Searching for school supplies? Or a new school? MPS’ new GPS-enabled mobile website can help

Research finds significant mobile internet usage across income, demographic groups

MILWAUKEE (July 18, 2012) – Parents shopping for school supplies, shopping for a school for their children or just looking to learn more about Milwaukee Public Schools now have a new tool to help them: the district’s new mobile website.

The website – at – launches Wednesday and features a GPS-based school search function that allows parents to find schools based upon the parent’s current location, location of a home or offerings of a given school. Parents can search for schools with a focus on the arts/music, bilingual education, career/technical education, English as a Second Language, Gifted and Talented programming, International Baccalaureate curriculum, language immersion and the Montessori method, among other options.

The site also allows parents to easily find the information they request most often: school supply lists, lunch menus, district news, events and program information – all from any web-enabled mobile phone, including IPhone, Blackberry and Android-based products.

MPS is launching the site as research continues to show significant mobile internet usage among district families and across income and demographic groups. The district’s own 2011-12 school climate survey found 75% of families have internet access and 53% have a smartphone or tablet with internet access.

As of 2011, 88% of American adults had a cell phone, according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, compared to 58% who had a desktop computer and 61% who had a laptop. The same report found 49% of black and Hispanic adults — and 45% of white adults — had a smartphone.

Among smartphone users, Pew found 25% go online mostly using their phones. That grows to 38% among black and Latino users, to 40% among those whose households earn less than $30,000 and to 42% among those between the ages of 18 and 29.

“Information is critical to our current and prospective families – and we have to go where our families are,” Superintendent Gregory Thornton said.

The district created the site through an approximately $20,000 contract with Roll Mobile, an award-winning Milwaukee-based mobile development and marketing agency. More information is at MPS opted for a mobile website as opposed to costlier “apps” for each mobile platform – and district staff will maintain and update the site at no additional cost. Smartphone users visiting the full MPS website – — will be redirected to the new site with the option to switching to the full site if they so choose. Users are encouraged to bookmark the site!

Media Contact: Roseann St. Aubin | 414.475.8237 |

Milwaukee Public Schools is Wisconsin’s largest school district, serving 80,000 students in more than 160 schools across the city. U.S. News and World Report named MPS’ Rufus King International School and Ronald Wilson Reagan College Preparatory High School the two best high schools in the state and among the 200 best in the country in 2012. In the past year, Milwaukee Public Schools posted a growing graduation rate 17 points higher than the rate for 2000, growing math standardized test scores representing 10-point growth in the last six years and growing ACT scores.