Your thoughts: PR for donations/drives for needy students

One of our KYSPRA members asked:

What’s your take on covering events where groups from the community come to your schools to give gifts to students in need and they (both the school and groups) want you to publicize it?”

This a great — and timely — question. Many districts and schools have holiday programs, coat drives and other events to make sure all our students have a wonderful holiday.

But there’s no good press that makes up for embarrassing a kid and their family.

All of us appreciate the generosity and good intentions of businesses and groups that want to help our students, and the gifts are needed by many of our students who live in poverty.

But, our first priority is always our students, not our own PR goals or the PR goals of the businesses and schools. Coverage of an event like this can hurt in two ways:

  • Identifies specific students as being “poor,” which violates regulations if if’s tied to free/reduced anyway. Not to mention it is just flat-out demeaning.
  • Gives the image of certain schools/districts as being “where the poor kids go,” reducing the school down to just a label.

Well, we asked and KYSPRA answered. A compilation of responses yielded two main points:

  • Limit photography to the adults/volunteers who are bringing the gifts or doing something with them (sorting/unloading, etc.), or your school staff interacting/receiving the donations. KYSPRA members consistently said they avoid having the students that are receiving gifts in photos/videos — and if they did, they were shot in such a way that they could not be identified (backs of heads, hands, feet).
  • Be proactive in finding other stories that share the story that you want to tell about these schools. Are these students/schools giving back to the community themselves in some way? Are they exceeding expectations in any areas? Are there individual stories of teachers/students/ classes that break the mold of the stereotype? Talk about those.



OASIS 2015

Distinguished and Proficient Awards (pdf)

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Links to distinguished entries:



External publications

Tabloid publications

One-time publications

Miscellaneous printed materials

Feature release

News release

Feature photography

News/Sports photography

Display photography


Nelson (10 photos used in display for food services)

Videos — program length

Videos — in-school programs or training videos

Videos — PSAs/short subject informational videos

School websites

Electronic newsletter

Miscellaneous electronic communications product/program

  • Carroll (app linking various electronic communications tools together)

Special events

Community engagement programs

  • Oldham — Fiscal Outlook 2014 (4% tax increase)
  • Nelson — Teacher Notes
  • Knox — Career and Technical Center launch/recallable nickel

Miscellaneous public awareness programs

  • Oldham — OCS Engineering Academy launch
  • Daviess (coming soon)
  • Knox — Pursuit of Perfect Attendance

Social media pages

December Observances

December is a busy month with holidays, breaks and semester’s ending. If you’re looking for something to promote that doesn’t include crafts or classroom parties, here’s a list of December observances.

KYSPRA Fall Conference – Need-to-Knows

FallConfLogoWow! About 60 school public relations professionals will come together this week for some engaging professional development and valuable networking. Here’s what you need to know:


Conference location: My Old Kentucky Home State Park Welcome and Conference Center, 501 E. Stephen Foster Ave., Bardstown KY 40004

Hotel location: Hampton Inn Bardstown, 985 Chambers Blvd., Bardstown KY 40004

Twitter: @kyschoolpr and #kyspracon15


  • Registration 7:45-8:30 a.m.
  • Sessions 8:30-11 a.m., 1-3 p.m.
  • Lunch 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on your own
  • OASIS Awards Banquet 6 p.m.


  • Fun Run/Walk (1 mile or 5k), 8 a.m., Dean Watts Park, 291 Spencer-Mattingly Ln, Bardstown, KY 40004
  • Sessions 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

KYSPRA member named ‘Rising Star’ by IABC/PRSA

12122841_10101708192036644_3399883933951401633_nTracy Green, KYSPRA Treasurer, was one of six Metro Louisvillians honored Oct. 21 for advancing the community through effective communications.

Green, the Director of Communications and Development for Oldham County Schools, received an award as one of three 2015 Communication Rising Stars at the Landmarks of Excellence Awards, presented by the Public Relations Society of America’s Bluegrass Chapter and the International Association of Business Communicators/Louisville.

This is the first year for the Rising Star award, which recognizes emerging leaders — age 32 or younger — whose work reflects ongoing and exceptional growth in contributing to the fields of public relations or communications. The other Rising Star recipients are Charissa Acree, public relations manager for Price Weber, and Gary Stinson, digital media manager for the Kentucky Derby Festival.

In addition, Kentucky Commission on Women Executive Director Eleanor Jordan and Louisville Orchestra Music Director Teddy Abrams will be honored as 2015 Communicators of the Year. “Both Eleanor Jordan and Teddy Abrams succeeded where others have failed through building relationships, creating consensus and initiating new conversations with the community,” said CJ Parrish, IABC LOU president.

Matt Kamer, partner and director of public relations for Bandy Carroll Hellige, will be inducted into Landmarks’ Communicators Hall of Fame. Kamer, partner and director of public relations of Bandy Carroll Hellige, has demonstrated the highest levels of professional ethics, leadership and service to the profession as well as the community.

Since 1982, PRSA and IABC have partnered to recognize outstanding communications achievement in Louisville.

November observances

Looking for some ideas for your November school PR efforts? Here’s a list of observances that might spark some coverage. A lot of great options this month!