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Case Study: Illinois Safe Schools Alliance

About ISSA

The mission of the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance (ISSA) is to promote safety, support and healthy development for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth, in Illinois schools and communities, through advocacy, education, youth organizing and research. The goals of the Alliance are: to engage and involve schools, students and communities with outreach, programs and policies that support the safety and well-being of youth.

The Illinois Safe Schools Alliance envisions a world in which youth develop to their fullest potential, learning in safe and nurturing schools, living in communities that accept and honor differences, where everyone has the freedom to express their sexual orientation and gender identity.

The goals of the Alliance are: 1) Public education: To educate and involve schools, community organizations, parents, public officials, youth and the general public in Illinois, regarding sexual orientation and gender identity issues and the needs of LGBTQ youth in schools; 2) Youth Organizing: To engage youth across the state of Illinois to become leaders in the LGBTQ safe schools movement and be agents of change in their own schools and communities; 3) Policy Advocacy: To conduct advocacy activities that will result in the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity issues in the programs and policies that support the safety and well-being of youth.

Why Promet?
Illinois Safe Schools Alliance contracted Promet Source to provide IT services to design and build a manageable website to engage a wider of range users.  Promet was selected because of our experience and expertise in working within the association and non-profit industries.  Promet’s design and development practices can be easily tailored to fit the needs of association sites with special attention to member management, security, interaction, flexibility and accessibility.  Our ability to create complex web applications that are easy to use with social interaction features, exceptional theming, and architecture planning proved to be essential to the project.
The ISSA sought to enhance its ability to meet its mission by improving its web presence, web design, information architecture,  and presentation of content & images to better engage its visitors and members.  Promet Source needed to update the design for branding while creating a compelling look for a wide range of users, particularly the youth.  They needed to engage their users with social interaction: links to social media, event creation & registration, testimonial sharing, and calls to action.  The Alliance also wanted to present their work using an interactive map and an improved media center.  Additionally, it was important that the site be easily managed by the ISSA’s site administrators.  
A team of Developers, Themers and Solutions Architects facilitated an in-depth discovery process where they gathered the requirements, user information and goals to develop a solution.  The project scope was born from a collaboration between Promet Source and the ISSA; Promet Source enhanced this partnership by setting success measures, sharing the project plan and providing thorough documentation.  
The solution implemented Drupal 7 as the content management system.  The end-users came first in the design: The content was organized with navigation and comprehension in mind.  The different types of users can access information that is relevant to them.  Promet Source leveraged a custom design and theme for Omega which included a homepage slideshow and consistent branding.
To improve social interaction, Promet gave the site users the ability to connect with Facebook, sign up for the ISSA newsletter, submit testimonials about why they support & donate, and create events. There is a section developed for youth administrators (interns) where they can manage content and create ISSA events. Board Members were given a “log-in” function to view and download documents and resources.   Additionally, Promet Source integrated the new site with Mailchimp (a newsletter application) for manage subscriptions to newsletters.
The new ISSA site needed to engage its audience with current news and updates.  Promet provided an interactive map that allows users to learn about the ISSA’s work across Illinois and view all locations pinned on a map.   The map allows the user to filter between public and private schools to find organizations that support the ISSA mission.  Each location features contact and address information.  Meanwhile, Promet improved the media content section and tailored it specifically to members of the media (e.g. journalists).  Here, reporters can access press releases, PR contacts, newsletters and other useful tools.  

The Illinois Safe Skills Alliance’s site was implemented with Agile Development and was deployed by deadline - under four months.  Agile methodology assured a true collaboration between Promet and the ISSA- their users’ needs are reflected in its design.

Promet delivered an engaging and branded site with strong content organization; the different users (students, board members, media, etc) can access resources that are specifically relevant to them.  Our team was able to improve and add to the site’s  functionality within Drupal while simultaneously redesigning the site with a modernized look and feel.