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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

  • 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!

  • Tuesday, November 01, 2022 9:39 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Mark your calendars for this year's Scholarship Contest!

    PenSPRA presents two one-year scholarships to one public school student from each of PenSPRA's two regions that are worth $1,000 each. This year's scholarship contest opens on Monday, February 13, 2023.

  • Tuesday, November 01, 2022 8:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Kathy Gurnee, Chester County Intermediate Unit Special Events Coordinator, KathyG@cciu.org

    Have you suddenly been tasked with organizing a student event? Are you at a loss as to where to begin? If so, ask yourself the following series of questions to help get you on your way!
    Is it an event you have done before…or something similar?

    • If so, base your information on historical knowledge: number of students, what venue you used in the past, etc. Then ask your stakeholders (those sending the students) what worked well last time and ask for any recommendations on how to improve the upcoming event.
    If it’s a new event, begin with the end in mind. Create the ideal scenario in your mind’s eye. 
    • What time of year would be best? Would a weekend or evening work? Consider state testing dates, SATs, AP testing dates, holidays, etc., and eliminate as many dates as you can based on this information.
    • How many students would be there? What age range? Younger students may need chaperones, so make that part of your planning.
    • What kind of space do you need? Will you need to break up into smaller groups? Consider whether students need a writing surface or will sitting on the floor work.
    • What time of day would work best? Early morning might work best for elementary students, whereas high schoolers might be more alert mid-morning.
    • How will students arrive there? By district transportation or parent drop-off? Many districts are in a squeeze with transportation, so ask your district what times buses and drivers are available.
    • Will you need other staff or volunteers to help? Put this on their radar as soon as you have the details nailed down. And keep in mind, retired teachers and other administrators make great volunteers!

    No matter what student event you’re planning, remember these three things: start your planning early; many hands make light work; and food always makes it better!

    Do you have any tips or best practices that you would like to share with your peers? Submit a write-up and any additional supporting information to penspra@cciu.org for a chance to be featured in our newsletter.

  • Tuesday, November 01, 2022 7:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Feel like you’re investing time and resources into building newsletters that aren’t being read? Consider simple changes you can make to increase open rates, click-through rates and overall engagement.

    To continue reading, click here.

  • Tuesday, November 01, 2022 7:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Connor Gleason, finalsite.com

    While The American Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted prior to the rise of the Internet, the law was established with the expectation that it would change over time. As our understanding of web and digital accessibility has evolved, many schools are still not clear about what the actual standards and requirements are for website ADA compliance.

    And despite the importance of achieving ADA compliance, many schools and districts are failing to meet the requirements due to a lack of time, budget restraints, or staffing needs. Some sites forge ahead with their current website, unaware of the threat of a complaint being filed with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR).

    School website accessibility is a federal regulation and there is an estimated 61 million people with disabilities in the U.S. — making web content accessible is something schools should care about on both a moral and institutional level. 

    That being said, how does your school or district achieve and maintain ADA requirements?

    To continue reading, click here.

  • Tuesday, November 01, 2022 7:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Andrea Gribble, socialschool4edu.com

    Has your school’s Facebook page transitioned to the New Pages Experience yet?

    Our team here at #SocialSchool4EDU manages Facebook pages for more than 80 school districts. Up until last month, we only had about a dozen pages switch. But in the last month, we have had a flood of conversions! This leads me to the belief that your page has changed over as well.

    If your page has converted, you may feel lost, overwhelmed, and a little mad. Why does Facebook have to keep changing?!

    This blog is not meant to be a complete “how to” guide when it comes to New Pages Experience (NPE), but I thought it was appropriate to explain a few of the main issues that social media managers are having once their page is converted. Access to some important things has changed, and I’m going to share some short video tutorials so that you know exactly where and how to access controls within NPE.

    To continue reading, click here

  • Monday, October 17, 2022 2:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Bonnie Leedy, schoolwebmasters.com

    From bite-size tweets to viral videos and website blog posts, content is the first point of contact between you and a student or parents. Pique interest by showcasing alumni success stories, your cool campus vibe, and your program offerings.

    In addition, content is the foundation for ranking well on search engine results pages (SERPs). That's why many schools use content marketing strategies to show prospective students they're a perfect fit. 

    To continue reading, click here

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PenSPRA Member Yet?

Join a driven, collaborative community that supports you as you share student accomplishments, gain valuable community input and shape public opinion. As a new member you will also be paired with an experienced mentor!

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  • and more!

Learn more about PenSPRA or register to become a member.

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!

Read More!

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