Archive for Thursday, November 2, 2006

District launches redesigned Web site

November 2, 2006

For Eudora USD 491 alumni, the score of last week's football game is just a click away.

For parents feeling the need to get an update on their student's performance or to check on district news, it's a matter of setting a bookmark.

And if a voter is puzzled over the district's next bond issue, they too can clear things up with a visit to the district's newly revamped Web site.

The district launched its redesigned portal ---- ------ late last week after district communications coordinator Kristin Magette led a committee of students and teachers charged with determining what the district's Web presence should have.

"I feel where we are now is sort of a starting place," Magette said. "I wanted it to be a good starting place."

The site's main page features updates, stories profiling district programs and a weekly award for the student of the week.

Other sections include a place for the district to post information on the next bond issue, a link detailing the district's history and a place for parents to learn about enrollment.

"Section by section, I was working with a lot of different people," Magette said.

On the enrollment section, for example, Magette worked with the head secretaries of all the schools to make sure the information was correct, she said.

In the end, she has direct editorial responsibility for the site, she said.

The Foundation for Education Services, a non-profit company based in Lincoln, Neb., handled the backend work for the district, including its new design and maintenance.

"I feel like it's the perfect fit for us because it still allows us to determine what goes on the site," Magette said. "I can make a change instantly. For example, when the girls volleyball team won state, I was able to go on and add that right way."

By working with the foundation, the district has been able to save money.

"It's just pennies compared to what it would cost to do the Web site ourselves," Magette said.

The site also links parents and citizens to informational programs. Parents can now gain access to PowerSchool to check student data. Soon citizens will be able to see all school board minutes and agendas with a link to BoardDocs.

The board accepted a contract with BoardDocs to reduce paperwork at their monthly meetings.

In addition to providing information to the public, district officials see other advantages to the Web site.

The new site could serve as a recruiting tool for the district, Magette said.

"We feel like when we are recruiting the very best teachers in the state that these are teachers who are going to the Web site of the schools they are thinking about," Magette said. "We feel like that's really the first place they see."

The updated site could also play an important role in the district's next bond issue.

"As a district, we can't spend our resources to get citizens to vote yes or vote no, but what we can do is put the facts and the details online, and we hope that would then inform the voters so they can make the best decisions," Magette said.

In addition to the new Web site, the district launched an e-mail update system, Magette said.

The system will allow anyone with strong connections to the district to stay up-to-date with district news.

"It's a way for us to communicate with the people that are most interested in our district, and we are really excited about that," Magette said.

Superintendent Marty Kobza has been working on developing the new site for more than a year.

"It's something I'm really happy to see come to fruition. It's been a long planning process and Kristin has done a great job of pulling it through," he said.

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