I am an assistant principal and I am in charge of our school's website. I would like to tap into the expertise of this web community.

I want to redesign my school's website. Here is what I am thinking;
-I want to use RSS feeds extensively
-I want to give teachers & teams the ability to add content immediately. This must be very easy for them to do.
-I want to keep the appearance of the to be as professional as possible and easy to navigate.


Any thoughts or suggestions you can provide would be greatly appreciated...

Tags: website

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I don'r think a blog would be adequate for a school website. I would suggest using a free and open source content management system. Joomla would work quite well for a professional looking website as it has great templates available for free or for little expense. If you are more concerned with community functions such as multiple blogs and such. Drupal would be a better choice. Most would agree that Joomla would be easier to set up and administrate. There are other options, but these are probably the most popular.

We use Joomla for our main website and other software for blogs, etc.

With either, you can set up multiple users with a variety of permissions including the ability to submit material that must be approved administratively.
In the last few years, two of high schools have redesigned their websites. Check out http://www.sps.springfield.ma.us upper right hand corner school web site. Click on High School of Commerce, then on Springfield Central High School. I know the Commerce Web site has a blog. The Central Web site does not. I don't believe there is a rss feed in either. The structures are totally different.
Our school just changed from a static webpage with animated gifs to a blog provided by edublogs. We just kicked it off so it is pretty new. We decided to have the teachers send the posts to a core team of members who actually do the posting, allthough it is incredibly easy so teachers could do the posts themselves. We haven't really promoted it to parents yet so we only have one comment so far. Check it out: http://gtpsblogs.org/reedsroad/
Joomla is a content management system, and is highly recommended. Instead of putting your energy into designing a website, you can focus on the content. Since it is open source, there many resources available to help you set up and maintain the site.

I looked at Kim Monroe's edublog site. It has a friendly, community feel to it. I like that. I maintain 5 sites, one for each of my classes at an international school. I use edublogs for this purpose. The students can identify with the sites and have a sense of ownership. It is easy to use and teachers and teams can post easily -- easier than posting to Joomla.

I think it comes down to the purpose of your site, the size and sophistication you want to have. Perhaps a good solution is to use Joomla and link to classroom sites hosted by Edublogs. That way you can run a CMS, provide the content you wish, and still maintain a sense of community. It may combine the best of both worlds.

Richard Piet
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Rob,

honestly you need to really check out www.schoolwires.com. Everything you just explained is what schoolwires is all about.
Schoolwires is a good solution. I think the reason many of us use edublogs is because it is free and is a part of a community of educators and learners. Joomla is open source and offered at no cost. Also, the philosophical aspect of open source communities aligns with education well -- not unlike this community at classroom 2.0

However, if there are funds available, proprietary solutions can be the best choice. They can be tailored to fit your needs and come with brilliant support. For any administrator given the task of producing a website for the school, a proprietary solution may be the quickest and easiest solution. It is often much better than trying to produce something in-house.
Rob, Our school is looking into schoolwires. You recommend it? What are the pros?Cons?
My school district uses SchoolFusion...www.schoolfusion.com. Not sure how much it would cost for a single school, but it has everything you are looking for-our teachers are required to change their sites once a week.
Can you give your school addres to chech out?
My district uses eChalk and we have had the BEST support with them! Our district is a 1:1 district for the high schools and our teachers each have their own class sites for each class they teach. They post lesson plans, (homework automatically shows up when the students log in--and when parents view), they can blog, post links, documents, and videos. Anything they can think of, we can do. This also provides our students with a safe email alternative that we can monitor. Everything that we can think of and have asked eChalk to do, they have implemented!
Rob,

I don't know if you found a solution yet, but even if you have, others here were certainly have similar questions.

Having been involved precisely in this end of education technology for more than 20 years convinced me to create WebSchoolPro, a secure CMS for schools that runs on education only servers. I do hope that some of you folks looking for school websites will check it out. There's no cost or risk to signing on or using WebSchoolPro. The entire registration and activation process takes less than 5 minutes. You are welcome to try it out and walk away, or use it as long as you like. Since August we have signed up more than 200 very happy schools across the country.

Find out more at http://webschoolpro.com

You have absolutely nothing to lose by signing your school up at http://webschoolpro.com/signup.html

On the site you can also visit our Blog, links to LIVE schools, read testimonials about the product, chat live with us online and much more. Do yourself a favor, take a load off of your IT staff and make you business manager very happy!

Best Regards, Blaine
Thanks for this Blaine. It looks like an easy solution for many schools.

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