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2018 OHSPRA Spring Conference program cover

OHSPRA prepares for 2018 Spring Conference

'Breaking Through the Noise - Amplify Your Story'

April 12 and 13

Download the 2018 Conference Program

We are pleased to be able to bring Tom DeLapp, president of NSPRA’s Executive Board to the 2018 Spring Conference as the keynote speaker.

With more than 20 years of experience as president of the California-based consulting firm, Communication Resources for Schools, DeLapp has worked with more than 400 school districts and trained more than 250,000 educators across the country on everything from motivating staff and communication trends, to advocating for public education. He also provides strategic counsel to school leaders throughout the United States dealing with high-profile crisis situations. De Lapp is a dynamic and in-demand speaker, and is sure to get the 2018 Spring Conference off to a great start!

OHSPRA is also excited to be hosting two Spotlight Sessions at this year’s conference. Educators and authors, Eric Lowe and Ryan McLane, a superintendent and principal respectively, will present Thursday’s session. Lowe and McLane, authored the book, “Your School Rocks...So Tell People,” which provides practical, effective tips for using social media to communicate with students, families and community members.

Michael A. Douglas, president of Diversity Initiatives, Inc. will use real-world scenarios, audience participation and research-based best practices in his session, which is designed to help attendees go back to staff members and start the crucial conversation about poverty.

In addition to the Keynote and Spotlight sessions, OHSPRA will have a number of great Breakout Sessions, featuring topics requested via past conference evaluations. The conference will also include the annual Achievement Awards Luncheon on Thursday, and the OHSPRA Social Thursday evening. 

Registration is currently closed for the 2018 OHSPRA Spring Conference. If you are interested in attending but have not registered please email

As you make plans to attend the 2018 OHSPRA Spring Conference, we want to provide you with information about the Keynote, Spotlight and Breakout sessions that will make up this two-day conference.

Top Communications Trends for Breaking Through the Noise
Tom DeLapp  
President of NSPRA’s Executive Board

Today's school PR person seems to deal with a different crisis, almost on a daily basis. Taking this into consideration, DeLapp will discuss the top communications trends PR professionals can employ to make sure that we are dealing with these immediate crises, while also fulfilling the other job responsibilities spelled out in our communications plans to successfully inform parents, staff, students, and our communities at-large.
Initiating the Important Conversation on Poverty

Michael Douglas
President of Diversity Initiatives, Inc.

Douglas will use real-world scenarios, audience participation and research-based best practices in his session, which is designed to help attendees go back to their staff and start the crucial conversation about poverty.
Panel Discussion: Best Practices and Tips for Success in One-Person PR Shops

Erika Daggett, Associate Director of Communications at Forest Hills School District, will moderate a panel discussion of pros who run one-person PR shops
  • How do you prioritize the many tasks one-person PR pros face on a daily basis?
  • You can’t be everywhere at once. How can fellow colleagues and students be communications ambassadors and partners?
  • Hard-copy versus electronic communications? How do you determine if one or both have a place in your communications plan?
  • The media has your cell phone number. Do you have to be “on-call” 24-7 for the media? When is it OK to ignore a media phone call or text?
  • What do you do when an emergency necessitates dropping the day-to-day tasks and concentrating on the issue at hand?
Alumni: Where Are They? What Do They Care About? How Do They Want to Connect? 
Sheryl Sheatzley
Director of Communications at Hudson City Schools

Learn how the Hudson City School District is reaching out and engaging their alumni to foster better relationships and networking, connect alumni to students as mentors and develop future opportunities for alumni to financially contribute to district “passion projects” and the Hudson City Schools Foundation.
"Your School Rocks...So Tell People"

Eric Lowe
Superintendent at Beaver Local Schools

Ryan McLane
Principal at Big Walnut Intermediate School

Lowe and McLane are the co-authors of the book, “Your School Rocks...So Tell People,” which provides practical, effective tips for using social media to communicate with students, families and community members. In this session, the authors will provide practical ideas that you can take back and implement immediately to make a positive impact in your district.
Increase Parent Participation 
with Joyce Whitby
Vice President of Sales with Peachjar
Digital Engagement

Today’s parents are online. If you’re not meeting them where they are, you’re missing a huge opportunity to connect! Whitby will share tips for getting parents more involved through the use of digital engagement techniques.
"Leading Schools in Disruptive Times"

Dwight Carter
Principal at New Albany High School

From social media to evolving safety issues to constant school reform, today’s school leaders face unprecedented disruption. In this session, Carter, co-author of the book, “Leading Schools in Disruptive Times,” will discuss how educators can prepare students for a globalized world when many institutions are not ready for the constantly changing 21st century. OHSPRA’s own Patrick Gallaway provided the expertise for a chapter in the book on community engagement and the importance of communication.
Starting a ‘Parent University’
Doug Baker
Public Information Officer at Dublin City Schools

During the 2016-17 school year, Dublin City Schools started a "Parent University" by offering more than 60 free learning sessions for adults led by district staff. More than 600 parents attended that one-day event, which has now led to a sustainable, year-round program at little-to-no-cost to the district. Topics for parents have included everything from understanding standardized test results to facilitating mental health for students. Learn how you can bring this excellent example of community engagement to your district.
School Hackings...the New Reality
Bill Wagg
Client Care Specialist at thinkCSC

Imagine that your computers, district-wide, are infected on the day you are scheduled to begin standardized testing. Imagine that all of your data is encrypted and is being held ransom. Picture your workday with no access to the internet. Hacking is an industry, in and of itself, today. Who do you call when this happens? In this session, Wagg will provide insights into how to proactively set up a plan of attack, how to mitigate the loss of trust that can occur when you are hacked and why security assessments are important for when -- not if -- your computer and internet system is hacked.
Instagram - Engage, Excite and Inform
Patrick Gallaway
Director of Communications at New Albany - Plain Local Schools

Sure you have heard about what many of the kids are doing with Instagram, including Boomerang, Instagram Stories, video and more. Do not be afraid! Learn how you can build an account for your district or school that will increase engagement with parents, staff, community and yes...even your students! Tools and tips will be shared for creating video and images that will effectively tell your district story.
Handling a School Shooting in the National Spotlight
AJ Huff
Coordinator of School-Community Relations at Madison Local School District

In this session, Huff will provide a first-hand look at the communications to students, staff, parents and the media during and after an active shooter situation at a school. Learn how the district used various communication tools to provide up-to-date and transparent information during a crisis and how it currently affects the everyday communications in the district.


Connecting with Alumni
Recognizing the valuable role alumni can play in amplifying your school PR message, Sheryl Sheatzley with Hudson City Schools, will be set up at the conference to share how her district developed and maintains a successful alumni relations program that connects alumni to students as mentors and develops opportunities for alumni to financially contribute to district "passion" projects and/or the Hudson City Schools Foundation.

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