Pway earns 4 national awards for communication

Pway earns 4 national awards for outreach and communication
Posted on 06/24/2024
This is the image for the news article titled Pway earns 4 national awards for outreach and communicationPiscataway Township Schools has earned four national awards honoring the district’s community outreach and communication programs – the second highest award total of any district in New Jersey.

The district was honored in four categories of the 2024 Publications and Digital Media Excellence Awards by the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA). Piscataway is one of just seven districts from New Jersey to be honored.

Piscataway won the following awards:

• Award of Excellence in the Calendar category for its 2023-24 School Guide and Calendar.
• Award of Merit in the Social Media category for its Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube accounts.
• Award of Merit in the Newsletter category for its monthly Superintendent’s Report newsletter.
• Award of Merit in the Photo category for a photograph of a preschooler enjoying a district event.

All of the entries were produced by Public Information Officer Gary Miller, who worked closely with the Office of Community Education and Superintendent’s Office on the School Guide and Calendar, and with the Superintendent’s Office on the Superintendent’s Report newsletter.

“This national recognition shows the great importance our district places on community involvement and communication,” said Superintendent Dr. Frank Ranelli. “The fact that we were recognized in four distinct categories shows the effort that our staff puts forth to reach out to families in a multitude of ways. We continually strive to keep our community informed and involved in our school activities and accomplishments.

“Mr. Gary Miller, our public information officer, does a wonderful job keeping the public informed and is very deserving of this recognition.”

calendar cover

The Award of Excellence honors the district’s annual School Guide and Calendar, which provides vital information for parents and is mailed out to the school community at the start of each school year. The booklet has a full calendar of events and observances throughout the year.

The 2023-2024 School Guide and Calendar was a joint effort of the Superintendent’s Office and the Office of Community Education, with input from every school and department, and designed by graphic artist Jerry Luciani. It is paid for through a grant from the Office of Community Education and uses no taxpayer funding.

Piscataway is one of just 20 winners of the Award of Excellence nationwide and the only New Jersey district honored in the Calendar category. This is the second year in a row the School Guide and Calendar has received an Award of Excellence.

social media flier

The Award of Merit for social media recognizes the growth of the district’s @PwaySchools social media accounts in the 2024-2025 school year, including an Instagram account whose reach grew by 352 percent and a Facebook account whose reach grew 60 percent. The district’s rebranded YouTube channel features a variety of videos from around the district, including all Board of Education meetings and the Piscataway High School graduation, which drew 3,800 views on June 18.

The Award of Merit places Piscataway among the top 84 districts in the country in the Social Media category, and it is one of only two districts from New Jersey among that group. This is the second year in a row that Piscataway's social media has won an Award of Merit.

“Our social media accounts are a key part of the district’s efforts to keep our community informed and to spread positive messaging about our students, families, and schools,” said Public Information Officer and Webmaster Gary Miller, who oversee the district’s communication efforts. “These posts quickly allow families to see what is going on at their child’s school while giving the community at large the chance to stay connected and see the great work of our teachers and staff.

"Then we share everything in our Superintendent’s Report newsletter each month to reach a wider audience who may not follow social media.”

newsletter cover

The Superintendent’s Report is first available at the monthly Board of Education meeting, then is posted on the district website and shared on social media and through email and text messages with staff and families the following day. An archive of Superintendent’s Reports going back to 2008 is available on the district website.

The Award of Merit for the Superintendent’s Report places Piscataway among the top 102 districts nationwide in the Newsletter category, and it is one of only three districts from New Jersey among that group. The Superintendent's Report newsletter received an honorable mention in the 2023 awards.

child playing connect four

The photograph honored in the Photo category shows preschooler Brianna Doderer, who is now entering first grade at Eisenhower Elementary School, enjoying herself at the Piscataway Education Foundation’s Best of the Boardwalk event in Spring 2023. The photo was also featured prominently on the cover of the School Guide and Calendar.

The Merit Award places the photo in the top 68 nationwide, and Piscataway is one of only two districts from New Jersey in that group.

NSPRA’s mission is to develop professionals to communicate strategically, build trust, and foster positive relationships in support of their school communities. Each year, NSPRA recognizes and honors those whose efforts and expertise have had a positive and lasting impact on school public relations and education as well as honors the best work in school communication.