February 7th, 2017

Wilmington Academy of Arts and Sciences

by Mara D’Auria

Wilmington Academy of Arts and Sciences was founded in 1997.

At the time, it was the only school in Wilmington that catered exclusively to academically gifted students. Twenty years later, the school continues to provide an educational environment that maximizes each student’s potential through a rigorous curriculum and creative methods of instruction. They also require the participation of parents, encouraging families to be actively involved in the education of their children by monitoring their learning progress and volunteering for school activities.

THE CHALLENGE

When they first approached Sage Island, Wilmington Academy of Arts and Sciences had a dated website that didn’t reflect their innovative and forward-thinking environment.

In addition, the school had grown over the years, resulting in an expansion of information and resources which hadn’t been integrated in an organized manner. Thus, the website was clunky, making it difficult for parents and students to find what they needed, when they needed it. For a school that places such an emphasis on involvement, this was a problem.

THE SOLUTION

To give Wilmington Academy of Arts and Sciences a website that advanced their mission while offering a fresh, modern feel, the team at Sage Island came up with several solutions. These included a redesign of the site, images and copy that capture the school’s personality, and a new structure for resources and information.

We redesigned the site in a user-friendly content management system.

Our team built a new site in WordPress, a content management system that is easy to learn so the school’s staff can add pages and make updates as needed. We also incorporated many of the school’s photos, featuring their students and community, in the design. These photos are eye-catching, engaging, and help visitors get a feel for the school before they even walk through the doors. In addition to using large images on the homepage and internal pages, we also created a Photo Gallery, which organizes even more photos into albums for easy browsing and sharing. For a school that is currently accepting applications for the 2017-2018 school year, the ability to showcase their students and their activities is priceless. 

We built a dynamic feed for updated information.

At the bottom of the site’s homepage are two areas into which information flows dynamically. One section is the “Director’s Corner,” which pulls the latest updates from the school’s director. These are often information and topical, containing information such as opportunities to earn money, public congratulations to teams, and school picture day. The other feeds from the school’s Calendar, and pulls upcoming events from a dynamic calendar to the homepage. Because these feeds are automatic, they’re always up-to-date and relevant—all without admin having to lift a finger. This is a huge benefit to the school’s staff—it’s one less thing to worry about, which gives them more time to focus on their students.

We organized and streamlined the school’s resources.

The biggest challenge the Sage Island team faced regarding this project was organizing and streamlining the school’s information and resources. Information is always important, but it’s even more critical for an institution whose mission is learning and knowledge. To keep this information organized, we created a drop-down menu on the homepage. The biggest section is listed under “About” and includes internal pages such as “Our School” and “Extracurricular.” There is also an “Our Staff” section that leads to a secondary menu, where each staff member has their own landing page, which includes a detailed biography, a history of their experience, and photos so visitors can get to know them.

THE RESULTS

We don’t like to brag, but we think the new website for Wilmington Academy of Arts and Sciences is at the top of its class.

Check it out and grade it for yourself!

Visit the site now: http://www.wilmingtonacademy.org

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