In July last year, the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) unanimously voted for the second Friday of every May to be nationally recognized as School Communicators Day. This year will be the first annual celebration of this event, and it will fall on May 13. School Communicators Day makes for a great opportunity to recognize the valuable work of the communicators in our school districts. In this blog, we’d therefore like to highlight all the ways School Communicators bring value to school communities, before suggesting different ways you can share your appreciation for their crucial work.
Who are School Communicators and what do they do?
School Communicators are school district staff members who work hard to connect schools with other community stakeholders. For example, they communicate the daily goings-on within schools, such as students’ learning journeys, with those in the school community who may otherwise lack access to this information, such as parents. School Communicators keep everyone in the loop, facilitate strong relationships between community stakeholders, and act as a bridge between those working inside schools and those outside. They often use Social Media, namely Twitter, to achieve this communication. Their job titles may include:
- Director of Public Relations
- PR specialists
- Director of Communications
Managing the PR for school districts is vital for effective communication between community stakeholders, and may entail:
- Tweeting about the daily learning journeys of students
- Acting as the school district spokesperson in times of crisis
- Mediating between school district leaders, school staff, and students and parents
How can you show School Communicators you appreciate their work?
There are many ways all members of school communities can show their appreciation to School Communicators, and the most effective ways will vary from district to district. The better you know your School Communicators, the more you can personalize how you show them your respect. For example, gifts such as flowers and chocolates may or may not be great tokens of appreciation - it all depends on the likes and dislikes of your PR specialists in question!
However, there are a few general ways you can show School Communicators you value their hard work. Here are some options:
Be loud and proud about them on Social Media!
If your School Communicators use Social Media as part of their work process, then chances are their voices are already known to your district’s online audience. They are also likely to already understand the importance of Social Media shout-outs since they’re often part of their job, so why not send one their way this time?
Whether it be on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook, take just a few minutes to write a short post thanking your School Communicators for their hard work. In your post, you should also encourage your audience to give their thanks in the replies and facilitate a respectful, appreciative conversation. Don’t forget to tag the School Communicators themselves!
For even more exposure, use the hashtags #SchoolCommunicatorsDay, #SchoolPR, and #K12PRChat to get your post seen on a national level. You can also tag the National School Public Relations Association (@NSPRA) and us (@satchelpulse) to reach even more people giving thanks to School Communicators.
Give them a personalized certificate
Certificates are one of the best ways to show you appreciate someone's hard work and are enjoyed and respected by many people. Best of all, awarding them a certificate means they get a keepsake to proudly display on their wall. The NSPRA has great resources for School Communicators Day and have created this fantastic certificate template for school leaders to fill out and give to their PR specialists.
We recommend that School Communicators should be, where possible, awarded their certificate in person. This makes the event even more special for the recipients and means you can also say a few words of appreciation at the same time. Perhaps this could be done in an assembly or during a meeting too.
Help make their job a little easier with Voice
Of course, it is always better to show your appreciation every day rather than just one day a year. The best way to do this for your School Communicators is to give them the advantage of a centralized, intuitive feedback platform. These are important for PR specialists for many reasons, but one main reason is that it can be difficult for Communicators to gauge the general emotions of community members before making announcements. Often it is the School Communicators who have to act as the bearer of bad news and therefore it is also them who face the brunt of any backlash.
Giving Communicators as much knowledge as possible concerning how community members are feeling before they communicate with them, means they can adapt their language and communication strategies accordingly. Tools that can provide data that is as up-to-date as possible are the most effective in giving School Communicators the information they need and therefore helping to streamline the communication process. Platforms such as Voice are perfect for this as they give constant feedback throughout the school year from all community stakeholders, unlike yearly pulse questionnaires done on paper.
Giving Communicators as much knowledge as possible concerning how community members are feeling means they can adapt their language and communication strategies accordingly.
This National School Communicators Day on May 13, make sure you take the time to show your school’s Communicators how much you value and appreciate their work. This can be done in a myriad of ways, but our top three include giving them shout-outs on Social Media, awarding them a personalized certificate of appreciation, and giving them the advantage of a centralized feedback platform such as Voice.