District 203 makes user-friendly revisions to Website
By Tim Waldorf | Naperville Sun
Copyright ©2005 Naperville Sun
It's more than just a makeover.
Naperville School District 203 has rebuilt and renamed its Website. It celebrated that achievement Thursday with a launch party at the Administrative Center.
A group of about 20 District 203 administrators, teachers and volunteers worked with Americaneagle.com to overhaul the Website over the past year. The new content management system will provide a much more user-friendly atmosphere for the people responsible for keeping the site's content fresh, according to the district.
No longer will updates funnel down to one Website manager to post, said District 203 data operations manager Tracey Oliver, who managed the project for the district. Instead, different department heads will oversee their own portions of the site so they can include more information about their department for site's users and provide timely updates.
The Website will also operate under a new address, www.naperville203.org, which district administrators hope will be easier for users to find and remember. However, to allow people time to update their bookmarks and e-mail address books, the old address, www.ncusd203.org, will still work for about a year.
Also, the old Web address will continue to direct users to the old Website until Aug. 15, which is when the district hopes to have finished tweaking the new site and transferring all of the information from the old one to it.
"Today is launch day, but a Website is never done," Oliver said. "If it's ever done, it's being done wrong." The site is searchable, and its home page is built with multiple navigation options, leading users to a wider variety of information than the old Website allowed. Users can access many of the site's pages with just one click, Oliver said.
"It was built for usability," said Areos Ledesma, Americaneagle.com's project manager.
The site also boasts searchable school board policies, job postings, interactive events calendars, quick-hit news items, information about the district and its various departments and programs, and lots of school information, including boundary maps and grid code charts indicating which subdivisions feed into which schools.
There are also photos of District 203 students prominently featured on most of its pages. "This has been his dream, his vision since he walked through the door," District 203 Communications Director Melea Smith said of Superintendent Alan Leis.
Smith said Leis entered the district two years ago with communication improvements as a top priority. She said rebuilding the district's Website so that it includes students' photographs and communicated the district's statute as one of the state's top school districts was important to Leis.
Ledesma said the district has achieved that with this project.
"We feel that this sets a new standard for school district Websites," he said.