12th Annual Pre-Convention Communications Workshop

NEW - This Communications Workshop will now be recorded and available to watch at a later date. All registrants for this workshop will receive a link after the live presentation.


Tuesday, October 20, 2020
(Separate fee: $100)

Hotez Yasmin Latimer Nagler

View full agenda and speakers bios

Watch informative video


1:00 – 1:15 p.m.Welcome & Introduction
1:15 – 2:30 p.m.Session 1 - How to Communicate Risk: Lessons from the Coronavirus Pandemic

How do we best communicate about risk – especially a public health risk such as the coronavirus – to our school communities? During a pandemic, providing accurate, up-to-date information to stakeholders can make the difference between illness and health, life or death. In this interactive session, experts in communication, psychology and public health will discuss how school leaders can convey the appropriate level of risk during emergency situations so that stakeholders can make informed decisions. We’ll cover how to:

  • Strike the right tone in your message - do you instill fear or exert calm?

  • Prevent your audience from becoming numb to your messaging

  • Influence stakeholders to take a specific action (i.e., wear a facemask, social distance, etc.)

  • Avoid sending mixed messages

We’ll draw lessons from how others, including the news media, have communicated about the coronavirus pandemic.


  • Makana Chock, Ph.D., Associate Professor, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University

  • Peter J. Hotez, M.D., Ph.D., Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine

  • George Latimer, Westchester County Executive

  • Dr. Seema Yasmin, Director of the Stanford Health Communication Initiative, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine at Stanford University and a Visiting Professor at UCLA.


  • David Albert, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer, New York State School Boards Association

2:30 – 2:45 p.m.Break
2:45 – 4:00 p.m.Session 2 - Employee Communications during a Pandemic: Best Practices

Communicating effectively with your school district employees during the best of times can be a challenge, let alone during a global pandemic. In this segment, we’ll explore overall best practices for employee communications and engagement, then focus on communicating during emergencies such as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Obtain buy-in to your vision

  • Build support for change

  • Improve employee morale and engagement

  • Influence attitudes or behavior

  • Use employee communications to drive organizational culture

Hear from educational leaders and experts in internal communications and get practical takeaways you can bring back to your district.


  • Kim Allen, Managing Partner, Communications, Dixon Schwabl

  • Nadine General, Vice President of Agency Nonprofit Services, Dixon Schwabl

  • Michael Nagler, Superintendent, Mineola Public Schools and 2020 NYS Superintendent of the Year

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CTLEThe convention educational sessions, pre-convention events, and featured sessions (but not including the Opening Session and the Commissioner Session) have been approved for CTLE credits.