School Communications Shines in National Competition

June 25, 2019

The School Communications Service at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES received 10 awards from the National School Public Relations Association for outstanding work in newsletters, digital media, writing, graphic design and videos as well as capital project and special purpose communications.

“The awards we received speak to the high quality of work and professionalism of the School Communications Service at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES,” said Communications Director Ellen Lane. “I am honored to work with such a talented group of communications experts and to be able to spread the word about the outstanding education offered in our partner districts.”
In the Special Purpose publication category, Lane and Art Director and Graphic Design Specialist Tricia Herbold of the Creative Services Department received an Award of Excellence for a brochure on PNW BOCES Mandarin Chinese initiative. The School Communications Service collaborates frequently with the Creative Services Department.

In the e-newsletter category, Lenore Person, who serves the Katonah Lewisboro School District, and Amanda Bergen, who serves the Somers Central School District, both received Awards of Merit, while Grace Noone, who serves the Eastchester Union Free School District, received an Honorable Mention.

Brewster Communications Specialist Jennifer Garry and Mahopac Communications Specialist Laura Lee Holmbo received Honorable Mentions for Excellence in Writing. Garry received awards for articles on Grandparents Day at the middle school, and a school-wide effort to reduce plastic waste. Holmbo’s award was for a story about a Holocaust survivor.

Karen Hoffman, communications specialist for Hendrick Hudson School District, received an award for her capital project campaign communications, which were designed by Maria Ilardi.

In the video category, Communications Specialist Fiona Mitchell received an Honorable Mention for a video on the Mt. Kisco Elementary School Dual Language program, and Communications Director Ellen Lane received an Honorable Mention for a video on the Center for Environmental Education. Both videos were produced in collaboration with Media Production Specialist Ed Catapano of the Creative Services Department.

Creative Services was also recognized for excellence in graphic design and video production for work done on behalf of PNW BOCES. Herbold received three Awards of Merit for Special Purpose Publications for Curriculum Matters, a journal of the Curriculum Council; Writing: Journey & Destination, an anthology of works by Young Authors; and Sci21 Ride the Waves: Sound and Light, a book used in the Science 21 program.

The School Communications Service takes publicity, branding and community engagement to a whole new level, using a wide array of traditional and new media tools including mobile apps, e-newsletters and social media. Districts may contract with BOCES for a communications specialist to work in-district providing whatever communications services are needed.