District looks for upgrades, apps

GLOVERSVILLE — The Gloversville Enlarged School District is looking to make some upgrades to its website and to launch an app later this school year.

During Monday’s Board of Education meeting, Capital Region Board of Cooperative Educational Services’s Betsy DeMars, who works in thee district’s Communications Office addressed the board to discuss the district’s plans for new technology.

DeMars told the board that the district has been working on a plan for an enhanced website. She said the current website is quiet old and is not supported by Microsoft anymore.

Over the summer, a research report into the website was done with a focus on creating a new website.

A part of the project was a survey that was completed by members of the public, employees, teachers, students and parents.

DeMars said the top items people looked for on the website were the upcoming events calendar, general news and announcements, the menu, staff resources and the school tool.

“According to the survey, people were generally satisfied with the site and do find it easy to navigate, which is good. But Google analytics tell us more than half of our web traffic right now comes from people accessing it from a mobile device. Our current website is not mobile responsive at all,” DeMars said.

DeMars said the district is looking to move to a website that is mobile responsive. The option the district is looking at is a WordPress site.

“We really want [the website] to serve as a marketing tool for the district. We want it to be a place that showcases our strengths. In addition, it will house the latest content,” DeMars said.

Calendars, announcements and news will still be displayed, but the district wants to focus more on social media as well. She said the new year should see more items like student projects and events put on social media.

The next phase on the website project should take about 10 weeks, before moving onto content integration with a launch in the spring

DeMars said the goal of the changes is to enhance parent engagement.

The district is also looking to launch a district app during the 2017-18 school year as well. The app is currently under construction and is being tested in-house. DeMars said she just got the test platform Monday.

The app, which uses the blackboard platform, would include push notifications for items that need parent attention. The parent portal would allow parents to keep track of their child’s progress and get communications from the teachers.

Alerts for things like snow day was be sent as well through the app. Notifications can target certain groups as well, so if information is only need for elementary parents, it can go to them.

“I think it’s great that we can push out notifications right to people’s cell phones that they’ll be able to see right away,” DeMars.

DeMars said the activity stream for the app will pull anything fresh from the district’s website and social media accounts.

DeMars said the district can still add the app before it goes live. She said the app will allow parents and users to specify to the building they want. DeMars said before the app launches, there needs to be a piece of it that reaches students.

There will also be a tipline included for parents and potentially students to report things such as bullying.

“Some people don’t feel comfortable sending those kinds of things any other way,” DeMars said.

DeMars said the district is looking to roll the app out within the next few weeks.

Kerry Minor can be reached at [email protected]

By ln_admin

Leave a Reply