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Michael N. Smith Headshot

This Website Stinks

Posted: Updated:

Not this website. It doesn't stink (I hope).

It has a cartoon family and Buddy Cam.

I'm talking about school websites.

Some of them stink.

Not all of them are bad.

Just the ones that aren't good. And there are plenty.

If you don't believe me, Google your local school and see for yourself (you will know in the first 1.5 seconds).

One of an administrator's primary jobs is to keep the school grounds looking neat and tidy.

Make sure the grass is cut. Get the trash picked up (all the great administrators pick up trash when walking around). And remove snow in a timely manner.

The front yard of any school is the first thing people notice when they drive by or visit.

A neat looking school means kids are probably getting a good education.

People expect their school to look good. They want to be proud of the facilities. They want to be assured their tax dollars are not being wasted.

What has changed is school grounds are no longer the only gateway to a district.

There's also the school website.

School websites fall into two categories. Either award-winning or they haven't been updated since 1982.

The interweb is here to stay people, it's time to stop thinking about school websites as frivolous.

They aren't something the Tech Person can update when they have time (and a good Tech Person never has time).

They aren't something the eighth graders can work on in study hall.

The school website is a district's biggest marketing tool.

When families are shopping for a new school, their first stop is the website.

Schools wouldn't use tacky stationary or put on a half-hearted graduation ceremony.

They certainly wouldn't let the grass go uncut for 18 months.

So why do they let students, parents, alumni, and total strangers access their sad and tired website?

We have to do better.

The parents of a second grader has no concept of a world wide webless existence. They expect a school website to be updated more than once a year.

They want to email their child's teacher. And they want to find the email address on the school website.

They also want pictures, the latest school news, announcements, schedules, and everything else associated with the school.

It's time people.

It's 2010.

Let's get out there and make school websites better for kids.

I also think every teacher should have their own website, but that's a rant for another day... and blog.

Email Michael Smith/principalspage at micsmith@principalspage.com