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Why School Communication/PR?


The Role and Value of School Communicators
Author: NSPRA Staff  |  Friday, December 8, 2023

According to the National School Public Relations Association, an educational public relations program

  • is a planned and systematic management function
  • helps improve the programs and services of an educational organization
  • relies on a comprehensive two-way communications process
  • involves both internal and external publics
  • has a goal of stimulating a better understanding of the role, objectives, accomplishments and needs of the organization
  • assists in interpreting public attitudes
  • identifies and helps shape policies and procedures in the public interest
  • carries on involvement and information activities which earn public understanding and support.

When you assess your district’s communication program, there are several areas that need to be studied to determine their effectiveness:

  • General communication procedures
  • Internal communication
  • Parent communication
  • External communication
  • Marketing and reputation management
  • Public engagement
  • Media relations
  • Crisis communications and response
  • Training / staff development procedures

A great PR Program:

  • Establishes communication strategies for key audiences.
  • Listens to your audiences.
  • Knows their issues and responds.
  • Tells your school success stories.


Starting a School Public Relations Program
According to the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA), “public relations needs to be in the public’s interest. It needs to be grounded in solid two-way communication techniques and used as a vehicle to build trust, confidence and support for doing the best for all children in our schools. NSPRA firmly believes that school systems and schools have a Public Responsibility to tell parents and taxpayers how the schools are spending their money, and seeking their insight on helping the school district deliver high quality and an efficient educational program. The public has a right to know and be engaged in their schools. And they need someone in the schools trained in communication so they can get clear answers and guidance on how to work with their schools.”

NSPRA cites the following ways that some school districts have started PR programs:

  • Forming a public relations or communications committee of the board
  • Conducting a communication audit of the district’s communication needs
  • Responding to an increased need for the district to tell its story
  • Dealing with dissention in a community and attempting to pull the community back together

For details about each of these options, access the NSPRA web site and click on Starting a School PR program.

Research is the essential first step in developing any plan, whether you’re tackling your first strategic communication plan, updating an existing strategic communication plan or planning a specific initiative. 

Check out NSPRA's research tools and ideas to help get you started.

Hiring a School Communications/PR professional?  Here are sample interview questions.