Building Capacity: How Mentor Public Schools Combines Websites & School Mobile Apps to Enhance School Connections in Their Community
Dr. Joseph Glavan and the other leaders of Mentor Public Schools are working hard to build capacity for real-world learning and innovation for their students. Dr. Glavan helps manage the websites for the district, the career & technology center, and a new site for business partnerships. Tying all of that information together, Dr. Glavan worked with Edlio to create an app for Lake Shore Compact Center to make sure that school updates reach their intended audience.
Bonus: Download the PDF of this case study to get our guide on How to Start a Business Partnership Program in Your School, based on Dr. Glavan’s advice & insights!
Mentor Public Schools
Location: Mentor, OH
School Type: Public District
Population: 7,600 Students
Age Group: K-12
Reach everyone with a mobile app
Build a website for community business partners
Engage the whole community in building capacity for student growth & learning
A User-Friendly Experience Across All Sites
Your school website is the hub of information, events, and updates for your entire community. In Mentor, Ohio, they’ve taken this one step further by building multiple websites to serve their community and connect their stakeholders to the information they need most. Sometimes, one website can be overloaded if you’re trying to make it the source of information for all people about all things.
“It's all about the different avenues and the different people that we're trying to reach,” explains Dr. Joseph Glavan, Director of CTE and Business Partnerships for Mentor Public Schools. “Our main thing was being consistent. We want the view that our families have in the interactions to be similar, in a way that makes sense for them. So whether you're going to the website for Lake Shore Compact, or Mentor Public Schools, it's very similar. The tabs are the same. The parents understand it. It's just a question of who you are marketing it to,” he adds.
The Mentor Public School System started with one parent website for their schools, with individual sites for each school that connect back to their district site. They also have a separate site for Lake Shore Compact Center, a career & technical education center which they run with two neighboring districts.
Outreach in the Community At Large
There was a population of the Mentor community that was left out of the loop with the existing website configuration: the business and government leaders. Dr. Glavan had the idea to build a new website specifically to reach that segment of the community. “Our third tier of this would be our Cardinal Connect website, which is something we're rolling out this year. So this came out of the question, how do we reach out to community members that do not have students in the school?” he explains.
As part of his role as the Director of Business Partnerships, Dr. Glavan wanted to build a centralized hub for the partners he had connected to in the local community. “Community stakeholders, if they don't have kids in the district, they don't want to see the lunch menu at Ridge elementary school, but they want to know how to connect with us and help inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists,” he says. The Cardinal Connect website empowers them to do just that.
This is an example of thinking ahead and using technology to further your school goals. “Our goal is to embed real world learning K-12; and to do it well, we have to build capacity. And how do we build that capacity? That's going to be through a tremendous outreach into the community. And that's where we hope that this new website will help us build that capacity to roll it in the community more extensively,” says Dr. Glavan.
Reaching the Whole Community Through an App
Building a hub of information is the first step to connecting your community with important school updates. But what happens when they don’t check the website to receive those updates? This was especially essential for Lake Shore Compact, Mentor’s career & technical education center, because the students in that school come from three neighboring high schools, so the information has to get distributed in the same way to all of them.
“I love the website—it's been great to share information. The question is, how do we get that information out to families? We are dealing right now in a society that is inundated with information. So when we go ahead and send an email, it's not getting through. And there's actually important information that people need to see right now,” explains Dr. Glavan.
The solution Dr. Glavan found was to partner with Edlio, the company powering their websites, to design a Lake Shore Compact school mobile app.
“Now we still send everything via email because we have to make sure we catch everyone. But in addition, with our school mobile app, it allows them to have those push notifications. When our programs were closed on Wednesday, September 14th, I sent a push notification at 8:00 at night on September 13th. Everybody who's got the app got a notification on their phone,” explains Dr. Glavan. In this way, the Lake Shore Compact app allows him to keep everyone in the loop in a timeline that is effective.
“We are just in our first school year using the app, and I think we're going to continue to see the benefits of that. Everybody’s on their phone. They don't have to have a computer or to go through the website,” says Dr. Glavan.
Technology has evolved significantly over the years, and forward-thinking schools are moving to a mobile app to keep up with that trend. Dr. Glavan explains: “Five years ago people were filling out paper copies, and three years ago we had a set of computers in the building set up for kids to come and apply to our programs. A year ago everybody was having to set up their computers to do it at home. And now you can be standing in the classroom on your phone, submitting your application. So for us, I think that makes a lot of sense, and they're gonna make a lot of sense for others, too.”
The mobile app supports Lake Shore Compact’s recruitment and enrollment efforts, and makes it easy for them to connect with their prospective students and families. “We do recruitment in the fall and in January they tour programs. I'm really excited about the idea that they're going to be able to download the app, get all the information about the programs, and then within that app click, and they can instantly apply. That to me is a game changer,” adds Dr. Glavan.
Edlio has been partnering with Dr. Glavan and the Mentor Public School system since 2019, and Edlio has been there to support the growth and innovations that Mentor Public Schools have created in that time.
“The most important thing is, your technology has to work. It's about the customer service that you're receiving, and a lot of the success that you're going to have with those programs is dependent on that. I've loved our experience with Edlio. You guys have been fantastic partners, really quick to respond, really quick to help us. I mean, you came up with that app, I said I wanted to go, and within a couple of months we were up and rolling,” explains Dr. Glavan.