Eanes Independent School District
It All Started With a Commitment to an Accessible Website
About five years ago, Eanes ISD was looking for a fresh start for its website. Committed to making content ADA-compliant, Eanes ISD partnered with Finalsite to ensure website visitors with disabilities could access site content with ease.
For Eanes, it was more than just checking the box of being accessible. It was about doing the right thing for the community. Chief Communications Officer Claudia McWhorter and her small communications team found Finalsite’s built-in accessibility tools and site launch process to be simple, efficient and offered peace of mind that the district and school sites met essential WCAG requirements.
“We really wanted to get a hold of our ADA requirements. We liked the functionality of being able to control more of what we put out there that is ADA accessible,” said Chief Communications Officer Claudia McWhorter.
When Eanes site launched with Finalsite, it was accessible from the ground up and the communications team was equipped with tools and resources to ensure it stays that way.
Eanes ISD is a top-rated, independent school district in Austin, TX with a student-teacher ratio of 14 to 1. Named by Niche as the #1 district in the state of Texas and 11th in the nation (2019-20), Eanes ISD students consistently exceed the state and national averages on the SAT and ACT. To top it off, the district was also named #2 for Best Places to Teach in Texas and continues to support teachers and staff with great programs and community engagement.
"Finalsite has amazing customer service. I put in a ticket and it is handled within 24 hours. I love that we can talk to our customer service representative with recommendations to improve the product and he listens and takes notes."
CHIEF COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER
Live Streaming Athletic Events
The saying is true: everything is bigger in Texas —especially when it comes to high school athletics! At Eanes ISD, athletics is a big part of the community culture and they needed a way to highlight the district’s program. They partnered with Finalsite to build a microsite strictly to house athletics information, including a recently-launched live streaming integration with Finalsite and LocalLive.
The live streaming of Eanes athletic games started when venue capacity restrictions were implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to allow more access to viewing the events. The live stream has attracted more than just Eanes ISD community members to watch online. Live games have been extremely popular with out of town relatives of student athletes.
“Our families were thrilled to be able to share the live stream with grandparents and other family members who couldn’t attend the games,” said Claudia. “The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive for the live stream.”
Live streaming the games doesn’t mean Claudia has to hire an entire production team. All cameras and streaming equipment are monitored and maintained by LocalLive, and games are produced byLocalLive as well. For a community that values athletics as much as Eanes ISD, the district saw the partnership as an ideal opportunity that added value to the school community.
The Eanes athletic site also incorporates team rosters, scores schedules and photos, creating a home for sports information that rivals a collegiate experience. The best part for Claudia’s team? It’s also extremely easy to update with a small communications team.
“It’s so easy and so quick. I’ve literally been out at dinner and updated a score on my phone and it took me 10 seconds,” Claudia said.
In the three months since Eanes ISD launched live streaming with LocalLive, dozens of games have streamed live to their website without a hitch, offering unparalleled access to games for parents, grandparents and sports-loving community members.
Consistency of Branding and Ease of Use
Branding matters to Eanes ISD, and they wanted to ensure their school sites matched the brand style that they worked so hard to develop at the district level. They love how Finalsite Composer allows them to lock in branding elements across all school and district sites, keeping colors, fonts and page layout consistent.
“The thing that we loved about Finalsite, is that we could make our district site, and subsequently our campus sites, with the same look and feel. We wanted that consistency. So if you are a parent that has an elementary school kid and a middle school kid, you are familiar with where things are as you’re going throughout the school district,” Claudia said.
Being a small communications office with only a couple of staff members, Claudia also utilizes Finalsite’s Create Once, Publish Everywhere (C.O.P.E.) functionality to save time without sacrificing design and overall branding. The Eanes team uses features like content tags and post expiration dates to easily cross publish between campuses and ensure content stays fresh on the school sites.
“When we put a post up on our district website, it’s so easy to put it up on all of our campus websites, as well as in our campus newsletters all at once. This saves the district and campus staff time because campuses don’t have the ability to post all the time,” Claudia said. “If you’re a parent and you’re not sure what you are looking for, you can go to the parents tab. If you’re coming in and you don’t have kids in our schools and you go to the community section, you can find things that are more tailored to you. We really like that customization,” she said.
Overall, the Finalsite platform has helped Eanes ISD streamline content, keep the district’s branding consistent and offer an exceptional user experience. A win for both the district staff maintaining the content and the website visitors!
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