The National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) selected Ascension Public Schools to receive the Gold Medallion Award for its successful 2016 bond election communication campaign, "Growing at the Pace of Excellence." Ascension is one of 11 schools districts across the country to win NSPRA's highest honor this year and is the only recipient from Louisiana to achieve this distinction in recent history.
"Once again, Ascension is being recognized on a national stage for excellence, this time for effective communication, which is a critical aspect of our operations," said Ascension Public Schools Superintendent David Alexander. "The ability to offer cutting-edge programs, technology, facilities and competitive salaries hinges upon local support. We are honored that our efforts to inform voters about school expansion needs in 2016 will be used as a model for other school districts across the county."
On April 9, 2016, 80 percent of Ascension Parish voters cast a ballot in favor to extend a 15.08 millage to generate $120 million in bonds to fund four new schools and facility improvements district-wide. This was the culmination of a comprehensive communication plan executed by the district's public information office in consultation with Taylor Media Services. Components of the campaign included community meetings, presentations to government and business groups, a comprehensive video, mailers, strategic signage, social media and grassroots outreach.
"This campaign was successful because we were all in, from the superintendent, board members and directors to principals, teachers and support staff. Our community trusts that we are good stewards of their financial investments, and they showed that support at the polls," said Assistant Superintendent A. Denise Graves.
The school district has worked with Taylor Media Services since 2003 including the successful passage of multiple elections. This was the first election campaign under Public Information Officer Jackie Tisdell, who joined the district in 2015.
"As a parent and Ascension Parish resident, I have always voted to support our schools. This was the first time I worked on an election campaign and am grateful for the support of Taylor Media Services, as well as the hard work of the Director of Planning and Construction Chad Lynch and our entire staff," said Tisdell. "Although tremendously humbled by this recognition, we know our work is far from over. We will focus our communication efforts on the construction progress of new schools and renovations."
Ascension will receive its Gold Medallion Award at the NSPRA National Seminar on July 12, 2017 in San Antonio. The Gold Medallion is NSPRA's top program award, recognizing superior educational public relations programs. Entries come from public and private schools; vocational-technical schools or community colleges beyond 12th grade; state/national education groups; and public relations agencies, consultants or private businesses serving such schools and colleges. Judging is against criteria as well as other entries and is highly competitive.