Schools launch new website

Published 11:00 pm Friday, January 27, 2012

Suffolk Public Schools’ new website includes features such as more news and notes, a search bar and separate portals for staff and parents.

Suffolk Public Schools launched a new website earlier this month to make it easier for parents and community members to find the information they’re seeking.

“The website is one of our key tools to communicate with our parents and the community at large,” division spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw said. “Technology has changed, and expectations for what a website is supposed to look like and what a website is supposed to allow you to do have changed, since we started our original website 10 or more years ago.”

The division contracted with a company to design the new site for about $8,000.

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The new website has separate portals for parents and staff, so the different groups don’t have to wade through items they don’t need to find what they’re looking for, Bradshaw said.

Other new features include a search bar, a contact form and more photos and news posted on the front page of the site.

Previously, Bradshaw said, clicking on the “contact us” link would bring up a blank message in the user’s email program. It would have Bradshaw’s address pre-set in the “To” line, with the rest of the email blank. Now, however, visitors to the site can simply fill out a small form listing their question or concern.

“People are kind of used to doing that,” Bradshaw said. “I think people are seeing that as a means of communication. I probably get five of those a day now, and I might have gotten five a month before. It’s been easier.”

The parent portal consolidates all the parent resources into an easy-to-use feature where parents simply select the grade level of their child and the subject in which he or she is struggling.

That brings up extensive lists of basic worksheets and activities for students, as well as specialized worksheets for each individual Standard of Learning, along with steps parents can take to help their child at home.

“We’re hoping that will help get parents more involved in helping their child at home, because we’re all partners in this,” Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw said the site also is designed to be more mobile-friendly, so people can access its features from a cell phone or tablet.

“We have a little bit of issue with that, but we’re working on it,” she said.

To see the website, click here.