Arizona District Deploys Communications Management To Boost Collaboration


In an effort to upgrade its district communications in order to broaden its reach to the entire community, Chandler Unified School District of Chandler, AZ, has implemented Schoolwires Centricity to better manage its Web site offerings.

CUSD, a K-12 district in suburban Phoenix enrolling about 37,000 students, said it wants to reach not only district employees and the families of students, but all taxpayers in the the city of Chandler (pop. 235,000) who have an interest in how the district is operated.

"Our parents and other community members have told us that they want increased communications from the district and that they want them electronically," said Terry Locke, director of communications for CUSD. "The Schoolwires platform will allow us to make available a large amount of information and resources to the entire community in a way that is easily accessible to them and easy for our teachers, staff members and others to create and post on the district Web site."

The district has had a Web site for some time, but user feedback has indicated it is is difficult to follow and navigate. Up to now, one obstacle to more frequent and detailed communication, with both those actively involved in the district and the community at large, has been the need for a skilled IT professional to post new content. As for reaching parents directly, the district has always sent paper notices home with students, which has historically been a risky approach for any district concerned about parents receiving the notices and being made aware of the pertinent information.

With the new Centricity system, these problems have been eliminated. The application, said Locke, allows for much easier content management and updating, as well as user collaboration, including digital file sharing, and design and administration of the site for easy access and navigation. In addition, Locke noted the system ties in with the district's "green" initiative by eliminating all the paper notices that used to be sent home.

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Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.