Communications staff earns top school public relations awards

Communications staff earns top school public relations awards

The Charles County Public Schools communications department recently received five top awards in the 2014 National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) National School Communications Awards program.

Department staff received two Golden Achievement Awards, which recognize exemplary work in all aspects of school public relations, communication, marketing and engagement. The awards highlight communications plans used for teacher retention efforts and developing an international language center.

Recognized with awards were the communications plans used to implement the New Teacher Bus Tour held in conjunction with new teacher orientation activities, and outreach tools used with the launch of the Secondary Academy for International Languages (SAIL) at Maurice J. McDonough High School. The two awards are among more than 90 Golden Achievement Awards distributed to school systems nationwide.

Three videos produced by communications staff also received awards in the Publications and Electronic Media portion of the awards program. This area of the contest recognizes outstanding work in all types and forms of education communication, including print, electronic, video, audio, websites and social media.

A video titled “The Portfolio of James Richmond” received an Award of Merit, which is the second highest electronic media award given by NSPRA. The video features the longtime educational career of former CCPS Superintendent, James Richmond.

Two videos – “The Evolution of Telepresence in CCPS,” which highlights the use of Telepresence technology used in CCPS, and the “Port Tobacco One Room Schoolhouse,” which highlights how the school system uses the schoolhouse to teach students about history, each received Honorable Mention awards.

Communications department staff includes Katie O’Malley-Simpson, director of communications; Kyle Graves, video production specialist; Kara Gross, communications multimedia assistant; Shelley Mackey, communications specialist; and Gary Nagel, web developer.

This is the second consecutive year that the department has received awards through the NSPRA Communications Contest. Each year, NSPRA sponsors a national communications contest to recognize school districts for their efforts in school public relations. NSPRA was chartered in 1935 and provides school communication training and services to school system leaders throughout the United States, Canada, and the U.S. Dept. of Defense Dependents Schools worldwide. For more information on NSPRA, visit

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,500 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.


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