The Hamilton School District was chosen winner in a national award program that recognizes school districts for implementing strategic communication plans that have tangible results for students and community. Hamilton earned the Connect-EDÂ® Leadership through Communication Award and $5,000 in scholarship funds for its students. The award recognizes exemplary leadership and communication that has benefited schools by building support and understanding within the community.
The Connect-EDÂ® Leadership through Communication Award program, now in its third year, is open to all school districts throughout the United States. It is sponsored in partnership by Connect-EDÂ®, a service from The NTI Group, Inc., the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) and the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA). In addition to Hamilton, the Miami-Dade County Public Schools in Florida was recognized for its communication efforts.
Judges specifically commended Hamilton for:
- implementing textbook public relations practice of research, planning, implementation and evaluation;
- creating a genuine synergy between the superintendent, the public relations professional and the leadership team;
- focusing on sustainable practices to build trust;
- developing an intentional communication program built on proactive practices and strong use of research;
- articulating the connection between communication and student achievement;
- engaging the entire community in the school district through innovative practices;
- collecting and using data in decision-making; and
- establishing a mechanism and framework to position the district to effectively address problems.
Recipients were chosen by a committee appointed by NSPRA, based on criteria including: integration of communications into the district’s strategic planning and decision-making processes; empowerment of all employees as ambassadors for the school district; use of a variety of communication strategies to reach stakeholders; collaboration with agencies to benefit the entire community; and ongoing communication efforts that have tangible results.
Hamilton’s communication plan was implemented simultaneously with other initiatives to increase student achievement. The district has undergone a transformation with the help of communication strategies that engaged and empowered employees, parents and community members.
Hamilton will receive the award at AASA’s National Conference on Education in Tampa in February, and a special recognition reception will be held in the district’s honor at the convention. Hamilton leaders will be recognized again in July at the 2008 NSPRA National Seminar in Washington, D.C. They will make presentations on their strategic communication program at both conferences.