The Oregon City Schools board of education has launched a new Web site which features improved navigation and additional features.
“The initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Nathan Quigg, the district’s technology director.
He hopes the new design and added features will attract more users.
“Just in the past month, we have already added content and made some small changes to the site in response to community feedback,” said Quigg.
The new site makes it much easier to add new content and pages than the old site, he said.
Furthermore, key personnel in each building were trained to update their school’s portion of the Web site to provide timely, relevant content to parents, students and community members, he said.
The district conducted a survey in October seeking feedback on building a new site, he said. In response, the district added more current content, many new features and made navigation more intuitive. The main navigation now includes a “parents” link to provide one click access to a list of resources/content parents will often access. The district also added a searchable district directory on the main page with e-mail addresses and phone numbers.
One of the most requested features from the survey was online payment lunch accounts. The district is currently negotiating with banks to get the lowest fees available to offer the service for 2009-2010. Parents will be able to create family accounts and manage all students under one logon. A credit card may be used to add funds to a child’s individual account and will post within 24 hours. The system will even e-mail parents when their child’s account falls under $10. There will be a convenience fee to use the site, said Quigg.
Another new feature is the document manager, which provides a searchable document center that includes forms, calendars and other popular documents, said Quigg.
The most requested feature from the survey was online grades.
The entire district will be switching to a new student management system next year (eSIS), which will allow for future access of online grades, said Quigg.
“We will first have to implement the program and train staff to use it for all data entry,” said Quigg.
The online grades feature will not be launched until 2010 or 2011.
Another new feature is the ability to sign up for text messages, e-mail alerts or RSS feeds from any web calendars. The most popular subscription is to the school delays and closings calendar. “You can have a text message or e-mail sent immediately to your phone or computer as soon as school is delayed or closed,” he said.
The board of education section of the site was expanded to include meeting dates, agendas, minutes, audio recording of board meetings, treasurer’s office information and a new online employment application system.
“Our goal is to share as much information about our district as we can,” said Quigg. “We are confident that users will find the new site full of useful content and applications.”
School Board President Jeff Ziviski was pleased by the new Web site.
“This is exciting for everyone in the community,” said Ziviski. “It has been a project that has taken a little over a year from the idea concept to launch and I believe the final product is just outstanding. The Web site is a true representation of ideas from everyone in the community. People will see a lot of the ideas that they submitted and many of the concerns they addressed via the survey incorporated into the new Web site. From a board and administrative perspective, we want to use the new site as a major method of communicating with the community. Additionally, the site is designed to be able to update regularly with little effort, and can be adjusted to incorporate new ideas that are brought forward as we grow. It will definitely enhance and benefit our district and community in many ways.”