Updated: March 4, 2013 6:11AM
The National School Public Relations Association recently named Melissa Burda, communications coordinator for Crete-Monee School District 201U, to its “35 Under 35” list.
Burda was selected for “demonstrating excellence and leadership early in (her) career,” award officials said.
“It’s an incredible honor,” Burda said. “Our outreach to our families and communities builds understanding and creates the support our students need. To be recognized means we’re doing something right.”
Nominations began last spring. School districts throughout the country were asked to identify those who were demonstrating excellence in school communication. Nominees had to be members of NSPRA, working in school communications for at least one year, and be 35 or younger.
“Melissa is extremely worthy of receiving such nomination,” Supt. John Rodgers said. “I felt compelled to respond to NSPRA due to the groundbreaking work that emerged from our communications department within the past five years. We’re gaining in leaps and bounds every year.”
School officials said Burda, 27, has made great strides in furthering the district’s strategic plan to improve school communication with district stakeholders.
“We communicate through a diverse group of channels,” Burda said. “In this day and age, we understand that not all people get information the same way. It’s important that we communicate with our stakeholders in a way that engages them, whether that’s through traditional outreach efforts or more innovative methods.
“Our goal is to make sure parents are aware of what’s going on in their child’s school (and) in the district, and that they feel empowered to play an essential role in their child’s education.”
In addition to traditional outreach efforts such as newsletters and mailings, the district recently launched social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter and created a district-wide awareness campaign for the launch of a new app through Skyward, Inc. The application allows parents to check student grades, missing assignments, attendance, discipline reports and student fees from their mobile smart phone or tablet.
“We recognize that our parents are becoming accustomed to getting information instantaneously, and we’re making every effort to meet the need of this new generation,” Burda said.
Burda has worked for Crete-Monee School District 201U since 2007 and has managed the communications department since 2010.