Website to be revamped for school district

By Xiomara Levsen, The JOURNAL

Last Wednesday, the Washington School Board approved the technology plan for this summer, which includes revamping the school district?s website.

Assistant director of technology John TeBockhorst said they already started the process. The majority of his time and technology director Jeff Brock?s time will be reviewing all of the content the current website has.

?It?s going to be a page-by-page thing where we go through and check all the content to make sure it meets all these guidelines that we?re going to adopt and putting it into the new framework,? TeBockhorst said.

The district has to follow ADA guidelines for the content on its website.

?There?s a lot more involved with it than a person realizes with ADA and the content,? Brock added. ?There?s a lot of cases that we have fliers, so I?m going to put together a really nice-looking flier for an event and post it on the website. It ends up being an image. Well that image is not ADA compliant. You can?t read it. You can see it, but you can?t read it with a screen reader, so things like that we?re going to have to change our procedures and handle things a little differently than we have in the past.?

They?re going to have a new set of guidelines for people to follow who want to post things to the website, TeBockhorst added.

Board member Heidi Vittetoe asks if the technology already applied to content management for curriculum.

?Some of it does, like Powerschool and Schoology ? they are already made that way, except for the content that?s posted,? Brock answered. ?It?s still kind of the same thing. Someone could upload a document that doesn?t meet that criteria.?

TeBockhorst and Brock hope to have the new website live by the beginning of next school year, they said.

?We?re really excited about it, but it?s a little bit overwhelming at times, because we want to make sure we get it all right,? TeBockhorst said. ?Make sure it?s functional and looks nice, so I have a feeling that?s going to take up a lot of our time this summer ? just making sure the website is ready to roll out and be successful.?

Washington superintendent Jeff Dicks asked TeBockhorst and Brock how many school districts were cited for being in violation from the Office of Civil Rights (OCR).

Dubuque was one of the bigger districts that received a letter, TeBockhorst said.

?It?s our understanding that if you develop the policies and you?re being proactive the Office of Civil Rights will be a little bit more understanding,? TeBockhorst said.

If you get the letter and aren?t compliant and don?t have a plan in place, OCR will give you their timeline to change the website, which the school district is trying to avoid, he added.

Other technology projects planned for this summer include: upgrading the battery backup at the middle school; replacing the iPads in the Lincoln lab; purchasing more iPads and Chromebooks for Stewart; and the office remodel at Stewart including the HVAC, electrical, data and security systems.