Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - 2:28 pm

Director of Communications Perry Hibner provided an update on plans for a new District website, along with new school sites, and noted the project is expected to be completed by July 2021 at the Board of Education regular meeting on Monday, Dec. 7.

Board president Annette Ashley presided over the meeting at the District Services Center, while other Board members participated remotely. The School Board has been meeting virtually since mid-March.

Hibner noted the current District and school websites were completed about a decade ago. The District had planned to move forward with overhauls of its websites last school year but put the plan on hold in mid-March due to COVID-19.   Hibner and Director of Technology Services Jim Blodgett kick-started the project in September 2020 and adjusted the timeline. Hibner noted 10 firms submitted bids and a committee made up of Hibner, Blodgett, Sunset Ridge principal Maria Dyslin, Director of Curriculum, Assessment and 4K MaryBeth Paulisse, middle school technology teacher Brian Miles, communications department assistant Ruth Bachmeier, and technology department staff member Korey Kopp met to determine the three finalists.   All three firms were interviewed virtually in October and the committee unanimously supported moving forward with Apptegy, the third-largest provider of websites and mobile apps for K-12 public education with more than 1,400 districts across the United States. Hibner also noted Apptegy will take over the District's mobile app and has a phone notification system that MCPASD will test out over the next few months.

Hibner said he is excited and believes this will increase stakeholder engagement and help with recruitment of staff and families into the District. He also believes this will result in more efficiency and better integration across the many communications tools used by MCPASD.   Hibner then shared images of the template the District plans to use for the front page of the MCPASD and school sites. He noted that while the colors of each school site will be different that the navigation will be similar as that is important for stakeholders who otherwise would have to relearn sites each time their children move to a different school.

The District site is expected to be completed no later than late March 2021, Hibner said. His staff and Apptegy will then begin work on the school sites, which should be completed in early summer. The District mobile app will also be ready no later than when the new mcpoasDistrict website is launched.

Hibner also noted the efforts should be cost-neutral as two-thirds of the annual cost will offset by switching mobile app providers and no longer needing to pay a consultant to help with the current sites. Hibner said the communications and technology departments will redistribute funds to cover the remaining costs.