The formation of RESAs can be traced back to the 1960s and 1970s. During this period, there were significant changes in public education, including an increasing focus on educational equity and the introduction of new federal programs aimed at improving outcomes for disadvantaged students. Over time, the role of RESAs has evolved and expanded. Today, these agencies offer an increasingly wide range of services that touches nearly every area of school district performance. 

In this blog post, we focus on four specific categories the country’s best RESAs and ISDs prioritize to support their school districts: 

  1. Creating and maintaining a strong online presence 
  2. Empowering staff through professional development 
  3. Ensuring quality education is available to all students by maintaining ADA compliance
  4. Strengthening community relationships through effective communication and marketing

4 Ways RESAs Can Help their Schools Succeed

1 Effective and Well-Branded Online Presence

A strong, online presence is intentionally listed first as it’s the most visible representation of a school districts’  capabilities and competencies. Strategically focusing on what information to create and where to show it opens doors to attracting top talent, fostering a sense of pride with students, teachers, and other community members, and increasing the probability of successfully passing bond proposals.     

So what makes a website ‘stick’ in the minds of its users? There are multiple factors to be sure, but they can be boiled down into a couple categories: easy to navigate, provides relevant and engaging content, and an attractive, modern design.

Protip: Some ESAs offer website maintenance or support services to their district partners, especially for districts without dedicated communication specialists. This assistance can help districts focus on their students, while the ESA can ensure ADA compliance and consistency across their partner district websites. While Foxbright-provided support is unlimited for our clients, we've witnessed successful arrangements between ESAs and their districts to provide an additional layer of localized support through the ESA. 

Steps You Can Take: 

  1. Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly 
  2. Provide current and relevant content on your website and other platforms. Bonus: You can save time using mass notification tools that allow you to post updates in multiple places.  
  3. The Grunt Test: Taken from Donald Miller’s popular book StoryBrand, this communication concept asks whether a person can understand three things within the first 6 seconds of visiting your site: Who are you? What are the products/services you offer? And, if those offerings relate to what I need, what do I need to do to take the next step?
  4. Consider the extracurricular programs that you support like Career Tech or Adult Education. These are great opportunities to create a ‘brand-within-a-brand’ webpage by developing a dedicated landing page.

Example: Ottawa Area ISD has a dedicated section of their website that focuses on their vocational training program: M-TEC. Taking advantage of Foxbright’s ability to create multiple template designs within the same website, they do a great job of crafting an online presence that speaks directly to its unique target audience while still preserving the connection with the parent brand it operates under.  


  • Canva for education is a free easy design tool you can use to design website graphics. Their templates make it easy to quickly pull together infographics, posters, videos and more. 
  • Design is Storytelling” is a book by Ellen Lupton that introduces readers to the concept of UX (User Experience) design and how to bring ideas to life in visual form.
  • Check out these examples of top-quality school website designs for inspiration.

2 Empowering Staff Through Professional Development

In a recent survey of 500 K-12 educators conducted by EdSurge, 83% believed that professional development had a significant impact on improving student achievement.

Professional development enhances the quality of education provided and helps staff stay up-to-date and confident with the latest trends and techniques. Professional development can take various forms, including workshops, online courses, conferences, and peer networking.

Steps You Can Take: 

  • Conduct regular workshops, webinars, and training sessions to equip your staff with new skills and knowledge 
  • Organize conferences or partnerships with other educational organizations to facilitate peer networking and collaboration. 
  • Conduct a staff survey to gather data and identify what areas there are for professional development improvement.

Thankfully, there are numerous (often to the point of being a little overwhelming!) professional development services available for education professionals. Some of our recommendations are:

  • 40 Hour Teacher Workweek: This program is highlighted as one of the best and is mentioned by both Teachers of Tomorrow and WeAreTeachers. It aims to help educators manage their workload effectively.
  • EdWeb: This is a free online community where educators can discover new ideas, share practical experiences, and solve professional challenges.
  • Negotiating Learner Differences: This course is designed to help teachers better understand and address the diverse learning needs of their students - including Social and Emotional Learning (SEL.) 
  • Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals: This program offers resources to help educators make the most of Google's educational tools.
  • Communications by Design: A consulting firm provides virtual coaching - most notably on how educators can plan and integrate new technology.

3 Ensuring the Learning Experience is Fully Accessible for All

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities across a wide range of industries - including education. In addition to the obvious importance of avoiding expensive legal penalties, RESAs that help their school districts foster an accessible learning environment are proven to improve student inclusivity, engagement and performance. 

Creating an ADA Compliant environment involves creating accessible digital content, websites, and documents, as well as providing accommodations and support for students with disabilities. 

Steps You Can Take: 

  • Provide staff with ongoing training on creating accessible website content 
  • Conduct an audit to identify any areas of noncompliance and address them promptly
  • Ask students/teachers for feedback on any areas that could use improvement


  • Check out this Checklist for an up-to-date resource to see how your school district is doing in online ADA Compliance. 
  • Connect with Foxbright! ADA compliance is our bread and butter and we’d be happy to sit down with you to hear about your specific needs and make recommendations that will help.

4 Communicating/Marketing to Build Relationships

In today's increasingly competitive educational landscape, schools frequently find themselves competing for students and the attention of stakeholders. This is why effective marketing can help schools stand out and build strong relationships with their community that set the stage for success for years to come.  

The foundation of any successful marketing strategy is building trust by sharing relevant, helpful and authentic content. 

Steps You Can Take: 

  • Use multiple communication channels to reach a broader audience, including social media, newsletters, and email lists.
  • Encourage your school districts to utilize a mobile app.
  • Develop a marketing strategy that highlights your institution's unique strengths and values. Examples of ISDs that have excelled in communication and marketing include the Muskegon Area ISD (MI) and the Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12 (PA).


  • This article shares 4 key strategies to help any educational organization solidify the core elements of its brand, including a free, one-page guide to structure and clarify your messaging.   
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): If social media is the marketing megaphone, then SEO is the ‘magnet.’ This process involves both technical (title tags, no broken links, image alt tags, etc.) and content (keyword research and implementation) components to ensure your website appears as high as possible in relevant search results. It’s an expansive topic, so feel free to contact our team if you’d like to learn more about what specific areas you can prioritize.


Educational Organizations can help their local districts achieve excellence by focusing on four key areas:

  • Developing an effective online presence and communication strategy
  • Encouraging and empowering staff with avenues for continued learning
  • Maintaining an accessible and inclusive learning environment
  • And Communicating their value through effective, diverse marketing 

We hope this guide has provided you with valuable insights and actionable steps to implement in your organization. Follow the link below for more information on growth opportunities and inspiring examples of successful ISD websites. 

Learn More 

What Foxbright Clients Say

- Blissfield Community Schools "We have used Foxbright for almost 9 years now and have had a great working relationship with them. Responses are always quick and courteous."
- Blissfield Community Schools "We recently did a redesign of our website and we are so pleased with the new web interface. Their interface is easy to use and intuitive. Foxbright continues to keep up with the trends and over the past 9 years there have been many new features and functions."
- Byron Center Public Schools "We are very happy with this organization. They are great to work with! Sharp group of professionals and always helpful."
- Grand Ledge Public Schools "Foxbright's client service is second to none!"
- Grand Ledge Public Schools "For many people, a school district's website often provides the first impression... and those are very powerful and influential. I can not imagine using a different website technology provider – I think Foxbright is tops in so many ways!"
- Kent ISD “Foxbright is a technology company that knows how to communicate, rather than a communication company that dabbles in technology.”
- Muskegon Area ISD "We been very satisfied with the quality and flexibility of Foxbright's CMS. We continue to enjoy a positive and creative partnership with Foxbright and look forward to implementing new features."
- Saline Schools "When any issue comes up, the Foxbright support team is only an email or phone call away. They always respond very quickly to the issues which wasn't our experience with our last website vendor."
- Saline Schools "The PD yesterday was awesome! The hybrid you did for us was great. It was short, quick and covered the areas we wanted to in a short time. Thank you for being flexible and rolling with our PD style yesterday. Excited to be ADA compliant."
- Southfield Public Schools "It has been a joy and a pleasure to work with Foxbright because they are such a responsive company."
- Vicksburg Community Schools "Our Head of Technology and I both marveled at how thorough, seamless, simple, and cost-efficient the site transfer process was last Fall and at how easy it is to maintain and change the site to fit our needs. Thank you for all you do to help us look good!"
- Wayland Union Schools "Our experience in working with Foxbright to create the new website was wonderful from start to finish. We finished the project under schedule and our parents, staff and community are happy with the new site."