ISPRA Professional Development for 2022-23

Lunchtime Virtual Learning

(Watch for the 2023-24 Lunchtime Virtual Learning schedule coming soon!)

Lunchtime Virtual Learning will include a calendar invitation or Zoom link sent to every ISPRA member at least one week in advance of the session. If you have not received a link, please contact:

August 18, 2022 – New to School Communications
A workshop to jump start your career and communications strategy.
Welcome to the wonderful world of school communications! It’s a career where you will certainly work hard, but the work will be rewarding and inspiring. After all, you are helping to shape the future through the education of the next generation. What could be better than that? Come learn from school PR veterans who have “been there, done that,” and are here to help you kick off a new school year like a pro. In this interactive 90-minute virtual workshop we will cover the big ideas and essential skills needed to excel in school communications. We will give you a glimpse into the New Professionals Toolbox, share a high-level look at communications planning, and a look at what may be ahead of you on your professional school PR journey. And most importantly, we will provide time for you to ask those questions you may be afraid to ask, the questions that you fear make you look too “green.” No question is a bad question. We are here to help and we want you to succeed. As the saying goes, we are here to be guides on the side instead of sages on the stage.

September 15, 2022 – Managing Your Critics
Managing Your Critics 2.0 – The Fires are STILL Burning and The Waves are STILL High
Hosted by Susan Brott, APR, & Julie Thannum, APR

Despite some of our best efforts, public schools continue to be getting attacks from all sides. It seems that there is no end to the tactics our critics will use in an effort to distract us from our core mission. We are exhausted by the need to continually respond to misinformation and defend our practices focused on serving the individual needs of each and every student. We know the best strategy is to proactively promote a positive narrative about what is really happening in our classrooms. But what else can you do? Building on our successful “The Fires and Burning and The Waves are High” presentation shared last year, and reflecting on what has been happening in schools around the country over the last 12 months, this session will explore even more ways to tell your district’s story, address criticisms, build trust with stakeholders, and lead the way in bringing civility and respect back into community dialogues.

November 17, 2022 – Effective Student Enrollment Campaigns
We Need More Students – Strategies for Creating and Implementing a Strategic Enrollment Approach
Hosted by Susan Hardy Brooks, APR, & Coley Fehringer

Almost everything in a district or school revolves around student enrollment. Increasing or stable enrollment provides so many more opportunities than when enrollment is decreasing. And because families have more and more learning options to choose from, it is critical to take a more strategic approach to managing your district’s enrollment. In this session, you will learn five action steps to take right now to create a more strategic approach to enrollment to both retain current students and recruit new students.

January 19, 2023 – Preparing for and Communicating during Crisis Situations
Turning Chaos into Calm – Best Practices for Responding in a Crisis
Hosted by Jim Cummings, APR, & Julie Thannum, APR

In schools, it seems that every day can bring a “crisis” to which leaders must respond. But what exactly is a crisis? What is the difference between a sudden crisis and a smoldering one? And, when do you communicate about it, to whom do you share the message, and what do you say? These questions and more will be explored in this session focused on evolving best practices and how to effectively communicate through crises.

NEW! February 23, 2023 -Surviving – and Thriving – in a Competitive Marketplace: Increasing your District’s Marketing Presence and Positive Messages
Hosted by Bob Noyed, APR, vice president, CESO Communications
The entrance of school vouchers into the education marketplace can create panic and nervousness among district and school leaders. Vouchers and other competitive options can and should be seen as opportunities for districts and schools to more aggressively compete in the marketplace. In this session, you will learn tips and ideas for ramping up your district’s marketing efforts and boost the overall reputation of your district.

March 2, 2023 – Strategies for the One-Person Office
Hosted by Jim Cummings, APR, & Olivia Doeden
As the old song says, “one is the loneliest number.” But it doesn’t have to be. Knowing where to start, and where to go, is essential. From foundational issues — like planning, research on the cheap, and lining up priorities — to the basics of how to equip your office, this session will show you how to design your one-person office so that it is efficient, effective and excellent.

May 11, 2023 – Working as a Strategic Advisor
Roles and Characteristics of a Strategic Advisor – Elevating your role in the organization
Hosted by Brett Clark, APR, & Bob Noyed, APR

The most effective school communications professionals assume the role of strategic advisor to other leaders. And while this role is continuously evolving, the work in schools today demands that the communications professional be a strategic influence on the system. In this session, we will discuss how the work of a strategic advisor needs to shift along with the individual and personal characteristics possessed by the most effective advisors.