School district eyes Web site makeover | SierraSun.com
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School district eyes Web site makeover

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunTahoe Truckee Unified School District is considering revamping its Web site.
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A week before Tahoe Truckee Unified School Districts first day of the 2007-08 school year, the five-member board all but approved a new design for the districts Internet pages.Our plan is to have everything and everyone on one main district Web site that branches out for the schools and departments, said district Technology Supervisor Arnie Unger in an e-mail interview. Currently four of the 11 district schools do not have a cyber presence and the seven that do have Web pages that vary in look, style and presentation. Unger said officials at several district schools have created Web sites for their own schools with the help of parents with Internet know-how. Although district sanctioned and linked to the district Web page, the school sites are hardly uniform.A benefit of the proposed makeover is that it would be very simple to add and delete information as easy as working within a word-processing document, according to Unger.Right now we are trying to level the playing field and get a product, get some training for everyone to use it and get going with it, Unger said. Teachers will be able to post homework, trip pictures, upcoming test dates, spelling lists, etc.If the trustees approve the revamping, the district may associate with School In Sites for its Web design and hosting. The district previously considered three hosting firms. According to a report by School in Sites, once awarded the contract, the firm would deliver the districts new page design within 30 days.The board did not authorize a dollar amount for the Internet project, but one trustee indicated that investing in a public Internet presence is worthwhile.-Trustee Bill Kraus commented that he considered the amount of money a public district spends on its Web site as economical.The airport spent 60,000 on their site, Kraus said.In an e-mail afterward, Unger said the school district expects to pay just a fifth of that amount, $12,000 for up-front costs, and about $5,000 annually to maintain the redesigned site.Kraus said having a more efficient Web site could cut paper costs proved in part with the results of a recent parent survey conducted on the Web and in paper form, that received only 30 hard-copy submissions. The trustees main hope was for superior information sharing with certain people in the district.The focus should be on having a two-way communication with our parents, Kraus said.A revamped Web site would help parents check if their childrens homework is done on time said another trustee, Bev Ducey. Some students could receive real-world training by helping administrators to update the schools Web site she added.Unger, the school technology expert, said the system could be used to send electronic transcripts to colleges.The district is also in price negotiations with AT&T to get higher-speed connections for Internet access Unger said.The board has requested a demonstration for school administrators, who most likely will be charged with the day-to-day maintenance of the site.


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