The New Hyde Park-Garden City Park school district will launch a redesigned website next week as part of an effort to improve communication and engagement, district officials said.
The district’s web address, nhp-gcp.org, will stay the same, but users will get a cleaner and “more user-friendly” experience, said James Svendsen, the district’s director of curriculum, instruction and technology.
“We’re just hoping that it’s sleeker and it’s more convenient, easier for parents,” Superintendent Jennifer Morrison said after Monday’s school board meeting.
Morrison first raised the idea of a website overhaul in June, before she officially started as superintendent, she said. The process was accelerated when the district learned its current website platform, SchoolWorld, would shut down at the end of the year, officials said.
The new site will use the Blackboard Connect platform and will have mostly the same content, Svendsen said. The change cost between $8,000 and $9,000, he said.
The new platform will give each of the district’s four elementary schools its own webpage, Svendsen said. It will also allow the district to post notifications, such as school closings, online at the same time that they are sent to parents via email, he said.
“The website becomes more user-friendly so that people go to it more often and use it for those purposes, to get information about what’s going on in the schools,” Svendsen said. “And maybe we can be a little less paper-dependent and a little more internet-dependent.”
In addition to the new website, the school board will soon start using the online system BoardDocs to store agendas and other documents, Morrison said.
BoardDocs gives the public digital access to nearly all the same meeting materials that board members can see, she said. The Sewanhaka Central High School District also uses the program.
BoardDocs will “help us communicate better with the community,” Morrison said.
The board will soon be trained to use Chromebook laptops, a set of which arrived on Monday, Morrison said.
The decreased reliance on paper documents will save money in the long run, school board Trustee David Del Santo said. But the district should work to help residents understand how the new system works, especially those who are not technologically savvy, he said.
“I think we’ve got to move ahead, but we have to move in a fashion that everybody comes along with us,” said Del Santo, who is also the president of the Sewanhaka school board.