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School Website in Plone Earns Technology Award

Chantal Forster | May 7 2010

The new Albuquerque public schools website, www.aps.edu, built with the Plone content management system, won a coveted 2010 Technology Excellence Award from the New Mexico Technology Council.

APS wins website award

Monica Armenta, Lesley Molecke, and Dr. Tom Ryan from Albuquerque Public Schools accept their NMTC award.

The APS site was architected by FosterMilo to support the most common use-cases for parents, staff, and community and won an award for its innovation and impact on the community.

APS Communications Executive Director, Monica Armenta and APS Web Managing Editor, Lesley Molecke, were presented with the award at the NMTC ceremony on May 6, 2010.

ABOUT THE AWARD:

Sponsored by the New Mexico Technology Council (NMTC), the New Mexico Technology Excellence Awards, now in its 5th year, recognizes exceptional individual and organizational excellence in technology throughout the State.

ABOUT THE PROJECT:

Like many underfunded school districts, the website for Albuquerque Public Schools (www.aps.edu) was a visual embarrassment, a point of inefficiency, and a hindrance to transparent communication.

In January 2010 all this changed when APS launched the new aps.edu.

Built with free open source software and a cross-departmental team of nearly a dozen people, the new site was almost two years in the planning.

Unlike most government websites, the APS website overhaul directly involved citizens in the process of organizing, designing and prioritizing information. Bureaucrats did not decide how the website would work, the community did.

Launch day for APS.edu

FosterMilo partner, Alex Sielicki, meets with the APS web team on launch day.

To find out what the community wanted, APS conducted its first-ever series of usability testing. APS held card-sorting exercises to determine information architecture over lunch breaks at Valley High.

Unlike most public school districts in the United States, APS chose to use free open source software for its new district website. Not only does this avoid vendor lock-in (which has been the case at APS for the past 10 years), but it enables APS to flexibily maintain and develop its website depending on current budget allocation.

In concert with the technical build-out, APS built its first web team -- a lean and efficient team designed specifically to maintain the site and provide clear and usable content in a timely manner.

Learn more about the project: Read the APS Case Study

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