PenSPRA News
Symposium teaser
Make sure you have blocked off Friday, April 13th on your calendar for our Symposium, because we can now confirm that we have booked Brian Woodland, recently retired Director of Communications from the Peel District School Board in Ontario, Canada, as our keynote speaker. 
News from around the state and nation October 8, 2017
This is a round-up of education stories from around the state and nation, from the latest on the state budget negotiations, to the ballot question on property taxes, to a positive step forward for the fair funding lawsuit. 
News from around the state and nation September 14, 2017
This is a round-up of education stories from around the state and nation from the latest on the PA budget, to a new look at later school start times, to the hidden costs of charter schools. 
News from around the state and nation August 23, 2017
This is a round-up of education stories from around the state and nation, from the budget stalemate which could result in a cash flow shortage, to a new open records ruling, to shortened PSSA exams coming this spring. 
News from around the state and nation July 24, 2017
This is a round-up of education stories from around the state and nation, from an update on the PA budget, to the changing face of vo-tech schools, to a California bill which would force schools to start secondary schools no earlier than 8:30 am. 
News from around the state and nation June 30, 2017
This is a round-up of education stories making news around the state and nation, from the charter school reform bill, to the bill on arming teachers, to proposed changes on property tax assessments. 
Mark your calendars for the 2018 Symposium
A few of you were unable to attend this year’s symposium because of a prior conflict, so we are announcing the date for the 2018 Symposium earlier in the hopes that more of you can make it. The 2018 Symposium will be Friday, April 13th with social events on Thursday evening, April 12th. Mark your calendars now! 
News from around the state and nation May 31, 2017
This is a round-up of education stories from around the state and nation, from a proposed bill which would impact property tax assessments, to a ruling on transgender students, to the national education budget. 
News from around the state and nation May 9, 2017
This is a roundup of education news from around the state and nation, from a bill requiring public notice for teacher contracts, to unsettled budgets at the state and federal level, to another change in school lunch requirements. 
News from around the state and nation April 25, 2017
This is a roundup of education stories from around the state and nation from a replacement for the SPP, to a proposed bill which would allow school personnel to carry guns in school, to the still uncertain situation regarding cuts in the transporation budget. 
Communication contest winners announced
The winners of the 2016 PenSPRA Communication Contest have been announced! Click here for the complete list. Thanks to all who entered and our panel of expert judges. 
News from around the state and nation March 10, 2017
This is a round-up of education stories from around the state and nation, from a potential rollback of ESSA regulations to possible Medicaid changes to growth of tax credit scholarships both in PA and around the country. 
News from around the state and nation February 22, 2017
This is a roundup of education stories from around the state and nation, from a national education tax credit to possible legislation on teacher sick time to the transgender student bathroom ruling. 
Budget blues become budget buster
The 2015-2016 school year budget was one for the record books, with a budget passage that was nine months late, but current signs from Harrisburg indicate those budget blues will pale in comparison to the proposed budget busting property tax reform bill. Although there is no definite date or legislation on the docket now, multiple reports state that Senator Argall’s property tax reform bill is planned to be re-introduced in this session. 
News from around the state and nation February 1, 2017
This is a roundup of education stories from around the state and nation, from the latest on the nomination of the Secretary of Education, to property tax reform legislation, to the rapidly increasing state budget gap. 
Changes ahead for the SPP
Over the past year PDE has worked with hundreds of stakeholders to redefine the emphasis of the SPP, the School Performance Profile. The goal was to reduce the emphasis of the SPP on standardized test scores by including other measures as well. A summary of this work from PDE is attached, and here is a snapshot of the changes. 
Success Starts Here - #PASuccess
PenSPRA is very proud to partner with PSBA, PSEA, PAIU, PASA and the PA Principals to launch a new public awareness campaign about the success of Pennsylvania’s public schools.  
Welcome Back videos
Several PenSPRA members and their teams got pretty creative with welcome back videos. Here are a few to enjoy, and perhaps give you some ideas! 
Literacy infographics
Back-to-school is a great time to remind everyone of the importance of reading and literacy. PDE has created some useful infographics on literacy rates.
 
Budget update
We are three days away from the 2016 - 2017 budget deadline and negotiations have been underway. Recent sticking points have been on spending, with Republicans approving a 5% increase and Democrats requesting 6%.  
Mandate bonanza
It is often repeated that public schools are faced with “unfunded mandates,” but sometimes public school advocates are not able to explain what those mandates are. PSBA has compiled a comprehensive list of mandates our schools are regulated by, which might be helpful in your work. If you rattled off this mandate bonanza, you could silence the most vocal critic. 
EPLC Education Policy Fellowship Program
The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC) is currently accepting applications for the Education Policy Fellowship Program. The Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) is a professional development program for individuals whose work record reflects strong leadership abilities and a concern for issues important to children and education. 
Articles requested
Have a little time now that the school year is over? The Pennsylvania Principals Association is seeking articles for the September 2016 issue of The Pennsylvania Administrator magazine.  
News from around the state and nation June 28, 2016
This is a roundup of educational news from around the state and nation, from possible later start times in Chester County, to a new start for pension reform to two districts sharing one superintendent as a cost savings measure. 
Got absences? Not after this PR campaign
A school district in Grand Rapids Michigan cut chronic abseentism in half, returning thousands of students to the classroom, with this “Less than 5! Strive for 5!” community engagement program. This is a powerful example of how communications and PR can have a direct impact on learning. 
More educations stats than you could ever use
If you are ever in need of an education statistic, you can find it at the National Center for Education Statistics. It is a helpful reference to have bookmarked on your computer for when someone asks you a question like, “How many kids attend public schools in America?’ (50.1 million) 
Brand is more than a logo
Our next summary of our Symposium speakers is on Vaughn Shinkus’ presentation “Capitalize on content to build a compelling brand narrative.” Most of Mr. Shinkus’ work is in helping organizations build traffic via electronic means, and he shared many helpful tips we can use at the district level. 
Education writers report
There is a national organization for Education reporters called the Education Writers Association, or EWA, and they recently did a survey of their members and the field of education reporting.   
Symposium Summary
It was a great day of professional development and friendly school PR chat in Shippensburg at our annual Symposium! For those of you who could not attend or follow live on twitter, or would just like notes, we will summarize the presentations in the next few issues of e-Comm. The three presentations are also posted on the members’ only page of our website. As always, if you have trouble logging into this page, please contact Karen.
 
PenSPRA's Super Season
The Superbowl may be over, but it is the Super busy season here at PenSPRA; that time of year when most of our activities are in high gear. 
Budget questions remain unanswered after Governor’s address
The announcement of the Governor’s budget is typically a highly anticipated event for schools, but for school employees looking for answers about the current year budget, this year's address raised more questions than it answered. The most important question, of course, remains - When will we have a budget for this year? - and that answer was not forthcoming in the speech. 
Take another look at your visuals
We have all heard that we live in an increasingly visual world, but did you know some of these fun facts behind “the power of visual content?"  Perhaps this data will help you make a case with colleagues who prefer to use text predominately in your communication efforts: 
7 PR trends to know
We may not have the budget or resources of multi-million dollar corporations, but we still have to compete for our stakeholder’s attention against the PR and marketing departments of these huge corporations. Here is a list of current PR trends; can you adapt any of these to your district and your work? 
Demonstrate your value
Demonstrate your value with our annual Excellence in Education Communications Contest. Awards of Excellence and Awards of Honor are given in 12 categories. Our new online platform is easy to use and all entries receive judges’ feedback. 
 
Learn more about TCPA – the Telephone Consumer Protection Act
Did you know that changes to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) could impact how your district sends automated messages to your parents and communities? The changes made some automated calls and texts to cell phones illegal, unless the calls are deemed “emergency” calls. Some lawyers have counseled that as long as there is written consent districts are safe to make the calls and others have counseled that all district calls are “emergency” calls. Which is correct? 
Membership directory now available
The PenSPRA membership directory is now available on the members only page of the PenSPRA website. If there are any corrections needed to your entry or if you have misplaced your log-in information for the members only section, please contact us. 
Budget and referendum update
Will Rudolph and his red nose bring us a budget this year?  This budget has already gone down in history, but an approval before the new year surely would bring glee to many school districts! 
Referendum rears its ugly head
We have been eagerly awaiting progress on the budget, but this week’s news included a surprising new twist, with a referendum amendment added to the budget package. This amendment to Act One would remove a local school district's ability to raise taxes without a voter referendum. 
 
Math class...for parents
More than any other aspect of the common core, elementary math raises many questions with parents. Some parents even find themselves stumped and frustrated by second and third grade math. One district invested some time in creating a math class for parents, which was very well received.  
Got new board members?

This is a silly question because after the 2015 elections, the vast majority of districts likely have at least one new board member and maybe as many as 5. PSBA is offering new board member training at several locations around the state over the next two months.

 
The when of posting

Likely you could figure out that posting on social media between midnight and 6 am is a dead time, but did you know 9 am to 5 pm is a slow time for Linkedin? A recent study of several social media outlets has some surprising results of when to post, or when not to post!

 
Budget shenanigans
Surprise! We still have no budget here in Pennsylvania and schools and social agencies get increasingly worried as the days pass and blame shuffles from side to side in Harrisburg but no budget appears. 
Twitter tips
Technology is changing so quickly it is really difficult to keep up. Twitter has been around for a few years now, but if you aren’t a regular Twitter user, maybe you have missed out on some Twitter tactics. One way to increase your use of twitter is to get involved in a Twitter chat. 
Survey on social media and electronic communication use in schools
NSPRA performed a survey on electronic communication and social media use in schools. Read on for the top ten takeaways from the survey: 
PDK/Gallup public opinion poll on public schools
For over 40 years, Phi Delta Kappa and the Gallup organization have coordinated on an annual poll on the American public’s views on education. This year’s results are out and as always provide us with some interesting feedback to use in our work. Once again local schools receive higher marks than the nation’s schools overall, and new this year we discover that 64% of Americans believe there is too much standardized testing in our schools. 
No progress on state budget
Here is the latest on the situation with the state budget.  
NAEP Scores Released
Is it 36% or 78%... or both? 
Facebook and Twitter
New! Like "PenSPRA" on Facebook and follow us at "penspra1" on twitter.
 
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