New website is online in ISD 518WORTHINGTON — Tuesday marked an important day for Worthington Independent School District (ISD) 518 when its technology department launched the school district’s new website — a highly anticipated project that has been in the works for almost a year.
WORTHINGTON — Tuesday marked an important day for Worthington Independent School District (ISD) 518 when its technology department launched the school district’s new website — a highly anticipated project that has been in the works for almost a year.
Nearly seven years after the district’s website underwent a major facelift, ISD 518 technology director Amy Ernst is excited for all the new changes that comes with latest upheaval.
“We really needed it,” she said “If you went to the old website, the information was always the same. That is not how we use the web anymore.”
District Superintendent John Landgaard explained having a more functional website will improve opportunities for communication.
The “news & updates” section on the homepage is feature that Ernst explained is vital for the district.
“We have so many good things happening, so this is a good way to share it with everyone,” she said.
The new site provides increased user flexibility, especially for content management.
Although the former site had the updating option, updates could only be performed when users were within the school district.
“The main thing for updating that I try to let anyone know is that they need a content management system (CMS), which will let them easily update the website on a regular basis,” explained independent web developer, Drew Johnson, who designed the school’s site.
An additional goal was for the site to provide ease of navigation.
“We wanted it to be intuitive so that if anyone went to the website, they wouldn’t have to be digging though information,” Ernst said.
New to the site is the analytics feature, a function which will aid the technology team in measuring site traffic.
“We can focus our energy on things we know that people are using more,” Ernst said.
Johnson said within first four days of the launch, the site has drawn in about 4,500 unique visitors.
“Even with the four-day weekend, that’s about half the town,” he added.
District 518 was not in session Friday and Monday for spring break.
“We will have a spike when school starts,” Johnson said.
Bids for the new website came in last year, but Ernst said recurring costs for many school hosting sites were relatively high.
“We wanted something flexible but affordable,” she said, explaining most hosting sites charged school districts per pupil, per year.
“When you have 2,600 students like we do and if they charge $4 per pupil, the cost easily adds up to about $10,000 each year.” she said.
The school district’s technology department began working on layout ideas with Johnson in October.
As the technology group went through design and content phases, they received feedback from the school district administration as well as from professional sources through Johnson.
“It was a long process but we decided to take longer and do it right instead of rushing through it,” Ernst said. “It was not one person’s job, but a team effort.”
A former student at ISD 518, Johnson was enthusiastic about designing a website for his alma mater.
“It was fun working with the people who, in essence, trained me to do some of those things,” he said, adding his interest for web design began in high school.
Changes and improvements to the new website will be continuous in weeks to come.
The school district’s website can be found at http://www.isd518.net/.
Daily Globe Reporter Ana Anthony can be reached at 376-7321.