School district number 73 oversees 33 elementary schools, 1 middle school, 10 secondary schools, 2 alternate education programs, 1 distance education school and related activities in the Kamloops/Thompson region of British Columbia. The district has developed a set of websites that support district activities and activities at an individual school level.
A district website is currently in place that provides information and services for all stakeholders in the school district’s activities. Additionally, each individual school and several administrative/support areas of the district have their own websites. These individual websites provide information and services primarily for those involved at an individual school level, for example students, parents and faculty members at an individual school.
These websites have been developed using leading open source content management systems. The district site is been developed using Drupal and the individual school sites have been developed using Moodle. The district also has in place an excellent group of individuals responsible for the development, design and implementation of these websites. For the individual school websites the day-to-day provision of information and updating and editing of that information is done by individuals at the specific schools.
These individuals are in a sense “volunteers” or enthusiasts who’ve picked up this work over and above the regular duties of their positions as part of their overall contribution to the operation of their schools. These individuals vary in their background and skills with respect to web development and design, but justifiably feel pride and enthusiasm towards their contributions. Is also a great benefit to have the information and upkeep of the school websites reside with individual schools as they are more on top of the day-to-day activities and information needs.
The district approach me with a set of problems they wished some advice on in an effort to further improve on their excellent work. The issues clustered into three board areas: minor technical issues, low level design/formatting/consistency issues and information architecture issues. Working toward solutions in these areas would greatly enhance their portfolio of websites.
I provided them with a brief report containing an analysis, an outline of what needed to be done to solve each of the problems and some suggestions for in-house solution approaches.