I joined the National School Public Relations Association (@NPSRA), last fall. I have had a keen interest in school communications for years. The conference was at the Hyatt in San Antonio. Here are five things I learned at the conference.
1. The Riverwalk is beautiful
The conference was at the Hyatt hotel which is part of the riverwalk. Literally, you can take one step out of the large glass doors off the lobby of the Hyatt, and you are at the Riverwalk. If you have not been there, it is a hard place to describe. I think it is a compelling mix of nature, shopping, and dining.
2. There are some BIG school districts across the country.
Many of the communication professionals that I met work in school districts with over 19K students. I met three people from Oregon, each of them working in a large district. I met a communications director from Dearborn, Michigan with 24K students. I met a director at a school district in Georgia with over 24K students. I have never worked with a district with more than 5500K students.
3. There is a new superintendent in Nashville, TN.
I spoke with a lovely communications person from Nashville, 35K students. She was young, vivacious, and so enthusiastic. She was gearing up for the upcoming school year with a new superintendent. One of their activities was meeting was a “meet and greet the new superintendent” at a local mall. Nice idea.
4. School communications is not “big” in Massachusetts.
In the conference program, there were only two communications professionals listed from Massachusetts. I confess that I am not a communications professional, however I was invited to speak at the goldmine series about my work with video, local cable television, and school districts. NSPRA does not have a chapter in Massachusetts. I can say that in 33 years, I have only met one communications professional in Massachusetts. One could surmise that school administrators in Massachusetts do not value school communications. After spending a week immersed in this world, I see more than ever how important it is. Maybe some day, districts in the Commonwealth will realize the importance of school public relations and communications.
5. NSPRA really knows how to run a great conference.
Everything was first class, organized, and well-planned. Hands down, it was the best conference I have been to. Ever. The location was perfect. San Antonio is a happening place. Polite people, great dining, and historical places to visit.
Remember the Alamo.