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students at Highline Public Schools

Highline Public Schools

It Started with an OCR Complaint.

Highline Public Schools’ search for a new website began the same way many district redesigns start nowadays: with an OCR complaint.

Highline School

“We wanted to make our website accessible, so we knew that we would need to find the right vendor,” said Tove Tupper, the district’s director of communications. “We wanted to fix the accessibility issues, have the tools to help our brand come to life, and of course, customer service was a big piece, too.”

After choosing Finalsite, the Highline communications team worked in tandem with Finalsite to achieve those goals. And at the heart of it all? Great customer service.

“You often don’t know what the customer service will be like until you’re a client. Anyone can say ‘we have great support.’ But at Finalsite, it has been spot on,” said Tove.

At a Glance

Highline Public Schools serves around 18,000 students grades K-12 in the communities of Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, SeaTac and White Center in Washington State. The district has 33 schools, employs more than 2,000 staff members, and offers a wide variety of educational opportunities from early childhood to college preparation. They are committed to equity in education, high expectations for all and partnering with families and the community to ensure that all children achieve their potential.

The Highline communications team worked with their Finalsite deployment team to launch a new custom website and 32 individual school sites in less than three months — an extremely aggressive timeline for a large district with a custom design. Challenge accepted! According to the entire communications team, “the experience with the Finalsite team was very seamless, professional, and positive.”

The district launched and since then has seen much success.

But as we all know, launching a new website is just the beginning. Then comes training, ongoing improvements, maintenance, content management...the list goes on and on. Having software that simplifies all that work is key. 

The Promise and Fulfillment of an Accessible Website

“Finalsite is more of a partner than a vendor because of the way you listen to our needs,” said Tove. “Highline has a strong brand. We're known nationally for Our Promise to know every student by name, strength and need so that they graduate prepared for the future they choose. The Finalsite platform elevates Our Promise in a way we had never been able to do before.”

As a leader, Highline Public Schools knew they needed a website that was ahead of the curve on accessibility. By implementing Finalsite and AudioEye, Highline now has a set-it-and-forget-it approach to accessibility, where Finalsite and AudioEye do the heavy lifting, and the Highline community reaps the benefits.

“Finalsite was the only vendor that offered a fully integrated accessibility solution,” said Tove.

Hundreds of Hours Saved Each Year

Highline Public Schools knows how important school-to-home communications are — which explains that even when they were using an outdated system, they made it a priority to keep news content up-to-date.

On average, the communications staff posts about 5-10 new news stories a week. With their old system, the process was time-consuming. “Previously, we’d either have to manually post the story ourselves to each school website, or send it along to our web editors at each school. Now all we have to do is hit a button and the content is where it is supposed to be, instantly,” said Tove. “All of the websites have up-to-date content without any additional effort from us.”

The Highline communications team manages news content using the Finalsite Posts module. The simplicity of the tags feature allows the team to automatically display content on selected school websites.

“We’re saving a few hours of time every week just on posting news,” said Tove. And while a few hours each week might not sound like much, over the course of a year, Tove and her team have saved hundreds of hours, while also getting out hundreds of news stories. 

"There is less work for the school web editors, and we’re happy because the content gets on school websites."




In the average time spent on a school district website page



In the website's overall bounce rate


Hours Saved Annually

By switching website providers


Of the school district's website content

Is made accessible using AudioEye's auto-remediation service and built-in toolbar

In addition to using Posts to share district-wide communications, the communications team relies on Finalsite’s email communications tool, Messages, to keep staff and the community informed. By switching from Constant Contact to Messages, the district is able to save money and simplify the workload by keeping everything in a single system.

“The best part about the Finalsite Platform is that it has all the tools I need to build dynamic website pages. The simplicity of the software has cut the amount of time the school web editors have to spend and the site looks more seamless,” said Tove.

Improved Website Performance

In a year-over-year comparison of page performance, the district saw:

  • An 85% increase in average time spent on page
  • A 53% decrease in bounce rate

What does this data say, specifically, about the performance of the new website? In short, website visitors are spending more time on the website, and don’t just visit one page and leave. This data is proof that Highline Public Schools’ work is paying off for them and their community.

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