Bath County Public Schools
Web Site Development
For many years, the Bath County School Board has emphasized school-home-community communications in division goals and objectives. Our division’s increased reliance on web-based information mirrors that in society; indeed, the BCPS web presence has grown in recent years to a complex organizational communication system that has become strategically critical to our continued success.
The school division home page (www.bath.k12.va.us) links users to web sites for each of the three schools and the School Administration Building, as well as including other items of interest such as the division calendar, school menus and even the local weather. The home page continues to be managed by the division technology director, though all staff can add “In The News” items that are then reviewed/approved by key division staff prior to being made public. A number of staff members across the division share responsibility to post pertinent calendar information—from school events to divisionwide meetings and the academic year calendar. The information is entered once, but is then filtered to ‘views’ of interest to different groups.
School web sites have the same ‘shared’ approach to content development. While a few key staff members have primary responsibility for the school home pages, some of the home page content is open for staff input. In 2008, prior to widespread use of SharePoint Services by faculty, there were approximately 18 staff websites with more recent updates. That number tripled during the 2008-09 school year, with more than half of our teaching staff developing their own web presence. Since teachers and staff have opportunities—and expectation from administrative staff—to post web content, it is imperative that they become aware of web development guidelines and best practice suggestions. Ultimately, school principals have responsibility for websites within their school domain. The Technology Director serves as an advisor and technical consultant in the publication process, and assumes overall responsibility for the entire network of division websites–including responsibility to remove sites that do not meet division guidelines.
Foremost in the review of a web site is how effective the site communicates the intended message to the audience! The building home pages were put together with the same general format to help convey a degree of cohesiveness in the division web, though beyond obvious aesthetic or moral issues and grammatical standards, staff are encouraged to utilize creativity in site preparation. Staff may find, however, that certain structures already online in the division web may provide a good starting point for new web features.
Two other critical factors in web page review are system and/or personal security and copyright infringement. Sites that may compromise the division or network web security will be removed without warning by division administration. Likewise, web sites that may place students, staff or the general public in danger will be removed. The ease in which information may be copied from one electronic source to another increases the probability of copyright infringement. There is much information available regarding copyright issues, but when in doubt–ASK!
Each building will need to periodically monitor its web directories and links to ensure their reliability and appropriateness. Links in outside web sites change from time to time, and other information may become dated or inaccurate at a later time. Likewise, the building web site will only be utilized by others if it presents information of use or interest to the public.