Montgomery County Public Schools

Replatform enables consolidated content and stronger communications.

Between help from platform vendor Optimizely (Episerver) and implementation partner C2, MCPS migrated and launched a fully managed website that centralizes digital asset management and enables stronger communications for individual school web teams.

The Challenge.

As the 18th largest school system in the United States, and the largest in the state of Maryland, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) was quickly outgrowing its incumbent CMS and needed help vetting, planning, migrating, and implementing a new one. Between the help of platform vendor Optimizely (Episerver) and implementation partner The C2 Group, MCPS migrated and launched a fully managed website that centralizes digital asset management and enables easier to use and stronger communications for its individual school web teams.

MCPS needed a roadmap for achieving a modern unified CMS that was also user-friendly, efficient, well-integrated, and would streamline business processes. MCPS’ main website was using Ektron WCMS, in addition to various custom modules that were developed for added functionalities plus Wordpress for managing news content.

On top of needing a CMS recommendation, it was discovered they needed several preliminary assessments regarding its existing systems to identify exact content migration needs and provide the roadmap toward a future state. With many departments and individual schools, the potential existed for long periods of time that groups would be either asked to not enter new content or duplicate content entries. It was clear that data and content migration would be a significant focus during the build.

The Solution.

Optimizely (Episerver) was recommended for its strong architecture and ability to leverage one platform and common code base to support the needs of individual schools and maximize MCPS’ investment. Looking to reduce the impact on current MCPS IT resources, Optimizely managed services was added to relieve the need for onsite servers, maintenance, deployments, and updates.

During preliminary assessments, information architectures were mapped to ensure design and development would work for each of its 208 schools. Having recently redesigned some school sites, C2 made sure MCPS could easily edit and port over most CSS templates. Since the role of custom applications was at large, C2 created flexible templates that would allow Epi-specific blocks and custom apps to be put alongside together on a page. Once developed, MCPS worked with Optimizely and C2 on a phased approach to content and data migration leveraging a subdomain to ensure minimal disruption to the existing site. As batches of sites were ready to launch, C2 created documentation and led several trainings with MCPS web teams to ensure strong adoption of Optimizely and continuity of maintaining the site.

Serving more than 160,000 students from 157 countries speaking 138 languages, MCPS now has a CMS that centralizes and consolidates content, enables individual schools with stronger marketing communications, and handles strong fluctuations of traffic at a moment’s notice.

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