Oak Harbor schools get new websites

Oak Harbor schools are getting an online makeover.

The school district launched 10 new websites for itself, the district’s eight schools and HomeConnection.

“Improving websites was the number one suggestion we received from our recent communications survey,” said Kellie Tormey, school communications coordinator, who is in charge of this project.

It’s been more than eight years passed since the district’s websites were updated.

Tormey said they really needed modernizing.

“We’ve had numerous comments from families, as well as our own staff and students, that they aren’t user-friendly, that the information is, in many cases, not really relevant,” she said. “The access is difficult, it’s hard to find things. … It was just really important that we get the websites updated.”

The new websites, featuring more streamlined designs, have many new and improved features.

Highlights include an all-district event calendar, a rotating masthead with images linking to “major feature” events throughout the district, intranet pages for district staff to share resources and a search option, which the old site did not have, Tormey said.

Also new is adaptability for mobile devices.

The new sites have a “responsive design” so it “automatically knows what kind of viewing device you’re on, and it will adapt its display and render perfectly with the device you’re using,” Tormey said.

“The entire site was designed with feedback from the community,” Tormey said. “We based all of our decisions almost entirely on what we knew our users were looking for.”

The school district worked with Schoolwires, a web provider that specializes in helping districts build and manage their websites.

This project cost about $1,000 per site, according to Tormey. The money came from the operating budget.

There will be an annual fee for Schoolwires to host the district’s new sites, which Tormey described as minimal.

The district had not received their final invoice from Schoolwires as of press time Friday.


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