Public Relations Academy

Make communication part of the professional development opportunities you provide to your administrators, teachers, and staff. Engage in proactive communication, and respond appropriately when managing an urgent or crisis situation in your schools.

Who should attend?

This series of public relations related classes are geared towards Superintendents, School Communications Coordinators, and Principals. Each virtual class will focus on a different topic to help participants better understand each aspect of managing public relations at their school district.


What to Expect

Date / Time Topic Description
September 29, 2023
12:00PM – 1:00PM EST (virtual)
Class 1: Basics of School Communication In our first class, we will cover the basic best practices of great school and district communications. We will discuss the hallmarks of schools and districts with great communications efforts and the downfalls for those that do not. We will introduce the basics of stakeholders, messages and communications tools. Finally, we will also use this opportunity to discuss how the class will work and the technology that keeps participants connected and allows for conversations between classes.
October 23, 2023
12:00PM – 1:00PM EST (virtual)
Class 2: Communications Planning Our second class will focus on communications planning by breaking this topic down into four central questions that are central to it. First, we will begin by discussing communications goals and how creating goals can be done with the school board, parents, other community members, and the administrative team. Then, we will discuss stakeholders and the consideration of what audiences we must reach to accomplish our goals. Next, we will discuss communications messages and how we can structure our messages to achieve the goals we have created. Finally, we will discuss how to meet our goals, we must use the correct communications tools. By the end of this class, we will have established the framework we will use in all future classes. We will encourage participants to create a simple but effective communications plan for their school or district as part of this class.
November 20, 2023
12:00PM – 1:00PM EST (virtual)
Class 3: Planning We will tackle one of the most stressful parts of an educator’s role in our third class: working with the media. Participants will gain an in-depth understanding of all aspects of working with the media including how to handle media calls, how to interview for print, radio and television, and how to offer complex information so that it’s easy to understand. At the end of this class, you will know how to interview with confidence, how to answer tough questions, how to control nervousness when working with reporters, how to provide good information that the public wants, how to communicate with the media in a crisis, how to clarify, define or redirect muddled questions and how to avoid being caught off-guard.
December 18, 2023
12:00PM – 1:00PM EST (virtual)
Class 4: Social Media Social media presents a tremendous opportunity for schools and districts seeking to further engage stakeholders. In this session, participants will review the different ways in which schools and districts are using social media. In addition, we will outline the opportunities and challenges of social media and share some tools for making social media easier and more effective.
January 16, 2024
12:00PM – 1:00PM EST (virtual)
Class 5: Crisis Communications Over the years, the Donovan Group has worked with hundreds of districts across the country on various crisis communications efforts, from the merely embarrassing to the truly tragic. In this session, we will discuss his process for assessing the need to communicate, relaying key information quickly and handling sensitive situations.
January 26, 2024
12:00PM – 1:00PM EST (virtual)
Class 6: Video Best Practices We all know how powerful a well-done school video can be, but most school and district leaders do not know how to create one or use video to promote their schools. In this non-technical class, we will cover the basics of using video to share your messages and show you some simple ways to start using video immediately to get your post across. Over the years, the Donovan Group has filmed thousands of videos. We’ll show you what works (and what doesn’t).
February 20, 2024
12:00PM – 1:00PM EST (virtual)
Class 7: Marketing and Branding Changes in state-level policy and how parents view schools have created a need for districts to consider communications and stakeholder engagement as marketing opportunities. In this session, we will explore how schools and districts across the state and country are marketing themselves. He will also share various marketing tools and tactics. This is a marketing communications 101 class for superintendents.
March 18, 2024
12:00PM – 1:00PM EST (virtual)
Class 8: Internal Communication Internal communication between teachers, administrators, custodians, bus drivers, school board members, and others inside the organization is critical for the success of any school or district. In this session, we will outline some ways of assessing and improving a district’s internal communication. This session will be led by Donovan Group partner and former superintendent Dr. Lori Mueller.
May 3, 2024
9:00AM – 1:30PM (in-person at CIESC, lunch provided)
Class 9: Special Topics in School Communication Our final class will focus on special topics in school and district communication, such as superintendent transitions (in and out), referendum communication, school and district websites and political turbulence.




ESC Member






3500 Depauw Blvd
Pyramid 2, Floor 2
Indianapolis, IN 46268

Multiple Hotels and Lodging venues located nearby.

Multiple food and entertainment venues located nearby.


Please login or register to claim PGPs.

Alternatively, you may use the PGP Request Form if you prefer to not register an account.