e-Comm Alerts



A bi-weekly service of PenSPRA is the e-Comm Alert bulletin. The current issue is posted on this page, and an e-mail notifies members that a new issue is available.  
e-Comm Alerts highlight member news, state initiatives and items of interest in the field of educational communications. 

You may use articles from e-Comm alerts in your district publications, but please credit PenSPRA.
 
Past issues are in the right column.
 
CURRENT Issue: December 16, 2014 — Volume 10, #7


1. Communications contest
2. Child protective services law change
3. An investment in knowledge…
4. NSPRA early registration
5. Building trust in bad times
6. News from around the state and nation
 
Communications Contest
 
Our annual communications contest launches on Jan 5th! Although the categories are the same this year, the entry process will look a little different. PenSPRA’s contest is being hosted online by a company named Pitchburner. Our neighbors at NYSPRA used Pitchburner’s interface for their contest and were very happy with the results.

Pitchburner’s website is user friendly and will provide all entrants with feedback from the judges. Look for the link to register and enter the Communications Contest on January 5th!


Child protective services law change

Revisions to a child protective services law go into effect on Jan 1, 2015 and are likely to have implications to schools. There are two issues that involve schools. The first is that the list of “mandated reporters” has expanded and now includes volunteers who work with children as well as child care providers and school personnel at all levels, religious leaders, doctors and health care professionals, social workers, librarians, and law enforcement. These volunteers who work with children are now required to have background clearances. As you can see in the three articles below, there are some questions as to what exactly defines a “school volunteer.” Some schools are defining it as any volunteer who has contact with students, and others are saying if a teacher is always nearby it is not necessary for volunteers to have clearances.

The second change is that mandated reporters must now report suspicions of child abuse to police, the state's ChildLine hotline, or directly to child welfare authorities through an online BEFORE reporting it to his/her supervisor. Prior to these changes, reporters were supposed to report to his/her supervisor first. There are also now penalties for any reporter who fails to report abuse. As many school district employees are mandated reporters, these changes will clearly impact our staff.
 

An investment in knowledge….

Everyone has heard the powerful quote from Benjamin Franklin, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Well, some researchers took these simple words a few steps further and proved what careful and thorough investment in education could truly result in. While you may not totally agree with their five areas for educational investment, the numbers are staggering. They proved an investment of 6.2 trillion in education would yield a return on investment of $225 trillion! Details here


NSPRA early registration

The NSPRA conference is in Nashville, Tennessee next summer; July 12 – 15. Save big by registering early, before January 23rd, and you will be on your way to enjoying some great country music, making new school PR connections and learning lots of new tips and tricks to take back to the office.  Here's a link for more information.


Building trust in bad times

This is a great checklist to run through when you are going through one of those bad times in your district!


News from around the state and nation

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Contact PenSPRA
If you have an item for e-Comm Alert, please contact Karen Smith
 
Vicki Flotta, President, Bethel Park SD (412) 854-8438
 
Angela Linch, Secretary/Treasurer, Methacton SD (610) 489-5020
 
Karen Smith, PenSPRA Executive Director (215) 622-1779
 
Nicole McGalla, Immediate Past President, (610) 351-5630
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