The Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA) annual conference is the premier event for Texas public school communications and PR professionals across the state. This year was no different!
More than 800 attendees gathered at Kalahari Resort & Convention Center in Round Rock on Feb. 21-24 to dive deeply into professional development and networking. But that wasn’t all. The association also celebrated its 60th anniversary!
TSPRA originated in the summer of 1962 at the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) annual convention in Denver. Eleven Texas delegates led by Don E. Matthews, outgoing NSPRA president and an assistant superintendent in Dallas ISD, formed a Texas chapter. Then they launched the Lone Star Chapter at the TASA/TASB Convention in Austin, with Matthews as the first president. Membership dues were $5, and in a letter to members, Matthews wrote, “... our purpose is to help bring about harmony of understanding between the schools of Texas and their publics.”
The first chapter meeting was held in 1963 when the chapter had 57 dues-paying members, most of them superintendents. Chapter members began presenting workshops at the Texas Association of School Administrators’ Conference as early as 1967.
In 1969, the Lone Star Chapter changed its name to Texas Chapter, National School Public Relations Association. In 1975, the bylaws were amended to state that the organization would also be known by the initials TSPRA — the Texas School Public Relations Association.
With the state office located in Austin, TSPRA has grown to more than 1,100 members across the state in all 20 education service center regions. Over the years, its member benefits expanded to include significant professional development opportunities. In addition to the conference, TSPRA offers members online learning, monthly regional meetings, crisis communication training, an informative weekly newsletter, a biweekly “EduLege” legislative and current events review and a quarterly “Communication Matters” digital magazine. Members have access to a member database and the Document Vault, an online resource of hundreds of sample documents.
TSPRA also gives members the availability to enter its annual Star Awards to have work critiqued by seasoned professionals with the opportunity to win Best of Category in 58 categories. This year’s top prize, the Platinum Award, sponsored by Intrado SchoolMessenger, was given to Socorro ISD.
In addition, each year the TSPRA Professional Awards Committee honors a Key Communicator, TSPRA members, persons in the media and those who support public education. TSPRA members are awarded: Professional Achievement, Most Valuable Member, Rookie of the Year and Bright Idea. Two awards are bestowed to persons and/or organizations outside of membership: Media Award and Partner in Public Education Award. The Key Communicator Award recognizes an individual who has contributed outstanding service to public school communications.
To learn about TSPRA’s impact on Texas public schools, membership, resources, professional development, awards and more, visit TSPRA at www.tspra.org.