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    2016 Communications Contest Entries

    Chesapeake Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association

    Electronic Submissions

     

     

    Blog

    School District: Baltimore County Public Schools

    Description: The Deliberate Excellence blog is the official BCPS blog. Designed for a wide range of audiences, Deliberate Excellence focuses on the “how” and “why” of school system initiatives. Primarily issue-oriented, entries explore trends in public education, analyze data, describe how our offices support teaching and learning in the schools, and discuss the role of families, businesses, higher education, and the community in strengthening our schools.

    Files: Deliberate Excellence Blog

     

     

    School District: Isle of Wight County Schools                                                          

    Description: The Superintendent's first year with the division was 2015-2016. He began a blog as a way to improve communication between him and the community, including teachers, parents and citizens. In some cases, he uses the blog to highlight exceptional teaching he observes as he is visiting classrooms throughout the division. In other situations, it may be to clarify information related to division policies and/or initiatives. The two entries highlight an example of each.

    Files: May 2016Jan 2016

     

     

     

    Social Media

    School District: Arlington Public Schools                                                                      

    Description: On Wed, Feb. 17, Arlington Public Schools promoted national Digital Learning Day on its Twitter and YouTube platforms to showcase how technology strengthens student learning in a personalized learning environment. Several schools participated in creating YouTube videos with students who shared their learning experiences, supported by the technology they are using. Using social media tools, APS also promoted Digital Learning Day activities “live” using the hashtag #APSDLD2016.

    Files: Digital Learning DayTweet Reach

     

    School District: Arlington Public Schools                                                                      

    Description: Black History Month Campaign - APS promoted Black History Month with a video and social media campaign, coupled with a web page featuring information about special events and African-American Read-In programs being held at schools throughout the school division during February.

    Files: Overview, VideoCampaign Results

     

    School District: Baltimore County Public Schools                                                         

    Description: Team BCPS Day was held on January 14, 2016, to bring the entire community—from students, staff, and parents to businesses, volunteers, and residents—together to celebrate our schools and our students by wearing BCPS blue in photos and videos, and sharing messages about what BCPS means to them using the hashtag #BCPSblue. Schools, offices, and alumni were asked to begin sharing on social media during the preceding winter break and to continue through January 14. The Team BCPS logo and a large cardboard picture frame were sent to all schools as props to include in their pictures. In addition, to promote the release of a book on the history of BCPS, team members were asked to share pictures from the near and distant past. Team BCPS Day 2016 yielded more than 3,000 tweets, reaching 2.3 million unique viewers, and #BCPSblue was trending. More business partners participated than in prior years, and groups and individuals were honored in 25 categories including “Best Office Spirit,” “Most Far-Flung Team Member,” “Most Inspirational,” and “Best School Video.”

    Files: Team BCPS Day

     

    School District: Bedford County Public Schools                                                          

    Description: Snow Day Song - Even though enrollment in Bedford County Public Schools is under 10,000 students, BCPS has grown a Facebook audience in two years of more than 7,200 followers. A high level of engagement is maintained by consistently and creatively showcasing student/staff/division achievements.     In February the division's one-person PR department wrote, sung and produced a special snow day song for its audience and used this presentation as its way to let them know there would be no school the next day.     The response in posted comments was overwhelming and seemed to bring a sense of pride to many associated with the division. The post was "liked" 850 times and "shared" more than 1200 times while the song was viewed more than 18,000 times; nearly double our enrollment.     Thank you for your consideration of our social media efforts.

    Files: Facebook post

     

    School District: Charlottesville City Schools                                                                

    Description: Weather Notifications for Social Media - All of us in school communications recognize the divisive nature of weather-related school closings.  In 2015-16, I launched a charm offensive with our weather notifications, pairing the news with students' seasonal artwork (and sometimes weather-related schoolwork).  These art announcements go out via social media, on our web site, and with parent emails. With sometimes clever catch-phrases, the campaign serves several purposes -- it showcases our student talent when eyes are most trained on our communications channels; it reminds potentially critical parents of the good work we do; and it prompts a lot of "shares," which spread both the message about our closing and the message about our schools.  Finally, it reframes the decision to close away from "bureaucracy," instead placing humans -- specifically our students-- at the center of the discussion.  Parents and teachers love it -- even when they don't love our decisions.

    Files: Facebook Post 1, Facebook Post 2, Facebook Post 3, Facebook Post 4

     

    School District: Chesterfield County Public Schools                                                    

    Description: We use social media to provide parent tips, updates on school division events/activities/actions, and to highlight students, staff and schools. We also use Facebook to solicit input on the budget, school calendar, etc.

    Files: CCPS Facebook Page

     

    School District: Fairfax County Public Schools                                                            

    Description: #SaveFCPS - For the past nine years, Fairfax County Public Schools has cut nearly a half billion dollars from its operating budget due to increasing enrollment, rising health care costs, state retirement increases, employee salary needs, and lagging state and local revenue. As a result, FCPS’ ability to continue providing its students with an excellent education has been put at risk. Maximizing stakeholder support to secure adequate school funding from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (BOS) became more important than ever. This need led to the creation of our community engagement campaign: #SaveFCPS. Almost every day from 1/7/16 – 2/29/16, we used Twitter and/or Facebook to inform, inspire, and engage parents, staff, students, and the broader Fairfax County community around the importance of fully-funding FCPS’ budget. #SaveFCPS was a highly successful campaign. #SaveFCPS received tremendous attention in social media. The hashtag was used nearly 300 times between January 7 and April 30. Our Twitter account, @fcpsnews, experienced an all-time high of over 500,000 engagements; the same with Facebook—over 200,000 engagements. Our Twitter followers grew nearly 100%. Most importantly, the BOS approved a 4.84% funding increase to FCPS, which was the greatest increase in the county transfer to the schools in a decade.   

    Files: Facebook post 1, Facebook post 2, Twitter post 1, Twitter post 2

     

    School District: Frederick County Public Schools (MD)                                              

    Description: FCPS Voices - We unveiled our FCPS Voices campaign in spring 2016, starting with stories about high school graduates preparing for their futures. We chose Exposure as our platform of choice because we could utilize videography, photography and social media all in one platform. The profiles featured an aspiring engineer, a humanitarian, a drama enthusiast and a software designer. They explained how their time in FCPS prepared them to be college and career ready. Each FCPS Voices Exposure story begins with an embedded YouTube video profile, then continues with a feature story interspersed with photography and relevant social media.     We promoted our stories on other social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter. Site analytics data indicates we have received more than 18,000 views through Facebook promotion. We believe every student and staff member has a compelling story, and our goal is to tell as many of them as possible through FCPS Voices. 

    Files: Overview, Class of 2016 Voices 1, Class of 2016 Voices 2, Class of 2016 Voices 3, Class of 2016 Voices 4

     

     

    Video Production or Program (TV & Streaming)                   

    School District: Arlington Public Schools

    Description: "APS Snapshots" is a three-to-five minute cable progam highlighting student, teacher or school achievements, or featuring important, up-to-date information on a variety of topics.

    Files: ACPS Snapshots

     

    School District: Arlington Public Schools                                                                      

    Description: APS “Green Scene” is a bi-monthly video series that highlights the many sustainability efforts by students and staff to protect the environment.

    Files: ACPS Green Scene

     

    School District: Arlington Public Schools                                                                      

    Description: #digitalAPS – Exploring Instructional Frontiers is a monthly program that highlights personalized digital learning initiatives in the classroom.

    Files: #digitalACPS – Exploring Instructional Frontiers

     

    School District: Arlington Public Schools                                                                      

    Description: The Create Your Path video was created as a PSA for the Superintendent’s Dream, Explore, Create Your Own Path Event. The event invited all APS students and their families to explore students’ individual paths, plan for their future, and connect with counselors and career professionals

    Files: Create Your Path

     

    School District: Arlington Public Schools                                                                      

    Description: Superintendent's Thanksgiving Message

    Files: Superintendent’s Thanksgiving Message

     

    School District: Arlington Public Schools                                                                      

    Description: Superintendent's Winter Message

    Files: Superintendent’s Winter Message

     

    School District: Arlington Public Schools                                                                      

    Description: Advice from 1st, 7th and 10th graders to Incoming Kindergarten, 6th and 9th graders - Advice from former kindergarten students to current kindergarten students.  Advice from seventh graders to incoming sixth graders.  Advice from sophomores to incoming freshman.

    Files: Video 1, Video 2, Video 3

     

    School District: Arlington Public Schools                                                                      

    Description: During the 2015-16 school year, the community and public relations department developed a microsite for the Human Resources department with recruitment efforts. Staff then used Ipad stations featuring the site at all recruiting events  to give prospective employees access to the site and immediate application access. The site was also promoted online and through print materials. HR staff are also able to review site hit data to assess the effectiveness of the various events attended.

    Files: What to Expect in Kindergarten

     

    School District: Arlington Public Schools                                                                      

    Description: Path Towards Middle and High School - These videos are for families with children entering middle and high school.

    Files: Video 1, Video 2

     

    School District: Baltimore County Public Schools                                                          

    Description: The summer 2016 episode of the “The Parent University Show” was created in June to equip parents and families with ideas for learning throughout the summer. The show is one component of the BCPS Parent University, which offers online resources and in-person workshops to support parents as every child’s first teacher. It is hosted by Sue Hahn, who coordinates Parent University and manages outreach to parents. The show is available online and was also shown on BCPS-TV. Please review the first 10 minutes.

    Files: The Parent University Show, Summer 2016 episode

     

    School District: Chesapeake Public Schools                                                                 

    Description: Created to reinforce our Chesapeake R U Ready Intiaitive.  Distributed on our CPS TV station, our city's station, our YouTube Channel, and highighted on school and city webpages.

    Files: Chesapeake R U Ready 4 Kindergarten

     

    School District: Chesapeake Public Schools                                                                 

    Description: Students at Hugo A. Owens Middle School develop geography skills, as well as critical thinking skills, as they try to determine the location of another school through the use of Mystery Skype. Purpose is to spotlight the unique instrucition at one of our middle schools.    

    Files: Mystery Skype at Hugo Owens Middle School

     

    School District: Chesterfield County Public Schools                                                     

    Description: The video was designed to show how the school division is moving past a sole focus on standardized testing and incorporating blended learning, project-based learning and service learning to prepare students how to succeed after high school graduation.

    Files: Enabling the Future

     

    School District: Chesterfield County Public Schools                                                    

    Description: A fun look at a snow-closing announcement. This is how the community learned the school division would be closed the following day.

    Files: Snow Day video

     

    School District: Chesterfield County Public Schools                                                     

    Description: Profile of the school division's teacher of the year.

    Files: Teacher of the Year profile

     

    School District: Fairfax County Public Schools                                                            

    Description: This video explains how FCPS makes decisions to close schools during bad weather.

    Files: FCPS Inclement Weather video

     

    School District: Frederick County Public Schools (MD)                                              

    Description: Tweet of the Week Series - With so many wonderful Tweets coming from staff members, we wanted to cross promote them any way we could. So we debuted the Tweet of the Week program in Feburary 2016. The show is hosted by FCPS Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban, who is joined by a guest that comes prepared with a favorite Tweet of the Week. The weekly program, which airs on our cable channel and is shared via social media, has highlighted Tweets from teachers, Central Office staff and students.     The show promotes our campaigns and initiatives, all while encouraging our staff to continue sharing positive events happening throughout our system. Nobody can cover what happens in our school system better than us.

    Files: Video 1, Video 2, Video 3, Video 4, Video 5

     

    School District: Frederick County Public Schools (VA)                                                

    Description: Student Athlete of the Month program - The Student Athlete of the Month program airs on FCPS Channel 18 on the Comcast Cable Network throughout the Winchester area and is also available on YouTube through the FCPS Media Network.  Each month, a high school student-athlete who excels in his/her athletic endeavors as well of the classroom is featured.  The program is distributed via school websites and social media. 

    Files: Video 1, Video 2

     

    School District: Frederick County Public Schools (VA)                                               

    Description: The FCPS Spotlight program - During the 2015-16 school year, the community and public relations department developed a microsite for the Human Resources department with recruitment efforts. Staff then used Ipad stations featuring the site at all recruiting events  to give prospective employees access to the site and immediate application access. The site was also promoted online and through print materials. HR staff are also able to review site hit data to assess the effectiveness of the various events attended.

    Files: Video 1, Video 2, Video 3

     

    School District: Isle of Wight County Public Schools                                                     

    Description: Mrs. Day’s Class at Carrollton: Learning from A (Active) to Z (Zumba) - As the Superintendent visits classrooms, he finds examples of exceptional teaching he would like to highlight in his blog.  He includes a video of the teacher and class in action so people can see for themselves some of what is taking place in our classrooms.  We know that most people only know what they see or hear about the schools from the papers, or a few select people with whom they share information.  The videos show parents, the community and even teachers what is happening in some of our classrooms. 

    Files: Video

     

    School District: Talbot County Public Schools                                                             

    Description: During the 2015-16 school year, the community and public relations department developed a microsite for the Human Resources department with recruitment efforts. Staff then used Ipad stations featuring the site at all recruiting events  to give prospective employees access to the site and immediate application access. The site was also promoted online and through print materials. HR staff are also able to review site hit data to assess the effectiveness of the various events attended.

    Files: First Day Video

     

      

    Website Home Page

    School District: Baltimore County Public Schools

    Description: The BCPS home page features a big picture slider with eight, timely rotating panels as well as features boxes to direct parents, staff, and the community to the most-requested information including upcoming events, major initiatives, key reports, the latest news, and updates about construction and renovation projects. The top navigation includes buttons tailored to students, parents, and the community in addition to school lists, the calendar, leadership profiles, and an overview of the system.

    Url: www.bcps.org

     

    School District: Charlottesville City Schools                                                                

    Description: School division web site redesign with an eye to easy management and a more modern look (last update was done many years ago).  We also wanted to add features such as site-wide language translation and a better calendar-management system.  The web site's calendars are managed by the schools, and parents can add these Google calendars to their own e-calendars so they'll never have to add another year's worth of school holidays to their calendars again.  Audiences are identified with menus at the bottom of each page -- parents, students, potential employees, staff, and community members.

    Url: www.charlottesvilleschools.org, www.charlottesvilleschools.org/calendar

     

    School District: Frederick County Public Schools (VA)                                                

    Description: The Frederick County Public Schools homepage is designed to provide easy access to important information for parents, students and the community. The main navigation is highly visible at first glance and provides an intuitive way for users to find the information they are looking for. Directly beneath the main navigation is a banner area that is used to visually promote significant achievements and events. Beneath the banner are Quick Links and News & Resources. The Quick Links provide one-click access to the most requested information. The News & Resources section provides another opportunity to promote various successes within our division. Upcoming Events provides, at quick glance, important division-level events. The homepage also includes a Featured Video section and a space for paid advertising. The Featured Video section allows us to spotlight original programming developed and produced by our media team. The footer of the homepage includes contact information, links to our Disclaimer/Privacy Policy and Notice of Non-discrimination as well as links to our social media properties.

    Url: www.frederick.k12.va.us 

      

     

    Website Subsection

    School District: Baltimore County Public Schools

    Description: To support families as digital learning becomes integrated into daily classroom instruction, the Growing Up Digital website subsection offers resources, tips, and videos for students and families to help keep studetns safe online and to promote responsible online behavior. Sections include resources related to the BCPS Digital Citizenship curriculum; cyberbullying; cipyrights; online security; digital footprints; facts about social media; beliefs about student data; family media agreenents; and frequently asked questions. In addition to these navigation options, resources from Common Sense Media and the National Crime Prevention Council are sorted by school level.

    Files: www.bcps.org/growing_up_digital

     

    School District: Frederick County Public Schools (MD)                                                  

    Description: After unveiling the new FCPS.org in June 2015, we completely revamped the athletics portion of our website. This was necessary due to the unveiling of the new Central Maryland Conference, featuring all 10 high school athletic programs in Frederick County.     So we gave each school a page, which includes links to athletic calendars, a detailed history of championships won and contact information, all utilizing responsive design. The section also includes an archive of the weekly CMC Spotlight video series, a detailed explanation of the new Principals Cup and our Respect the Game initiative, which encourages students, staff and spectators to show proper sportsmanship at all times. Student registration and payments are now online and we include that information on the home page.

    Files: www.fcps.org/athletics, www.fcps.org/athletics/CMC-Spotlight.cfm, www.fcps.org/athletics/Middletown-High-cfm, www.fcps.org/athletics/sportsmanship.cfm

     

    School Description: York County Public Schools                                                                     

    Description: During the 2015-16 school year, the community and public relations department developed a microsite for the Human Resources department with recruitment efforts. Staff then used Ipad stations featuring the site at all recruiting events  to give prospective employees access to the site and immediate application access. The site was also promoted online and through print materials. HR staff are also able to review site hit data to assess the effectiveness of the various events attended.

    Files: YCSD HR Recruitment Microsite

     

     

     

    Web Publication or E-Newsletter

    School District: Baltimore County Public Schools

    Description: The Team BCPS e-newsletter shares recent news and upcoming highlights to all staff each week as well as subscribers including parents, community members, and partners. The e-newsletter includes a message from Superintendent S. Dallas Dance, photos, a video, a parent tip of the week, and several web links to direct readers to www.bcps.org

    Files: Team BCPS eNewsletter, Team BCPS eNewsletter

     

    School District: Frederick County Public Schools (MD)                                           

    Description: The FCPS Insider electronic employee newsletter reaches all employees via email. The August 2015 issue was designed to provide them essentials for the new school year; it makes great use of links for those who want to see details. The May 2016 issue closed out the school year, equipping staff with news to share in their roles as FCPS ambassadors over the summer.    

    Files: FCPS Insider Employee Newsletter (August 2015)

     

    School District: Frederick County Public Schools (MD)                                           

    Description: The FCPS Insider electronic employee newsletter reaches all employees via email. The August 2015 issue was designed to provide them essentials for the new school year; it makes great use of links for those who want to see details. The May 2016 issue closed out the school year, equipping staff with news to share in their roles as FCPS ambassadors over the summer.    

    Files: FCPS Insider Employee Newsletter (May 2016)

     

    School District: Frederick County Public Schools (VA)                                            

    Description: The Elementary Express - The Elementary Express e-newsletter is distributed monthly to all elementary school administrators and instructional staff during the school year.  The newsletter was created to help support elementary school teachers and administrators in the implementation of common expectations in reading and mathematics and to consistently communicate important information and successes to instructional staff in all 11 of Frederick County’s elementary schools.  The newsletter also serves as a targeted professional development tool for teachers as they work to implement expected practices in their classrooms.  Many of the items appearing in Elementary Express are linked to Virginia Department of Education resources.  The articles in the newsletter frequently target specific elements related to balanced literacy and conceptual-based mathematics instruction—two areas that are common initiatives in Frederick County Public Schools. 

    Files: March 2015, May 2015

     

    School District: Frederick County Public Schools (VA)                                            

    Description: FCPS Focus is an e-newsletter which is sent to all Frederick County Public Schools students, parents and employees via e-mail on a regular basis.  The purpose of FCPS Focus is to keep the entire school community up-to-date on news about the school division as well as student and staff success stories.  FCPS Focus is designed to be read quickly but offers links to newspaper articles, press releases, and other documents should the reader want to see more information on a particular subject highlighted in the e-newsletter.

    Files: 09172015, 052316060616

     

    School District: Frederick County Public Schools (VA)                                            

    Description: FCPS Quick News is an e-newsletter which is sent to all Frederick County Public Schools employees via e-mail on a regular basis.  The purpose of FCPS Quick News is to provide employees with information that is of interest to them on issues such as benefits, salary initiatives, budget development, employee discounts, etc.  FCPS Quick News is also used to communicate student and staff success stories that employees may choose to share in order to help build support for public education and Frederick County Public Schools.   Quick News is designed to be read quickly but offers links to documents should the reader want to see more information on a particular subject highlighted in the e-newsletter.

    Files: August 2015, March 2016April 2016

     

    School District: Spotsylvania County Public Schools                                                

    Description: IMPACT – Impact Today…Vision for Tomorrow is the new Spotsylvania County Public Schools’ division newsletter that was introduced in the Fall 2015.  The newsletter is published quarterly and is intended for all of our families, staff, business partners, and community members.  IMPACT is sent out electronically to all of our families, staff and business partners.  It is also posted on our website for stakeholders to view.  Additionally, a small number of copies are printed and are available at our School Board Office.  When we attend events, we include copies of newsletter on our table set-up as well.    The newsletter highlights what is going on in our school division.  Each month, IMPACT includes:  - A letter from our Superintendent  - A Division Department highlight  - Highlights from each school level (elementary, middle, and high)  - A calendar of events  - A Business Partner Highlight 

    Files: April 2016, December 2015

     

    School District: Worcester County Public Schools (MD)                                          

    Description: The Key Communicator Newsletter is a quarterly e-newsletter geared toward our highly involved and vocal supporters of the school district. This communication keeps them informed about what new initiatives WCPS is implementing and gives them a glimpse into classrooms across the county. We have recently opened the KCN for new subscribers as well.

    Files: Jan/Feb 2016, April 2016, June 2016