Amandla Charter School Web Application Development Case Study

Background
Amandla is a free public charter school located in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. Because they are a charter school, they are allowed a greater degree of control over their school days and the information being taught to their students to better prepare them for college. Because Amandla accepts new students regardless of test scores, past performance, or special needs, they are able to help all children get the education they deserve.

Monroe Star contacted us to work collaboratively with them on the website based on the consistent quality of SYDCON's development work experienced in past co-op projects.

Objectives
Because Amandla was a new school in the city of Chicago, they needed a website to be able to effectively advertise not only their existence, but their beliefs about education in addition to their values as an institution and mission statement. Because SYDCON is family owned and operated, Amandla knew they could trust us with their goals because we understood what it meant to their institution to be able to better educate Chicago's youth. The following objectives were communicated prior to our working on their website's development:

  • Develop a backend and frontend of the website visually designed by Monroe Star
  • Contain school information, photo galleries, and staff biographies inside a database and allow for its manipulation through a custom-developed Content Management System
  • Create a "Contact Us" form that would be emailed to staff

Methodology
Because the first task in creating a website is establishing a visual design, SYDCON waited for Monroe Star to finish their design work before starting the programming of the website. Our programmers have experience collaborating with many design firms and are able to turn any visual design into a fully functioning web entity.

The elements included in our work for the website were included inside a comprehensive project proposal and was agreed to mutually. Our development team of one expert programmer was assigned to the Amandla Charter School web development project and executed the steps necessary for the completion of the website:

  • Begin programming the front and backend of Monroe Star's visual website design with the development goals firmly in mind
  • Allow a website administrator total control over all website content with a custom-programmed CMS
  • Include school information, photo galleries of the institution and its classrooms, and staff biographies inside a database
  • Load the database content onto the developed website front end
  • Launch the website after checking its working quality with Amandla Charter School

Technical Approach
A MySQL database was used to contain all site information given to us by Amandla Charter School for display on their website. Site users are able to interact with this information through our coding of the website with PHP, CSS, and HTML scripting languages. In addition to user interaction, scripting languages allow for the website to communicate within itself and produce dynamic working functionality. All information loaded into the website's database is able to be manipulated through the use of our custom CMS by a website administrator. The CMS was developed specifically for Amandla Charter School, with their knowledge of web maintenance and familiarity with technology in mind during its construction.

Results

  • The website has been effective at raising awareness of the school and its goals and mission statement
  • Amandla Charter School now has a website used by both staff and parents
  • Site administrators are able to make any necessary changes to the website and its content
  • Amandla staff and the parents of students both current and prospective use the website to update and obtain information
  • The website is easy to use and has helped grow the student base of the school

Thanks to the following factors, our work with Amandla Charter School was a complete success:

  • Amandla Charter School's communication of all site goals prior to working on the site
  • The design talents of Monroe Star to create a visual design that accurately reflects the school
  • The strength and versatility of the SYDCON development methodology
  • The ability of the SYDCON development team to program code for any website with any design and bring dynamic working ability

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