Metro Schools officially launched a brand new MNPS.org, rebuilt from the ground up to better serve parents ahead of the first day of school on Wednesday, August 3. The new district website was designed to be simpler, more attractive and to better connect parents and the community to the information they need about the school system. It is also a showcase for the district’s new look, including a new logo, brand colors and a meaningful new tagline – “Exceeding Great Expectations.”
“It is time to change the conversation about public education in Nashville, and that starts with how we present ourselves,” said Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph. “To me, the phrase ‘exceeding great expectations’ says it all. We have high expectations of our students, and they expect a lot from us in return. Likewise, the community expects a lot from us as a district, and we expect community support to meet our goals. If we all have great expectations, then we all must work every day to exceed them. Our children deserve excellence, by design, every day.”
The district’s new website was designed with families in mind by streamlining content and improving the site’s organization. It was built from a mobile first perspective, making it much more accessible on phones and tablets, which is how a high percentage of Metro Schools families access the internet. That means that thousands of pages of clutter and documents have been reduced by 92% to make it easier to find the important information families need.
While basic features of the website launched today, updates will follow throughout the fall and winter to add more robust functionality. The site was designed and built locally by the Nashville-based Horton Group, while the logo and brand identity were designed in-house by Metro Schools communications staff.
“One of the first things I noticed about Metro Schools was the website,” said Dr. Joseph. “I immediately charged the Communications Department with building a new look for Metro Schools, and they delivered. It’s cleaner, more modern and actually gives the community useful information about our district. This is our first step to better two-way communication with our constituents.”
In addition to a new look for the district, every school website has also been completely rebuilt into a simpler, more family-focused webpage with up-to-date information. School webpages are accessible through MNPS.org or more directly by visiting schools.mnps.org.
Schools will get even more online communication tools in the fall when the MNPS Family Portal officially launches. The Family Portal is the public-facing portion of the district’s new data system. It includes an online grade book, previously offered through a program called Gradespeed, and also gives teachers and principals the ability to better communicate with students and families. They can post assignments and due dates, write messages to parents and send urgent alerts to desktop computers and mobile devices.
The new logo used on MNPS.org is part of changing the district’s overall brand. Much like the tag line “exceeding great expectations,” the logo is designed to be aspirational, representing the desire to give all children an excellent education from pre-K all the way to graduating with the skills and knowledge to make a better life.
“Changing a logo and a few colors may seem superficial, but we must pay attention to the little details. Things like curb appeal or a fresh coat of paint can be significant as we look at perceptions and morale issues in schools and buildings,” said Dr. Joseph. “To me, this is about reconsidering what it means to be a part of the public schools in Nashville. The old assumptions and preconceived notions have to be wiped away so we can build a new image for Metro Schools, one that is more representative of what is happening in our classrooms, that looks toward the future and the possibilities of where we are headed as a school district.”
The logo itself is simple: A child with open arms, an open book and the limitless possibilities that a high school diploma can bring. Though the coloring is white or transparent for the sake of design, the child is featureless, a blank slate that could represent any child of any background. It has no gender, no ethnicity and no economic background so that it can better represent the incredible diversity found in Metro Schools.
The brand colors of turquoise and gold were chosen to be fresh, vibrant, youthful and a deliberate break from the standard blue used by many government agencies. The gold also represents excellence, which is the district’s goal for every child.
The new logo and brand identity begin rolling out today, with all uses and instances expected to be replaced throughout the fall semester.