This article originally appeared in The Philomath Express.
In the evolving world of communication, information seekers often forgo the old methods of dialing a phone number or visiting a building in favor of digital options. In other words, a lot of people go online for details about something — and that includes parents of schoolchildren.
Rob Singleton, director of instructional technology for the Philomath School District, looks at the new website that went live Monday.
“It used to be that websites were sort of this ancillary or auxiliary information and now they really have to be the place where people start their exploration in the district,” said Rob Singleton, director of instructional technology for the Philomath School District. “The purpose has totally changed. They’re not going to pick up the phone or walk into the school. The first thing they’re going to do is go online.”
As such, the school district has opted to update its online presence with the unveiling Monday October 15 of a new website at www.philomathsd.net. The school district’s homepage serves as a launching point to the various schools.
Jennifer Kessel, who is in her fifth year as part of the district’s instructional support staff, said a conversation about transitioning to a new website began a couple of years ago.
The school district put out a request for proposals and had a lot of choices to consider with several companies responding, she said. After forming a committee and listening to presentations, a decision was made to go with Finalsite, a company that specializes in digital marketing and communications for school districts.
“From there, we’ve spent the last several months getting things rolling over to the new site,” Kessel said. “We want to bring new things to the site as well as the things that we wanted to come with us (from the old site).”
The new website is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. New federal regulations are in place that includes several online content accessibility guidelines.
“It’s going to be completely ADA compliant and it will be cohesive from one school to the next,” Kessel said. “The parent that has an elementary school student and a high school student can go to very similar places on each page to find the information they need on each school.”
The Finalsite content management system, Composer, features templates that the school district could use to build its pages.
“The experience for the end user, whether they’re going to the district home page or an individual school home page, will have the same type of feel to it,” Singleton said.
The new domain is simplified compared to the former URL (philomath.k12.or.us) and the system includes support for mobile devices. Another improved feature involves search capabilities to help online visitors find information quickly.