(Subject to change)


Tuesday, February 23, 2021 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


Building Culture & Community Through Communication
Michael Broyles, The Scholastic Network; Julia Zwahr, Clif Cotton and Derrick Jackson, Denton ISD


Let’s be honest: communicating with your entire student body, staff & community has never been more important and perhaps never more challenging! Join Michael Broyles (The Scholastic Network) and Julia Zwahr, Clif Cotton & Derrick Jackson (Denton ISD) in a conversation around ways to unify on & off campus communication, connect with key stakeholders in efficient & meaningful ways, engage students in the multimedia process, motivate them to be college-ready & create a safe, healthy environment all in one, simple network. 

Maximizing a Small Department through Multimedia
Emily Solis, Tiffany Taylor, Meredith Caudle and Erin Garcia, Frenship ISD


Get equipped with a strategy and multimedia tactics to maximize your small department. You will learn how to best define the roles of each team member through natural talents and skillsets, then match those with everyday projects. From producing video content, to enhancing your social media presence, to creating professional graphics, you will learn best practices in making the most of your time and resources to make your district shine.

It’s Only a Crisis if You Aren’t Ready
Justin Elbert and Chelsea Ceballos, Klein ISD


Hurricanes, lockdowns, fireworks in the cafeteria, bus wrecks, chemical spills, and clowns. In School PR we truly see it all. From the small crises to the truly terrible, we have to be ready for anything. We will discuss missteps and successes alike. Everyone who comes will walk away with hundreds of example responses, graphics, process flowcharts, tips, and more. Come for the GIFs and stay for the content.

Being the Leader People Need
Dr. Stevie Dawn Blakely


Being put in a leadership role and being an effective leader, unfortunately, do not always go hand in hand. Leading well must be done with intention and consideration. So, how do you become a leader that people want to follow? Understanding people is at the foundation. What your team needs from you is just as important as what you need from them. Utilizing the Employee Development Cycle, we will discuss how to meet your employees where they are and motivate them accordingly.

Don’t Be a League of Your Own: Joining Forces with Staff, Students and Each Other
Nicole Lyons, Keller ISD; Justin Dearing, Carroll ISD


Whether you’re a team of one or a large department, you cannot be everywhere all the time. It’s important that you partner with the voices outside of your office. We’ll discuss programs in our districts that involve student interns and campus PR representatives who help tell the stories about wonderful things happening in schools. As part of neighboring districts, we also value the importance of staying connected with each other outside of scheduled School PR events and will share ideas of how to push each other to continue thinking forward, while keeping our sanity.

What’s Working Best for Social Media in Schools – 2021
Andrea Gribble, Founder of #SocialSchool4EDU


Social media is a powerful tool to keep families engaged and this session is going to break down the latest strategies that are working for schools. Andrea will share the tools, tactics, and boundary-saving sanity tips to help you make a bigger impact on your school’s communication efforts.

Sex and Schools
Dennis Eichelbaum, Attorney, Eichelbaum, Wardell, et al Law

There’s no abstaining from Title IX. From Trump to Biden and on to the Supreme Court? Our revolving door of Definitions, Gender Identity, Investigations, Website Requirements, etc.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021, 2:45-3:45 p.m.


What Are You Doing to Increase Your Budget?
Thomas Evans, School Revenue Partners


School Revenue Partners has generated over $5,000,000 for school districts around the country. Let us demonstrate how you can grow your budget with minimal efforts.

EMP Show & Tell Continued
Justin Dearing, Carroll ISD


Bring a flash drive of your work to share with others and discuss.

Set Your Focus on Adobe Lightroom
Jim Zavala, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD


Are you looking for a quick and simple way to manage, edit and export your photos? If so, Lightroom may be the answer for you. This session will introduce Adobe Lightroom Classic to the casual-intermediate photographer. We’ll walk through the import process, editing and, finally, exporting the final product. You’ll also learn about photo organization and best practices for an efficient workflow!

Open Records and Student Confidentiality Laws: From Public Information to Mums the Word
Andrea Mooney, Attorney,
Eichelbaum, Wardell, et al Law


How to process requests under the Texas Public Information Act and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, including an overview of the response process, available objections, and timelines.

Exciting Emerging Marketing Trends to Engage Your Audience
Jason Wheeler, CPC, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD


As more of our parents and students are jumping online, school districts have to market their districts using digital solutions. Marketing trends to delight your school district leadership team, board trustees and your audience will be shared. Learn how your district can engage audiences and improve your marketing results.

Leverage Instagram Reels and TikTok to Promote Your Brand
Claudia V. Lemus Campos, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD


Creating original content for various social media platforms can be challenging! In this session, attendees will learn how to leverage Instagram Reels and TikTok to connect with your audience and promote your brand in 15 seconds or less! Join us as we share insights, tips and best practices to develop and repurpose engaging content for all your platforms.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021, 9:00-10:00 a.m.


Student, Parent, Teacher, and Coach Communication. How Does All This Work?
Lindsey Fishback, Jeff Windsor, Ruth Spina and Steve Ostler, Blackboard


52% of district leaders say they encourage teachers and students not to mix personal and school accounts and applications in their communications.

  • Question: As a communications leader, what is your stance on using personal communication channels (like texting) for communication? What implications could that have on safety? What could that mean for you legally?

94% of students in grades 9-12 and 87% of students in grades 6-8 report having a personal smartphone.

  • Question: With a vast majority of students having access to this technology, how can you safely leverage this tool for teacher and student communication?

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Social Unrest: Tools for Communicators from the Superintendent Point of View
Dr. Charles DuPree, Superintendent, Fort Bend ISD and TASA President-Elect and Dr. Kimberly Cantu, Superintendent, Mansfield ISD.


Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) impacts every district our state. Navigating the conversations regarding social unrest impacts the entire community. How do we get comfortable with these discussions? A couple of trusted superintendents share the importance of the messages being communicated and the intent of the work in progress.

Get in The Marketing Mindset
Fran Stephenson, APR, Step In Communication


Every organization has potential barriers which can keep them from growing. But if those barriers interfere with marketing to your potential customers, how will you rise above? The answer is to develop a marketing mindset. This presentation will look at today’s top five marketing trends to help you and your school overcome those barriers and position your organization to the top of today’s crowded education marketplace.

School PR Veterans Mindset Reboot
AmyLee Westervelt, Dream Design Coach & Veronica V. Sopher, Fort Bend ISD


There can be a point where bond elections start running together, board and superintendent transitions become less stressful and every day crisis start to become “old hat”. How is a veteran school PR pro supposed to stay inspired and eager to learn the latest trends? We will share strategies on how to set up processes to be mentored up and mentored down, how to remove age-related mindset blocks and be open to learning and how to be humble and not be the ONLY person in the room with all the answers.

Glass Half-Full: Leveraging the Pandemic as an Opportunity to Increase Parent Engagement
Arianna Vazquez-Hernandez, APR, CPC, & Melinda Garza, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD


The pandemic has provided a lot of challenges for PR practitioners, but it is all in our mindset. In this session, you will learn how to leverage the pandemic to increase parent engagement by meeting them where they are: social media! Learn how traditional in-person meetings are a thing of the past and hosting LIVE Facebook academies and info sessions increases the number of parents connected. This is a practice that is here to stay even after the pandemic!

Everyone is a Photographer Until (M) Manual
Timothy Richardson and Corey Phypher, Lancaster ISD


The Digital Photography Course is just one of the important parts I think that is needed to have in a communication role in the 2020 way of work life. As a high school Audio Video teacher and now as a communication coordinator capturing the right image makes the world of difference in telling your story.

Growing Your Social Media Audience Strategically
Gustavo Reveles and Melissa Martinez APR CPC, El Paso ISD


Social media engagement is now the top way to reach parents, students and the community. Over the last year, EPISD has strategically shifted its approach to social media to grow its audience and develop targeted messaging that works. Learn the tricks and secrets it takes to increase your social media following in a manner that is effective and mostly free.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Critical Communication Support in Times of Crisis
Patti Pawlik-Perales, Alamo Heights ISD; Ian Halperin, Wylie ISD; Monica Faulkenbery, Northside ISD; Sylvia Rincon, Southside ISD; Tim Savoy, Hays CISD; Melissa Tortorici, Texas City ISD; Kristin Zastoupil, Forney ISD


Every day, our schools and our staff accomplish the extraordinary. And in crisis, we reach out to our neighbors to help them with what they need. We hope this session will help you feel less “alone” in a crisis situation. We hope you make connections with some new communications “first responders.” We hope that you will find a few more tools and tips to carry in your tool belt to support you during a crisis situation.

Kickstart Your Video Department for Less than $500
Clarissa Silva, Texas City ISD


When you’re a small department and just starting out with video, things can seem overwhelming and impossible, especially when you don’t have the fancy and expensive equipment the big, experienced departments seem to have. This session will show how with just an iPhone, a few basic accessories, and a simple editing software, Texas City ISD turned their video department from non-existent to award-winning and you can too.

Public Schools Remain BEST CHOICE Amid Pandemic
Scott Milder and Jennifer Storm, Friends of Texas Public Schools

Public schools have never been more successful than they are today. Teeming with highly skilled, professionally trained educators, public schools remain more prepared to educate children than any modern options. While politicians, media, and slick marketing campaigns entice parents to consider alternatives, little regard has been given to the benefits of choosing neighborhood public schools. Attend this session and be reminded why public schools remain the best choice. We even have a handy dandy flyer!

Building a District Brand and Theme: How to Become a Household Name
Kendall David, Matthew Bolinger and Susan Passmore, Goose Creek CISD


Does your district brand evoke trust and loyalty? Does your district theme generate excitement? Participants in this session will learn how to develop a consistent, trustworthy district brand and exciting, energized theme. This session aims to provide the groundwork to create a district brand-book and resources for stakeholders. Also, we want participants to walk away with great ideas to develop and implement a district theme that becomes a household name in your community.

Media Coverage — It’s All About the Relationships
Amanda Simpson, Coppell ISD; Wayne Carter, Reporter, NBC 5 News Dallas: Carter in the Classroom


Join Coppell ISD and Wayne Carter of NBC 5 DFW’s Carter in the Classroom to learn how to craft pitches, build trust and develop relationships that get reporters in the classroom for more than just a crisis.

Take the Wheel! Steer the Public’s Conversation About Your Schools
Helen Williams and Amy Wade, Greenville ISD


Greenville ISD is driving the public conversation about their schools, and you should too! Learn how they are steering their armies of staff and community ambassadors to promote their good work through daily interaction and at the polls. Why? Unwarranted criticism and misinformation plague public education. It’s time we all step up to defend the honor of public education by sharing the many great things educators achieve daily, and by nurturing a culture of voting.

Integrated Marketing Communications? I Can’t Even!
Stephanie De Los Santos and Danielle Clark, APR, Harris County Department of Education


As communications professionals, it has been customary to lead our organizations in all public relations and crisis communications matters. However, more and more of our communications departments are being charged to integrate marketing tactics in addition to telling our stories and disseminating key messages to our target audiences. This session will provide an overview of best practices in integrating communications and marketing for successful outcomes.

Is Your Style Bad News? Get Your AP Style On!
Adam Holland, La Porte ISD and Stephanie A. De Los Santos, HCDE


AP Style isn’t just for newspapers anymore. It is also widely used by PR practitioners across the US, and it changes regularly. Freshen up your Associated Press Style skills with an overview of some important updates and a review of some of the most common mistakes, particularly as they relate to the pandemic and other current events. (Bonus points for finding the AP Style errors in this description!)