It took about a year to get all the cogs in place, but Chuck Westergard, the East Hampton Union Free School District’s Manager of Information Systems, has unleashed a new and improved website for the East Hampton schools.
The old website, which was not particularly user-friendly and contained outdated material, was roundly criticized by East Hampton board member and school parent Jackie Lowey last August in a board meeting, shortly after she was elected. The rest of the board agreed, and the wheels of change began to spin.
It was up to Mr. Westergard to find a new company to design, integrate, and host the website. He settled on Edline, a Chicago-based company which has recently become a division of Blackboard, and will now go by the name Blackboard Engage.
“It’s much easier to use,” Mr. Westergard said. “You don’t need to know html language.”
Nancy McKee, the district’s senior clerk-typist, is already updating the calendar, which will appear on the district’s homepage. Along with the calendar is a section for Links, and a section for News. These sections are not fully up to speed yet. Mr. Westergard also hopes to insert a special box where late-breaking news, like school closings, will be posted front and center.
Although they are not “live” yet, teachers will also get their own pages to update with course information and homework assignments. And parents will receive information on how to access their children’s pages, where they will be able to hover over the student's name, and see all of the courses they are taking.
“It’s a much more interactive, user-friendly site,” Mr. Westergard said.
And of course, it’s crimson and gray, the Bonac colors.
The website has its own translator, so the pages can be perused in Spanish, Tagalong, and Afrikaans, among a bevy of other languages.