The American School of Quito
Through careful planning and collaboration, Finalsite's Theme designs enabled The American School of Quito to undertake a redesign even with a restricted marketing budget.
This approach granted the private school in Ecuador access to the robust editing tools and modules in Finalsite’s content management system, Composer. Since the launch, the modern and beautifully designed site has been well-received, garnering positive feedback from its thousands of students, teachers, and staff.
At a Glance
Surrounded by the Andes mountains, the American School of Quito features an extensive campus located in Ecuador's capital and is home to more than 2000 students and 250 educational professionals.
Leading the redesign was T.K. Ostrom, the Advancement Consultant for The American School of Quito, who has collaborated with Finalsite on multiple international school website redesigns. Ostrom shared her insights on the rationale, goals, and major accomplishments of redesign process, as well as the community's reception of the school’s new website.
What was the catalyst for change and the reason for redesigning the school’s website?
Ostrom: "At the American School of Quito, the previous website focused on the current families, faculty, and staff. It lacked a compelling customer journey and didn’t communicate the school’s value or uniqueness of its 80+ year history as the vanguard of education in Ecuador.
There were many disconnects between the Spanish and English versions and difficulties for potential families to find the information needed to make the most crucial decision for their child’s future. In addition, someone with knowledge of website coding was needed for updates and edits, which was a risk since few people in the school could support it."
"There are too many things to like about our new website! It provides us with many ways to tell our story...Most importantly, we can finally highlight our value proposition and showcase the school's many strengths.”
What were the goals of the new website? Why are those important to the community?
Ostrom: "The main goals were to create a more informative platform to tell prospective and current families about what was happening in the school and increase student enrollment. The previous website caused a lot of confusion and didn't guide families to learn more or provide any calls to action.
Since most schools' websites are the first point of contact, we knew it was critical to provide a better impression of the school to compete in a growing competitive market. One of the strategic plan initiatives is telling our story, along with providing a compelling value proposition."
Share some details of your redesign process — how did you prepare and gather content? What was training like?
Ostrom: "As the school’s advancement consultant, I have worked with Finalsite on several international schools’ website redesigns. I was happy to learn that there was a more affordable option with Finalsite’s Theme designs, and that allowed us to move forward with Finalsite with our limited marketing budget.
We started the journey by bringing together key stakeholders to help us create a clear, coherent, and compelling value proposition and to build a common story thread throughout the website. These workshops also gave us more insight into where to focus than our yearly stakeholder surveys.
The outcome was a clear, well-defined roadmap to create more engaging and informative content to enhance the user experience. To provide ideas of the best way to showcase their areas, I also shared the best Finalsite websites with the directors of HR, athletics, fine arts, the college counselors, the head librarian, and IB coordinators. We spent weeks working with them on the best content, photos, and resources, and it was constructive to get their input and buy-in, even though it was time-consuming.
Working with our project manager was very helpful; she helped us complete the website on time and gave us great advice and guidance.
Training took a lot of time; however, we were fortunate to have Kimberly Pivaral, the previous PR and Communication Manager from the American School of Guatemala. She had launched their website with Finalsite and went through the webinars and training with our webmaster. She also supported us with the value proposition wording and the common thread throughout each section. Together, we tried different layouts to find the best for our school."
Which Finalsite modules do you use, and how do they benefit you and your school community?
Ostrom: "The modules have helped us showcase our new blog, spirit store, and alumni platform, including our sponsorship outreach. We used Composer the most to create all the website pages, Posts to support our new blog, and Page Pops for calls to action. These critical initiatives have come to fruition with an effective website to showcase them."
You worked hard on this project — what are you particularly proud of?
Ostrom: "The college counseling section turned out the best. It showcases the photo of the class of 2023 throwing their caps on the stairs of the historic Plaza de San Francisco (a new tradition for the school), an informative video from the counselors, testimonials from graduates and parents, and other key information from the graduating class."
What do you like most about the new site?
Ostrom: "There are too many things to like about our new website! It provides us with many ways to tell our story, from the social media posts and videos, and the latest blogs guide prospective families through the history, values, traditions, and our many offerings. It makes the school stand out from the competition, which we hope will increase our enrollment.
Most importantly, we can finally highlight our value proposition and the new land for our future campus and showcase the school's many strengths to move past the COVID-19 pandemic enrollment downturn.
The new website has provided a better pathway for prospective families to easily find all the school information about the school to submit an inquiry, book a tour, or apply. In such a short time, we have already seen a 5% increase in inquiries and applications in all early years grade levels compared to last school year."
What has been the response from your community?
Ostrom: "The website launched at the start of the school year, and it’s been very well received by our entire community. It was like moving from 1970 to 2023 with the flip of a switch. It is still a work in progress, but we have come a long way in a short period, thanks to Finalsite and its exceptional team."
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