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Welcome to PenSPRA!

The Pennsylvania School Public Relations Association (PenSPRA) was chartered in 1969 and is an organization of school public relations professionals whose goal is to improve educational communication and support student achievement through systematic, proactive, and responsible public relations programs.

PenSPRA News

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  • Friday, September 01, 2023 8:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    socialschool4edu.com, Andrea Gribble 

    You’ve heard me say it a million times… school social media is for celebrations! 

    (If you’re new here… this is why!)

    But let’s be realistic. Back-to-school information is still needed on social media. Families appreciate seeing these reminders in their feed, and it provides another tool in your communications toolbox for relaying valuable info. 

    Let’s go over some tips and tricks for organizing your back-to-school communications on platforms like Facebook and Instagram!

    To continue reading, click here.

  • Friday, September 01, 2023 8:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Connor Gleason, finalsite.com

    Every August and September, schools witness an incredible surge of energy. The back-to-school season is brimming with excitement — the chatter of students reuniting after the summer break, the excitement of parents finally getting the kids out of the house…Parents, students, and staff are all abuzz.

    However, as the initial thrill fades, keeping that energy is challenging as the year progresses. The enthusiasm of day one starts to wane, replaced by the pattern of assignments, emails, and daily routines. School marketing and communication professionals are presented with a challenge that's arguably tougher than gearing up for the first day: How do you capture and sustain that initial spark throughout the school year?

    This is where strategic community engagement at your school plays a pivotal role— setting standards and putting your communications tools in play can help keep the momentum going and make day 100 feel like day one.

    To continue reading, click here.

  • Friday, September 01, 2023 8:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Judy Bittner, schoolwebmasters.com

    The education sector is similar to other industries; fierce competition for the best talent and competent students exists. Naturally, all schools use all the means at their disposal to win the race.

    That’s why it’s no surprise that so much attention is being paid to blogging because, in today’s tech-driven age, schools can benefit significantly from platforms like blogs. It can also help students develop their writing skills. If you still need to become familiar with these advantages, read on.

  • Thursday, April 27, 2023 11:24 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    1. Admired Leadership Field Notes: sign up for a daily, bitesize dose of Admired Leadership wisdom and insights. Below are links to two recent Field Notes on the topics that were covered at the symposium:
      1. The Tricky Truth About Power in Relationships
      2. The Timing of Feedback After Success and Failure
    2. Leadership Books & Podcasts: The CRA | Admired Leadership 2022 “best of” list for what they share with clients on what they ought to be reading and listening to. It also includes book summaries for the recommended books to give a better flavor for what each is about.
    3. Relationship Readings: seminal article from David Maister, HBR article on the art of giving advice, and creative ideas for how to add value in your relationships.
    4. Style & Executive Presence

    If you have any questions for Katie Angstadt or are interested in bringing the Admired Leadership Digital Platform to your district/IU, please contact her at kangstadt@crainc.com

  • Tuesday, January 31, 2023 8:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Get excited for the 2023 annual PenSPRA Symposium! Network and connect with fellow communication professionals on Monday, April 24 and Tuesday, April 25 during break-out sessions, hands-on activities, keynote presentations and more!

    Conference experiences will include:

    • All Meals Provided
    • Keynote Speaker Katie Angstadt, Partner at CRA | Admired Leadership
    • Hands-On Activities
    • PenSPRA 2022 Communications Contest Award Ceremony
    • Sponsor Exhibits
    • Networking Opportunities

    To learn more about the event and about our keynote speaker, Katie Angstadt, visit the PenSPRA Symposium webpage.

    Register today!

  • Tuesday, January 31, 2023 8:33 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Connor Gleason, finalsite.com

    School communicators are often faced with pessimistic news and find themselves reacting to unfavorable stories and negative press. All too often the news of the day is focused on student misconduct, union conflicts, budget cuts, bullying incidents, personnel conflicts, or a frustrated stakeholder who voices their concerns to the media or across social media.

    These negative stories seem to cling to the local news cycle for far longer than we'd like, affecting your school brand, and stretching the communications resources of every school district, large and small.

    And whether it's negative social posts or negative reviews, school communicators need to be prepared to respond to negative comments and bad press while staying strategically focused on a positive storytelling program.

    Here are five tips that are essential for handling negative news about your school and developing a successful brand storytelling program.

    To continue reading, click here.

  • Tuesday, January 31, 2023 8:32 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    For a growing number of Americans, English is not their primary language. Additionally, more than five million households are limited in English proficiency, increasing the need for multilingual communications that better serve these communities.

    We sat down with Richfield Public Schools’ Jennifer Valley, Director of Marketing and Communications, and Rosa Rubio, Translation and Engagement Coordinator, to learn more about how they’ve successfully provided communications in languages that serve their communities.

    To continue reading, click here.

  • Wednesday, January 18, 2023 8:37 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jennifer Shealy, Director of Communications,
    Downingtown Area School District, jshealy@dasd.org

    Most of us are well aware of the nationwide bus driver shortage stemming from the pandemic. In my home district, this school year brought a 40-bus deficit, resulting in delayed buses, last-minute changes and a whole lot of stress on staff, parents and students.

    Downingtown uses three primary bus contractors to transport students, which puts us in a bit of a gray area regarding marketing for them. On one hand, we should not use district resources to promote a contractor, but on the other, the lack of drivers directly impacts our students.

    We have handled the situation in a few ways:

    1. We created a bus driver appreciation campaign. We collected gift card donations from local restaurants and once a month on a Friday, we pull a driver’s name to receive the gift card. The driver has to be working that day in order to receive the gift card, which has helped to decrease the Friday “early weekend” call-outs. We also plan to institute a “driver of the month” program where our superintendent delivers an in-person, surprise thank you with balloons and goodies for our all-star driver of the month. The driver will also be featured on our social media channels with links to the contractor employment pages.
    2. Get students and Home and School organizations involved. A group of our high school students created thank you baskets and hand-delivered them to bus drivers. They included snacks and gift cards to Wawa. The drivers loved them and appreciated the personal touch.
    3. Whenever we host a job fair or large-scale community event, we offer a free table to our bus contractors.
    4. On every “your bus will be running late” communication, we include a request for drivers with links to the contractor employment sites.
    5. We are in negotiations with our bus contractors for our district to provide additional funds to provide a small raise for any driver willing to be a substitute driver. This should help minimize the impact on our students of last-minute driver absences.
    While we haven’t solved the driver shortage (yet), these programs have helped increase drivers and decrease absences. Making our drivers feel seen and appreciated has also gone a long way to improve the district-contractor relationship. If you have any other creative ideas to address the driver shortage, please support your colleagues and share them on the PenSPRA forum.
  • Wednesday, January 18, 2023 8:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Andrea Gribble, socialschool4edu.com

    We’ve said it before: In the land of social media, content is king, but engagement is queen! People then ask, “But how do I get my community to engage?” One strategy is to ask questions!

    Delaina McCormack, Manager of Social Media at Fairfax County Public Schools, is a member of our #SocialSchool4EDU membership program. She has mastered the art of fostering engagement by asking relevant, targeted questions on Facebook. She shared her list with us inside our membership group, and now we’re sharing it with you!

    To continue reading, click here.

  • Wednesday, January 18, 2023 8:05 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    A readability score is a number telling how easy it will be for someone to read a particular text. The most frequent scoring is the Flesch reading ease test, which measures the readability of a text. It uses two variables to determine the readability score:

    • the average length of your sentences (measured by the number of words)
    • the average number of syllables per word

    It provides a score between 0 and 100. A score of 100 means your copy is easy to read. A score of 0 means your text is challenging to read. You can see the exact interpretation of all the scores in the table below.

    Many tools help you assess your readability and change your scoring. For example, using the Flesch reading-ease test, Grammarly’s readability score is based on the average length of sentences and the number of words in your document.

    To continue reading, click here.

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A Message from PenSPRA's President

Dear PenSPRA members,

I hope that you enjoyed a relaxing summer and are rejuvenated for the school year ahead. Whether you are a few weeks into the new school year or have a few more days until you welcome students back into your buildings, I hope that you are soaking up all of the positive energy that often comes with the start of a new school year!

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