WCPS Earns National School Public Relations Award

Goldsboro, N.C. –Wayne County Public Schools (WCPS) recently received notice that it earned a National School Public Relations Association 2017 Golden Achievement Award, the second highest national honor given by the association for exemplary public relations activities, programs, projects and campaigns.

“Wayne County Public Schools received this award because of our efforts in the area of strategic communications planning and engagement,” states Ken Derksen, WCPS Communication and Public Relations Officer. “Earlier this school year, the district began launching a five year Strategic Communications Plan. Through communication strategies, objectives and action steps, this plan is being used as a vehicle to transform how we as a district communicate with and engage our students, staff, and various stakeholder groups.”

The Strategic Communications Plan was developed using input from parent and stakeholder meetings held during the 2015-16 school year. The comprehensive plan was modeled after an innovative school transformation process used for improving struggling schools. At the center of the plan were three Transforming Communications Initiatives that focus on the following areas:

  • Engagement and Awareness

  • Trust, Transparency, and Brand Identity

  • Crisis Communications

“Mr. Derksen believes that successful public relations programs require the input, actions and talents of various stakeholders,” states Dr. Michael Dunsmore, WCPS superintendent. “As such, he has worked closely with my administrative cabinet, directors, and principals over the past 18 months to develop and implement communications and engagement strategies through his communications plan that will directly support each of the focus areas in the district’s five year Strategic Plan. Moving forward, he has recently launched a number of committees in order to garner valuable input and insights from school personnel, parents, community members, and other stakeholder representatives.”

NSPRA’s Golden Achievement Award recognizes exemplary work in all aspects of school public relations, communication, marketing and engagement. Award judges sought outstanding achievement in the four steps of a public relations program: 1) analysis of the need; 2) planning to meet the need; 3) execution and communication of the program; and 4) formal evaluation.

“We are committed to cultivating a culture across our school district that reflects effective information sharing, good customer service, and meaningful public engagement,” adds Dr. Dunsmore. “This national award affirms the value of the ongoing work taking place here in Wayne County.

Congratulations to Mr. Derksen for this achievement!