Just like any nonprofit or association, schools are expected to have a website that accurately communicates their vision. Designing a beautiful and engaging school website starts with choosing the right content management system (CMS). A CMS that is catered towards meeting the unique needs of a school will have the right functionality and design elements for a truly engaging website.
When choosing a CMS for your school, look for a website platform with mobile-responsive website themes and a web design portfolio that includes organizations similar to your own. This will give you a good idea of what results you can expect from using that CMS platform.
Ready to feel inspired? Find out how these leading schools and academies designed exceptional websites:
Founded in 1993, The New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School or “Sci High” is an open-admission public charter school that prepares all students for college admissions and successful careers. As stated in the name, they specialize in science, math and technology. Donations are a high priority for this school to supplement state/local funding for their students.
Sci High’s unique branding is evident throughout their website. Their brand colors and distinct font is nicely incorporated into the web design. Their mission is displayed upfront on the homepage along with stunning imagery and video footage to help paint a picture of what it is like to attend this school.
Sci High’s website has dedicated pages for news and events in an easily digestible blog format. Site visitors can scroll through the news page to see recent stories or click through their events calendar to find out about upcoming events.
A Twitter live feed on the homepage and social media icons linked in the site’s navigation menu encourages students and supporters to join in the conversation online.
Our favorite feature? Sci High's website offers dedicated sections for students, parents, and teachers. Students can find quick links to check their grades, join clubs or request tutoring. Their parents can easily find information about the school's policies, class schedules, and bus routes. Teachers have their own classroom pages where they can upload course materials or post updates for the class.
Sci High recently redesigned their website with Morweb.org. Their website is built on the Morweb platform with a custom-designed nonprofit theme.
The school makes use of Morweb’s nonprofit-specific website features including events management, on-site donation page, blog engine and rotating image sliders.
Morweb’s user-friendly content management system (CMS) enables organizations like Sci High to keep their website constantly updated with drag-and-drop editing tools. Schools and nonprofits can easily add new content and adjust the layout on the front end of their website without any coding knowledge.
The Bronx Charter School for Children (TBCSC) is a charter school in the South Bronx with a mission to empower children to achieve their greatest potential both as students and as members of their communities.
TBCSC’s website is visually stunning and easy to navigate. The first thing visitors see on the website’s homepage is the rotating image banners of the students that attend the school with links to other page content.
Slick mouse over effects give the school’s site an interactive feel and the web design is fully responsive meaning the layout adjusts to fit whatever device you’re on. The site’s mobile view is equally as engaging as the desktop view.
TBCSC’s homepage encourages visitor engagement by displaying upcoming events with one-click registration, and an Instagram live feed.
Our favorite feature? The donation page features recommended donation amounts and outlines how your contributions will be used to make a difference. Not only is the donation form extremely easy to fill out, it also allows you to make your donation recurring or dedicate your gift.
TBCSC partnered with Morweb to design their website on a platform that helps nonprofits manage all aspects of their online presence from website design to donations to events.
The website was designed by customizing one of Morweb’s premium website themes. Their chosen theme has a built-in ‘donate’ button in the navigation menu so that it’s easy for supporters to find.
Morweb’s drag-and-drop editing makes the site easy to update and allows TBCSC’s staff to have complete control over their website content. They can even create new pages and add them to the navigation menu without needing to contact a developer.
Adding new events is as simple as creating a blog post. Using Morweb’s event page templates, nonprofits can easily create an event by inputting a title, date, description, ticket price and photo. All events are automatically generated on the events page by date and several are featured on the homepage for quick registration.
Times2 STEM Academy is a charter school located in Rhode Island serving grades kindergarten to twelve. The school focuses on STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
The academy’s STEM focus is evident on their website from the outset. The header image text and intro paragraph state the school’s vision and make it clear what they hope to accomplish with their education programs.
The school’s award for Best High Schools in the US News & World Report is built into the website layout to highlight this great accomplishment. By fixing it next to the rotating image banner, this award is always visible no matter what banner image is showing.
Page animations and mouse-over effects bring the homepage to life as you scroll through the site. Daily news stories are featured in a blog format and the events page uses an attractive calendar layout with engaging images.
Our favorite feature? The navigation menu is very straightforward and features call-to-action (CTA) buttons ‘Donate’ and ‘Apply’ to encourage site visitors to take action.
Times2 STEM Academy’s website was built on the Morweb platform by customizing a premium website theme for schools. Because the school has such an active online presence, Morweb is a great fit because it allows them to make updates and add new content on the front of the website so they can see their changes in real-time. All content created within Morweb is automatically mobile-optimized.
News stories and event pages are created through Morweb’s blog engine so even non-technical people can create new posts. Morweb’s page previews allow you to see your content before it is published.
The Round Rock Independent School District is located in the city of Round Rock, Texas. The district's mission is to prepare students to contribute to society, continue to learn and confidently embrace the challenges of a competitive and ever-changing world.
Round Rock ISD has a student-centric web design with photos of students displayed in the header images and throughout the layout. Their homepage features a Trending Now section that highlights news stories and another section with quick links to help site visitors jump to popular content.
Because the website is SO large, they make use of an expanded drop-down menu with different sections to organize their page content.
The news section is a main feature of the school district’s website. News posts generate in a blog format making it easy for site visitors to read through the different articles.
Our favorite feature? Round Rock’s commitment to accessibility is evident throughout their web design. In an Accessibility Statement, the school district outlines the ways in which they have optimized their website for users with disabilities or impairments.
Round Rock uses WordPress to build and power their website. WordPress is best known as a blogging platform which is great for the school’s news section.
WordPress is an open source CMS platform meaning its code is freely available online. Because it is open source, thousands of web designers and developers can contribute their website layouts or third-party plugins. The main benefit is the number of choices available for web designs and features. The drawback however, is that there is less quality control and some poorly written third-party plugins can leave your website vulnerable to security threats.
Poudre School District serves 30,000 students and includes 50 schools and five charter schools in Northern Colorado. The school districts vision is to support and inspire every child to think, learn, care, and graduate prepared to be successful in a changing world.
There are so many different design elements at work in this website layout. The colors and fonts work together nicely to match the school district’s branding for a truly engaging user experience.
The website offers several quick links on the homepage and offers separate sections for Staff, Parents and Students to help users find content that’s most relevant to them. With several layers of page content, Poudre School District has found a way to lay out the navigation menu in a way that is both user-friendly and visually appealing.
Poudre School District’s website was designed using Drupal, another open source CMS. Given the extreme size of the website, Drupal was likely chosen for its powerful functionality.
With thousands of add-on modules and designs to choose from, Drupal is a favorite CMS among developers. However, this is no platform for beginners. This CMS requires the help of a developer to make any customizations or to add modules.
Nonprofits who don’t have a developer on-hand will have to contract out for help with continuous maintenance of their website.
Hope Academy is a private special education school in Connecticut for students in grades one to twelve. The school also offers transition services for students between the ages of 18 to 21 to help prepare them for post-secondary education, career opportunities, and independent living.
The first thing that catches your eye on Hope Academy’s homepage is the color-changing banner that highlights the school’s mission “to educate the whole child. Because every child deserves a little HOPE.”
What’s great about Hope Academy’s web design is that it's simple and accessible to a wide audience from the children they serve to their parents to the broader community.
The website makes use of colorful icons to illustrate the school’s different services with quick links. Website visitors can easily jump to main sections or use the navigation menu to quickly find what they’re looking for.
Hope Academy’s website is designed and powered by Morweb. Morweb’s CMS is a great choice for schools with a limited technical background because it is easy to edit and update content on your website.
Using Morweb’s live site editor, Hope Academy’s staff can add new content and see how it looks on the front end of their website, essentially taking the guesswork out of web design.
Ross School is a private boarding school located in the town of East Hampton in New York. The school’s curriculum is based on world cultural history and the evolution of consciousness based on the work of its two founders; mathematician Ralph Abraham and cultural historian William Irwin Thompson.
The imagery of the website is stunning and the bright colors further add to an engaging design. If you scroll further down the homepage, you can see aerial footage of the campus and an embedded Facebook feed featuring the students in action.
There are three ways to navigate the site; through quick links on the homepage, the top navigation menu, or using the collapsible menu in the top right for more in-depth information about the school.
For those looking to lend their support to the school, there is an embedded donation form with specific categories to give to. The giving page is compelling because it offers in-depth descriptions of how the different funds will be used.
Ross School built their website using Squarespace. Squarespace is known for its stunning website designs and highly visual layouts.
The CMS platform’s editor is great for non-technical people because it allows users to make edits and add new content with a drag-and-drop interface. While Squarespace’s editor isn’t quite as easy to use as Morweb or Weebly it doesn’t require the extensive coding knowledge of CMS platforms like Drupal.
One drawback of using Squarespace for nonprofit websites is that it lacks functionality for on-site donations and event registration. Ross School makes use of an embedded donation form which offers a better user experience than externally linked pages, however, embedded forms don’t have options to customize the design to match the rest of the site.
Building a strong online presence for your school shouldn’t seem like it’s out of reach. With the right website platform and inspiration from your peers, your school’s website can go above and beyond to engage students, parents, teachers and your community.
Looking to dive a bit deeper into the world of nonprofit web design? Check out our favorite web design resources for organizations just like yours:
Categories: Website Design