CalSPRA’s Excellence in Communication Awards program recognizes the successful efforts of education agencies and communication professionals in producing materials and services that meet the information needs of communities throughout our state.
This year’s Excellence in Communication awardees will be recognized at the 2022 Annual Conference Awards Banquet in Sacramento on March 10, 2022. Awardees who earn an Award of Excellence will also have an opportunity to present their work at the 2022 Annual Conference.
Check out our tip sheet for entrants!
Any person with public relations, communications, and/or publication responsibilities in public or private TK-16 educational institutions may submit entries for consideration.
Award entries must have been created, implemented, and measured between July 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021.
There are four primary categories, with multiple opportunities to submit within each.
Comprehensive Program or Campaign
A comprehensive program or campaign is a fully developed communication, marketing, or engagement effort that included multiple tactics. Entries will be judged on their application of the four-step PR process.
- Ballot Measure Information Campaign: An informational campaign designed to build voter awareness, understanding, and support for voting on an organization’s bond or parcel tax ballot measure.
- Crisis Communication and Issues Management: Programs undertaken to deal with a crisis event or an issue with broad impact on system trust and reputation.
- Special Events: A one-time program to honor, commemorate, celebrate, or recognize. The duration of this program may be a single day to a full year.
- Internal Communication Campaign: Programs targeted specifically to employees or other special publics directly allied with an organization.
- Social Media Campaigns: A campaign executed online using a single or multiple social media applications to inform or engage a target audience.
- Marketing Campaign: A comprehensive program intended to increase support for, perception of, or enrollment in an organization, school, special program or other organizational opportunity or priority.
- Community Engagement Campaign: Programs that seek to win the support or cooperation of; that aim to improve relations with; or seek to gather decision-making input from; the communities in which the organization has an interest, need, or opportunity.
Specific activities or action taken as part of a formal campaign or independently. Entries are judged based on a short, written description of the entry’s purpose as well as writing quality and/or layout and design.
- Media Relations: A single media relations tool used to generate media coverage an event, topic, organization, or other purpose.
- Annual Report: Electronic or printed version of your organization’s Annual Report.
- Feature/Editorial Writing: An original article, column, or essay written to entertain or educate a target audience about an event, topic, organization, or other purpose.
- General Publications/Collateral Materials: Electronic or printed work that is distributed to communicate to stakeholders, including but not limited to: posters, calendars, brochures, fliers, etc.
- Multimedia/Visual Communication: The presentation of information to a target audience using digital/multimedia tactics, including but not limited to: videos, photos, infographics, motion graphics, graphic design and social media.
- Logo Design: Logos designed as part of a rebrand of your organization, school, or department.
- Newsletter: Printed or electronic newsletter used to inform your stakeholders in a consistent, routine format.
- Internet/Intranet/Website: Have you enhanced, improved, or redesigned a website to meet an organizational objective?
NEW! Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Three new sub-categories are being added:
- Campaign: Fully developed DEI communication, marketing, or engagement effort that included multiple tactics. Entries will be judged on their application of the four-step PR process.
- Feature: An original article, column, or essay written to entertain or educate a target audience about an event, topic, organization, or other purpose. Specific activities or action taken as part of a formal campaign or independently. Entries are judged based on a short, written description of the entry’s purpose as well as writing quality and/or layout and design.
- Multilingual Materials: Electronic or printed work that is distributed to communicate to stakeholders, including but not limited to: posters, calendars, brochures, fliers, etc. Specific activities or action taken as part of a formal campaign or independently. Entries are judged based on a short, written description of the entry’s purpose as well as writing quality and/or layout and design.
- California Gold: This award is the entry from the Comprehensive Program or Campaign category with the overall highest score.
- Communicator of the Year: Recognizes a school communication professional with 5 or more years’ experience in school PR, who has distinguished professional accomplishments, service to CalSPRA and service to the profession. Nominations should address the candidate’s contributions to the field of school communication and commitment to improving the field. The CalSPRA executive board selects the winner.
- Emerging Communication Leader: Recognizes a school communication professional with 1-4 years’ experience, who already has demonstrably contributed to the profession and is expected to continue advancing the profession. The CalSPRA executive board selects the winner.
- NEW! Superintendents to Watch: Recognizes a leader who demonstrates dynamic, fast-paced leadership with strong communication. They use communication technology and strategies in innovative and effective ways to engage and inform their communities and to expand authentic engagement efforts. Nominee does not have to be a CalSPRA member.
Judging and Awards
Comprehensive Program or Campaign
This category will be judged based on entries’ application of the four-step PR process:
- Research: Purpose, challenge, concern, or opportunity clearly defined; desired outcome and gap explained; situational analysis completed; use of primary, secondary, formal and/or informal research demonstrated.
- Planning: Target audiences identified; measurable objectives clearly established; key messages and strategies targeted to each audience and crafted to achieve outcomes stated in objectives.
- Implementation: Describe how plan was executed, any challenges experienced, and how overall implementation of strategies and tactics were handled.
- Evaluation: Did you meet your stated objectives? What efforts were made to analyze results and measure effectiveness?
This category will be judged based on a short, written description of the entry’s purpose as well as writing quality and/or layout and design.
- Purpose: audience is defined, as is the piece’s purpose; information presented is clear and easy to understand.
- Writing Quality: language and writing style are appropriate; writing is error-free; key messages and call to action are included.
- Layout and Design: design is appealing and enhances readability; brand/image is portrayed and reinforced; graphic elements enhance layout.
This category will be judged and selected by the CalSPRA executive board based on the submissions received and alignment to the eligibility requirements of the award.
- To ensure objectivity, with the exception of the Special Recognitions, no current CalSPRA executive board members will take part in any aspect of judging. Volunteer judges who are practicing public relations professionals will be assembled by Jennifer Dericco, APR, CalSPRA Immediate Past President.
- Submissions will be scored on a 100-point scale. Submissions scoring 80-89 points will be awarded at the “Merit” level. Submissions scoring 90 or higher will be awarded at the “Excellence” level.
- The categories are not competitive, so some categories may have multiple winners, while some may have none.
- To further ensure fairness in submission evaluation, judges will now take into consideration an entry’s total budget (i.e., available resources) and size of the organization.
You may enter as many pieces of your work as you want before the 11:59 p.m. deadline on January 3, 2022. There will be no extension. To enter, access CalSPRA's submission portal here.
- Comprehensive Program or Campaign, Tactics, DEI categories: $40 each ($60 for non-CalSPRA members)
- Special Recognitions: Free
Send one total payment for your entries. Payment must be received no later than January 31, 2021 or the submission will be disqualified.
Make checks payable to: CalSPRA
Mail checks to:
California School Public Relations Association (CalSPRA)
10265 Rockingham Dr Ste 100 PMB 5060
Sacramento, CA 95827
Announcements will be made by March 6, 2022 (except for the Special Recognitions) and all winners will be honored at the Awards Gala, during our annual conference on Thursday, March 10, 2022.
Check out our tip sheet for entrants!
Email Jennifer Dericco, APR, CalSPRA Immediate Past President, at email@example.com with subject line "CalSPRA Awards Question".