MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Students, educators, families and community members looking for information about Milwaukee Public Schools have an easier way to find it thanks to a new and improved tool at their fingertips: the district's new website officially launched this week.
The new site serving the district's tens of thousands of students, their families and 160 schools is cleaner, simpler, easier-to-use and includes new features such as grade-specific educational resources and a much-improved search function. The site can be found at http://mps.milwaukee.k12.wi.us.
Milwaukee Public Schools sought extensive public input into how the new site would look and function. More than 450 students, families, educators, support staff and community members participated in a survey and more than 110 people participated in focus groups, providing MPS with valuable information as the district began to build the site.
The process for developing the new site began in January 2012 when frequent website users came together to discuss best practices for district websites and launched a survey for user feedback. Temporary fixes were put in place to improve usability based upon those comments.
In fall 2013, a Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued. A team of MPS employees, including school-based staff, reviewed the proposals, and the Milwaukee Board of School Directors approved a contract with Northwoods Software Development. From there, MPS and Northwoods held focus groups to find out what stakeholders hoped to see in the new site. Their input -- including a desire for simpler and better navigation, cleaner design, less duplication and a far better search function -- helped define the new website.
In addition to putting grade-level educational materials in the hands of families and students, the new site helps connect prospective families with strong school choices, helps connect would-be volunteers with opportunities to make a difference, and provides anyone in the community with a chance to share and read about news happening in the district. It also includes opportunities for feedback about the new look and functions.
"A website such as this is not a project, it's a process," said MPS webmaster Amy Kant. "The system that allows the district to manage content is state-of-the-art and intuitive, allowing us to quickly and easily provide up-to-date information to our families and the community."