We expect attendance 700 attendees again this year.

Ten retired TSPRA members have been enlisted to assist with conference labor, photography and other duties, providing a significant cost savings.

Spoken Word Group serves as the contractor for Media and Crisis Communications, Presentation Skills, and Dealing with Angry Public trainings as we continue to schedule them across the state. Already 138 attendees have participated in three sessions to date.

A means for housing and providing an on demand video/webinar library of training content is being explored.

Major chapter issues or concerns

Already this school year several school districts have been affected by crises:  El Paso and Ector County with tragic mass shootings, the Houston/Beaumont area with unexpected flooding due to rains and the tornados that hit the Dallas Metro area.

TSPRA serves a very diverse membership – PIO/communications professionals at all levels from head of department to specialists in addition to education foundation directors, webmasters, electronic media production specialists, translators, community partnership coordinators and graphic artists.  We continue to challenge ourselves to provide services that address and meet the very different needs of each.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

Charter schools continue to beef up marketing efforts.  We are getting bold at TSPRA and asking them to host meetings, share their marketing skills, demonstrate their drones, etc. 

Texas has among the lowest voter turnout of all states and even lower among teachers.  We are in the process of voting on Texas Constitutional amendments.  One could potentially affect public ed and is very confusing on the ballot.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

The 2020 census is of concern to many areas of Texas, especially border areas where residents may not complete the forms for fear of being identified as illegal immigrants. Lack of census completion could affect federal funding schools receive.

School safety is an issue of concern given the recent shootings in El Paso and Ector County. 

Border issues continue to affect our schools, especially those near the Mexico border.

Vaping education is taking a front seat in the health curriculums at every grade.

Additional items of note

N/A

 


Southeast Region Chapters Report - November 2019

Mychal Frost, Southeast Region Vice President

 

Alabama School Public Relations Association (ALSPRA)

Whitlee Lusk, President

Chapter well-being

The Alabama School Public Relations Association currently has 38 active members. The chapter is currently holding its annual membership drive and expects to increase membership. The chapter holds quarterly meetings in January, March, June, and October with the March meeting usually designated as the annual state conference meeting. Membership has remained steady over the past several years. The chapter has a healthy bank balance totaling $15,907.35.

The chapter recently updated its membership fee structure to provide greater opportunity for school district superintendents and support staff to join the chapter along with their public relations officers. The Institutional Membership tier, previously $229 per year, was reduced in October 2019 to $199 and allows for up to 3 individuals from a school system to join the chapter.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

Cindy Warner, ALSPRA’s Immediate Past-President, is serving as the NSPRA Southeast Region representative on the NSPRA APR Accreditation Committee. She mentored two APR candidates from the SE Region, including Yolanda Stephens from Troup County School District (GA) and Nora Shoptaw from Guilford County Schools (NC) who both recently passed their APR exams. Additionally, she is currently mentoring Ashley-Michelle Thublin (NC) and Shelley Mackey (MD). She and fellow NSPRA APR Accreditation Committee members have been meeting regularly through Web meetings to develop plans and strategies for recruiting and mentoring additional APR candidates.

ALSPRA board members assisted Blackboard in hosting a Blackboard User Group Day for the state of Alabama. This professional development opportunity allowed for state-wide collaboration of best practices in using our communication tools effectively.

Our chapter recently began using Smore Newsletters to communicate with members and to track and measure that communication through Smore’s analytics.

Our board is also discussing the idea of collaborating and joining with neighboring states to form a regional conference in order to provide dynamic speakers and a variety of professional development opportunities.

Professional development programs/activities

ALSPRA held its first professional development workshop of the 2019-2020 school year on October 25th at the Jefferson County Board of Education in Birmingham, AL. The meeting featured Rena Philips from Mobile County Schools who reviewed her experience with a shooting during a football game and included best practices when communicating through a crisis situation. Jason Gaston’s session from our summer workshop was so popular, that our members requested a follow-up session to go into more detail about tracking and measuring school PR tasks and efforts. He also shared how students in his district are learning to run their own school’s social media accounts, track their progress, and target their stakeholders. Jefferson County Schools’ Interim Superintendent, Dr. Walter Gonsoulin, and ALSPRA President, Whitlee Lusk, co-presented on the 2020 Census and shared strategies, tools, and resources to assist Alabama school districts in ensuring that all kids are counted. We also featured another co-presentation with two members and ex-media professionals, Terri Brewer and Jennifer Gonsoulin, who discussed how to build effective relationships with the media and how to use the industry to promote schools.

Major chapter issues or concerns

ALSPRA as a chapter is not struggling with any particular issue, but we continue to monitor issues that impact our state including a number of recent laws passed by the Alabama State Legislature which impact education. These issues include topics like the upcoming Census, the Alabama Unified Report Card, and a state-wide emergency notification system. One of the most critical of these is the Alabama Literacy Act, which requires all third-grade students to be reading on grade-level beginning in the 2021-2022 school year or they will be retained to repeat third grade. This new change may provide opportunities for ALSPRA members to jointly plan communication strategies to communicate these changes to our respective stakeholders in the coming months.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

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

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Census 2020

Additional items of note

None at this time.

 

 

Florida School Public Relations Association (SUNSPRA)

Shayla Cannady, President

Chapter well-being

No report submitted.​

 

Georgia School Public Relations Association (GSPRA)

Yolanda Stephen, APR, President

Chapter well-being

View full GSPRA Annual Report submitted (PDF).​

 

Mississippi School Public Relations Association (MSPRA)

Geri Hill, President

Chapter well-being

No report submitted.​

 

North Carolina School Public Relations Association (NCSPRA)

Todd Hagans, President
Chris Fuller, Executive Director

Chapter well-being

The North Carolina School Public Relations Association (NCSPRA) is approaching the 2019-2020 year with much optimism and enthusiasm. Again this year, we are working to provide as many quality professional opportunities as possible and strengthen our network among school communications/public relations professionals in the state while maintaining the Association’s solid finances.

Membership

NCSPRA kicked off its annual membership drive in September with a goal of having 150 individual members and 60 member districts for 2019-2020. Just four weeks after launching our membership drive, we had 66 individual members representing 36 districts and one affiliate organization. Membership is expected to increase substantially as members complete their registration for the upcoming fall conference.

Finance

NCSPRA’s financial status is strong. We received our annual sponsorship from Blackboard, and our membership drive is underway. We also expect to see a significant increase in revenue as a result of hosting the fall conference this year. Vendor sponsorships already exceed what we had for the conference in 2017, and we have surpassed our sponsorship expectations (our goal was to have a minimum of $5,000 in sponsorships to offset conference expenses). We expect to have another successful Blue Ribbon Awards program, which has generated revenue for us over the past several years, and we are reintroducing the NCSPRA Winter Workshop concept in December, which will generate additional revenue. We believe our various programs for 2019-2020 will further strengthen the Association’s finances.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

NCSPRA has a full event calendar for 2019-2020 that includes the following:

  • NCSPRA/SC-NSPRA Fall Conference, November 6-8, Wilmington
  • NCSPRA Winter Workshop (a professional development program in partnership with our state school nutrition association), December 6, Hillsborough
  • Blue Ribbon Awards and Ceremony, January 31, Greensboro
  • NCSPRA Leadership Academy (a professional development program in partnership with the N.C. Center for the Advancement of Teaching), April 2-3, Cullowhee
  • NCSPRA 50th Anniversary Luncheon, May 1, Location TBA​

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

  • Fall Conference: This year, NCSPRA is hosting the annual NCSPRA/SC-NSPRA fall conference in Wilmington, November 6-8, at the new Embassy Suites Wilmington Riverfront Hotel. The conference theme is “Adventure, Attitude, and Azaleas,” which is a reference to Wilmington’s distinction as the home of the N.C. Azalea Festival. The conference is a partnership between the North Carolina and South Carolina state chapters, and it features 12 full-group sessions and a series of concurrent mini-sessions. Other activities on the schedule include our mentor-mentee matchup, vendor showcase, azalea dinner and party, and state chapter meetings. Approximately 100 people are expected to attend. The agenda is available on the NCSPRA website: www.ncspra.org/fallconference2019.​
  • 50th Anniversary: In 2020, NCSPRA will celebrate its 50th anniversary of being organized as a state chapter of the National School Public Relations Association. To commemorate the occasion, we are planning to host an anniversary luncheon on May 1. The program will include information about the Association’s history, special guests, and a professional development session. All current and former members will be invited to attend, and we plan to extend a special invitation to former NCSPRA presidents and winners of the Barry Gaskins Service Award for Outstanding Contributions to School Public Relations. The anniversary luncheon and program will be held in place of our annual springtime “Final Four” workshop, which will return in 2021. We did not want to overload the spring months with events, and we will encourage members to engage in the professional development opportunities offered at the Winter Workshop, NCSPRA Leadership Academy, and 50th anniversary program.​
  • NCSPRA Winter Workshop: Several years ago, NCSPRA partnered with PANC (Personnel Administrators of North Carolina) to host a Winter Workshop. We are revisiting this concept and partnering with the School Nutrition Association of North Carolina (SNA-NC) to host a Winter Workshop on Friday, December 6 in Hillsborough. The agenda includes five sessions that will focus on innovative school nutrition programs, marketing and promotional efforts, messaging through effective photography, the No Kid Hungry statewide initiative, and more. Our connection with SNA-NC is made possible through our network with the N.C. Association of School Administrators (NCASA) and its affiliate organizations. NCSPRA is one of the Association’s affiliate organizations along with SNA-NC and PANC.​
  • Blue Ribbon Awards: NCSPRA is expecting another highly successful Blue Ribbon Awards program, which recognizes effective school communications and public relations. The awards ceremony is tentatively planned for January 31, 2020. The Georgia School Public Relations Association (GSPRA) will judge our contest. This year, we are working on efforts to accept submissions online, which will save time and money for our member school districts. Our goal is to exceed 300 entries, which we have done in the past few years.​
  • NCSPRA Leadership Academy: For the third consecutive year, NCSPRA is partnering with the N.C. Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) to host the NCSPRA Leadership Academy, April 2-3. This professional development program is conducted in small-group, retreat style format on the NCCAT campus (adjacent to Western Carolina University) in Cullowhee. The program has involved about 30 participants each of the two previous years – we hope to increase participation in 2020 with the goal of reaching the 48-participant capacity.​
  • Online Membership Program: In September, NCSPRA launched the MemberClicks online membership management system. Members can complete the membership process online as well as register for conferences, professional development, and other activities.​
  • Judging GSPRA Awards Program: In September, the NCSPRA Board of Directors served as judges for the Georgia School Public Relations Association’s publications, photography, and electronic media contest. GSPRA will return the favor by judging NCSPRA’s Blue Ribbon Awards contest entries in December. The contest judging partnership between NCSPRA and GSPRA has been in place for a number of years, and it continues to be effective.

Professional development programs/activities

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

Major chapter issues or concerns

No issues/concerns to report.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

Now more than ever, it is important for NSPRA to continue its efforts to provide professional development that focuses on inclusivity, diversity, and tolerance. School districts need support and knowledge about how to handle difficult situations related to race relations, LGBTQ and gender fluidity, socioeconomic factors, and other national social issues that often become school issues. School districts have to be prepared to “do the right thing” even when “the right thing” is not popular in some communities.

It also is important for NSPRA to help guide the narrative on school safety and security. The media and others seem to scrutinize and sensationalize school (and bus) safety to instill fear, danger, and panic. Is the negative narrative surrounding school safety driving parents away from public schools for “safer” options such as charter, private, or home schools? Also, because school districts feel that it is important to have safety at the forefront of the conversation, does this somehow send a counter message? Are parents thinking, “Because they (the schools) talk about security so much, the schools must really be unsafe or otherwise the extra security would not be needed?” Have we discussed school safety to the point that the strategy is working against public schools?

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

One issue that is affecting education is the lack of a state budget for 2019-2020. The Republican-controlled North Carolina General Assembly passed a budget, but it was vetoed by the Democratic governor. Budget negotiations have been at a standstill, and no compromise is in sight. The N.C. House overrode the Governor’s veto during a surprise vote when most Democratic members were absent. The N.C. Senate has not been able to override the veto and has threatened to adjourn the session without a state budget in place. Meanwhile, school districts have been operating based on last year’s budget, and teachers and other school employees have not gotten a pay increase.

Additional items of note

We would like to thank NSPRA for an outstanding National Seminar in Washington. The sessions were excellent, and the keynote speakers were of outstanding quality. We are looking forward to 2020 in St. Louis. For the 2020 National Seminar, we would like for NCSPRA to have more presence at the national level, and therefore, we are planning to encourage our members to attend the National Seminar and consider submitting a proposal to present a session.

Additionally, we hope NSPRA will provide some type of acknowledgement at the national level for NCSPRA as we celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2020.

 

South Carolina School Public Relations Association (SCSPRA)

Melissa Robinette, President
Judy LeGrand, Manager

Chapter well-being

SC/NSPRA is a growing, viable chapter in a very good position as we approach the end of 2019, and head into 2020. Currently, we have 157 members: 58 active, 5 affiliate, 84 institutional, and 11 retired. Financially, we are in good shape, with over $24,000 currently in the bank to support programs and scholarships for members this year.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

This fall, in collaboration with the SC Department of Education, SC/NSPRA held its annual “Back to School” meeting in Columbia. The annual event is a chance for the state department to give important legislative and policy updates that may guide our district communications throughout the year. The meeting was well attended, with nearly 60 SC/NSPRA members present.

Professional development programs/activities

Many of us are preparing to attend our annual Fall Conference in Wilmington NC November 6-8, in partnership with our colleagues from NCSPRA. As a chapter, SC/NSPRA is also working with our sustaining sponsors (Peachjar, Blackboard and eSchoolview) to seek “Lunch and Learn” type opportunities for the rest of the year. We are also beginning to look at the early part of 2020 to plan our winter “drive in” day-long conference.

Major chapter issues or concerns

None to note.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

We are constantly seeking ideas for chapter professional development meetings, in terms of session topics and current tools/trends to keep offer to our members. On the same note, we are always interested in NSPRA members from other state chapters who are willing to offer such sessions either in person, or virtually. Also, as we are in the very early stages of planning to host our 2020 Fall Conference in Charleston, SC we might be looking to NSPRA for support in terms of reviewing major contracts with hotels, before we enter into those agreements.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

None to note.

Additional items of note

None to note.

 

Tennessee School Public Relations Association (TNSPRA)

Tyler Hill, President

Chapter well-being

No report submitted.

 


Mideast Region Chapters Report - November 2019

Patrick Gallaway, Mideast Region Vice President

 

Chesapeake School Public Relations Association (CHESPRA)

Kenita Bowers, APR, President

Chapter well-being

No report submitted.​

 

Indiana School Public Relations Association (INDSPRA)

Maria Bond, President
Donna Petraits, Executive Director

Chapter well-being

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

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

We are expanding our outreach and being more of a resource for our state education agencies. These state agencies are increasingly pushing out our information to their memberships. Five of our members presented at the NSPRA conference in DC and four of us presented at the ISBA/IAPSS conference and the School Safety Conference (IDOE) in September. INDSPRA also has a booth there, which resulted in several new members. Each year we have a drawing for a year’s free membership.

Professional development programs/activities

At our annual board retreat in June we established a number of ambitious goals for the next two years, which will include additional professional development opportunities like webinars and regional lunch and learns. Our annual Boot/Reboot Camp drew 30+ attendees with four school superintendents in attendance – the most ever.

Major chapter issues or concerns

In Indiana, vouchers, teacher pay, and school funding are always a concern. The Republican supermajority in the statehouse has done very little to improve education or its funding. We are already keeping a close eye on what the new session issues will be and are working with the Lunch Bunch (see #7) to stay on top of it.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

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

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

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

Additional items of note

An InSPRA Board member represents InSPRA 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)

Morgan Watson, President

Chapter well-being

No report submitted.​

 

Michigan School Public Relations Association (MSPRA)

Karen Heath, President
Gerri Allen, Executive Director

Chapter well-being

We are excited to be starting the 2019-20 fiscal year with a robust strategic plan as well as a detailed budget. During our August retreat, the Board spent time reviewing our 2018-19 accomplishments as well as drafting new goals and strategies for the current year using our new strategic planning template.  The template helped us to define each of our committees’ work for the next 12 months, and allowed us to break down multi-year initiatives into manageable pieces. The Board also spent time itemizing expenses for each of the goals and was able to create a comprehensive budget with specific line-item details. Goals for this year include: creating standardized brand guidelines for the chapter, strengthening our online resource catalog, attracting more superintendents to join the chapter, researching the possibility of creating regional networks, establishing a diversity plan for committee and board member recruitment and developing a new app.

In September, MSPRA was asked to create a toolkit to address the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) outbreak. In collaboration with the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals and the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators, a special MSPRA committee worked to collect sample letters, news releases, talking points and infographics outlining how school leaders approached the topic with their constituents. The samples, along with additional communication guidance, were packaged and shared with communication professionals, principals and superintendents throughout Michigan. 

We are preparing to celebrate our 2019 Communication Awards contest winners in multiple categories: the Gold Medallion award, the Gerri Allen Outstanding School Communicator of the Year and Superintendent Communicator of the Year award. Plans are underway to surprise the awardees with presentations at their local board of education meetings.

In late September, MSPRA began issuing renewal notifications to current members in conjunction with the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators’ own renewal mailing.  By combining our efforts, many new members have joined MSPRA-most of whom are school superintendents! We are excited to include more superintendents among our membership and hope to one day again include a superintendent on our board. Also this year, MSPRA is excited to support NSPRA’s member recruitment incentive program for new national members. Additionally, MSPRA has volunteered to serve as a pilot chapter to support dual application opportunities. We are excited to see how this opportunity will benefit our members at both the state and national levels.

Our 60th Anniversary Celebration continues this fall with the publication of a special timeline that was created to document MSPRA’s history. The timeline will be mailed to members’ superintendents (and copied to their board members) recognizing their districts for employing a school communicator. We will also include a letter that MSPRA received earlier in the year from the Michigan Department of Education congratulating our chapter on our many years of success.

The past few months have also been a time of celebration for our board members.  We recently learned that our President, Karen Heath, was recognized as an NSPRA Front Runner. Additionally, the Board honored Past Mideast Regional Vice President, Tom Scheidel, at its last in-person board meeting. We will be nominating him for a Learning and Liberty Legacy Leader Award for his service at the national level.  Additionally, MSPRA plans to nominate NSPRA Past President, Ron Koehler, APR, for the Learning and Liberty Legacy Leader Award for his career commitment to positive school communication.

MSPRA’s Board continuously works to ensure it is properly representing the needs of its membership. As part of that responsibility, the Board felt it necessary to review our bylaws for accuracy and to ensure our membership categories were aligned to our constituent demographics. Thanks to the support of NSPRA Associate Director Mellissa Braham, MSPRA has submitted revised bylaws for the NSPRA Board to consider at its November meeting.  The suggested changes redefine member levels to better match our current roster.

On October 25, MSPRA hosted its Fall Drive-In professional development conference.  The event featured the dynamic and engaging Cathy Kedjidjian, APR, Director of Communications and Strategic Planning for Glenview School District 34 in suburban Chicago, and NSPRA’s Vice President At-Large for Communication Technology & Innovation.  The event was themed: “Get Them Hired! Team Up With Your Human Resources Department to Bring the BEST to Your District”. Both school communicators and human resource personnel filled the room to capacity.

This summer, a number of our members attended and presented at the National Seminar in Washington, D.C. Attendees came home with a wealth of information and ideas. One of the most impactful ideas that members brought back to Michigan was the importance of our own wellness. Thanks to the work of Shawn McKillop and Kristin Magette, APR, and the launch of the Arms Outstretched/ #K12PRwell initiative, personal wellness has become an important message for Michigan’s school communication practitioners. In addition to an open letter shared by President Karen Heath about the importance of wellness and what she had learned from Shawn and Kristin, MSPRA featured Shawn’s and Kristin’s Wellness-themed Power Hour during a recent regional event.

Plans are already underway to visit Missouri in July. A number of members are hard at work on their NSPRA presentation applications!

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

MSPRA teamed with two statewide associations to create a toolkit for school administrators and communicators about Eastern Equine Encephalitis. The toolkit was developed in collaboration with the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP) and the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators (MAISA). It was shared across Michigan and was also featured in the October 1 edition of NSPRA’s This Week e-newsletter. 

Earlier this fall, a handful of MSPRA members served as professional school communication consultants during the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators’ Fall Conference in Traverse City, Michigan. Prior to the event, school administrators were invited to register to meet one-on-one with MSPRA members to discuss a specific issue or to learn more about a communication process or strategy. MASA event organizers recapped the opportunity in a short conference video.  In follow-up conversations with event planners, it appears that MSPRA will continue to be invited to serve in this capacity-allowing school communicators to further validate their critical role in the school community with a very specific audience-school district leaders!

The Intermediate School District PR professionals, an MSPRA subgroup, was recently invited to serve on a special Michigan Department of Education committee to support the rollout of the Michigan Integrated Continuous Improvement Process (MICIP) program. This group will provide communication guidance to state leaders on how to best help school districts learn about the program, its benefits and the resources available to support their transition from an old assessment system to the new MICIP program.

Professional development programs/activities

Fall Drive-In

MSPRA was excited to have Cathy Kedjidjian, APR, NSPRA Vice President at Large for Communication Technology & Innovation and Director of Communications and Strategic Planning for Glenview School District 34 from Illinois as our drive-in speaker. 

Cathy’s morning topic was “Get Them Hired! Team Up With Your Human Resources Department to Bring the BEST to Your District”. Attendees learned about communication for recruiting and retention and how the human resource office can be the school communicator’s top ally in brand and culture building -- which means PR is HR’s BFF in recruiting and retaining high-quality staff!  Her presentation offered ways to make concrete HR-PR connections (like inviting HR staff to the drive-in conference), and provided support, tools, and systems to help HR leaders cement a school district’s image and culture. Participants also learned how to partner with HR staff to be brand ambassadors by:

Using video and social media for recruiting and retaining top employees
Creating newsletters that connect leaders to staff and each other
Planning new teacher events (with swag!) that enhance culture from the start

In the afternoon, Cathy brought the BEST ideas home through #K12PRChat and Twitter by hosting a #K12PRChat live from the event. The experience helped Twitter users (novice to veteran) expand their knowledge by building and leveraging participants’ Twitter networks to gather valuable resources, peek inside districts to get ideas for their schools, and -- most important -- make real and lasting connections with colleagues who are also accessible in the Twitterverse!

Major chapter issues or concerns

This recently resolved issue is an item to note:  Years ago, MSPRA had invested funds in a money market account through Vanguard.  As part of our contracted bookkeeping services through the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators (MASA), the Vanguard funds were tracked in our monthly financial statements. Just over a year ago, it was realized that interest had not been reflected in our reports. After some investigation, it was learned that, due to inactivity, the account had been closed and MSPRA’s investments had been sitting stagnant. After learning that the account had been closed, MSPRA and MASA leaders followed Vanguard’s process to have a check issued and sent to MSPRA to put into our bank account. After jumping through many hoops, the check was issued in July and has been deposited accordingly. Other than the lack of potential interest, no funds were lost due to the account being closed. MSPRA is working with MASA to research future investment options so that our savings can once again earn interest and serve as a resource for our members.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

One of our strategic plan goals is to develop a succession planning process that focuses on diversity.  We are curious to know:  How do other chapters structure their recruiting processes? What do they do to market committee, board and executive leadership opportunities?  How long do most members serve on committees?  Our goal is to develop future leaders while being intentional about seeking board members who are representative of our membership.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Vaping

Teacher/sub shortage

Student behavior issues (early elementary level)

School funding

Supporting the Whole Child-providing services beyond education (family advocacy services, counseling, social services, etc.)

  • Trauma-informed education
  • Social-emotional support

Additional items of note

Working with Thrun Law Offices to develop a Michigan Records Retention/Freedom of Speech guidance for social media posts

Brought the MSPRA website into full ADA compliance

Added motion graphics to MSPRA’s Facebook closed group page

 

Ohio School Public Relations Association (OHSPRA)

Patrick Gallaway, President

Chapter well-being

Membership

OHSPRA membership as of October 28, 2019, stands at 104 for the 2019-20 membership cycle.

Our membership year is September 1, 2019 - August 31, 2020

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

  • $75 Individual, $90 after Sept. 1
  • $168 Institutional (3 members, $55 each additional), $200 after Sept. 1    

As our membership thank you and appreciation gift as well as a reminder to renew, we sent members a pizza cutter (with the tagline cut through the noise).

Budget/Finances

The chapter continues to be fiscally viable and responsible.

  • As of Oct. 28, 2019
    • Checking $27,232.07
    • Savings $25,655.22
    • Total $52,887.29
  • Partnerships & Sponsorship

    OHSPRA continues to develop relationships with a variety of sponsors to support our programming and member opportunities throughout the year. After our retreat in June 2019, our director of partnerships/sponsorships, Erin Graham redesigned our sponsorship marketing and set a timeline to open up the window of when OHSPRA would be accepting sponsorships on September 9, 2019. Please see the marketing below. Erin is working with a number of our past sponsors to secure commitments. It is early in the season for us to secure seeing that most benefits for sponsorship are tied to spring conference; April 30 - May 1. We will definitely have more to share in the next chapter report.

    At this time we have a commitment from Intrado/SchoolMessenger - Silver level $2500 as well as a food sponsor for the evening social at spring conference.

    We are also actively working with MarketVolt, Peachjar and SchoolPointe.    

Professional development programs/activities

Fall Workshop with the Ohio School Boards Association

The information for our combined fall workshop is below. The presenters included a former OHSPRA president and NSPRA past VP for Technology, Shane Haggerty and two of our OHSPRA Board Members; Erin Graham, director of partnerships and Alicia Mowry, director of membership. We had 30 registered for the workshop. It was a great turnout and was very well received.

Don’t miss this dynamic, hands-on workshop designed to provide attendees with tips and tools for upping their communications game.

Whether you are a communications professional, board member, school administrator or the staff member whose “other duties as assigned” include communicating with the public, you will come away from this workshop with tangible tools to make your communications efforts impactful and successful.

8:30 AM Registration

9 AM Stories in sound: How to podcast in your school district

In this interactive workshop, you’ll get a primer on how to tell your districts’ stories through sound. Discover how others are already employing podcasting as a tool in their districts; learn about the various equipment, tools and platforms that can be used to create a podcast; hear how to structure a show, find stories and market your podcast; gather tips on interviewing, scriptwriting, editing, choosing music and more; and participate in the production of a podcast episode. Shane Haggerty, owner, Purposeland​

Noon Lunch (provided)

1 PM Leverage the latest tools in today’s new world of curated media

The ways we communicate are evolving at a rapid pace, as students, parents, businesses and residents control what they want to know and where they want to get their information. Learn the latest tips and tricks to get your message through the clutter. Discover methods and strategies you can begin using right away to best leverage your website, e-newsletter, social media, news media, video and even print in today’s new world of curated media. Erin Graham, president, Erin Graham Consulting; and Alicia Mowry, public information officer, Delaware Area Career Center

3:30 PM Adjourn

To register

Visit www.ohioschoolboards.org/workshops or email Laurie Miller at Lmiller@ohioschoolboards.org.

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

Ohio School Boards Association Capital Conference - Nov. 10-12

Greater Columbus Convention Center

OHSPRA will once again have a booth and manage the publications Idea Exchange. Publications have been solicited by OHSPA & OSBA from districts across the state for attendees to view and take home if they like.

OHSPRA Spring Conference

Our Spring Conference is planned for April 30 & May 1, 2020

Renaissance Columbus Westerville-Polaris Hotel

409 Altair Parkway

Westerville, Ohio 43082

Major chapter issues or concerns

Website - We are working with a beta site now with eSchoolview, who have agreed to host it for free. Our goal is to make it more of a destination for members, a networking resource and support system for best practices with a variety of sample communications. We should be launching the new site within a few weeks. 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

We have some member school districts having a challenging time with the open enrollment issue, charter schools & trying to retain students in public school districts. The state offers EdChoice scholarships that will provide funding for a student to go to a non-public, it is contingent on the state report card ranking of the public district/school.   

School start times have become of interest to media following California's decision to mandate middle and high schools to soon start no earlier than 8:30 AM

Vaping continues to be an issue around Ohio as the nation I am sure. Some districts in Ohio have begun to invest in the detectors for restrooms. Media have been covering it extensively.

Overall well-being initiatives for students & schools (Suicide clusters, ideation, etc.)

Additional items of note

COMMUNICATION TO MEMBERS

Newsletters:

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

Amplify Newsletter Archive for 2018-19

September 2019   

Social media:

We have been trying to ramp up our social media presence. Several board members have the ability to post to Facebook, Twitter and now Instagram which we launched this summer. We also have our chapter manager scheduling posts throughout the week to help us gain more followers.

  • Twitter - We have added 35 followers for a total of 1,486 (between February and June). 
  • Facebook - We have gone from 295 to 445 likes, with 511 following (between February and June). 
  • Instagram - We have 73 followers & are following 71

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

OHSPRA Board 2019-20:

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

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

 

GOALS

Focus for 2019-20

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

 


North Central Region Chapters Report - November 2019

Peg Mannion, APR, North Central Region Vice President

 

Illinois School Public Relations Association (INSPRA) 

Kristine Liptrot, APR, President

Chapter well-being

Overall, the Illinois state chapter is doing well both financially and with member retention. INSPRA is going through significant changes this year.

  • INSPRA board is working on changing its structure from employing an association management company to hiring an executive director. Due to the above:
    • The board is working to change its bylaws to split the secretary/treasurer board position to two separate positions as the treasurer will become a more significant role on the board, and
    • The board has signed a contract for an association management system (MemberClicks), splitting the referral bonus with MOSPRA.
  • Earlier this year, INSPRA changed its regional directors (by geographic locations) to district directors (by district type/size) and is expanding its membership outreach efforts.
  • INSPRA also worked to align its membership, election, and sponsorship years, changing all three to coincide with a July 1-June 30 calendar.
  • INSPRA has planned and scheduled its first full-day conference for November.
  • INSPRA is looking at micro-credentialing and has planned to distribute a membership survey in December to assess interest in obtaining this certification.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

July-November

  • September 
    • Communications Contest & Workshop (Hit a Communications Home Run)
  • October  
    • Monthly Tips & Tactics (When Informed Voters are the Only Option)
    • Twitter Chat (Staying Inspired Through the Slow Seasons)
  • November       
    • INSPRAtions Conference (new)
    • New Member Network Virtual Meeting (I Got the Job … Now What?)
  • Ongoing associations
    • President Elect has been working on collaboration efforts with other Illinois education 

Professional development programs/activities

The Illinois chapter is putting a great deal of effort towards increasing its services to members. Along with the monthly Tips & Tactics sessions, INSPRA is hosting its first one-day conference on November 15. Presenters at the conference are all INSPRA members. There are eight presentations, of which a participant may attend four. Half of the sessions are specific tactics (video, presentations) and the other half are campaigns (internal communications, crisis communications). It is being held in the northern part of the state where INSPRA has the most membership representation. In addition, virtual meetings have been scheduled as part of INSPRA’s expanded new member outreach efforts, the first of which is to be held in November. Finally, the chapter plans to distribute a survey to members in December to gauge interest in establishing a micro-credentialing program.

Major chapter issues or concerns

Making the switch from INSPRA’s association management company to an association management system/executive director.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

The INSPRA board and, once hired, its new executive director will need training on NSPRA reporting expectations.

INSPRA will also need national to approve a bylaw change to allow for the separation of the secretary/treasurer board position into two distinct roles (see 1, a, i).

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

ESSA, School Report Card designations, and 5Essentials survey

Additional items of note

Due to the numerous changes INSPRA is implementing this year, I would be remiss not to mention the unbelievable work of the entire INSPRA board during this transition. There is an incredible amount of work being done to successfully implement these changes and each board member has done a tremendous amount of work outside of his/her typical duties to improve the organization for the benefit of the INSPRA membership.

 

Iowa School Public Relations Association (ISPRA)

Laura Sprague, President

Chapter well-being

The Iowa School Public Relations Association (ISPRA) is enjoying a great year. Our board has been meeting monthly to ensure that progress is moving forward around our established goals. One of our member superintendents has joined our board as secretary adding a unique and important perspective to the work. Additionally, membership has remained steady.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

  • Develop and launch a new ISPRA website by January, 2020.
  • Increase membership by 15% (10 members) or more
  • Complete and publish a monthly membership bio
  • Successfully host a fall and spring conference/spring awards with suggested refinements
  • Develop and maintain a “resource” monthly blog post for website and social sites (beginning January, 2020)
  • Establish a schedule of periodic Lunch n’ Learn Zoom meetings for resource sharing
  • Increase viability of social sites

Professional development programs/activities

Our fall conference was held on Friday, October 25 in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Nearly 50 association members and guests attended. Resource: Agenda. A conference evaluation has been deployed and we are awaiting results. Anecdotal feedback was extremely positive. As an added benefit to attending, we hired a photographer to take headshots for social media.

Major chapter issues or concerns

None at this time.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

It would be helpful to have suggestions for speakers for our spring conference.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

How to counsel leadership in an era of social polarization and division in our communities.

Additional items of note

None at this time.

 

Minnesota School Public Relations Association (MinnSPRA)

Tara Drey, President

Chapter well-being

The Minnesota School Public Relations Association (MinnSPRA) is thriving. We currently have about 160 members, which is slightly down from a chapter high of 175 members from last spring. We typically see a slight dip in membership as renewals come in throughout the fall. The bulk of our membership lives in the Twin Cities metro area and so we’re able to meet in-person monthly. We also plan virtual/digital opportunities for learning for our members in greater Minnesota.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

Two of our members are currently exploring a partnership with Minnesota State University – Mankato to offer courses and a certificate program in school PR. Talks started shortly after a cohort of members completed a year-long leadership development PD opportunity (Emerging Leaders Academy) at the MSU extension offices in Edina, MN, a suburb of Minneapolis. We are hopeful that this formal program can get started in the near future.

Professional development programs/activities

Coffee CHATs (40-minute video chats on a specific topic), after-hours Think & Drink sessions (face to face conversations on a specific topic), Power Hours, fall conference and spring one-day workshop.

Major chapter issues or concerns

Nothing major. We are currently retooling our sponsor packages, as we’ve received feedback from members and sponsors that this needs tweaking.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

Not at this time.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Cruz-Guzman vs State of Minnesota lawsuit continues to be an issue that local school districts monitor. The lawsuit alleges that state laws (particularly around school choice) have led to racial segregation, and that the resulting segregated schools are failing to provide an adequate education to children of color.

Another issue school districts are facing is the racial disparities in discipline in school. The Minnesota Department of Human Rights notified 43 districts in 2017 that they were under investigation for allegedly violating the state Human Rights Act. Districts entered into agreements with DHR to address the disparities and make systemic changes.

Additional items of note

Not at this time.

 

Nebraska School Public Relation Association (NebSPRA) 

Jeremy Maskel, President

Chapter well-being

No report submitted.​

 

Wisconsin School Public Relations Association (WSPRA)

Christina Brey, President

Chapter well-being

No report submitted.​

 


Northeast Region Chapters Report - November 2019

Angela Marshall, Northeast Region Vice President

 

Connecticut School Public Relations Association (ConnSPRA)

President position vacated August 2019
Brenda Wilcox Williams, Vice President

Chapter well-being

No report submitted.​

 

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 October 28, we have 48 registered members which is slightly higher than this time last year. Last year we had the highest membership on record with 71 registered members. We hope to exceed that number this year as there’s a clear growing interest in school communications. For the second year in a row, we hosted a fall social event to celebrate our school communication award winners which was well-attended by winners and members.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

We continue to partner with NJASA (superintendents association) to provide training to incoming superintendents. Lori Perlow, NJSPRA president will present to two cohorts of new and incoming superintendents this winter. In addition, NJSPRA is invited to lead a stand-alone workshop in the spring for NJASA members.

Professional development programs/activities

We have three full-day workshops scheduled this year. Some details are still being confirmed.

  • November 19 2019 -
    • Communications Planning Bootcamp: Effective public relations are driven by articulated communications plans.  Unfortunately, PR practitioners often overlook this essential component. Immerse yourself in this hands-on “bootcamp” style workshop to develop a communications action plan for your district. From research to writing, execution and evaluation, attendees will leave with a useful template and helpful tips from experienced school PR pros to successfully execute a communications action plan.
    • Toolbox Tips for the One-Person School PR Department: School communication professionals have many responsibilities. On any given day, you can find yourself developing a campaign for a new initiative, working on updates to your district website, or responding to the media about a recent crisis. As a department of one, it's important to stay up-to-date on various tools and tricks that can save you time and money. This workshop will focus on ways that technology can help you create the most impactful communications for your district. During the workshop, attendees will rotate from table to table to hear a 20-minute mini-presentation on the topics of choice.
  • January 16, 2020 - Crisis communications and Media Relations
  • March 17, 2020 - Equity in communications and internal communications

Major chapter issues or concerns

Since September 2019, four member districts have experienced hate acts in their schools or at school events. Acts of hate are on the rise in the US and we’re seeing a direct increase in our schools. These situations are sensitive and often challenging to communicate about. NJSPRA is considering a special event on the topic to prepare all school communicators and administrators with the resources needed to address these situations.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

None

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

See Q 4 response.

Additional items of note

We’re excited to announce that Sandy Cokeley, APR, has been hired as an operational consultant. Sandy’s primary role is to assist with streamlining chapter operations to facilitate chapter growth. In just two short months, we’ve already seen the value of Sandy’s services and expertise.

 

New York School Public Relations Association (NYSPRA)

Adrienne Leon, APR, President

Chapter well-being

While NYSPRA’s membership is down slightly from the spring, it continues to hold strong. In June 2016 we had 145 members and currently we have 205. Looking at past trends, this number tends to grow throughout the year as our spring conference approaches. We hold a membership drive every two years and 2019 is an off year for this activity. The board is considering holding the annual membership drive annually. Fiscally we are stronger than ever, with total income for the budgetary year that recently closed exceeding $50,000 for the first time in NYSPRA’s history.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

Planning is underway for the 2020 annual NYSPRA conference – set for March 15-17, 2020 in Syracuse, NY. A call for presentation proposals will go out to members in the coming weeks. In addition, two keynote speakers are planned for the event -- NSPRA President Kelly Avants and LGBTQ and social justice educator Lyndon Cudlitz. This year’s conference will also include an APR bootcamp “add-on” for the first time.

NYSPRA recently partnered with NJSPRA, ConnSPRA and PenSPRA to hold the first annual Northeast Regional Communications Summit. The two-day event took place Oct. 15-16 at Southern Westchester BOCES in Harrison, NY, and was attended by 77 individuals (including sponsors, speakers and event organizers) from across the northeast. It featured a crisis communications workshop with Rick Kaufman, APR, and a school branding workshop with Dr. Joe Sanfelippo. Early feedback from the event is trending positive, with a feedback survey set to close next week.

NYSPRA also recently held its annual Communications Awards Contest, which continues to grow. This year we had 513 entries, 179 winners in 14 categories, 51 awards of excellence, 59 awards of honor and 69 awards of merit. The contest was judged by more than 50 professionals from across the country. The contest culminated this past week at the New York State School Boards Conference in Rochester, NY, where several award winners and their districts/BOCES were recognized at our sold-out awards luncheon on Oct. 25. Also honored at the luncheon was the NYSPRA Communicator of the Year award recipient, Rebekah Mott. This is the fourth year that NYSPRA has granted this award.

Professional development programs/activities

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

Major chapter issues or concerns

None at this time.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

None at this time.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

None at this time.

Additional items of note

None at this time.

 

Pennsylvania School Public Relations Association (PenSPRA)

Christine Liberaski, President
Mary Jeanne Curley, Executive Director

Chapter well-being

PenSPRA’s year is off to an excellent start!  Our membership drive was highly successful with 45 new members and 100 returning members. Planning is well-underway for our annual symposium, and communications contest.  The Executive Board will meet in mid-November to discuss strategic and financial planning.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

This year, PenSPRA was proud to partner with NYSPRA, NJSPRA and ConnSPRA to conduct the first Northeast Regional Communications Summit.  We look forward to collaborating again in the future!  We have also added the position of Outreach Chair to the PenSPRA Executive Board in order to foster stronger relationships with Pennsylvania associations, and SPRAs.

Professional development programs/activities

Plans are well underway for the 2020 PenSPRA Symposium. The theme of this year’s symposium is trauma informed education.  In addition, we have held two regional workshops focusing on engaging support in the larger school community for health and wellness initiatives, and moving from technician to expert status.

Major chapter issues or concerns

As with many in school communications, we continue to struggle with building support for public education on the state level. Pennsylvania ranks 46th in the country in the state’s share of funding for public education. Only 38 percent of the costs of public education is covered by the state, the remainder of funding is made up primarily of from local school property taxes.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

Providing a strong voice for public education at the national level.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

HR 1878 would require the Federal Government to fund special education at the promised 40 percent level – a promise made in 1975 and never fulfilled.  In Pennsylvania, federal funding accounts for only 13% of the total funding received for special education.  We need to advocate for the passage of HR 1878.

Additional items of note

None.

 


Northwest Region Chapters Report - November 2019

Curtis Campbell, Northwest Region Vice President

 

Idaho School Public Relations Association (IDSPRA)

Allison Westfall, President

Chapter well-being

No report submitted.​

 

Oregon School Public Relations Association (OSPRA)

Kara Yunck, President

Chapter well-being

Our OSPRA Chapter is doing well. We had very good attendance at our Spring Conference. Our Board conducts video meetings on a weekly basis during the school year, with a few exceptions. Fiscally, we are very stable. We spent much of the year working to get our nonprofit status reinstated after continuity issues with board officers led to a lapse in filing certain required forms. We have worked to put systems in place this year to prevent this from happening again. We recently switched to Wild Apricot for our website and member management system. It provides detailed reporting, additional accountability and integrates with QuickBooks, which we have subscribed to and our treasurer is utilizing.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

During our summer planning retreat, the board did quite a bit of work. Our new treasurer suggested a financial policy document that the board reviewed, edited and adopted. It sets clear expectations as to what the board members’ responsibilities are regarding finances. We’ve prioritized three board goals this year: Elevating our profession, supporting professionals and demonstrating and implementing equitable and inclusive practices. We have formed three subcommittees to support this work. We also set an annual budget, taking into account goals regarding membership and conference attendance.

OSPRA continues to enjoy a productive relationship with the Oregon School Boards Association. Three OSBA communications professionals are members of OSPRA.

We are working to boost OSPRA membership in the southern region of the state. We currently have two board members in that area. One of the board members gave a presentation on the benefits of joining OSPRA at a regional superintendent’s conference. This led to three new members, all of whom are attending our fall conference in Ashland.

We are planning a Winter Storytelling Summit with WSPRA. This event is scheduled to take place in February. We have found WSPRA to be a good partner for exchanging board best practices as well.

Professional development programs/activities

We continue to hold two, two-day conferences; one in the fall, the other in the spring. Attendance is typically between 40-60 registrants. With the move to Wild Apricot, we have a members-only forum, as well as a resources page. We are still working on building the use of these resources among our members. Our OSPRA members-only Facebook page continues to be highly active. We see many members reaching out to ask how colleagues are dealing with similar issues. We have also been working to communicate more frequently with members outside of conference promotion.

Major chapter issues or concerns

We continue to struggle with continuity between departing and incoming members, particularly in the treasurer position. This year, our treasurer has focused much of her time on resolving issues with our non-profit status that resulted from a lack of continuity and communication. We are working to provide position descriptions for officer roles that identify expectations, duties and important deadlines, to ensure smooth transitions between board members.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

N/A 

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Although Oregon is enjoying a time of economic growth, our school districts are seeing budget shortfalls. This is largely due to increased costs associated with the Public Employee Retirement System. The Oregon Legislature recently passed the Student Success Act, which will bring much-needed stable funding to public schools. Our districts are spending a lot of time completing community engagement requirements of this act and applying for noncompetitive grants. Another issue we have spent a lot of time communicating about are social emotional learning issues. We are seeing more and more students who are unable to self-regulate. Classroom clears are on the rise due to these issues.

Additional items of note

I want to say that I am very appreciative of NSPRA’s responsiveness to my emails and questions. This is my first time serving as an officer on a board and my first role as President. I am sure I will continue to have questions as the year goes on and I value the guidance that NSPRA provides.

 

Washington School Public Relations Association (WSPRA)

Jessica Morgan, President

Chapter well-being

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

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

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

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

We will be rolling out a new digital professional development/networking opportunity for members in November called MasterMind. Led by former WSPRA President L. Michelle, members will have the opportunity to connect on a Zoom meeting to discuss problems of practice in their communication departments, and gather inspiration, do’s and don’ts, and encouragement from other members. This idea came about from the climate survey that was conducted in May of 2019, with members indicating they would appreciate more opportunities to learn from each other between our three conferences. 

Professional development programs/activities

We recently held our fall workshop in Yakima, WA, with a topic of Internal Communication and Culture Building as the theme. This focus came about as a direct result of a climate survey conducted in May 2019. We had 54 registered attendees and we saw great participation from sponsors. Presenters included Natalie Hurd, communications and public relations specialist from Medford School District in Oregon, Doreen McKercher, communications director, from Camas School District, Kristine Liptrot and Dr. Tim Shimp, from Yorkville Community Unit School District 115 in Illinois. Each provided unique programs that developed a sense of culture and community within their school districts.

This year, WSPRA and OSPRA have partnered to present a joint winter professional development opportunity, the Winter Storytelling Summit, which will take place on Feb. 13 and 14 in Vancouver, WA. The current agenda is still in development, but includes renowned writing coach Ann Wylie, who will lead the keynote workshop on storytelling.

The annual conference dates have been set for April 29-May 1, in Leavenworth, WA. Planning is still underway for this conference, but the theme will focus heavily on equity and inclusion.

Major chapter issues or concerns

We are expecting lower attendance at our two workshops due to tightened budgets around travel and professional development. Districts across the state have reduced budgets in the wake of the McCleary decision and the new funding model for basic education, and lower enrollment. All indications are that attendance at our annual conference will remain high if not exceed last year’s attendance as this opportunity is the professional development of choice for our members.

This coming New Year, school districts will see the transition from employer-sponsored health insurance and benefits to SEBB, the state-sponsored program. This has caused questions and concerns for all school district employees.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

The 2020 Census launches April 1, and members may be looking for resources on how to communicate about what has in some places become a highly politicized event.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

We continue to see the fall-out of the new state model for education. As a reminder, the state increased its share of basic education funding, while also decreasing the amount districts could collect in their local levies. Now, they have given districts the go-ahead to raise the levy cap again. This has caused confusion for taxpayers, unions and districts, as we try to communicate the complex funding model and why taxes continue to go up and down.

Additional items of note

We respectfully remind the board and executive team of the memo written over the summer, outlining the accommodations the WSPRA chapter is willing to make in order to see our long-sought goal of bringing an NSPRA national conference to Seattle come to fruition.