As we mentioned in our previous blog post, we will be highlighting a few of the valuable products and services that OPSRC offers to public schools throughout the state. One of these products is a school website, an often underused and overlooked tool for communicating information to your district's families and community supporters. This tool will save you precious time and money and will help you more effectively provide information to those who need it.
This is even more important right now, as it's that time again when schools are looking at next year’s budget and deciding which contracts to renew, which ones to cancel and if a new provider is necessary. As schools are already struggling with tight budgets and facing possible additional cuts, we hope school leaders will consider how our website offering and other products we provide to OPSRC members can help save money and time while allowing schools to focus on their mission of educating children.
To date, forty-one Oklahoma school districts use this website solution, and we regularly hear that the solution saves schools time and money, is extremely easy to use and has improved their ability to communicate with parents and community.
What does it cost?
We’ve designed our solution to be as cost effective as possible. We charge a one-time fee of $750 to build the site. For every year thereafter, we charge $100/year to host the site. Our technology team is available to assist you in managing the website, and we don’t charge extra for this technical support.
How does it save you time?
Managing a website can be challenging and intimidating (especially if you don’t do it often), so we’ve chosen a solution that is simple and easy to use. Our website is fully “responsive,” meaning that the site works on all devices. Many schools still manage separate websites—one for traditional computers and a separate site for mobile devices. The administrative console is set up similar to a Word document, so if you’re familiar with Microsoft Word, most updates are intuitive. Additionally, our website solution integrates with popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, so if an administrator attends an extracurricular event (say a basketball game), he/she can snap a photo using a mobile device and then automatically upload the photo to the website. We’re constantly working to upgrade this functionality, and as new functionality is rolled out, all of our website customers can access this functionality with no additional charges.
How does it make your school more effective?
School websites are often the primary point of interaction between parents and other community members and the school. We consider the following factors to be critical in ensuring that your website conveys accurate and easily-accessible information:
- Clear and simple design: Research shows that internet users will spend less than seventeen seconds looking for information on a website before they give up and look elsewhere. With this in mind, our website is designed to make the most critical information easily accessible to parents. This factor makes it less likely that parents will call with questions and ensures that they will view your school website as an effective communication tool that they can rely on in the future.
- Works on mobile devices: Did you know that the majority of internet searches occur on mobile devices? As mentioned above, our site is fully responsive and works on all web browsers and devices. This ensures that regardless of the device used, parents and community members will be able to access the information on your website in a streamlined fashion.
- Meets all Oklahoma state requirements: In coordination with our financial and legal teams, the OPSRC has a compliance checklist that we use to ensure your website meets all state requirements. Before we launch a new site, we carefully review this checklist. Additionally, we conduct semi-annual audits of your website to ensure that you have properly posted all board meetings, agenda and other required documentation. These audits are provided at no additional charge, and if we identify a deficiency, we contact you to ensure that the issue is resolved and headaches are avoided.
- Learning Management System (LMS): Instead of traditional teacher pages that are listed on a lot of school websites, we try to help your district get set up using an LMS. We also make sure your site is linked to your LMS of choice to make it easy for your parents and students to access. We prefer this solution to teacher webpages, as it ensures parents can access student information in a secure manner. An effective LMS also provides parents and teachers with clear communication of the work being completed at school and can help parents know how to better support their child’s academic progress.
We are proud of our website offering, and by using it, we believe you can save time and money and provide your community with a more effective communication tool. Thus, you will be freed up to spend critical time focused on your students. If you would like to learn more, please visit our website at http://opsrc.net/website-offering-about or email Technology Director Ben Parker at email@example.com.