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Jon's Corner

As is often the case, I’m writing this column as I’m midflight, this time, en route home from Europe. I recently enjoyed building new and rekindling old relationships at the ECIS IT conference at Frankfurt International School. With such varied topics and knowledgeable presenters from across the globe present here, this is always one of my favorite conferences to attend.

At one of the conference workshops, we talked about social media, school websites, and mobile technology and grouped them as follows:

  • Your website is the destination
  • Social media is the conversation
  • Mobile devices are the locations
As we build our web strategy we need to keep destination, conversation, and location in mind at all times. Let the finalsite team know how we can help you with your web strategy; together we can move your website and web presence forward.

Speaking of you, our customer: recently I had a good exchange of e-mails with the admin team at finalsite. One topic we kept coming back to was how much we care about every single customer.  Let me repeat that: every single customer.

That’s the cornerstone of our company and it’s not something that comes easily when one is growing a product-based company. I can say with conviction: I have an absolutely wonderful group of people working for me that cares deeply about building finalsite into a world-class company focused always on the customer.

Finally, I hope to meet you in person at finalsite U at Avon Old Farms in Avon, Connecticut June 21 through 23.


P.S. Here are a couple tools that came up during discussions at ECIS IT. Feel free to share these with your team: are international schools that are looking at ways to help those who are suffering following the natural disasters in Japan:

In This Issue:

News You Can Use

Best Practices

Teacher's Corner


03-31 NEW:
Hillside School
Marlborough, MA
03-31 NEW:
St. Ignatius School College Preparatory School
San Francisco, CA

03-28 NEW:
Waldorf School of Garden City
Garden City, NY
03-21 NEW:
St. Joseph's Institution International
03-21 NEW:
Xaverian Brothers High School
Westwood, MA 
03-21 NEW:
The Chicago Academy for the Arts
Chicago, IL
03-14 NEW:
BeanTree Learning
Schantilly, VA
03-14 NEW:
Tower School
Marblehead, MA
03-10 NEW:
SAR Academy
Riverdale, NY
03-09 NEW:
Sacred Heart Schools
Atheron, CA
read more >

News You Can Use

Now Online for finalsite U


Take a look: the finalsiteU schedule – including presenters and sessions – is now available online! Register today to ensure a seat at this year’s finalsite user conference: finalsite U. Held June 21 through 23 at Avon Old Farms School in Avon, CT, this not-to-be-missed event offers world-class keynote speakers; one-on-one help with support, design and sales staff; and plenty of time to unwind and rewind. Information on hotels and much more can be found at

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4/26 Webinar- The Framework of User Engagement


What does it take to promote a first-time visitor on your website to a regular or even passionate user?  Join finalsite’s Bethany Silvestri at 2 PM EST on April 26 as she discusses the mishaps and successes in engaging website visitors. The formula is a mixture of great content that can be interpreted by a variety of users, interaction, outreach, and more. To register or to learn more about other webinars, go to

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Last Call for Web Tech Events


 This is it (almost) for the school year…St. Louis, and CT public schools, finalsite is heading your way with Web Tech Events. These free half to full day workshops are filled with the latest web trends and networking opportunities and include a free lunch. See for more information. Don’t miss out!

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Is Your Site Still Using The Old finalsite Survey Forms?

 ACTION REQUIRED!  All support for the obsolete finalsite Survey tool at will end on July 1, 2011. Our records show there are still a number of active forms in use that were built using the old Survey tool. These must be rebuilt using Forms Manager in Site Manager > Modules. After July 1 you will not be able to collect or view results with the old Survey forms. If you have not yet explored the capabilities of the new Forms Manager, please visit the Knowledge Base for tutorial videos and User Guide, and see your Admin Dashboard for upcoming Forms Manager training webinars.


Best Practices for Schools

Collaboration and Inspiration Via Leadership Blogs: Harbor Country Day's Story


“The online marketplace of ideas dedicated to the promotion of dynamic teaching methodologies and the establishment of productive, healthy learning environments."

- Harbor Currents blog


Want a way to engage and collaborate with your school’s many constituents? Consider using blogs on your website. Earlier, finalsite shared the Urban School of San Francisco’s usage of student blogs in admissions. Blogs can also be successful when written by members of school administration including the head of school as in the case of Harbor Country Day School’s Harbor Currents.

Live as of January 2011, Harbor Currents is, as the blog notes, “the online marketplace of ideas dedicated to the promotion of dynamic teaching methodologies and the establishment of productive, healthy learning environments.” The blog, developed on finalsite’s Blogs and Forums module, was inspired by the movie “Race to Nowhere,” a powerful commentary on the state of education in America today.

Currently, Christopher C. Pryor, Head of School, is the only blogger but the plans are to open up blogging opportunities not just to the entire faculty but to guest bloggers including educators who blog, members of Elementary School Heads Association (ESHA), and neighboring school heads. The plan is for the blog to be a collaboration of ideas and already traffic has been high with several hundred hits per post.

Interested in starting your own leadership blog? Pryor shares his tip for success at finalsiteShare. 

Teacher's Corner

Classroom Collaboration- Features of the Discussion Board

There are several features to the discussion board in a group space that we think make it a great collaboration tool – not only for the members of your class but for classes to collaborate together!

Did you know that when you create a discussion you can allow it to be shared with other classes taught by other teachers? On the Discussion Board Settings window you’ll see a checkbox that says Enable other classes to share this discussion. This will make your discussion available for other teachers of other classes to add your discussion to their group spaces and start participating!

Looking for another teacher’s shared discussion to pull into your page? You will also find that on the Discussion Board Settings window.

There are several other features you’ll find in the settings window that let you decide how much control you’d like to keep over your discussion board. For example you can decide if you’d like to allow your contributors to post their own topics or only allow them to reply to topics that you’ve created. Topics and replies can be moderated, meaning they won’t appear published on the site or viewable by anyone else until you have approved and published them:

You can also be notified via email when new topics or replies have been posted.

Once you have your discussion set up and your students start to reply they also have the option of being notified via email when someone replies to their post in the discussion. Or they can set their post to be marked as private so that only you as the teacher of the class are able to view their discussion reply.

Lastly, if you’d like to try and gauge participation or check replies by individual a feature is provided to filter by the submitter. This drop down menu will be a list of all students who have replied to a topic. Clicking the student’s name will display just the replies posted by that student.

How are you using discussion board in your group spaces? We’d love to hear from you!

Past Newsletters:
March 2011
February 2011

January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010


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East Hartford, CT 06108 (US)
Phone: 860.289.3507
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Fax: 860.289.3891

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