The Story Behind the First School To Launch a Blackbaud School Website System (formerly onMessage) Website! #PODCAST

March 31, 2016 Peter Baron

Since it’s debut in mid-2013, hundreds of private schools have launched new websites on Blackbaud School Website SystemTM (formerly onMessage), our content management system.

And the ROI on their investment has been impressive:

  • 60% of schools reported an increase in admission inquiries.
  • 80% of schools reported an increase in user time on site.
  • On average, schools are posting 6 or more pieces of content per week.

But what about the very first school to launch an Blackbaud School Website System (formerly onMessage) site. Which school embraced the early adopter role? How has their site evolved over the past few years?

The answer to first question? Rodeph Sholom School (New York, NY)

In episode 27 of Blackbaud K-12’s Get Connected podcast, Emma Castro, Communications Manager, Rodeph Sholom School, joined me to share their story (and to answer the second question above).

Learn what it was like to be an early adopter, why Blackbaud School Website System's (formerly onMessage)  flexibility and granular level of control appealed to Rodeph Sholom, and how they’ve iterated the site since its July 2013 launch.

As a bonus, Emma shares tips on how your school can prep for a site redesign based on Rodeph Sholom’s experience.

For a full breakdown of what we covered, make sure to check out the episode notes below.

You have a few listening options. Download the episode, listen to the podcast above or subscribe to our channel on iTunes!

If you’re a fan of the podcast, please do us a favor and rate and review the show on iTunes. Your support is very much appreciated.

Episode notes:

  • As communications manager, Emma is deeply involved in managing/overseeing the school’s online strategy. Learn how she and the team at Rodeph Sholom School have positioned the site as a marketing tool.
  • Emma shares what drew her and the school to becoming the first site launched on Blackbaud School Website System (formerly onMessage). Learn about the particular aspects of the CMS that stood out.
  • Given the level of control that Blackbaud School Website System (formerly onMessage)​ affords schools, you can extend sites in ways that weren’t previously possible. Hear how Emma embraced this to spin up a summer site on her own and utilize navigation options like mega menus.
  • Emma answers the question: do you think the level of control that comes with Blackbaud School Website System (formerly onMessage)​ has extended the “shelf life” of your site?
  • Knowing the competitive nature of admissions in NYC, learn how onMessage helped Rodeph Sholom School to improve the ways it communicates its value to families.
  • Hear how parents have reacted to the school’s site. Emma shares their site feedback.
  • Knowing what she knows now about Blackbaud School Website System (formerly onMessage)​ (and if she could hop in a time machine and head back to 2013), learn how Emma would you approach the design process differently.
  • Let’s get prescriptive — Emma offers her advice for a school considering building a site on Blackbaud School Website System (formerly onMessage)​.

About the Author

Peter Baron

Peter Baron is the Chief Member Relations Officer at the Enrollment Management Association. Prior to joining EMA, Peter served as a senior product marketing manager, for Blackbaud K-12. Peter is the founder of edSocialMedia, a community-driven site dedicated to exploring the role of social media in education. He regularly contributes to various online communities and education conferences like NAIS, CASE/NAIS & SSATB to explain the importance of providing modern, user-friendly experiences for school constituents. Peter also serves as a trustee for Wolfeboro, The Summer Boarding School and is an Executive Committee member of TABS’ North American Boarding School Initiative.

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