How Santa Rosa Academy uses Edlio’s Websites & a School Apparel Fundraiser to Boost Engagement & Own Their Messaging
Before teaming up with Edlio, Santa Rosa Academy’s website was difficult to update and challenging to navigate as well. They had been using PayPal for online payments, which led to frequent errors and complications.
Santa Rosa Academy
Location: Menifee, CA
School Type: Charter
Population: 1,700 Students
Age Group: PK-12
Raise awareness of annual lottery
Bring all traffic from social media back to website
Improve navigation for site visitors
Simplify online payments for all users
Time for an Update
The Santa Rosa Academy website was in desperate need of an update when Andie Pasolini took on the role of Director of Community Relations at the school. She even asked about it in her interview, because the quality of the website didn’t match up to the unique offerings of the school. “I looked at the website and I thought, this school has a gorgeous campus, and this beautiful organization was being represented by a website that didn’t match the quality of that campus,” Andie explains.
A Unique School Deserves a Unique Website
Indeed, the campus at Santa Rosa Academy leaves quite a first impression: the buildings are beautiful and the entire campus is inviting—features that are now fully visible on the drone video at the top of their new Edlio website. Before, the primary photo on the website was a head shot of the Executive Director, which didn’t really convey the campus experience to the site’s visitors.
Behind the scenes, the old website was actually a patchwork of five different sites. This fact wasn’t obvious for the front-end user, however, so when parents tried to use the search function on any particular page, it wouldn’t show them results for the other four sites. This caused a lot of frustration for families and school personnel, who ended up having to field several questions about information that simply wasn’t accessible on the old site.
The Search for Solutions: Too Good to Be True?
When Andie started looking at options for the school’s new website provider, she almost couldn’t believe that Edlio would work out. She explains, “I started researching different companies to help me out because I had experience in the past with Wordpress and WIX; both are fine, but they’re not school-friendly.” Knowing that an open-source CMS would be a time-consuming option, Andie realized she needed other choices. “I don’t have a webmaster, so I need a site that allows me the minimum time possible to update the site and make sure it all works well,” she adds.
When she found Edlio and realized that she could have a powerful website and online payment solutions from one vendor, Andie was skeptical at first. “It was interesting because when I was first trying to decide which company to use, I thought, Edlio sounds too good to be true,” she explains. “That was my impression because of the quality of the service that I was receiving, the quality of the people I was interacting with, and also the price—I think the price was very affordable and accessible. I told my boss, ‘I need to give it a try,’” she adds.
One Platform for Information and Engagement
Santa Rosa Academy’s new website by Edlio provides a user-friendly interface on the front and back ends, making life easier for staff and families alike. Santa Rosa Academy offers families a unique set of options, including fully home-based learning, fully on-campus learning, and a hybrid option. As a first-time visitor to the Santa Rosa Academy website, these offerings are clear and visible, supported by the navigation of their Edlio website.
Navigation that Showcases Unique School Programs
Andie is quick to praise the new website for its support of these programs, which are now easy to find and understand. “It was not clear before, so that’s why we would have a lot of questions from site visitors. Now, as soon as you land on our page, you have access to the red, white, and blue tracks, and you know exactly where to go; so this saves us a ton of time on questions,” she explains.
A Simpler Solution for Online Payments
In addition to the academic tracks, Santa Rosa Academy’s student body participates in 30 athletic and extracurricular activities. Using OSP by Edlio, Santa Rosa Academy is able to encourage students to use the school’s online store as a fundraising resource.
Before OSP, Santa Rosa Academy used PayPal to collect payments online. This led to difficulties because custom links had to be created for every item they sold, and that involved several staff members and a lot of opportunity for error. “We would have the bookkeeper create a code and then send the code to me or whoever was doing the website before, and then embed the link,” Andie explains.
Encouraging Student Engagement
Student clubs use the school store for a school apparel fundraiser and to sell other items, and the proceeds from those sales are used to generate scholarship funds to a graduating senior who is a member of that club.
“The business class students are selling spirit wear in the store now; they are raising funds for the business scholarship for one of the graduating seniors. That's a tradition that all the clubs do at Santa Rosa Academy,” Andie explains.
OSP’s online school payment system makes it easy for schools like SRA to collect school fees, sell tickets to school events, and provide an online option for fundraisers like the one she has described. One of Santa Rosa Academy’s guiding principles is character education for all students, so having an opportunity to raise funds to support their classmates is one way to get students more actively involved in the character education spirit at the school.
Unifying and Owning School Communication
When asked about the #1 issue facing schools today, Andie summed it up in one word: communication. “From my perspective, communication is the number one issue that you're going to find when you talk to private schools, public schools, all different organizations,” she says. A lack of communication causes misinformation to dominate in some school communities; a problem that Santa Rosa Academy heads off by using their website effectively.
No Need to Fill in the Information Gap
As Andie says, “if you don't relay the full information to the parents, they’re going to fill up those gaps in information with whatever they find.” She adds that often in school communities, parents will turn to social media or private group chats with other families to find information, and it isn’t always correct. Andie explains, “one of the main goals for us of having a well-designed website was that it would be easy for parents to come to the direct source of information.” She adds, “Little by little, you get families to come to the website to find everything, so they don’t have to ask Johnny's mom.”
An Edlio CMS allows school staff to post news updates and connect that information to their social media channels, email newsletters, and more. The all-too-common problem Andie describes can be reduced with a direct communication strategy and a unified platform for communication: your school’s website.
Edlio & Santa Rosa Academy: Always Improving, Together
An important feature in a school website is the ability to adapt with the changing times. Santa Rosa Academy got a new Edlio website that serves their needs today, and grows along with them to fit the needs of the future.
Websites Built for Schools
On her end, Andie uses Edlio’s robust CMS features to create engaging pages on her website so that visitors will have all the information they need in one place. This includes adding videos to the academic program pages and encouraging engagement from the community and the school alumni.
“Edlio’s platform is very thought-out for the actual needs of the school, so that's how I feel like Edlio has really helped us communicate better with our current families and also with prospective parents,” Andie says. She adds, “And also with alumni because they’re coming, little by little, they are hearing about our new website and they’re connecting through it, which is something that we love to see.”
Edlio’s team is there to support Andie and the rest of the Santa Rosa Academy staff along the way. “The fact that there are additions every month, so it’s not like, ‘OK, we get this great product and now we're just resting on our laurels,’” Andie explains. She adds that Edlio’s monthly client newsletter alerts her to new and existing features that she’s excited to try on her own website. “I really like that from Edlio I receive alerts about things like new attendance forms or facilities features,” she comments.
Edlio’s unified platform allowed Andie to find superior, personalized support and a custom solution for her school’s website and online payment needs. She adds, “you know, those things are extremely valuable for a school and I really was very impressed with how you’ve helped us with that.”