Author Archives: Joshua Sauer, APR

The New School Communicator’s Guide to the First 90 Days

If you’ve recently joined the school communications field or are starting fresh in a new school district with similar responsibilities, this blog is for you! This guide aims to help you create a stronger foundation for a strategic communications plan so you can hit the ground running and start making a noticeable impact at your district.

Starting any new position can be overwhelming but as you ease into your role, the key focus of your first few months on the job should be:

1) Conducting a situation analysis
2) Reviewing secondary research and data
3) Building relationships

These three focus areas should make up 90 percent of what you do, with the other 10 percent dedicated to “keeping the lights on” in your department and assisting administrators with their immediate needs. 

Let’s look at 10 significant ideas and suggestions to help guide your first 90 days as a new school communicator.

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Developing #BeWell34: A Virtual Space for Mindfulness & Well Being

I recently partnered with Glenview District 34 in Glenview, Illinois, to develop the #BeWell34 virtual space for students, employees, and families to find resources to encourage mindfulness and support well being.  

#BeWell34 has separate calming centers for each age group and delivers focused, scientific-based strategies to visitors based on their current mood and feeling. Glenview 34 uses the Finalsite content management system, Composer, which allows users to create highly-dynamic, granular designs. 

The #BeWell34 student calming center allows users to choose their age and current mood in order to produced optimized results.

Glenview 34 Director of Communications & Strategic Planning, Cathy Kedjidjian, APR, encourages anyone to use the system!

Check it out here.

If you want to learn how we partnered to make this happen, contact me. I’m happy to help!

11 Exceptionally Funny School PR Headlines (Real and Imaginary)

Gosh, I love this profession. I recently asked school PR and communications professionals to submit their real or imaginary school PR headlines. I’ve pulled out a few amusing ones. Anonymity kept. Enjoy!

Local PR Pro Switches to Holiday Playlist, Annoys Coworkers, Defends Decision as “Self-Care”

After Three Years of Complete Silence, School Staffers Flood Communication Team’s Inbox to Correct Spelling Error

Executive Team Shocked to Learn PIO is Not a Clairvoyant

Parent Posts on Social Media with Questions About Confirmed COVID Case. Doesn’t Read Entire Email for the Answers

Communications Director Tries in Vain to Respond to Nonsense Comments with Accurate Information

New COVID-19 Dashboard Garners Impressive Numbers of Suggestion Emails, Ranging from Ridiculous to Impossible

Record Number Of District Staff Add Impressive Credentials To Their Title: “Medical and Contact Tracing Expert”

Studies Show Mad Men-Style Bar in Comms Department Office Would Lead to Safer Work Environment for All Who Dare Enter with a Random and Last-Minute Request

24 Hr Babysitting Not Provided by Schools: Parents Shocked to Learn They Have to Monitor Students’ Chromebook Use at Home

Angry Parent Complains About Lack of Communication a after Unsubscribing from All District Messages

BREAKING: Top Scientists Agree That Fitting An Entire K-8 Curriculum On One “At-a-Glance” Document Would Defy The Laws of Space, Time

Congratulations to NSPRA’s Fifth 35 Under 35 Class!

Earlier today, NSPRA announced the fifth 35 Under 35 Class!

Congratulations to the following individuals:

  1. Elizabeth Beadle Middletown (Ohio) City School District (@Eliz_Beadle @MiddletownOH)
  2. Ashton Brellenthin , Danville (Ind.) Community School Corporation (@SeeAshtonWrite @DCSCWarriors)
  3. Kate Brown, Waterford Union High School, Waterford, Wis. (@WaterfordUnion)
  4. Eva Craner Twin Falls (Idaho) School District #411 (@evacraner @tfsd411)
  5. Stevie Crovetto St. Charles Parish Public Schools, Luling, La. (@steviecro @scpps)
  6. Rachel Frost, Region 10 Education Service Center, Richardson, Texas (@RE_Frost44 @Region10ESC)
  7. Eric Hagemann,Osseo Area Schools, Maple Grove, Minn. (@EricHagemann @ISD279)
  8. Tyler Hill, Arlington (Tenn.) Community Schools (@THillMedia @ACS_System)
  9. Audrey Holtzman, Parma (Ohio) City School District (@audrey_holtzman @ParmaSchools)
  10. Jada Jonas, Iredell-Statesville Schools Statesville, N.C. (@jadajonas @isschools)
  11. Cody Kennedy, Olathe (Kan.) Public Schools (@iamcodykennedy @olatheschools)
  12. Ashley Kryscynski, Washtenaw Intermediate School District Ann Arbor, Mich. (@a2kryscynski  @WashISD) 
  13. Conor Laffey, Oak Harbor (Wash.) Public Schools (@OakHarborPS)
  14. Claudia Lemus-Campos, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD, Pharr, Texas (@claudiavlemus @psjaisd )
  15. Cristen Maddux, School District of Indian, River County, Vero Beach, Fla. (@CristenM_PIO @IRCSchools)
  16. Jeremy Maskel, Omaha (Neb.) Public Schools (@JerMaskel @OmahaPubSchool)
  17. Mandy Mayberry, Autry Technology Center, Enid, Okla. (@MandyMayberry @AutryTechnology)
  18. Lenora McEntire Doss, Floyd County Schools, Rome, Ga. (@LenoraLibby @FloydCoSchools)
  19. Callen Moore, Walton County School District Monroe, Ga. (@CWMOORE15 @WCSD_GA)
  20. Andrew Munson, Lenawee Intermediate School District, Adrian, Mich. (@LenaweeISD)
  21. David Nielsen, Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD, Bedford , Texas (@hebisd)
  22. Tarah O’Connell, Northbrook (Ill,) School District 27 (@d27schools)
  23. David Olson, Sycamore (Ill.) Community, School District #427 (@David_____0, @SYC427) 
  24. Alissa Ouderkirk, Capital Region BOCES, Albany, N.Y. (@alissaetc @CapRegionBOCES)
  25. Melissa Reese, Allentown (Pa.) School District (@Melissa_ashleyy, @AllentownSD)
  26. Jared Revlett, Owensboro (Ky.) Public Schools (@OPS_PIO  @OboroSchools)
  27. Olivia Rice, Terrell (Texas) ISD (@oliviajrice @TerrellISD)
  28. Andrew Robinson, Gettysburg (Pa.) Area School District (@RobinsonReports @GASD_PA)
  29. Celina Rodriguez, Mount Vernon (Wash.)School District( @CelinaInPR @MVSchools)
  30. Corey Ryan, Leander (Texas) ISD (@CoreyLISD @LeanderISD)
  31. Jahantab Siddiqui, Howard County Public School System Ellicott City, Md. (@jahantab  @HCPSS)
  32. Kimberly Uelmen , Howard-Suamico School District Green Bay, Wis. (@kuelmen_PR @HSSD)
  33. Bryan Winfrey, Valley Christian Schools, Chandler, Ariz. (@bwwinfrey @vcschoolsaz)
  34. Erica Yelland, DoDEA, Alexandria, Va. (@ericayelland  @dodea)
  35. Nicole Young, Clay County District Schools (@MrsNicoleYoung @OneClaySchools)

The School of Swag Launches Inaugural #SchoolPR Secret Santa gift exchange!

Introducing the inaugural School PR Secret Santa, powered by! This December you can exchange gifts with school PR & communications pros from around the United States and Canada!

  • Step 1: Sign up using the link by Friday, October 23.
  • Step 2: We’ll assign you a partner by Friday, October 30, via email.
  • Step 3: Please have a gift ($25 or less) delivered to your partner’s mailing address by Tuesday, December 1, or before.
  • Step 4: Save the Date / Gift Opening Day: Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, from 2 – 3 p.m. ET — All school PR participants will open gifts and celebrate during a virtual School PR holiday party!
  • Step 5: Invite all of your school PR friends to sign up at!

School of Swag Donates 10% of Proceeds from July-Sept. Sales to Jumpstart

The School of Swag (SOS) has donated 10% of July, August, and September swag shop proceeds to Jumpstart  — a national early education organization working toward the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed. 

Each quarter, SOS chooses a new educational-related organization to serve as a beneficiary. SOS swag sales from October – December will benefit the International Dyslexia Association.

Thank you for your support, communicators!

Joshua Sauer, APR