In an On-Line World, Special Education Follows Suit

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P.G Chambers School partners with digital agency BCS Interactive to build a comprehensive on-line presence

P.G Chambers School

P.G. Chambers School offers a curriculum for children with significant and multiple disabilities

The site, developed by digital agency BCS Interactive, marked the culmination of a year-long process to bring the school’s vast educational resources to the Web.

With the recent launch of its new Web site, P.G. Chambers School found itself in a new arena – one that, for special education, is becoming more familiar by the minute.

Increasingly, organizations such as P.G. Chambers School are turning to the Web not only to reach their core audience, but to provide parents and benefactors with the ability to transact school business on-line. Functions such as fundraising and event solicitation, normally addressed through traditional means such as direct mail, are rapidly being supplanted by digital. According to Andrea Quigley, Director of Development, “more and more of our parents are living on-line – and we have to be right there with them – giving them simpler, more accessible ways to interact with us.”

The site, developed by digital agency BCS Interactive marked the culmination of a year-long process to bring the school’s vast educational resources and outreach initiatives to the Web.

As one of the pre-eminent providers of special education and therapy services in New Jersey, P.G. Chambers School offers an exhaustive curriculum for children with significant and multiple disabilities. Programs begin in early childhood, and continue with services in the preschool, elementary, and middle school, helping students to develop confidence in their own abilities and, at the right time, participate in their community schools. Students have full access to a curriculum in language arts, reading, mathematics, science, social studies, physical education, music, and art.

Given its extensive curriculum, the goal of distilling the school’s massive resources into a digestible, Web-friendly format proved challenging. According to BCS Interactive Chief Technical Officer Mark Mitchell “it was a matter of first understanding who the audience was, and then how to organize the information to create the best user experience for that audience.”

Although many special education schools are just now arriving on-line, P.G Chambers School - which last year held an iPad challenge in which teachers and therapists worked with iPads to improve students’ access to the curriculum - considers technology and digital marketing to be a core component of their awareness efforts. “Using our social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter gives us exposure we’ve never had before,” said Renee Gitto, Assistant Director of Development, who implements the school’s day-to-day on-line initiatives.

In addition to tools that facilitate parents’ interaction with the school - such as an application where parents may log-in to the site and view assignments and updates from their children’s classes - the new P.G. Chambers School site features an on-line store with artwork created by students. Adopting E-commerce was a logical decision for the school, given its emphasis on technology and the unique nature of the products being sold. “There are so many unbelievably talented children here,” commented Quigley. “We wanted to use the site, in part, to share their creativity with the world.”

BCS Interactive is a digital marketing agency that helps strong businesses and not-for-profit organizations grow on-line. Specializing in Web and mobile site development, search engine optimization and digital content strategy, BCS Interactive serves as their client’s digital marketing department, assisting them in maximizing their presence on the Web. Learn more at http://www.bcsinteractive.com or follow us @bcsinteractive

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Lou Kotsinis
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