In California, there are over 5.8 million students, which means keeping school communities informed and connected has never been more important.
Unfortunately, society’s challenges often find their way into the classroom and the boardroom. In addition to being instructional leaders, education professionals today must excel at communication and public relations. They look to the California School Public Relations Association (CalSPRA) to hone their skills. Established as a statewide nonprofit in 1993 as a chapter of the National School Public Relations Association, CalSPRA supports effective communication in schools and works to create a climate for better public understanding, commitment and support of education.
Backed by a volunteer board of communications and school professionals, the organization draws members from throughout the state’s public and private schools and school districts, including public information officers, superintendents, principals, secretaries, webmasters and others who strive to improve communications within their communities.
“CalSPRA membership has almost doubled recently, from 450 in 2021 to 850 in 2023,” says Executive Director Trinette Marquis. “Behind that growth are school administrators and leaders responding to the recent challenges schools are facing and realizing that communication is critical to engage the public and achieve their vision.”
CalSPRA provides monthly online webinars on a variety of communication topics, including sharing positive stories from the classroom, the effective use of social media, how artificial intelligence is affecting school communication, and how to engage underserved communities. They also host an annual conference offering more than 65 sessions on school communications, online resources and templates, and provide connections among members for advice and support.
“Our training helps schools position themselves to increase enrollment, boost internal morale to improve teacher retention, and find common ground on some of the politically contentious matters that now commonly confront school administrators and school boards,” says President Jessica Hull. “We also help with crisis communication, preparing school professionals to communicate quickly and effectively with all groups needing immediate information.”
“CalSPRA will continue to support school professionals in all of their communication endeavors to build a stronger education system for all,” — TRINETTE MARQUIS
The organization has long thrived on its fundamental person-to-person support, but with its tremendous recent growth, a goal is to create more personal touchpoints for members, including a mentorship program where more experienced members lend guidance to newer members.
If you work in education and want to learn more about CalSPRA, head over to www.calspra.org.