Tuesday, February 22, 2022
11:00 a.m. – noon

Harnessing the Power of Visual Communications
Michael Broyles, The Scholastic Network
Fun fact: We recall 60% of what we see but only 10% of what we hear. Imagine leveraging blank hallways and building entrances by turning them into visual communication hubs where you control the message. Where students, staff and community members see the positive things happening across your school or district. Meet CEO Michael Broyles and discuss how you can put your Visual Communication Strategy to work creating a positive narrative and culture of success!

Mindful Messaging: Communication with Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity in Mind
Gustavo Reveles & Melissa Martinez, APR, CPC, El Paso ISD
Whether digital or print, social media or earned media, school districts must acknowledge their audience when crafting messages. EPISD has demonstrated success in messaging by careful consideration of the race, ethnicity, socio-economic and LGBTQ+ backgrounds of their community. Improve your engagement by embracing diversity, equity and inclusivity.

Virtual Telethons: An Innovative Way to Fundraise During COVID
Andrea Nguyen, Pasadena ISD Education Foundation
The pandemic forever changed the way we communicate, market and fundraise. The Pasadena ISD Education Foundation was forced to cancel all our events for 2020, causing a major drop in donations. We came up with a highly successful eight-hour live-streamed show that netted over $327,000 in donations. Find out how we did it by attending this session, which also will touch upon storytelling, AV production, content creation, social media management, marketing, crowdfunding and more!

Yes, Your iPhone Camera Can do That!
Roger Campos, Southwest ISD
We will discuss how to get the most out of your iPhone camera to create professional-quality photos. We will cover iPhone-specific topics such as settings, effects and filters. Additionally, we will cover best practices in photography that include framing, the rule of thirds and other techniques that all users can benefit from. BYOD

Fold in the Cheese! The Recipe for Successful Storytelling
Aubrey Chancellor, North East ISD
Fold in the Cheese. It’s easy if you know how to do it, but extremely difficult if you don’t. NEISD will share our best practices for storytelling, how we find and cultivate stories and how we get the audience interested in our stories. From headline creation to posting online, this is how our stories get your attention.

Learning to HUG and not HATE the Haters
Justin Elbert & Associate Superintendent Dayna Hernandez, Klein ISD
How do you share the positive narrative of your school district amidst ever-increasing division and hostility? In Klein ISD we use the HUG approach to connect with our most negative community members and staff. Humility, Understanding and Grace go a long way in connecting with the haters. The HUG approach allows us to solve issues proactively. You’ll walk away with new ways to make a positive impact in your school community.

Savvy Self-Promotion – Boost Your Team’s Credibility
Dawn Parnell, CPC, Chelse Westbrook, CPC, Pam Pena, Amy Johnson & Jeff Smith, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD
Have you ever heard someone say, “What does the communications department do?” As PR professionals, we spend our time sharing others’ successes. Sometimes we forget to brag about ourselves and may even feel uncomfortable doing so. Learn how one communications department is gaining credibility in their district through savvy self-promotion. You’ll leave ready with core promotion tactics to implement and change the credibility and perception of your communications department within your school district.

Understanding Emotional Intelligence
Stevie Dawn Carter, Ph.D., Stevie Dawn Inspires, LLC
Whether you are having conversations face-to-face, over the phone or via e-mail, it is not just about what you say but also how you say it. Emotional Intelligence is the learned ability to manage emotions effectively and interpret messages correctly. This workshop will explore the process of utilizing EI daily. Through engaging activities and discussions, participants will learn
how to be more empathetic towards others and leave with immediately applicable tips.

Managing the Media
Jennifer Hines, Tyler ISD
You’ll learn everything you need to know about the media, including how to make them work for you. Tips and tricks include how to write dynamic press releases, prepare for interviews, and develop strong relationships with the press. These insights and practical suggestions will help you take charge of any situation, especially in a crisis.

The Listening Project
Julie Jones, University of Oklahoma
Ironically, hearing is one of the first senses we develop as humans yet listening is a skill rarely learned nor practiced. The Listening Project is an innovative effort at Gaylord College to help train students to hear more precisely and deeply. Julie Jones created the class to emphasize that listening may be a “soft” skill, but it is vital to understanding and building bonds with others. Learn three listening exercises you can use professionally as personally.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022
2:45 – 3:45 p.m.

Connecting the Dots Between Equity and Communications with Research Findings
Dr. Julie Evans, Ph.D., Project Tomorrow, in partnership with Blackboard
Equity has proven to be an important strategic priority for districts across the country. The pandemic has brought many disparities into focus and uncovered new equity gaps that may have been previously overlooked. But what is your role as a communications leader in these initiatives? In this session, we will look at what the research says and lay out the next steps for making a difference with your communications.

School Safety Laws and Best Practices
Celina Bley, Ph.D., Texas School Safety Center, Texas State University
The TxSSC is charged to oversee security mandates and trains and educates districts. This session will review how your role plays a key part in communicating school safety initiatives and responses. For example, does your district have a reunification plan and are you prepared to work with the media at the site? Come to this session to learn about this key safety plan as well as other safety best practices and legal mandates.

The Fires are Burning, and The Waves are High: Best Practices for Maintaining Ethical Leadership in a Politicized Climate
Julie Thannum, APR & Susan Brott, APR, CESO Communications
There have always been critics of public education, but the current politicized climate makes navigating the waters difficult. Learn effective messaging and communication strategies to proactively promote a positive narrative around district decisions and strategic work. Gain insight into the well-organized strategies of opposition groups and how you can maintain ethical leadership while under fire. Learn best practices for responding to critics and how to lower the temperature as you navigate through difficult conversations.

Show Me the Content! Combining Marketing and PR for Digital Success
Danielle Clark, APR, & Stephanie De Los Santos Harrison County Department of Education
Content is king in marketing and PR! And just like Cuba Gooding Jr., you jump up and down trying to get good content to showcase across multiple communications channels. But you need more than just quality information to claim communications success. Learn how Digital PR combines marketing and PR tactics through content marketing, SEO email, SEO and social media to promote your district, boost reputation and increase engagement.

“I Believe in Believe” – Strategic Storytelling in School PR
Justin Dearing, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD & Erin McCann, CPC, Allen ISD
Ted Lasso said, “I believe in hope, I believe in ‘Believe.’” School districts must tell stories that their communities believe in. With education in the spotlight now, there has never been a better time to rethink how we tell the stories of the students and teachers we serve. Join us for an open discussion on the importance of the undeniable stories in school PR and how we strategically go about telling them.


REALtor School Connections
Eva deCardenas, Clear Creek ISD & Penny Brockway, CRS, SFR, Brockway Realty
You will be SOLD on how CCISD launched a partnership with area realtors. Through its Realtor Certification Course, in partnership with the Women’s Council of Realtors, CCISD educates this important segment of the community in all things public education including school boundaries and ratings, unique programs, property taxes and more. At the conclusion, CCISD Certified Realtors are informed education advocates, receive a marketing “toolbox” and are promoted via CCISD’s microsite.

Different Faces of a Bond Election
Susan Ard, CPC & Superintendent of Schools Chris Trotter Cleveland ISD
How does the fastest growing district in Texas handle Bond Elections year after year? Let us share with you the technics, ideas, marketing and strategies that we have used in the past six years with the last five bonds. 

Ditch the Letters and Adopt a Newsroom Model
Scott Thomas & Cristina Nguyen, Austin ISD
Stop writing letters and start writing news stories that are actually informative and easy to ready. In this session, we’ll discuss how Austin ISD has started to rebuild trust with the community by being honest, transparent, and brief in its communications. We’ll also discuss specific tips we learned from the pros at Axios.

Media Strategies to Up Your Online Engagement
Andrea Gribble, #SocialSchool4EDU
Are you pouring in hours of time and effort into creating social media content, but getting no comments and reaching only a fraction of your followers? Andrea will dive into easy strategies to up your online engagement, which means that your school’s stories will be seen by more people.

  • Posting frequency
  • What parents are looking for
  • Kinds of content your community will find engaging
  • Ways to create “thumb-stopping good” content

EMP Show & Tell
Justin Dearing, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD & Kenneth Dixon, Lubbock ISD
Bring a flash drive of your work to share ad discuss with other professionals.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022
8:30-9:30 a.m.

Let’s Rebuild Your Department Budget
Thomas Evans, School Revenue Partners
School Revenue Partners has generated over $6,000,000 for school districts around the country. Let us show you how we can increase your department budget with an efficient and effective advertising program.

How to Build an Effective Strategy for Districtwide Communications
Leander ISD for K12 Insight
Creating systems for cross-functional service, continuous improvement and customer service is challenging — especially for a district with more than 40,000 students, 5,300 staff and 45 schools. Discover how Leander ISD manages an influx of inbound communications, including trustee communications and comments from community members, media requests and superintendent questions, as well as concerns regarding transportation, bond proposals, technology access and more. Corey Ryan, the district’s chief communications officer, shares the innovative strategies Leander ISD uses.

How Public Schools Use Social Media: What Does the Data Show?
Matt Bolinger & Kendall David, Goose Creek CISD
A strategic marketing plan that includes social media may help schools improve communications and public relations. We will highlight the effectiveness of social media and provide insight that will assist in showcasing school accomplishments, progress and successes. Research will show how social media is being applied in Texas public schools. This presentation also analyzes the messaging trends of schools on social media, as well as the attitudinal responses of parents and other users on social media.

Three Bright Ideas that Help Students, Engage the Community and Cost Next to Nothing
Helen William & Amy Wade, Greenville ISD
Learn about three partnerships that are low-cost and high-impact:  1. Art Around Town – An annual display of student artwork in “galleries” at area businesses. 2. Teacher’s Supply Closet – Volunteers run this clearinghouse for accepting and distributing school supplies and other donations. It’s like Amazon, but FREE! 3. Forever A Lion: This partnership with Texas A&M Commerce provides a pathway to college for every Greenville High School graduate and scholarships for GISD teachers.

Turn your Superintendent into a GOAT
Amanda Simpson, Coppell ISD & Adam Bennett, Lake Dallas ISD
With Coppell ISD’s Superintendent Dr. Brad Hunt recently receiving the NSPRA 2021 Superintendent’s Communication Technology Award and being chosen as one of NSPRA’s 2020 Superintendents to Watch, here are the things to do to make your superintendent one of the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) when it comes to innovative communication tactics. Learn about engaging tools such as Amazon’s Alexa, interactive videos and Facebook Live, which will help your superintendent develop into a communications leader.

Making Friends in High Places: Developing Innovative Partnerships for your District
Mike Adkins, Dr. Scott Muri & Alicia Syverson, Ector County ISD
Healthy relationships cultivate innovation and produce results beyond our imagination. We will dig into the art of developing strategic partnerships with local, regional, state, and national entities to improve organizational effectiveness. Examples of these partnerships developed by our district include SpaceX, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Public Impact, Chiefs for Change, Permian Strategic Partnership, Chamber of Commerce, Commit Partnership, Raise Your Hand Texas and the New York Times.

Storytelling Simplified

Brooke Young & Veronica V. Sopher, Fort Bend, ISD
Delivery is the secret behind creative actors, vocalists, communicators and thought leaders. This presentation breaks down delivery from your unique body language, facial expressions, vocal tone, pacing, energetics, dynamics and description as well as teaches you how to transport listeners to your world. Brooke used this strategy when she worked as a Disney Princess and connected with children of all backgrounds. Even the most experienced school communicator can expand their reach with these proven strategies.

Bond Basics: Strategies for Passing a Bond in a Pandemic
Ashley Thomas, Wichita Falls ISD
Is a bond election in your district’s future? Are you stressed about your role in passing a bond during a global pandemic? Discover strategies for winning over your community amid economic uncertainty. Hear how Wichita Falls Independent School District used trust and transparency to pass the largest bond in the history of the district.

Marketing a Rural District Equals the Breakdown of the ‘Good Ole Boy’ Network
Marshall Harrison, Brenda Vargas, Jennifer Goolsby & Jeanie Miller, Sunray Collegiate ISD
The innovation of marketing a rural district is at times not accepted by the educational political system in rural Texas. The survival of rural districts is built upon the implementation of school choice, by increasing transfer students. By marketing Sunray Collegiate ISD a small 2-A rural district in the panhandle of Texas, the district has seen a 200-student growth in more than four years and is hiring a full-time marketing director.

Connecting with your Spanish-speaking Families
Francisco Rojas, Longview ISD
The Longview ISD Community Relations team saw the need to connect more with our Spanish-speaking families and keep them informed on school board decisions, community resources, campus events and programs in a unique way. We started a Spanish-speaking radio show, which keeps our families and members of the community informed, but we didn’t stop there. We also became the first to broadcast high school soccer games with Spanish commentary, and we’ve seen amazing results.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022
10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Make Media Releases Work for You: Get In-Formed on a Better Way
Steven Anderson, Introdo
Ever wish there was a better way than chasing down paper-based media releases for students? There definitely is, and your Superintendent will thank you for finding it. Each year, school districts in the U.S. spend about $2 Billion on paper costs combined. That’s nearly $40/student! Learn how your district can not only save money but time and headaches as well by using forms and workflows to streamline everything from media releases to field trip permission slips and acceptable use policies.

Bridging the Gap Between an Old and New Community in a Fast-growth District
Rachel Moore, Kinsey Droege, Phil Jean & Renae Rives, Alvin ISD
As one of the fastest-growing school districts in Texas, Alvin ISD faces a unique challenge with incorporating new communities into a traditional framework. From organizing district-wide bus tours to naming schools after great educators of the past, learn fun, innovative ways of bridging the gap of both old and new communities in an ever-expanding district.

Social Media, Captions, Transcription…oh my!
Cheryal Loosmore, Lake Travis ISD
Learn how to utilize Adobe’s Premiere Pro to streamline editing for social media, create transcripts and add captions to your videos. This session will be part demonstration and part practice. Bring your laptop (loaded with Adobe Premiere Pro 2021) and video clips to use for your own practice.

Your District Does WHAT?? Behavioral Health Through Art Therapy
Sally Andrews & Stacie Jannise, Vidor ISD
School communications folks wear many hats. One of those, in some districts, is program management. If you’re looking for a program that can make lasting change in your school district, consider behavioral health. Vidor ISD utilizes art therapy along with talk and play therapies to create lifelong adaptations in the way students handle their emotions. The drastic improvement in disciplinary referral rates is the proof that’s in this pudding. Session features hands-on learning!

From DRAB to FAB: Creating Engaging Events from the Mundane
Kacy Swaim & Elizabeth Ross, Longview ISD
Does your district suffer from the same ole’ events year in and year out? Are you looking for a way to get staff excited about and engaged in the new school year? We will walk you through a few events that we revamped in Longview ISD to engage our staff and cultivate a feeling of family while utilizing our community partners to enhance both community and staff buy-in.

Launching Your Campus PR Squad: Be in Two Places at Once Without the Stress
Nick Spinetto & Lauri Anzaldua, Bastrop ISD
Are you a one-person shop or have too many campuses to cover? Does this leave you feeling overwhelmed or like you’re missing out on a positive story? Come to our session and learn more about our Campus Communication Liaisons and how this partnership between the Communications Office and an on-campus staff member leverages your resources to make sure you never miss a good story, and campus social media and websites are always up to date.

Who is Taking Care of You?
Monica Faulkenbery, APR & Mary Libby, MS, CSC, Northside ISD
COVID-19 dashboards, mask haters, TikTok, CRT, employee morale/shortages, and the list continues to “pivot!” Do you feel the weight of your district with no end in sight? We focus on students’ SEL, but who reaches out to us to check our social-emotional well-being? This session will talk about ways to disengage for our own physical and mental health; you’ll learn some, vent some and even do a little exercising and craft project (no skills required).

Digital Marketing 101: An Education Communicators Guide to Marketing
Raymond Ruiz & Evelin De La Rosa, Harmony Public Schools
Shifting community landscapes, emerging competitors and today’s fragmented information channels create distinct challenges in education. Digital Marketing is fundamental to success in today’s era of educational engagement. Grasp the marketing basics to convert more leads online and learn how to evaluate the performance of your agency partners.

To the Next Level: Developing a Strategic Plan to Grow and Expand Your Comms Team
Matthew Prosser & Dustin Taylor, Longview ISD
Does your district need to put more resources into your department, but you’re having a hard time convincing them that this is a need and not just a want? Longview ISD expanded from a two-person “triage” to a six-person team over a span of just a couple of years, thanks to an ambitious strategic plan presented to the LISD administration and board of trustees. Find out what we learned from this experience!

What’s in Your Bag? (EMP)
Justin Dearing, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD & Kenneth Dixon, Lubbock ISD
Calling all video and audio creators! Join us for a discussion and showcase of different audio/video setups used by districts around the state. There will be video and podcast setups that cover all budgets. This session is an opportunity to have conversations with multiple districts about the tools they are using in the field as they tell their stories!