Say Yes Cleveland (SYC) launched in 2019 to provide Cleveland students with two big things: support services for students in CMSD and partner charter schools from PreK through graduation; and college or career training tuition scholarships for all eligible scholars after graduation from a CMSD or partner charter high school.
Say Yes Cleveland has expanded rapidly since its launch. Currently, more than 1,000 CMSD graduates from the Classes of 2019 and 2020 are enrolled in college or career training through the SYC scholarship program, and each year, that number will increase by hundreds. Additionally, SYC support services are now offered in 42 CMSD and partner charter schools, a number which will grow to 72 in Fall 2021, and to 100 by the 2022-2023 school year.
Say Yes Cleveland’s current website was created pre-launch by the national organization, Say Yes to Education (SYTE), that provided Cleveland with a startup grant for operations and support services (scholarship funding was raised locally). The site was built on WordPress and used a design template that had been previously used for the national site, along with each of three community chapters that preceded Say Yes Cleveland.
With Say Yes Cleveland now launched, expanding, and fully locally directed, the audiences, aims, and objectives of SYC website have changed, requiring a new web presence that is engaging, informative, and intuitively navigable by specific, diverse audiences.
SYC requires a new or redesigned website that appeals to a few important but distinct audiences:
- Parents. Parents access our site to help their high school-aged students navigate the college- and scholarship-application processes, and so they also need an intuitive, clear, and understandable site that can help them help their child. Notably, though, many parents of CMSD students did not attend postsecondary education, and so the processes involved are often even more opaque to parents. Parents also access our site (or can be encouraged to once the site can meet their needs), in order to find out about SYC support services available to their child and their families, connect with the SYC Family Support Specialist at each school, or request assistance for their child or themselves.
- SYC postsecondary scholarships are available to all students who a) live within CMSD boundaries, and b) are enrolled in a CMSD or partner charter high school, from 9th grade through graduation. Students visit the site to access the Say Yes Scholarship Application (hosted on a separate, independent site), and to learn the details and requirements of the scholarship program. The college- and scholarship-application processes can be complicated; we need our site to help students navigate these processes and feel informed and in control.
- Supporters, potential supporters, community members – this includes current funders, potential funders, partner organizations, members of the media, community members, etc.
The primary need for the new site is clarity and navigability.
For example, typical site visitors could include: a parent coming to the site to request food assistance for his family; a high school senior looking to complete their Say Yes scholarship application; a reporter looking for statistics and metrics of SYC’s annual performance; and an individual donor looking to make a contribution. Our site currently has most of this information, but unless one already knows where to go, it’s easy to get lost. We need a site where all of these people and more – with very different backgrounds and technical literacy levels – can properly orient themselves to find what they need.
Additionally, we’ve learned that there is a clear need to build out a robust aspect of our website specifically to help parents understand and prepare for the steps and choices that go into successfully applying for college or career training programs. Tentatively called “What Parents Need to Know,” we envision this as a subsection of the SYC site, but much more than a page. Our vision is that “What Parents Need to Know” is more a portal within the SYC site, one where a parent can see the steps between the current age of their child, and successfully applying to college. The steps and information is extensive, so in order to not overwhelm the parent, we picture a system that drills down to the current age of the child and then helps the parent build out a roadmap of what should be done, and by when, to stay on track.
In our ideal version of this, parents could register with the site and then at key points in the education of their child, they would receive reminders about important steps; e.g. the parent of a child entering 10th grade would receive a reminder to sign the student up to take the PSAT in October.
Site Functionality Requirements
- Easy to navigate – again, one of the main objectives is to develop a site that is intuitive and easy for someone who is visiting for the first time to find the information they need quickly and easily.
- Mobile-friendly – a majority of our parents and students access our site on mobile. While the current site is acceptable on mobile, it’s not really optimized for it, and that must be a priority for the new site.
- Easy to manage back-end: The current site is built on WordPress, which has largely been fine for updating text components of the site. For the new site, WordPress would be the preferred CMS, but we are open to other platforms that are equally user-friendly, and for which training can be provided, if needed.
- Integration: Ideally our site, in particular a “Latest news” page and homepage widget, will integrate with SYC Facebook and Instagram, along with MailChimp.
Our current photography library is extremely limited. We know that in order to tell a compelling story, we are going to have to need a significant amount of photography and videography. Please build that into your proposal.
Proposals should include:
- Project scope and timeline
- Description of project team
- Outline of expenses
- Examples of work
- Additional client references
Our goal will be to begin this web development project in June 2021, and launch the new site in September 2021.
Proposals should be sent via email to Jon Benedict at email@example.com by 5PM, May 28, 2021.