Trinity Episcopal School
In the heart of downtown New Orleans, a historic city bursting with culture, music, and life, is Trinity Episcopal School, a community that prides itself on academic excellence, moral responsibility, and faith.
Not far from the French Quarter, the independent school leads over 300 students in Pre-K through Grade 8 in the Episcopal tradition “to build confident, resilient upstanders on a foundation of academic excellence, moral responsibility, and faith”— values that equate to what the school calls “the Trinity Difference.”
For more than six decades, Trinity Episcopal School has excelled as one of the finest communities of learning and growth in New Orleans. A member of The Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS), Trinity's welcoming community and well-known academic programs prepare graduates to be collaborative learners, fluent communicators, and ardent questioners.
"I'm not a tech person, but I couldn't have asked for an easier tool."
MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
That distinction is evident with the recent launch of their theme website, a redesign that was motivated by a growing list of objectives for the school.
“I think it was an important year to do a redesign because not all of our prospective families were able to come on campus,” shared Trinity’s Marketing and Communications Director Virginia Evans. “More and more people are looking to our website to learn about us and with fewer in-person options, it was an important time to have our website improved.”
Evans felt their previous site’s CMS lacked certain features, and keeping their content fresh was anything but ‘the Big Easy.’ “Honestly, one of the main catalysts [for the redesign] was that our old CMS was not user-friendly,” Evans said. “To edit anything was extremely difficult and it was a very cumbersome tool.”
Perhaps more importantly, the school felt the site failed to capture the essence of their community, their programs, and their overall vision. The school’s relationship with their church’s more modern website was also a consideration; with interconnected communities, it was time for the school to prioritize its presence on the web. “When looking at our website, it took a long time to figure out who we were as a school...It wasn't prominent,” Evans noted, adding that the value of their mission and caring community members wasn’t evident.
“We’re in a small city,” Evans acknowledged, adding that the sheer number of schools in contrast to the number of school-aged children made New Orleans a competitive independent school market. “It's an expectation that we have a good website. You have to keep up, or your school will not succeed.“
Determined, Trinity made sure their new site would be representative of who they truly were as a school and set to work with the brainstorming process of their redesign.
Discovery, Delay, and Deployment
Prior to launch, Evans met with stakeholders and spoke with division heads, the development team, as well as the head of school about their visions and goals to help determine the functionality, look, and feel of the new site. Getting feedback from not only her school colleagues, but also Finalsite’s team was an important step of the creative deployment process.
“Finalsite’s design team listened to our needs and then helped guide us through what we were looking for,” Evans said, adding that the group was able to provide advice on best practices and brainstorm creative ideas about the content, appearance, and functionality of the site.
Trinity’s website was selected from more than 30 website theme designs crafted by Finalsite’s design team. With a variety of customizable features, modules, and design options, it’s often the perfect starting point for schools working with tight deadlines or budgets, but are looking to launch quickly, typically within 60 days. As Evans experienced, Finalsite’s dedicated team of designers, project managers, and an all-star technical support group are ready to answer any questions that may arise during the redesign.
“We don't have a large team here, so when you're in the weeds, you’ve got to have someone to talk to about different ideas. Our Finalsite consults were there when we needed them.”
But, when undergoing any sizable project, plans can change; life happens. “We were not able to stick with our original timeline,” admits Evans. Despite their best intentions, a few curveballs to their calendar, a busy academic schedule, and of course, COVID-19, the original timeline of their redesign schedule fell through, resulting in about a two-month pause to the project.
The response and support from the Finalsite deployment team, however, was key to their comeback, Evans felt.
“When we weren't able to meet the deadline, I didn't feel the pressure from Finalsite,” said Evans. “So we pushed it back. They were really flexible with us, always holding up their end of the bargain. We were never waiting on them—it was always the other way around."
Soon Evans and her team were able to focus their efforts on the redesign, and it was smooth sailing from there. “There was plenty of training provided, but the site is really intuitive," Evans said.
When the site did go live, it was clear the launch had been worth the wait. Trinity’s new website checked all the boxes.
The responsive website now features a design that’s welcoming, informative, and engaging. To support the school’s enrollment initiatives, calls to action alongside their large hero image prompt visitors to connect with their admissions team to visit, inquire, or apply, while big, bright panels with eye-catching imagery help highlight their signature programs, the Trinity community, and the school’s different divisions.
A “What’s Happening” section on their homepage now gives current and prospective families a glimpse into daily life with calendar feeds and posts from their Instagram account, a feature that had been requested by Trinity’s team during the design process. The feeds help their content stay fresh, said Evans. “It's nice for our families who go to the site frequently to see something different.”
Quicklinks and a collapsible hamburger menu make using the site a breeze, and clear, consistent navigation puts the information current parents and prospective families need right at their fingertips, especially when viewing Trinity’s site on a mobile device. Also included in the main navigation is a quicklink to their church, helping bring the two communities closer than ever before.
Through Finalsite’s integration with Blackbaud, parents can easily sign in and access student information, calendar data is easily synced between the two systems, and admission forms are automatically entered in their admission’s database. “The whole process was pretty seamless. We didn’t have any trouble with anything.”
Since the launch, the response has been great and now, Evans shared, families can truly discover the “Trinity Difference” amid a growing, competitive independent school market. “I’m not a tech person, but I couldn't have asked for an easier tool.”
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