NSPRA National School Communication Awards 2021
Entry Name: Gaston County Schools Storybook
Submitted By: Gaston County Schools, Gastonia, N.C.
Category: Publications - Magazine
Overview: In April 2020, Gaston County Schools printed its first “Storybook” publication that highlights our schools as well as our students, teachers/employees, and alumni. We had 5,000 copies printed professionally in full color on heavy stock paper.
The “Storybook” served as an alternative to producing a typical annual report. Instead of a booklet with facts and figures and charts and graphs, we created a promotional publication that told our stories, which complemented our storytelling theme for the 2019-2020 school year. Further, we wanted a “feel good,” “coffee table” publication that resembled alumni magazines often printed by colleges and universities.
The Gaston County Schools Communications Department is responsible for the concept, written material, graphic design and layout, pictures, and advertising (to help pay for the printing).
The target audience for the magazine publication is people interested in Gaston County Schools (parents, students, teachers/employees, alumni, business and community partners, church and civic groups, elected officials, etc.) Copies of the magazine were distributed to our 55 schools and central office department buildings as well as local chambers of commerce, city halls and other municipal centers, YMCA locations, public libraries, churches, businesses, and community organizations. Additionally, more than 800 copies were mailed to business and community leaders, elected officials, retirees, members of the Superintendent’s Parent Advisory and Teacher Advisory Councils, volunteers who serve as school mentors, and superintendents and communication professionals in neighboring school districts.
The “Storybook” was a successful project for the Communications Department. We received a number of positive comments from our internal and external stakeholders, who shared that they enjoyed reading a quality publication that promoted the local school district. In February 2021, the magazine was named the "Best of the Best" winner in the publications category in the N.C. School Public Relations Association's Blue Ribbon Awards program.