The Kershaw County School District (KCSD) received 11 awards last week from the South Carolina chapter of the National School Public Relations Association (SC/NSPRA) in its Rewards for Excellence program including “Best in Show” for its district website.
KCSD Superintendent Shane Robbins said that the school district’s website is often the first impression that an outside person has of the system. “Communicating effectively with our community is critical to our success so I congratulate all of these honorees. I was pleased to see that we were recognized for various types of communication across the district, which shows that we use a variety of strategies to reach our audiences.”
Last school year, the KCSD website had over 1.1 million visits. To date this school year, over 1.9 million visits have been made. The competition’s judges said KCSD’s website is a “wonderful combination of looks and function” with effective sub-page organization, high quality photos and good ADA compliance.
The school district also received three Golden Achievement Awards for outstanding programs including the Kershaw County Teacher Forum, the KCSD Retirement Program and the KCSD Teacher of the Year Multimedia Components. Started over 20 years ago, the Teacher Forum provides teachers of the year with leadership opportunities and helps sponsor the other two programs that were honored.
“The Teacher Forum is a strong force to demonstrate and celebrate positivity and excellence in our schools,” said KCSD Communications Director Mary Anne Byrd. “Our Teacher Forum was the only one in the state to be honored by SC/NSPRA.”
Byrd also commended Web and Multimedia Coordinator Julie Putnam for her work on the district website and teacher of the year multimedia components as well as for being recognized by SC/NSPRA for two photographs that she took. “Julie is one of the foremost experts in our state on digital communication including web accessibility and does everything with a smile,” Byrd said.
Stover Middle School was one of only two schools to receive a Golden Achievement Award for its “Tigers Take Time to Care,” a program where Stover students partner with the community to provide gifts and food at Christmas as well as other resources for those in need throughout the year. The judges said the program was a great example of schools and communities working together and provided a valuable experience for students.
Three schools—Baron DeKalb Elementary, Camden Elementary and Camden Middle—were recognized for their social media. Camden Elementary was also honored for its school newsletter.
“Years ago, schools could send home information in student backpacks and have their communication needs covered,” Byrd said. “Schools still use written communication but also incorporate a variety of electronic means to expand their reach. It’s great to see three of our schools recognized at the state level for their yearlong social media efforts.”
Photo caption (left to right): Rewards for Excellence award winners: Web and Multimedia Coordinator Julie Putnam; Camden Elementary Webmaster/Social Media Contact Beth Jeffers, Camden Elementary Social Media Contact Valerie West, Camden Elementary Principal Carol Przybyla, Baron DeKalb Elementary Communications Contact/Webmaster/Social Media Contact Abby Spitzer, Stover Middle Principal Mike Garity, Stover Middle Communications Contact Kim Stokes, Communications Director Mary Anne Byrd and Camden Middle Social Media Contact Lori Cooper.