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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

  • Wednesday, December 21, 2022 1:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    ‘Cause we’re living in a social media world, and we are social media people.

    Ok, so it doesn’t have the same ring as Madonna’s version (Material Girl), but the point remains. Our world is driven by social media. From connecting with friends to shopping from targeted ads, social media is the place where we flock to feel part of a community, learn something new, and conduct daily tasks in life. 

    As communicators, we may be more plugged into the social media scene than others. Maybe we read about new social platforms like BeReal (or more realistically, maybe we saw it on an SNL skit and then looked it up after), or we are more aware of TikTok challenges due to the nature of our work. School communicators are also continually seeking new platforms and strategies to reach audiences, build a brand, and collect feedback. 

    With so many social media platforms and a desire to connect, it can be tough to know when to use a new platform and how to use it effectively. Remember, there was once a time when school communicators asked themselves if they should be using Facebook! 

    We ask the same questions at CEL and have compiled a list of items to consider when deciding to expand your school communications to new social media platforms. 

    To continue reading, click here.

  • Wednesday, December 21, 2022 1:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Andrea Gribble, socialschool4edu.com

    Do you ever get a random picture sent in from a colleague and wonder, “What am I supposed to say about this? How am I going to flip this into a memorable piece of social media content?”

    Every piece of social media content is an opportunity to share a powerful story about your school district. In this week’s blog, we’re discussing social media voice. Just a few simple tips can turn even mundane captions into memorable posts!

    This guide was adapted from a live Skills Session led by school communicator extraordinaire, Kristin Boyd Edwards, in my Social Media Membership Program. Kristin is a talented writer, strategist and content creator. Thank you, Kristin!

    To continue reading, click here.

  • Wednesday, December 21, 2022 1:55 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Sarah Welch, Coordinator of Communications & Public Relations,
    Keystone Oaks School District, welch@kosd.org

    Like many schools in Pennsylvania and throughout the country, the district I work for has a long, proud tradition of giving back to the community during the holiday season, with employees and student groups collecting and donating toys, food, toiletries, clothing, pet supplies and more. In 2020, when these programs were negatively impacted by remote learning and building closures, our school counselors, building principals and director of pupil services came together to combine their individual efforts and create a program that would benefit any district family that needed support. The Golden Elves Holiday Giving Program was born and, over the past three years, has proudly provided Golden Eagle families with gifts, gift cards and household essentials.

    This is one of my favorite projects of the year and one that I am beyond proud to help coordinate for families in our community. This week, as I was finalizing this year’s donations, I had a moment that made me realize what is so special about this project and the “public relations” part of my job title.

    In my district, and I’m sure in almost all of yours, there are no questions asked when it comes to this type of program. Members of our community - from crossing guards to the private company that offers before and after school care - give generously simply to help our students and families. Each year, a different local business and a new group of students reach out to ask what they can do to be a part of the Golden Elves program.  

    These stories are, of course, easy to find during the holidays. Despite some tense times over the past three years, I have also witnessed more compassion, kindness and empathy than at any other point during my time in this role. There are countless examples of how the values outlined in our most recent strategic plan - developing caring, compassionate, civic-minded, responsible and culturally aware students - are on display in our day-to-day operations. From collecting back-to-school supplies, supporting students experiencing health challenges, making monetary donations to help cover the costs of event tickets, AP exams, and graduation regalia and delivering school meals to families during the pandemic, our community never says no when presented with an opportunity to help a student or family in need. 

    As school public relations professionals, we play an important and powerful role in making these programs possible and in ensuring that everyone who needs support can benefit from the programs and services offered by our schools. We develop relationships, establish partnerships and create connections that are vital to our students’ success and well-being, both inside and outside of the classroom. And, most importantly, we share these stories in a way that shows that our schools are places of belonging, where students’ differences are embraced and supported, and where instances of humanity and understanding can be found every day. Having the opportunity to be a part of the good that is happening in our schools is the most special part of this job, not just during the holidays, but throughout the year. 

    May your holiday season (and your schools) be filled with kindness and magic! 

  • Wednesday, December 21, 2022 1:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) is seeking freelance writers to contribute feature articles to the Bulletin magazine. The Bulletin is published five times a year and covers education-related topics of interest to PSBA members and other school leaders. Distribution is more than 7,000, including school board directors, legislators and public libraries across the commonwealth. Those interested should contact Jackie Inouye at jackie.inouye@psba.org or 717-506-2450, ext. 3405 for details on stipend, word counts, etc.

  • Friday, December 02, 2022 1:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    National School Bus Safety Week
    October 16-20, 2023
    Safely Rolling to My Destination

    Who May Enter: Each public, parochial and private school may submit posters for each division to the state poster contest.

    Deadline Date: 
    Completed poster designs must be postmarked before midnight, March 1, 2023. All entries will become the property of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), and will not be returned.

    To learn more, click here.

  • Friday, December 02, 2022 1:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Aubri Juhasz, whyy.org

    The Pennsylvania Department of Education has released new standards that ask teachers to interrogate their biases and recognize inequality in schools and school systems, including institutional racism.

    The standards require teachers to identify and disrupt racist practices and make sure their approach to teaching incorporates a variety of perspectives.

    This is the first time the state has included what educators refer to as “culturally-relevant and sustaining education” guidelines as part of its requirements for teacher-preparation programs.

    To continue reading, click here.

  • Friday, December 02, 2022 1:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Andrea Gribble, socialschool4edu.com

    Creative writing is one tool that should be in every school communications professional’s toolbox. But let’s be honest. Creating captions that keep your online community engaged and excited to follow your school’s story is not always easy.

    My creativity comes in waves. Sometimes I’m on fire and can create a fun photo caption on the spot, and other times I catch myself staring at the empty description box in Meta Business Suite, wishing the caption would write itself. Are you with me?

    The storytelling “rut” doesn’t discriminate – it can hit anyone anytime. But here’s the good news: Your creativity can be sparked by simply reading the work of other school communications professionals!

    To continue reading, click here.

  • Friday, December 02, 2022 1:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Connor Gleason, finalsite.com

    Winter break is right around the corner...it's hard to imagine it's only been 100 days or so since the school year started — think of all that's happened!

    During your school's winter break and students are on vacation, we want you to be, too. Before your school closes down for the holidays, there are some last-minute tasks to add to your to-do list so the next couple of weeks feel truly like a break — and a well-deserved one at that!

    Take a few extra moments now and make sure your marketing and communications office is prepared for winter break.

    To continue reading, click here.

  • Friday, December 02, 2022 1:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Christa Fazio, Unionville-Chadds Ford School District Director of Communications & Community Relations and PenSPRA President, cfazio@ucfsd.net

    Every war room needs a strategic pessimist. That one person who will remind their colleagues of potential pitfalls and missteps. It’s not that you are being negative or dismissive of their ideas, it's just that you are anticipating every potential response in that beautiful mind of yours. It’s our quadratic equation to solve, right? 

    While colleagues are introducing a new initiative or making a tough decision, your head might start spinning with the hundreds of questions we will get asked and the thousands of potentially different reactions our stakeholders might have, positive and negative. And while positive outcomes are often easier to focus on, being prepared for the worst is an invaluable strategy that will serve you well in the end.

    Don’t be afraid to speak up! Let the team know about the “this could happen” and the “people will want to know.” If it is not a great idea, tell them! You could be saving your colleagues and the district from a firestorm of negative pushback and yourself from hours of work in the aftermath cleanup.

    Anticipate all the questions and know the answers - and make sure everyone is on the same page! FAQs are great, but make sure they don’t create more questions. Take the time to familiarize your staff with responses to prevent rogue commentary that could spread misinformation.

    Picture the headlines! Be prepared for how the press might present the information. Create the district’s narrative and provide clarity in your messaging early so that when they see the story in the paper, they already know the truth. 

    Build your arsenal of “What Ifs.” Be prepared by creating messaging for a variety of potential scenarios before you even need them. Give yourself a head start during those difficult situations. Don’t be afraid to borrow from your peers who have already gone through something similar to help build your library.  

    Bounce it off of a trusted friend. We all have those trusted parents or friends who will tell you how it is. Check in with them, and ask them if they received this message, how would they feel? What would their questions be? And don’t forget – you can always check in with a PenSPRA buddy who may have gone through something similar. 

    Being a strategic pessimist is really just being prepared for every scenario. Your colleagues will thank you, your district will thank you and you might just get a few extra minutes of rest until the next big thing! 

  • Tuesday, November 01, 2022 2:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Join fellow communication professionals at the annual Symposium on Monday, April 24, 2023, and Tuesday, April 25, 2023, at The Penn Stater Hotel & Conference Center in State College, PA.

    Information about registration, topics being discussed and presentation proposals will be coming soon!

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A Message from PenSPRA's President

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you all had an enjoyable summer and found time to relax and recharge; you certainly deserved it after the last few years we’ve had. By now you have all hopefully had a successful first couple of weeks of school in your districts. Here at Unionville-Chadds Ford, there was an incredible energy on opening day. It really made me excited for the new school year and what lies ahead!

Read More!

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