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5 Reasons to Attend School PR Day
Morgan Delack

As Spiderman’s Uncle Ben said, “with great power comes great responsibility…” to take part in meaningful professional development! Join hundreds of your fellow school PR superheroes for Finalsite’s School PR Day on April 28, a free virtual conference for school district communicators. We promise it will send you ‘up, up, and away!’ not only with fantastic professional development but also with the amazing superhero puns we have up our sleeves (April 28 is also National Superhero Day). 

While we can’t promise Spiderman’s “truth or justice” we can offer a “better tomorrow” with amazing sessions like “Navigating School Communications in a Politically Charged Era and Leading with Empathy: Lessons from ‘Ted Lasso.’”

If you’re on the fence about signing up for School PR Day, here are the top 5 reasons you don’t want to miss it: 

  1. Connections with hundreds of peers nationwide
  2. Best practices from the industry’s leading experts
  3. Crisis communications tips from people who have been there
  4. Wellness and self-care
  5. Watch the recordings on your own time

1. Connections with hundreds of peers nationwide

There’s something energizing (and simultaneously calming!) about gathering with hundreds of school PR professionals from around the world. Whether your department is small or large, there’s nothing like being together with people that “get” your role and what you do for a living. 

We expect 1,000+ (!!) school communicators from coast to coast to be at School PR Day 2022. If you want to make connections and learn from your peers all from the comfort of your own home, this is the place to do it!

The conference is a crowd-pleaser…and it’s free, so there’s no risk in giving it a shot. With rave reviews like this one, what do you really have to lose?  

"As a school PR professional for over 10 years, School PR Day always renews my school PR spirit. At the end of the day, I'm always so pumped to put everything to use...literally, everything! Thank you so much!” 

Amy Swanson Kieser, School District of Menomonee Falls 

2. Best practices from school PR’s leading experts

This year’s lineup is stacked with school PR experts sharing tips that will help you take your communications skills to the next level. Here are a few highlights: 

  • 30 Years of School Referenda, 5 Critical Lessons Learned – Paul Hanley
  • Superintendents are From Mars, Communicators are from Venus: Working Together as a Team – Betsy Fuller, APR and Matt Miller
  • Making the Case to Use ESSER Funding For School Communications – Lesley Bruinton, APR
  • Understanding The Ins and Outs of School District Ratings – Angela Brown 
  • How to Create Storytelling Superheroes in Your Schools – Andrea Gribble
  • Rethinking Staff Recruitment: Four Actions to Elevate your District’s Efforts to Recruit and Retain Employees – Bob Noyed, APR
  • Navigating School Communications in a Politically Charged Era - Janet Swiecichowski, APR and Chelsea Janke
  • Public School Marketing Is Not a Dirty Word - Tracy Tigchelaar

And there’s more where that came from! We’re so excited to share the stage with CEL, #SocialSchool4Edu, CESO, Rhodes Branding,, Beyond Your Base, Nichols Strategies, Finalsite Advantage, and other industry experts, providing content that is truly meaningful to the work of the school communicator.

Free Communications Evaluation | Finalsite

3. Crisis communications tips from people who have been there

When a crisis strikes, people tend to fall back on what they have learned or experienced in the past. The School PR Day agenda has two great crisis communications sessions you’ll want to attend –  so if you find yourself in the same situation you’ll know exactly what to do. 

What Columbine, Sandy Hook & Parkland Tragedies Taught Us - Rick Kaufman, APR

If you want to learn from one of the most respected names in school crisis response, come to School PR Day and watch Rick Kaufman’s session. On April 20, 1999, two students attacked Columbine High School in Littleton, CO, killing 13 and wounding 26 others. Rick was among the first to arrive on the scene and assumed the co-lead position of the Columbine Crisis Response Team.  

School safety is a top-of-mind concern for parents, staff and educational leaders. With few exceptions, schools and communities are faced with the dilemma of how to protect the integrity of the environment where learning takes place amidst a world of increasing violence. The concerns for school safety are not new. The challenges are real. 

In Rick’s engaging address, he will explore a range of communication strategies and tools, including the importance of social media in a crisis and why communication is the foundation of any crisis planning, implementation, management and recovery effort.

Lessons Learned From a Global Ransomware Attack

Your school or district likely has an emergency plan in place, but does it include how to respond to a ransomware attack? With the education sector being targeted more than ever before, it’s not a matter of if it might happen but when it will happen to your school district. 

Finalsite was the target of a global ransomware attack in January of 2022. We were fortunate that we caught the situation early, contained the activity and ultimately prevented any client or employee data from being viewed, compromised, or extracted. In the aftermath, we walked away with seven key lessons learned:

  1. Invest in secure systems
  2. Do what’s right, even if it’s unpopular
  3. Bring in specialists  
  4. Have a backup plan 
  5. Communicate early and often 
  6. Make friends with the media
  7. Be humble

Join me at School PR Day for a debrief on our ransomware situation and to learn how you can be prepared should it happen to your organization. 

4. Wellness and Self Care

We’re in the third school year of a global pandemic and as school communicators, it’s safe to assume there’s some level of burnout in the school PR world. You’ve been working around the clock putting out fires and revising school operational plans for… years. We understand the stress you’ve been under and so does Mark Mohammadpour, one of our “Big Talks” speakers. He’ll be leading a session called “Leading with Empathy: Lessons from ‘Ted Lasso.’”

On the surface, a television show about an American football coach managing an English soccer team is ripe for comedy. However, the award-winning series “Ted Lasso” is also a masterclass in building trust with employees, earning respect from executives, and designing a winning culture through an empathetic leadership style. 

Through a series of leadership examples from the “Ted Lasso” show, Mark’s discussion will empower school PR leaders to use empathy to inspire their employees, teams, and executives to BELIEVE in an idea. 

Attendees will learn how to: 

  • Use empathy to effectively manage up, down, and across in their organization;
  • Embrace the positive impact of bringing outside and unique perspectives into your organization; and
  • Design a strategy to inspire employees to believe and buy into an idea.

We’ll also be running some wellness giveaways for registrants before the conference — only those who have signed up are eligible, so be sure to grab your free seat! 

5. Watch on Your Own Time

We know you’re busy and might not be able to attend School PR Day live. That’s why we’re ensuring everything is recorded so you can watch the sessions on your own time later – Netflix style. 

Registrants will receive all session recordings and slides to learn at their own pace once the conference is over. Access will be available for an entire year, so no rush to binge-watch if you would rather take it all in overtime. 

Key Takeaways

It’s been a challenging year, but School PR Day will leave you shouting “I can do this all day!” just like Captain America… and “I’m the best there is at what I do!” like Wolverine. It’s a fun, action-packed FREE conference that we hope you’ll take advantage of! 

Reserve Your Free Seat for School PR Day

Morgan Delack Headshot

Morgan Delack is Finalsite's VP of Communications, leading the marketing team's public school content, branding initiatives and professional development events. Morgan's background is a mixture of public school communications and television journalism, having worked in both industries for several years. She was named among NSPRA's 35 under 35 and has earned two Emmy Awards for her work in broadcasting. Morgan lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two kids.

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