Launching a Mobile App with Madison Metropolitan School District

School leaders in Madison Metropolitan School District (WI) wanted families, students, and staff members to have the necessary news and information, all in one place, at their fingertips.

After researching and surveying families, they looked to deploy an easy-to-use K-12 mobile app and then partnered with CEL to successfully launch it in summer 2022.

During a back-to-school season crammed with information, MMSD’s mobile app still stood out. Initial downloads exceeded expectations and continue to grow each month, thanks largely to word of mouth from families who are sharing rave reviews. 

mobile app on phones
calendar on mobile phone

Built for Success

When implemented with automatic feeds from school websites and calendars, mobile apps can be an effective, trusted and convenient communication resource for schools. They serve as a “one-stop shop” for busy families who need to access accurate information quickly.

The information in the MMSD app is drawn from the same source as the district’s website. This eliminates duplicate work for communications staff, creating improved efficiency and resulting in a win-win tool. Note: privacy controls restrict sensitive information only to authorized users.

The K-12 mobile app also includes push-button features to better serve the district’s 25,000 families, including: 

• Browsing the latest news, updates and announcements
• Seeing pictures, videos, and documents
• Browsing calendars for information about upcoming events
Filtering calendars to see events most relevant to their interests
Contacting someone in the staff directory right from their device
Logging into student systems, such as Infinite Campus
Accessing most-used resources, such as enrollment, transportation, attendance and school menus

Branding and Launch

To launch the app and encourage families to download it, MMSD used branded promotional materials and placed the information on its website. In addition, the communications team created a video tutorial to explain how to download and use the app. A launch announcement and an additional reminder post were also shared on social media in July and August 2022. Those tactics were successful among early adopters, and initial downloads exceeded expectations.

High Five Reviews

MMSD’s objective was to receive 1,000 app downloads by the start of the school year. As of September 2022, there were 1,425 downloads total — 1054 on Apple devices and 371 on Google devices. In addition, the MMSD communications team has received positive reviews so far, including a 5-star rating in the app store. Families and staff have shared how Finalsite’s easy-to-use mobile app helps them find information. Their informal feedback is also helping the team continually improve overall user experience.