Category Archives: Uncategorized

11 Unbelievably Accurate Pet Peeves from School PR Pros

#SchoolPR: What are your biggest work-related pet peeves?

I recently asked my fellow #SchoolPR pros what their biggest pet peeves were, and the results were hilariously spot-on! Regardless of our annoyances, I think we can all agree that our work to advance education through communication is worth it. — It’s for the kids, right? 😊

Jim Cummings, APR said it best:

This entire thread is hysterical. It’s a school PR Festivus and we’re airing our grievances!

george costanza seinfeld GIF

Originally tweeted by Bad Hombre Jim Says Wash Your Hands ✊🏼🦅🇮🇪 (@Phxflyer) on August 27, 2020.

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Join dozens of other pros and order your School PR has you covered mask! Orders ship on August 31!

Career and Technical Education Is a Lot More Than Your Grandad’s Vo-Tech

There’s a lot of stigma that comes with Career and Technical Education (CTE). Despite it being a more affordable, lucrative, and rewarding option for Americans, it still has a “less-than” kind of reputation when compared to higher education.

CTE is a lot more than your grandad’s vo-tech. It’s a rigorous option for all students seeking to explore career and life opportunities. I am living proof. I am a graduate of all three levels of public education: K12, CareerTech, & Higher Ed and by far, CareerTech was the most rewarding (and affordable).

My Traditional High School Experience

As a freshman and sophomore in high school, I was an introverted “wallflower” that disliked traditional high school academia and the social expectations that came with it like prom, homecoming, sports, etc. I excelled academically, but I never felt a sense of belonging in the traditional high school setting. In fact, I hated it.

CTE: A Place for Me

Because of my aversion to the traditional high school setting, I applied for and was accepted into the Web Design program at Moore Norman Technology Center, my local CareerTech center. This arrangement allowed me to complete my required core courses at the high school and attend MNTC’s Web Design Program as elective credit during my junior and senior year. A half day at the high school, a half day at the tech center. I LOVED IT.

MNTC’s Web Design program (one of over 30 programs to choose from at MNTC) enabled me to think creatively, work with like-minded peers, and learn and practice much-needed soft skills. I graduated MNTC job-ready and with skills I was able to use immediately.

CTE Leads to Advanced Degrees & Certifications, Too.

After graduating from MNTC in 2004, I earned my undergraduate degree from The University of Oklahoma. Undoubtedly, the skills I acquired in my CTE high school program made my journey through undergraduate college much easier.

In the summer of 2014 I brought my career full circle. I applied and accepted a marketing position at the same CareerTech center I attended in high school: MNTC. 


  • In 2017, with the help of MNTC’s tuition enhancement program, I completed my Master’s Degree in Public Administration from The University of Central Oklahoma. 
  • In 2018, I earned my Accreditation in Public Relations (APR).
  • In 2020, I founded The School of Swag part-time blog and freelance business!

Advancing CareerTech Education Through Communication

I am honored to spend much of my day in school PR, marketing, & communications advocating for CTE and helping change the lives of public school students who need it most.

If you want to learn more about CTE and how you can advocate for it, please contact me.

The Top 3 Things Superintendents Need to Improve District Communications

Identifies the Title of the Blog

You’ve seen it on superintendent or district evaluations: Communication is poor or mediocre and needs to be improved. But how do you go about improving communication in your district?

Here are the Top 3 things superintendents need to improve communications:

A commitment to communications in your district strategic plan.

One of the goals of your district’s strategic plan should be to improve district communications. Oftentimes, this starts as a committee of employees who will inevitably decide the path toward achieving this goal. The National School Public Relations (NSPRA) has a great resource for getting started on this path.

Have at least one full-time communicators director or coordinator. 

Teachers, principals, and superintendents should not carry the burden of building and implementing a district communications plan. If they did, it would likely result in tactical-level outcomes because of the number of other duties these employees have. The most successful school districts have dedicated communicators who handle district-level communications. And, those communicators have a seat at the leadership table.

At the school and classroom levels, dedicated communicators can help facilitate school or classroom communications so they align with the mission, vision, and goals of the district’s strategic plan.

An NSPRA Professional Membership

This is a no-brainer. EVERY school district who cares about improving internal or external communications needs to join the National School Public Relations Association and take advantage of free resources and the annual seminar.

Have a special school project or communications need?

Explore our freelance services or contact us. We can perform the work or refer you (for free) to someone who can.

Connecting Communities: Creating Safe Spaces for 2SLGBTQ+ Students and Staff

Authors: Joshua Sauer, APR | He/Him; Carla Pereira, APR | She/Her

As school public relations leaders, we have the ability to challenge and address injustices, exclusion and inequity. We do this through input on policy development, awareness-raising, the use of inclusive language and images, support for culturally responsive practices and amplifying the voices of communities who are marginalized.

Keep these five things in mind when working, through communication, to create safe spaces for the 2SLGBTQ+ community:

Be familiar with key terms: 2SLGBTQ+.

2SLGBTQ+ is an acronym used to identify two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning as a community of people whose sexual and gender identities can create shared political and social concerns. Yes, in 2019.You may not be familiar with the plus sign (+) or the 2S. The plus sign (+) represents the fact that many communities choose to expand the acronym to include other identities. 2S stands for “two-spirited” and must be contextualized within a Native American framework. The term is used by some indigenous peoples to describe individuals who carry out a traditional third-gender role in their cultures. We placed 2S in front of LGBTQ+ to acknowledge that indigenous peoples were first on these lands. To gain a clearer understanding of each term listed above, visit

Remember voice vs. amplify.

In our roles, it is important to recognize that we cannot be the voice for all. It is not our intention here to speak for everyone in the 2SLGBTQ+ community or for all district communicators. Sometimes, our lived experiences are quite different than those for whom we advocate. This does not mean we cannot be allies.What we’ve learned in doing equity work is that we must listen, acknowledge and actively support those who experience hardship. And sometimes, we need to apologize and do better. Maya Angelou once said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” So let’s do just that in support of students and staff who identify as 2SLGBTQ+. Together, we can create safe spaces for all.

Use personal experiences to guide your heart work.

As a communicator and trusted advisor for your school district, you the adversity you have face in life to guide your work. Let the adversity you have faced drives you to amplify the voices of others today.

Use an equity mindset.

Creating safe spaces in our schools and districts takes courage, and can be complex. The goal is to create positive climates for learning and working that inspire success, well-being and trust.Remind stakeholders that this is about supporting all by providing climates that are safe and inclusive of everyone. Besides being the right thing to do, it’s also the law.

Evaluate the use of heteronormative practices and use inclusive language.

Review content used on forms, messages sent home and how you celebrate days like Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day and Mother’s Day.

Seek advice and learn continuously.

Know the space you occupy, and seek guidance from local leaders and advocates. Some may be staff and parents in your district. You can also reach out to us for free advice and support or extensive consulting, and/or presentations. Please contact us at and/or

When the work is right, just and good, we should. This is heart work.

Exploring New Opportunities


Dear School PR Family:

Every year since 2016 I’ve had the pleasure of bringing you the annual #ROAD2NSPRA fundraiser. Together, along with the #K12PR5k team, we’ve raised over $5000 for the NSPRA Foundation to help members get to the NSPRA Seminar! 

Over the last few months, I’ve been exploring the idea of turning School PR swag into a regular “side hustle” (as my colleagues would call it). 😉

Here’s how it would work: Join the School PR Swag of the Month Club for a low cost and receive a fresh School PR-themed item on your doorstep. Every month. No commitments. Cancel at any time. Joy to the world!

In the month of June, I would still contribute 100% of proceeds from the club to the NSPRA Foundation. Additionally, in every other month, I will donate a portion of the club’s proceeds to another public school organization/foundation or charity, voted on by club members.

But, as any good PR professional would do, I have to conduct research first. If you have a few minutes, please complete this quick survey