New ACPS Website and Family Communications Platform in the 2022-23 School Year
Website Redesign: Division and School Websites
The ACPS website redesign project is nearing its soft launch in July 2022, creating a more user-friendly website structure that is easier to navigate and update while improving the communications experience for all stakeholders. The design is forward-looking and focused on our students as it reflects and strengthens the school division brand. It is aligned with ACPS’s equitable educational experience, providing high-quality automated translations that allow for greater accuracy and more current information online. With this redesign, the division will ensure all content meets Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility guidelines.
The school division’s website, as well as the websites of all ACPS schools, will feature a new look as of July 1, 2022. The links to access the ACPS homepage and each school’s homepage will remain the same as they are today. The new websites will reflect and strengthen school division communications, as well as each school’s communications, as they will be visually appealing and stylistically aligned with e-newsletters and other materials. This vital platform will help us share ACPS stories in multimedia formats to highlight our students, staff and programs. More staff can easily make basic updates in order to keep information current.
The redesign launch will be followed later this fall with a comprehensive staff intranet on the new website platform that will serve as a hub for internal information, forms and Human Resources updates.
As a key component of the 2021-23 ACPS Strategic Communications and Community Engagement Plan, the website redesign supports communications and engagement from each school to families, students and staff to foster stronger relationships. With its full launch in the 2022-23 academic year, the new website design will expand efforts to help ACPS stakeholders stay up to date and find the information they need through an array of communications channels.
Coming Soon: ParentSquare Urgent Alerts, Classroom Communication and More
Next school year, Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) is launching a new communication platform to replace the current system and encourage a stronger school to home connection. ParentSquare, a unified app for school communication, will allow families to receive all announcements from the division and their children’s schools and teachers in one place, with the added ability to engage in two-way communication through text messages, conference scheduling and sign-ups. Families can use ParentSquare as their students move through each grade and school level, without having to resubscribe as students advance from elementary school to middle school to high school.
As ACPS gets ready to launch ParentSquare:
- Families should make sure their email address and mobile phone number are up-to-date in PowerSchool.
- Families will receive an invitation from ACPS via mail, email and text this summer to activate their ParentSquare accounts in order to use its two-way communication features.
- Families can expect the ParentSquare system to be accessible at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year.
The Office of Community Partnerships and Engagement has been working collaboratively with the Department of Technology Services to replace the division’s current mass notification system and consolidate several direct messaging tools used for classroom communication. By unifying multiple tools into one communications app and service, ParentSquare’s two-way platform will foster greater communication and family involvement.
ParentSquare will help to open up greater dialogue between English Learner families and schools. With the instant two-way translation feature, all families and teachers can send and receive direct messages (text, email) in their preferred language. This critical feature will play a tremendous role in helping ensure equity for all by giving every parent the chance to engage in two-way communication with teachers and staff.
ParentSquare will also help to facilitate family involvement, integrating school services like conference appointments, volunteer requests, permission slips and RSVPs into a single platform that supports translation. The ParentSquare system will also increase the efficiency of mass notifications, such as urgent alerts about inclement weather and school closures. The partnership between ACPS and ParentSquare will enable stronger engagement between school and home, and help empower everyone within the school community to stay connected and informed.