PARIS — School Administrative District 17 has rolled out a new website that officials say will provide current information and is easy to use.

The site, which was expected to be rolled out this week, is at www.msad17.org.

“One of the most persistent comments I’ve heard over the years is that our website was not appealing. … I think this new site adds some color and modern design that will give it much more appeal,” SAD 17 Technology Director Michael Dunn said.

The website combines elements that Dunn said provides a “one-stop shopping” experience for content ranging from lunch menus to budgets to individual school newsletters and more.

“By that, I mean that the usual website content is spiced up with our Facebook feed, a Twitter feed, database-driven updates to certain content, and customized content,” he said. “At the start, custom content will only be available to staff. When a staff person logs in, she will see content that a person not logged in will see. We plan to extend that to students and parents over the coming year or so.”

Dunn said the new website menu structure will make it easier to find content.

“We’ve tried to organize the menu by the relationship you have to us. If you are a parent, you’ll find information of interest under the parent menu. Likewise for students, staff, alumni, community, etc.,” he said.

The decision to create the new website was based on a recommendation made in the district’s Strategic Plan to improve communications. The plan was approved by the board of directors in January 2015.

The purpose of the redesign, according to the Strategic Plan, was the following:

• Collecting and providing information and being intentionally inclusive of the mission and core beliefs;

• Ensuring the district website is the gateway to each individual school site, including building level mission statements of each school; and

• Developing student, faculty and administration YouTube links.

Dunn led the redesign action team, which included Database Administrator Sam Iggulden, Superintendent Rick Colpitts, Business Manager Cathy Coffey, Assistant Superintendent Patrick Hartnett and Special Education Director Jane Morse.

The group chose a platform and vendor, built a structure, assigned content managers and content. The site was built by Brandon Goding using Drupal. 

Dunn credited Goding in his first blog on the new website saying, “Although many, many staff members put much time into it, I have to hand it to Brandon Goding who did the heavy lifting to put this together and to put up with me — and many others! — for asking for bells and whistles to be added, and to have the basics explained just one more time.”

Dunn said viewers in his first blog that the website presents challenges.

“The challenge with any website is keeping content updated,” he said. “We have tried to make this as automatic as possible, but we also have automated ways of finding stale content and reminding the content editors to freshen things up. If something needs updating, please let me know and I’ll make the appropriate requests.”

Dunn said content is customized based on the viewer’s login.

“When you login, our site will detect if you are a parent — and you have your email address registered with us — a student or a staff member,” he said. “Currently, the site only provides custom content for employees. We hope to roll out custom content for student and parents this school year.” 

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: