Case Study: Maine Career & Technical Education Portal
The status quo
Maine’s Career and Technical Education schools — a statewide network of 17 alternative high schools providing hands-on education in the fields of nursing, culinary arts, automotive, IT, carpentry, and more — wanted to raise their profile, telling the CTE story to prospective students and Maine as a whole: a story filled with options for all high schoolers and amazing student achievements.
Having successfully built and launched the Maine Adult Education Portal, RainStorm immediately conceived a Portal-centric approach for the Maine CTE network. At the centerpiece of the Portal strategy is Mainecte.org, the primary website where students and the public can search or browse the statewide network of CTE schools to find the school nearest to them.
To extend the network’s brand to all 17 local schools, RainStorm designed three professional, consistent, and modern templates that each school could choose from to style their own site. Both the central Portal site and each individual school site are powered by SiteTurbine, web-based software for managing content. With SiteTurbine as the content management system, school staff can login to a secure, web-based administration area to manage their site content, courses, news, and view applications. There is no software to download or install, no per-seat licenses to manage, and updates are included in each school’s annual subscription.
CTE schools now have a professionally-designed website, each sharing a consistent layout but customized with a school’s logo, chosen design theme, and individual courses, staff, and content. Schools can use SiteTurbine modules to publish course descriptions, teacher bios, news items, student success stories, and can view and process online applications.
News items and student success stories from individual school sites are automatically published to the Portal site, highlighting the best of student work and school successes in a single easy-to-find location.
With the new websites, Maine CTE programs reported receiving more than 800 student applications via the websites in just the first year. The site was also a finalist for the “Best Nonprofit Website” in Maine for 2009 at the TechMaine awards ceremony.