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Posted March 29, 2012

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School Websites Get Makeovers

Nearly a dozen APS schools have new websites that are rich with information and easy to navigate.

The APS Web Team is working to unify and standardize all school websites, making them more searchable, modern and familiar.

New School Sites

Check out the shiny new websites at the schools that participated in Phase One:

So far, 10 new sites have been launched, and more are in the works. By the end of the school year, 25 schools are expected to have new websites and many more will be transformed in the 2012-2013 school year.

Schools were asked to apply to be among the first to have their website overhauled. Highest priority went to schools that didn't have websites or that had neglected sites.

More than a dozen APS schools didn’t even have websites and others relied on parent organizations to fund and run them.

The new sites have many exciting features:

  • A search bar at the top of every page
  • School news and events prominently displayed on the school homepage, where they’re easy for families to find
  • Classroom pages for many teachers, which will increase communication with students and families
  • Automatic district news and events feeds, so that parents can go one place to get the latest information from both their school and the district
  • Instant translation of each and every page by clicking on the Translation link at the bottom of the page
  • The ability for school staff to update and improve the site using intuitive, web-based tools

APS has chosen School Loop, a content management system designed specifically for school districts, as the district-wide school website tool. School Loop allows school administrators, teachers and staff to easily post and maintain information for easy access by parents and students. It is a system used by several school districts including Los Angeles, Kansas City and Long Beach.

School Loop has many benefits for schools and teachers:

  • It’s Free for Schools - the design, migration, training and maintenance of all the school websites will be supported by the district.
  • Feature-Rich Teacher Sites - teachers will have the ability to create free websites and will be given training and support by the district.
  • Consistent, yet Customizable Layout - all the school websites will have consistent layouts and content elements so parents will enjoy familiar site architecture and features from school to school and will always know where to find the information they need.
  • One Tool Throughout the District - if principals, technology coordinators, or teachers switch schools within the district, they won’t have to relearn a new tool. This also means that tech coordinators can support each other better!
  • Emergency News and Weather Delay Notifications - emergency news and weather delay/cancellation notifications will be posted on school homepages.
    For example: when there is a snow delay for APS, the Web Team will post notifications on the APS district website and the school homepages informing parents and students of delays and cancellations as they happen.
  • Web Team Support - the Web Team will have the ability to make needed changes to school sites when their webmasters are unavailable (or if they need help performing certain tasks).
  • File Sharing - staff will have the ability to log in and share files with other staff at their school, a different school or at the district level.

While there is an initial cost to convert all of the APS school websites, once the conversion is complete in the next couple of years, the district expects to save more than $50,000 a year. The cost per year is expected to be about $14,500 a year or $103.57 per school, compared to about $70,000 a year.

Learn more about school websites.

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