Send in your Submission Before June 24

The Illinois Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association invites you to enter the only awards program in Illinois specifically recognizing high-quality school publications and materials that promote the mission and message of a school district. This contest honors publications and materials created by a district, school or education foundation.

To pay for your submissions, click here.

Contest Awards

Awards of Excellence and Awards of Merit will be granted to entries that are exemplary in both editorial content and graphic design, as applicable. Entries are evaluated on category-specific rubrics. Categories are listed below.


Each entry will be judged by a panel of three communications professionals. This is not a competition among entries; judging is based on standards of excellence. Judges will consider factors such as:

  • Writing style and clarity
  • How design supports the message; and
  • Whether the communications tool is appropriate for its intended audience.


  • Entries must have been published during the 2021-22 school year.
  • There is no limit to the number of entries that may be submitted.
  • Materials can be entered into more than one category.
  • Items entered as a series are considered one entry.
  • Student work is not eligible.

All entries must be submitted electronically! Printed material should be submitted as PDFs.

Entry Fees:

  • $45 per entry (if received by midnight, June 10, 2022)
  • $55 per entry (if received by midnight, June 24, 2022)

All applicants will receive notification in August. Winning entries will be honored during the annual Awards Luncheon on Friday, September 9, 2022. Judges' comments will be provided to applicants pin the judging portal after that date.

Communication Contest Categories

  • Annual Reports: Published once a year to summarize activities
  • Video (in house): A presentation or episode of a single program or promotional piece produced entirely in-house. Two categories: Under 3 minutes; Over 3 minutes
  • Video (with outside contractor): A presentation or episode of a single program or promotional piece produced in collaboration with a production company, videographer or other outside contractor. Two categories: Under 3 minutes; Over 3 minutes
  • Calendars/Handbooks: Calendars, handbooks or a combination of the two containing school activity dates and/or general information on policies/procedures for internal or external publics
  • Electronic Publications: External or internal communications distributed only electronically; two different issues must be submitted to qualify as one entry
  • Financial Information: Publications providing financial information and accountability
  • Marketing Materials: Items used to communicate the appealing qualities of a school or district
  • Newsletters: External or internal printed publications; two different issues must be submitted to qualify as one entry. Please submit as PDFs
  • Podcast/Audio: Message board information, news releases/bulletins, promotional announcements, public service announcements; submit a link to the podcast/audio; limit each entry to a single recording, program or project
  • Social Media Campaign: Provide an explanation of the mission and engagement of a specific campaign, hash tag or social media channel. Include link to the channel, screenshots of posts related to the campaign and insights/analytics as applicable.
  • Special Purpose: Any publication (such as a poster or a pamphlet explaining education issues) not included in any other category
  • Websites: Websites designed to provide information about and promote the image of the school district; provide a link
  • Writing: Information written for newspapers, magazines, newsletters or speeches discussing the school/district

The Golden Achievement Award recognizes best practices as demonstrated by a single public relations effort or campaign. Examples of activities, programs and projects eligible for this award include

  • Back-to-school orientation programs;
  • Series of publications, marketing, or media relations designed to accomplish a specific purpose;
  • Support materials for an election;
  • Staff and/or student recognition programs;
  • Community involvement techniques for volunteers, advisory councils, coalitions, non-parents, etc.; and
  • Anniversary celebrations, business-school partnerships or public engagement initiatives.

Criteria & Rules

Each entry must include supporting materials and a one-page summary that clearly demonstrates the four essential steps in all public relations programs as described below. A summary longer than one single-sided page will not be accepted. Entries must have been completed during the 2021-22 school year. One Golden Achievement Award winner will be selected from the qualifying entries. Awards of Merit also may be granted based on the judges’ results.

  1. Research - evidence of systematic information gathering to define/understand the problem, publics, perceptions and/or PR consequences  
  2. Planning - evidence of goals, objectives, strategies, tactics, budget, etc.
  3. Implementation - evidence that activities, including communications, were carried out as planned  
  4. Evaluation - evidence that an objective evaluation component was included in the development of the plan and carried out; success could be measured and was measured; improvements and future recommendations were identified as applicable