Danville schools? There's an app - and new web design - for that
Last week, after six months’ work, the Danville school district launched a redesigned website and new School Connect phone application to better communicate with parents, students and the community.
“We’re really excited. We were in desperate need of a new one,” webmaster DeWayne Towe said of danville.k12.il.us.
Here are five things to know about the new-look technology, care of staff writer NOELLE MCGEE.
1. The site has a new responsive design, meaning it will automatically adapt to different-sized screen displays.
"With old traditional websites, you had to scroll up and down, side to side and zoom in and out to be able to see what you wanted to see," Towe said. "This automatically adjusts whether you're on a large computer screen, an iPad or a smart phone."
2. It's more visually appealing than its predecessor.
The site is hosted by SharpSchool, a web design company that counts 3,000-plus schools and districts as clients over the past 11 years.
"It's a wider format, so it fills up the screen," Towe said. "We can actually delegate the different departments. So, the music department will be able to update their events calendars and things like that, and they can add their own pictures. The older site didn't have a lot of pictures throughout."
3. It's easier to navigate, with features such as drop-down menus and quick tabs for students, parents and staff.
"We're going to add frequently asked questions" for each, Towe said. "They'll be things like: When is registration? How do I sign my child up for extracurriculars? It's kind of a one-stop page. It's also got a Google search tool embedded with it, so you can search for a term."
4. Webmasters and school staff will add more content as the school year begins, including up-to-date information and photos on Danville High's clubs and organization pages; a staff directory; and interactive teacher pages.
While the old website featured some teacher pages, "most teachers didn't use," Towe said. They will this one, he predicts, because of a content management system they can access from anywhere — "their classroom, a laptop, from home. Parents and students can go on and see what assignments or any special resources the teacher has listed to help students with their homework."
5. Parents, students and staff can download the School Connect app to Apple and Android devices and get weather-related dismissals, emergency notifications, reminders about events, sports scores and other notifications. It's free to users and the district.
The app was designed and will be maintained by a Jostens company, based in Oklahoma. "Their big selling point as far as how it works was when the tornado came through Moore, Okla., it was the end of the school day," Towe said. "Administration sent out a notification to parents: Your kids are safe, they've all taken shelter, the buses aren't running, do not come to the school. Once the tornado passed, they were to send out another notification to parents."