Seminole County Public School system website

School district graduates to cloud-based websites

To compete with private schools in the region, Seminole County Public School system in Florida wanted to overhaul the district’s online presence to create a user-friendly site that would be easy for school employees to update.

The redesign of the website involved paring 30,000 pages of information down to 3,000 and  making it easy for parents to find and access information on to testing, enrollment or bus schedules from a variety of access points. 

Supporting nearly 70,000 students and 10,000 employees, the school system wanted a user- and mobile-friendly site for the community "and a back-end content management system for our staff to manage and keep current,” Michael Lawrence, SCPS communications officer, told GCN.  “We see our site as a living, breathing, and evolving entity that we need to continue to give attention to on a daily basis in order for it to be a useful.”

SCPS tapped the Solodev Web Experience Platform that offered a content management system and Amazon Web Services for hosting. For the next phase in SCPS’s website redesign project -- the 65 individual school websites  -- school officials took a different approach.

“The county wanted a digital agency quality site for every school, but no school district can afford that. So we worked with them to create a high-quality single-school site and trained them to build all of the school sites themselves,” Solodev CTO Shawn Moore said.

By using Solodev’s content management system, Moore estimates SCPS saved $3 to $4 million compared to hiring an agency to develop all of the individual websites.

Lawrence said a cloud-hosted environment benefits parents, students and faculty members who expect to have access to information regardless of the time of day.

“Our district is moving away from on-premise services," Lawrence said, because it wants more flexibility and a more secure and stable environment.  “We can’t have our websites go down because we are dealing with weather incidents or cyberattacks,” he said.

On June 14, SCPS won a $50,000 credit from the 2017 AWS City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge.  The credit will go toward the continued costs for hosting the website on AWS servers.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at sfri[email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.

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