Thursday, August 15, 2013

Communications and Community Relations staff earns nine national awards

Spring Branch ISD’s Communications and Community Relations departments have won nine awards for public relations programs, print/electronic publications and for related media following recent judging by the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA).

The national-level communications and public relations awards are the latest recognitions to be received by this award-winning SBISD team, which won numerous state and local awards earlier this year.

SBISD public relations programs and print or electronic media earning national recognition in the 2013 NSPRA Gold Achievement, Publications and Electronic Media Contest include:

NSPRA Golden Achievement Awards

The SKY Partnership communications campaign resulted in widespread district, state and national recognition during the first-year partnership between SBISD and two successful area charter school systems – KIPP Public Schools and YES Prep Public Schools. Communication efforts included online resources and videos, community gatherings, print materials, a social media presence, and extensive local, state and national media coverage. -

The Good Neighbor Program won recognition for its annual public celebration and for an ongoing commitment to award and recognize businesses, groups and individuals for taking up three or more activities to help support education in SBISD. Last year, more than 200 separate groups and individuals earned designation as Good Neighbors.

In addition to a fall dinner, this program includes a program booklet, video testimonials and display banners, signs and plaque options for program partners.

These two winning entries were among more than 60 submissions from across the nation judged on the four steps of quality public relations program: 1) a needs analysis; 2) planning to meet the needs; 3) execution and program communication; and 4) formal evaluation.

Both of these entries met all required criteria. NSPRA stated the following for each award: “You are one of a select group of winners, and we congratulate you and the leadership of your district for being a leader in school communications.”

NSPRA Award of Excellence
  • The Top 10, the district’s weekly e-newsletter and web publication
  • Pine Shadows Grand Opening bond program handout and related print materials
  • My Digital Counselor website special section for students and families
  • eCurrent, the district’s monthly e-newsletter and web publication NSPRA Award of Merit
  • Share a Smile!, the district’s internal customer service program
NSPRA Award of Honorable Mention
  • Get Inspired!, a district produced video detailing Stratford High’s robotics team projects
  • STARNews, a twice-a-year print newsletter update for SBISD residents 65 years or older
In all, 894 entries were received in the NSPRA publications contest. For print and electronic publications area, 679 entries were received. Awards of Excellence were issued only to 125 submissions; 174 received Awards of Merit and 202 were given Honorable Mentions. In the audio/visual categories, there were 135 entries; 15 received Awards of Excellence, 48 won Awards of Merit and 42 were given Honorable Mentions in the national contest.

SBISD publications and entries that have earned Awards of Excellence were displayed in San Diego during NSPRA’s annual convention. The national meeting was held July 7-10. NSPRA has provided school communications training and resources to public schools since 1935.

For a complete list of winning entries, visit

In separate but related awards news, SBISD’s Communications and Community Relations teams won six awards at the Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA) state conference held earlier this year.

The internal customer service identity package for the Share a Smile! campaign was a Gold Star winner there, and the SBISD Communications team won Silver Star awards there for the SBISD Bond Program and SKY Partnership marketing campaigns, as well as for posters, published news releases, and external e-newsletters.

SBISD Community Relations won separate awards this year from the Houston West Chamber of Commerce for school-business partnerships in the small and medium business categories, as well as a significant cash award from the CPA Society for the Dictionary Project.

Cost-effective digital communications is helping SBISD deliver key messages and information with minimal cost and maximum return. District data gathering and surveys show engagement with key audiences, as well as increased growth into social media markets, adding another layer of depth to the district’s communications plan.

New digital communications platforms include: Pinterest and Instagram pages, a Twitter feed, Facebook pages, and several blogs. Last year, SBISD had more than 2 million visitors to its website, including about 200,000 mobile users on phones or other mobile devices. The district hosted 10 specialized blogs with more than 144,000 visitors.

More than 350 news releases and other items were posted to The School Zone, SBISD’s online newsroom. The School Zone had about 120,000 “reads,” or unique visitors. SBISD’s YouTube Channel was viewed for more than 35,000 minutes.

On average, more than 2,000 tweets reach followers and, on average, 3,000 users are reached weekly.

-- Communications and Community Relations team members include the following staff members: Steve Brunsman, Paul Bryant, Linda Buchman, Amy Byrom, Monica Creixell, Sue Loudis, Rosie Santos, Norma Trevino, Pat Waldrop, Abby Walker, Melissa Wiland and Becky Wuerth.


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