Action Labs and Special Sessions

NSPRA 2021 New Orleans logo and cityscape

Action Labs and Special Sessions offer the opportunity to go in-depth on hot topics in school PR on July 12-13 during 90-minute sessions beginning daily at 1 pm CT. Action labs are interactive mini-workshops that include a hands-on component and provide strategies adaptable for immediate use by participants in their own districts. Special Sessions are deep dives into a particular topic through panel discussions or extended presentations.

These two session types are available only to in-person attendees of the NSPRA 2021 National Seminar at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel in Louisiana.

Check out this year's offerings below! 


Monday, July 12

Tuesday, July 13

 


What Lies Ahead: Creating a Culturally Adaptive Environment for Your District  

Special Session – Monday, July 12, 1-2:30 p.m. CT

We can't predict the future, but our recent past has shown us that we can't ignore the environment around us. While some of it is noise, the conversations and cries for a culturally adaptive workplace is here to stay. How can the public relations professional champion an inclusive environment from behind the desk? This panel discussion, featuring members of NSPRA's Communication Equity and Diversity Task Force,  will provide tips and tricks to help you kick the desk over so you can help leaders in your organization adapt to equity and inclusion conversations that lie ahead.

Moderator: 

  • Yolanda Stephen, APR, NSPRA vice president for diversity engagement

Yolanda Stephen 

Panelists:

  • Members of the Communication Equity and Diversity Task Force 

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Balancing First Amendment Rights of Students and Employees in Politically Charged Environments

Special Session– Monday, July 12, 1-2:30 p.m. CT

As the public raises its many voices on social issues, school leaders may struggle in determining which interest – individual free speech rights or collective order – should prevail in public education today. This learning conversation will delve into the foundations of First Amendment speech rights, how they are applied in public schools, as well as current and upcoming legal decisions that may impact your district’s practices and policies. Attendees will hear advice on situations such as kneeling during the national anthem, wearing religious and political slogans on clothing to school, and posting questionable content on social media platforms.

Presenters:

  • Francisco Negron, JD, general counsel, National School Boards Association, Alexandria, Va.
  • Barbara M. Hunter, APR, executive director, National School Public Relations Association, Rockville, Md. 

Francisco Negron     Barbara Hunter

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Promoting Vaccine Awareness and Understanding in School Communities

Special Session – Monday, July 12, 1-2:30 p.m. CT

Educators are now a national priority for vaccine distribution, but vaccine hesitancy is still present in many communities. That hesitancy may pose a challenge for school communicators whose districts decide to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory or even just strongly encouraged for all employees next fall. As vaccine access expands to youth and children, families' questions and concerns will add another layer to the local vaccine debate. Healthcare providers also are predicting an unusually complex back-to-school season in 2021-2022 as restrictions related to the timing of COVID-19 vaccines vie with the timing of traditional immunizations for children. This session will explore the latest research, theories, models and recommendations for school districts to use when communicating about the COVID-19 vaccine with employees and families.

Presenter:

Tina McCorkindale 

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Exploring Resiliency Through Photography

Action Lab – Monday, July 12, 1-2:30 p.m. CT

“Smiling student” photos are the go-to image in education, but the ongoing and widespread strain on public trust demands a new approach to how communicators use photography to tell the story of their local school systems. This approach reflects the reality for all students--not just the happy high-achievers--in order to build trust with families and staff while demonstrating the beauty possible during challenging times. New Orleans native and award-winning photographer Frank Relle creates resiliency and honesty through stunning images featured on books, magazines, TV and in museums. During this session, participants will explore, discuss and experiment with his honest approach to photography, which can increase the emotional value of visual storytelling in K-12 education.

Presenter:

Frank Relle

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Millions at Stake: A Guide to Referendum Success

Special Session – Tuesday, July 13, 1-2:30 p.m. CT

Most school leaders aren’t trained in political campaigns. Yet, increasingly school districts must turn to voters for approval to fund building projects, capital needs, operating revenue, and even annual budgets. Some superintendents say: “If you aren’t currently involved in a school finance election, you better be preparing for one.” Successful campaigns are not left up to chance. They take time and planning with proven strategies and tactics. What does it take to earn voter support? Learn about award-winning campaigns—and how to avoid failure— from the editors of NSPRA’s newest finance campaign planning resource. Combined the presenters have led 12 successful campaigns bringing more than $600 million dollars into their districts.

Presenters:

Annette Eyman     Janet Swiecichowski

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Get This Out Now! When, Why and How to Say 'No' Now

Special Session – Tuesday, July 13, 1-2:30 p.m. CT

It's always been tough to dissuade those who are convinced information needs to go right now to all stakeholders, but last year made past demands look like child's play. With ongoing crises, informing stakeholders in an organized way so they knew what was critical versus nice-to-know was impossible. So how do we pull back? How do we re-educate stakeholders and administrators about what communication should be sent/received when and through what vehicles? The presenters will share strategies and examples on how to make this happen, and you will gain a renewed sense of order, discipline and the ability to say, “No.”

Presenters:

John Lyday     Stacy Smith     

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Your Personal Fool-Proof Wellness Accountability Story

Action Lab– Tuesday, July 13, 1-2:30 p.m. CT

As we spend days, nights, and weekends writing stories for our organizations we neglect to create the most critical story: our own. To continue to advance the profession and professional, we must not only advocate for ourselves and have a voice in major business decisions, but we also must do something often neglected: take care of our mind and body. Mark Mohammadpour, APR, is a certified health coach who lost and kept off 150 pounds more than 10 years ago. He will lead a discussion on the state of wellbeing in the school PR industry and work with attendees to develop their accountability plan.

Presenter:

Mark Mohammadpour  

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The COVID-19 Pandemic: How Communicators Are Leading the Way

Special Session – Tuesday, July 13, 1-2:30 p.m. CT

As the global pandemic continues to have a profound impact on schools across the country, few silver linings can be found in this dark cloud of upheaval and challenges. There is one exception: The work of school communicators. Relying on effective communication strategies and innovative approaches to meet stakeholder needs are key to developing understanding and building support. Is that enough? What can we take away to improve ongoing strategic communication and engagement efforts? Take a deeper dive into crisis communications in a pandemic and how it will shape our future work.

Presenter: 

Kaufman  

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