The Wisconsin School Public Relations Association (WSPRA) is a professional association representing schools, school districts, educational associations, consulting agencies and organizations. WSPRA is a state affiliate of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA).

WSPRA has earned NSPRA’s Exemplary Chapter Award multiple times, distinguishing the organization as the state’s leader in school-community relations, providing valuable professional development opportunities to its members.

Mission of WSPRA

The mission of WSPRA is to “expand the capacity of its members to provide effective communication management for the purpose of strengthening educational opportunities for all students.”


The Wisconsin School Public Relations Association (WSPRA) was chartered in August, 1967 by the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA). George Tipler, first Executive Director of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB), recognized the critical role that public relations plays in school districts. Tipler encouraged active participation by WASB to support the efforts of public relations professionals.

From this initial handful of members, WSPRA has grown to an organization representing, schools, school districts, educational associations, consulting agencies and organizations. WSPRA continues to serve the needs and interests of superintendents, board of education members, principals, secretaries, teachers, consultants, and professional public relations personnel in school districts throughout Wisconsin.

What is a School PR Program?

According to the National School Public Relations Association, an educational public relations program

  • is a planned and systematic management function
  • helps improve the programs and services of an educational organization
  • relies on a comprehensive two-way communications process
  • involves both internal and external publics
  • has a goal of stimulating a better understanding of the role, objectives, accomplishments and needs of the organization
  • assists in interpreting public attitudes
  • identifies and helps shape policies and procedures in the public interest
  • carries on involvement and information activities which earn public understanding and support.

Source:  National School Public Relations Association

National Recognition

From its inception, WSPRA has been a very active organization, seeking to provide services to its members-an annual conference, workshops on current issues, specialized presentations, handbooks on specific topics, and networking. The National School Public Relations Association values the activities of its chapters and provides opportunities for its chapters to be recognized for activities and projects conducted throughout the year.

Blue Ribbon Chapter Status

Blue Ribbon Chapter Awards are given by NSPRA to state chapters for efforts in their work toward NSPRA’s mission to assure lifelong learning by improving education through responsible communication and interpersonal relationships. Chapters are encouraged to serve their membership through chapter PR in-service programs, chapter member contributions to education, and contributions to professional growth. For well over a decade, WSPRA has consistently been recognized by NSPRA as a Blue Ribbon Chapter

Distinguished Chapter Recognition

In addition to Blue Ribbon Chapter Awards, NSPRA awards are also given for Distinguished Year-Round Programs and Distinguished Single Projects. For the past several years, WSPRA has received recognition at the distinguished level.

  • 2003-04       Distinguished Single Project: Negotiating During Difficult Times
  • 2004-05       Distinguished Year-Round Chapter – Honorable Mention
  • 2005-06       Distinguished Year-Round Chapter
  • 2006-07       Distinguished Year-Round Chapter – Honorable Mention
    Distinguished Single Project:  The ABC’s of WSPRA Handbooks
  • 2007-08       Distinguished Year-Round Chapter – Honorable Mention
    Distinguished Single Project:  School Crisis Communication Project

Exemplary Chapter, Mark of Distinction

Exemplary Chapter 2013If those awards aren’t enough, WSPRA has also bee recognized with Mark of Distinction awards as an Exemplary Chapter since 2009. Here’s what NSPRA Executive Director Rich Bagin said about our award for 2013-14:

“The judges were impressed with the comprehensive year-long program and WSPRA’s continued efforts to provide quality professional development and support for members that is timely and relevant, and that addresses a variety of communication topics.”

How You Can Help: The Role of WSPRA Members

WSPRA’s members play a critical role in its Blue Ribbon Chapter status. Each year, members are asked to submit activities they complete throughout the school year. Please play a role in WSPRA’s distinguished status; report any of the following activities you have done:

  • Being a speaker at a local, state, or national conference
  • Publishing an article in a newspaper or educational magazine
  • Teaching a course or lesson at a university
  • Assisting a district other than your own about PR or a crisis
  • Serving in an advisory capacity to a civic organization
  • Serving NSPRA in some capacity

WSPRA members can complete a Distinguished Chapter form and forward it to the Executive Director for inclusion in WSPRA’s annual submission for NSPRA review.