Campus and District Websites and You!

The mission of a school website is twofold: first, it provides information about the school to parents, the community, and the world about the school; second, it offers a place where digital learning activities can be posted for teachers and students to use online. While the best websites meet both aspects of this mission, at a minimum, a website should accomplish the first part of the mission with the dignity and grace appropriate for an institution of learning. Those who place information on the site must realize the responsibilities inherent in this form of electronic publishing. It should be creative, diverse and in good taste. Every effort should be made to create an impression that is positive and favorable. A website should be considered a public relations tool that the district, school and teacher use to inform and impress others.

Department websites should focus on the services it provides to employees, parents and the community. At a minimum, each department should post a complete and up-to-date list of staff names, positions, phone numbers and emails. In addition, the mission and role of the department within the district should be clearly expressed. Other material that should be considered for posting is: important events and timelines, current projects, strategic plans, documents and forms, and important links.

Judson ISD campus websites are maintained by a very dedicated group of volunteers. The Technology Services Department wants to express sincere gratitude for all they do to support Judson ISD and their campuses.

The contents of campus websites will vary enormously from one campus to another. However, as a minimum, each campus should post key points of contact including administrators, teachers, and others in the campus with district-provided e-mail accounts and links where possible. The campus home page must include:

Other material that is appropriate for inclusion in the website includes: Welcome, campus history, demographic data, Campus Improvement Plan, Technology Plan, curricular programs, campus projects, calendar of events, resources for parents, and campus clubs and activities. Campuses should make every effort not to duplicate district information on their websites. For example, a campus website should link to the district athletic site, SportsZone, rather than create its own site.

Dr. Mackey, Superintendent of Schools, has requested that all teachers create and maintain a classroom website beginning the 2008-2009 school year. The objective is to keep parents informed and involved with campus events. This objective is directly aligned to the State Board of Educator Certification Standards and the Texas Teacher Star Chart. At a minimum, a teacher website should include contact information, schedule and courses, conference time, tutoring schedule, classroom rules and expectations, and a biography. Other material that should be considered is: a course syllabus, assignments with dates, important documents and forms, and student projects.

The Campus Webmasters and Campus Instructional Technologists will be working collaboratively to train all teachers. As a team, they will schedule dates and times when they will co-teach on SchoolCenter. SchoolCenter is the web based application Judson ISD is currently using for creating and maintaining web pages. Teachers will have the ability to receive webpage support from either the Webmaster or the CIT; whichever is available to assist.

District, department, campus and teacher websites should always be, as stated previously, creative, diverse and in good taste. Design plays an important role in how the information on the site (and ultimately the district) is perceived. For these reasons, design for the efficient delivery of critical information, not for visual effects. Websites should: limit graphics and use the most compact formats, use easy to read, standard fonts and page layouts, eliminate backgrounds, avoid the use of hard to read text colors and color combinations such as red on black, eliminate distracting or annoying effects such as flying text or animated graphics, avoid slanted or special effect text including scripts or ornamented fonts, keep important information in text not graphics, refrain from using email/instant messaging abbreviations and slang, and carefully proofread and spell check the information. Simply .. keep it simple.

All pages must be checked regularly for content age, appropriateness, and accuracy. It is better to post nothing than to be wrong. A website cannot contain links to external entities that claim affiliation with Judson ISD. This includes, but is not limited to, teacher personal websites, non-Judson emails, booster clubs, PTA/PTOs, and businesses. A website should not link to a site that is blocked via the district content filtering system. Information on the website and hyperlinks should not contain information that is in violation or (or promotes the violation of) any district policy or regulation nor any local, state or federal regulation or law. All employees are to follow copyright and fair use guidelines when posting materials, music, and videos.

Judson ISD recognizes the value and potential of the Internet. Employees are encouraged to publish information consistent with the mission, interest, standards and policies of JISD. The JISD website plays an important role in developing and maintaining the strong reputation and image for the school district.

Return to: Technology Services Newsletter October 2008