Celebrating School Communicators on May 8

By: Lesley Rogers, SVP of Education, Strategies 360

Last year the #SchoolPR Twitterverse declared the second Friday of May the unofficial official School Communicators Day.

Now, more than ever, we need to celebrate this day and this group of professionals.

School communicators have been working alongside superintendents and school boards to make sure decisions about COVID-19 school closures are communicated in a clear, timely and understandable way. They are the backbone of this process, although few people really understand the amount of work done every day in school PR.

School communicators are taking the phone calls, managing up and responding to the angry social media posts – every day. They are communicating both internally and externally around the clock, while also managing all the other day-to-day communications that still exist, even though school buildings are closed.

This spring, after the pandemic shuttered our school buildings, it was thanks to school communicators that families knew where to get food every day. How to get help finding technology to continue remote learning. And because of them, we saw the stories and photos that give us hope: pictures of staff handing out food and laptops, students engaging in virtual learning, and finding ways to honor the Class of 2020.

This global pandemic has made many of us feel isolated and alone. But any member of WSPRA never had a question unanswered. We saw sharing of resources and communications like never before, and we applaud all of you for the incredible amount of work you’ve done this year. School PR has never been more important.

School communicators are the ones working to make sure everyone else looks good. The superintendent has the right notes, the photos are cropped, the graphic images are perfect. For just a few minutes, I encourage school communities to recognize the hard work of school public relations teams, whether they be just one person or a full department. These are the people who are working to help make sure that teachers, principals and superintendents can stay focused on the work of educating students and supporting families every day.

So, thank you, school communicators. In our eyes, every day should be #SchoolPRDay.

Superintendents: How to thank a #SchoolPR pro 

Want to do more than a simple thank you? Here are a few other ideas for Friday:

Social media shout out: Tweet or post on Facebook a thank you picture of you and your school communicator, or a photo of them behind the scenes at work. Check out highlights from last year here and here.

Make it pretty: Here’s every #SchoolPR trick – make it look professional with an easy and free custom graphic using free resources like https://www.canva.com/ or  https://crello.com/

Let others know: Send an email to staff and families, thanking your school communications members

Support professional development: Support your school communicator in the APR process (Accreditation in Public Relations), have a membership in both National School Public Relations Association your local ‘spra chapter to learn best practices and trends in school PR. Or there are some great NSPRA Power Hour events that you can encourage your comms team to attend. (We are partial to the one tomorrow on hosting a digital State of the District event, more details here: https://www.nspra.org/civicrm/event/info?id=174&reset=1)

Caffeine. Email your favorite school public relations pro a gift card for a cup of their favorite brew.