Creating School Web Pages
school seems to have a website,
What should go into a good school web page?
What are the steps in building a quality school web site?
Developing a school web page has become a popular practice in many schools. Learn more about designing quality school websites.
Explore the website Designing School Web Sites by Jamie McKenzie.
Before you jump into the development of a page, it's a good idea to explore some schools who have already been through the process. Go to the Cool Schools page for a list of school websites. Also check out school library, public library, academic library, and special library sites.
Planning is an
essential part of web page development. Start with a
planning committee that involves administrators,
teachers, library media specialists, technology
people, parents, community members, and students. The
first task of the committee is to identify the purpose
of the website. Ask yourself: Why do we need a
website? Who is the audience? How will resources be
used? Why will they want to revisit the website
Develop a set of policies and procedures related to the website. Identify roles and responsibilities such as webmaster, content coordinator, writer, and editor. Develop content provider guidelines. Develop a policy for the use of student names, photographs, and projects. Also, discuss copyright issues and ways of handling dated pages and link rot. Consider legal issues such as acceptable use. What disclaimers should be posted for users?
Identify the content
for the website. Who decides on the content? Does
every document need to be online? Is it available
elsewhere? Could we link to it? How will information
be used? Why will people revisit for more
Sometimes it's hard to think of all the things that might be included in a school web site. Below is a list of things to consider. This list is also available as a pdf file.
- Contact Information: Name, Address, City, County, State/Province, Country, email, web address
- School Background: History, Mission, Song, Logo
- Virtual School Tour: Directions, Map, Photos, Classrooms, Videos, Live Cams
- School Accomplishments: Awards, Achievements, Grants, Special Thanks
- School Announcements: Events, Schedules, Calendars, Timelines
- News and Information: Minutes, Newspaper, Ezines, Announcements - snowdays
- School Policies & Procedures: Mission, Philosophy, Handbook, Curriculum Guides, Policies, Programs
- Staff/Administration: Principal Welcome, Directory (name, position, contacts)
- Teacher Pages: Directory (name, position, contact)
- Class or Grade Level Pages: Classroom, projects, assignments, themes, field trips
- Student Pages: Project posting, sharing, links to personal pages (offsite)
- Support Departments: Content Area Departments, Library/Media, Technology, Health Services, Bus Routes, Art & Music, Sports, Clubs, After School Programs, Special Programs (Special Ed, TAG, ESL)
- Parents/Volunteers: Directory, PTO/PTA, Activities, Opportunities, Events, Needs
- Student Resources: Assignments, Course Information, Projects, Popular Links
- Teacher Resources: Lesson Plans, Professional Development, Popular Links
- Parent Resources: Parenting Resources, Popular Links
- Curriculum Materials: Online Curriculum Materials: lessons, activities, homework
Community Information and Outreach
- Local Information: Weather, Geography, Culture, events, Attractions, Library
- Local Resources: Natural and Historical Resources, Business & Nonprofit Contacts
- Business Connections: School Supporters, Grants, Free Advertising
- Call For Participation: Volunteers, Wish List, Funding Needs
Before creating your
pages, read Designing
Quality School Web
Pages by Patti
Tarell. Also learn more about Website Evaluation.
Develop the structure for your website. Careful organization is essential. Use a software package such as Inspiration to help visualize the website's folders and pages. Think about how directories and files will be named. Establish levels of control. For example, you might assign a site manager who coordinates content, a webmaster who designs and uploads pages, department coordinators who provide content for specific areas of the website, and individuals who provide additional contributions. Try to get everyone involved with submitting content. Although some people may create HTML documents or use web development tools, others can submit projects in a word processing format or on a piece of paper.
You don't have to begin your website from scratch. Many schools start with a template. Or, use ideas from your favorite school websites. Then, build basic pages as needed.
Develop a standard template and layout for your website. Involve students in creating logos, photos, and other visual elements for the website. Each page should contain a title, navigation tools, creation/update date, and email contact. Consider how student work will be displayed.
Design your entry page (index, menu, home, front, or core page). This page will provide users with their first impression of your school. It should reflect the school philosophy. For example, what pictures will you include on your front page? Does the website reflect your school's mission? Is your entry page attractive and easy to use? Does it provide easy access to your site including menus, index, and other tools? Is this page updated regularly? Is new information highlighted?
Make our website interactive. For example, you might include email contacts, forms, discussion forums, guest books, interactive quizzes and other elements.
Once the pages have
been posted, your job is not done. It's time to do
field testing on different computer platforms and web
browsers. Also, try the website with difference
audiences. Ask them to look for simplicity,
nagivation, ease of use, accuracy, technical quality,
and effective links. Revise your website to meet
Maintaining your website can be a big challenge. If limited support is available, consider eliminating aspects of your website that require ongoing support such as announcements, schedules, and lunch menus. Try to update the website periodically, even if time is limited. A new project each month will draw return visitors. Enlist the help of others such as student workers, volunteers, a web club, or computer class.
a School Website
Following the steps above, plan a school website. Create a diagram showing the pages of the website and how they might be connected. Also, sketch a few alternatives for the layout of the entry page. Share your ideas with another educator or your students