Westonka district wins media contest

The National School Public Relations Association awarded the Westonka School District with an award of merit for the district and school websites in this year’s media contest.

The district also received an honorable mention for its Early Childhood Baby Gift Bag Promotion.

This year there were a total of 701 entries. In the website portion there were 66 entries; two received Awards of Excellence, six received Awards of Merit, and 10 received Awards of Honorable Mention. The publications that received Awards of Excellence were on display at the NSPRA National Seminar this summer in Chicago, Ill. A list of all the winners is posted on the website www.nspra.org in the Awards, Contests, and scholarships section.

"With a consistent look and feel and the ability for multiple users to update content, all Westonka school websites create a common brand image with up-to-date information that keeps parents, students, and teachers coming back," said Mary Pat McNeil, Marketing Consultant for the district, who headed up the redesign project and submitted the entries.

Westonka overhauled the district websites to help in creating a consistent brand image for all the school sites, providing user-friendly tools for parents across all grade levels, and enabling students and teachers to communicate more efficiently through the use of web 2.0 technology.

There were 537 entries in the publications portion; 105 received Awards of Excellence, 124 received Awards of Merit and 151 received Awards of Honorable Mention.

The ECFE Baby Gift Bags promotion design and copy were created by MP&G Marketing Solutions. Signature Concepts printed the tote bags and Nystrom Publishing printed onesies and the inserts.

The Westonka-branded Baby Gift Bags were designed to target parents of the youngest members of the Westonka community. The "Warm Westonka Welcome" introduces new families to the district at an early age – and encourages them to choose Westonka for their children’s education.

The baby bags are mailed to new parents in the district and neighboring communities and include a personal welcome from Superintendent Kevin Borg. Westonka Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) and Westonka Community Preschool brochures are included, as well as child developmental information provided by the county, a coupon for a free baby board book from the Westonka branch of the Hennepin County Library, and a tote bag and "onesie" featuring the phrase "A Westonka real-life success story in the making."

The design reinforces the district tagline: Small school advantages, big school opportunities, real-life success stories!

According to ECFE Coordinator Sandy Wing, the bags are working.

"Five new moms and babies joined our fall baby classes just because they received our gift bags," she said.

NSPRA provides public relations leadership advocating public education. They are

considered leaders and experts in the field of school communications across the nation. NSPRA Publications and Electronic Media Awards were created to recognize and honor professionals in the school public relations field.