The Bigfork School District launched a new website Tuesday that aims to serve as a hub for information about its schools and the community.
A new website has been a top priority for Superintendent Cynthia Clary, who stepped into that position in July prior to this school year.
When people are looking to relocate or to find out more about a community, they often check out the local school district’s website, and that first impression can make a difference, Clary said.
“The website is the first glimpse of the school district for a lot of people,” Clary said.
A technology committee was put together with the district’s technology director, Don Richardson, as well as administrators and department representatives this fall to begin looking at the issue.
“We all came into it looking for different components,” Clary said, noting that’s why a variety of people were asked to be involved on the committee.
The committee heard presentations from a number of hosting and development companies before settling on rSchoolToday.
Training on the new website and its back-end content management system began first within the committee and then was given by department and grade level throughout the rest of the district.
Teachers and departments are responsible for setting up as well as updating the content on their own pages of the website.
“We’ve asked teachers to post their syllabi and a two-week calendar of activities and assignments in the classroom,” Clary said.
Teachers and staff have been receptive of the new site and have gotten on board with it, she said.
“Just like anything that’s new, the response had been anxious,” Clary said. “But, the teachers have just been phenomenal. They’ve found it to be very useful and are excited about the possibilities for their classrooms.”
Departments are also to post relevant information and resources. The site additionally has community group pages and Clary said she hopes to provide links to other important information about the Village.
Though the site is now active, it’s still a work in progress, Clary noted.
“We’re going live Feb. 1 with the understanding that it’s a living, breathing site that will be changing frequently,” she said.
Clary said she looks forward to the possibilities offered by the website, including an individually customized membership component under “My View” for parents and community members.
“I’m really excited about this component,” she said. “Say I’m the parent of a freshman, seventh grader and fourth grader. I can go in and set it up to get information and calendars just for those grade levels and activities they are involved in.”
The new website platform will also help facilitate further changes in the future for the district.
“We want to get to the point where kids are submitting assignments electronically,” she said. “We’ll have drop boxes. Online assessments is another way. It’s cost saving.”
Clary said she encourages community members to look at the website and provide feedback.
“The most exciting aspect of the website is the ability to let the public know about all of the wonderful programs we have at Bigfork schools,” Clary said. “It’s just our goal to have as much communication with parents and the community as possible.”
The new website is at a different url than the previous site. The Bigfork School District can be found online at http://www.bigforkschools.org">www.bigforkschools.org. The current site is set up to redirect visitors to the new site.