Integration and simplification top wish lists when it comes to website management tools. Administrators want tools to connect easily and effectively with parents and students as the variety of programs, platforms and devices grows.
Many systems handle a range of functions, from overdue library books and bus routes to lunch balances and student assignments. Administrators want to provide one “point of entry” for parents to get all the information regarding their children, says Stephanie Weeks, vice president of K12 strategy for Blackboard, an educational technology company.
District administrators also don’t want to waste time having to explain to parents where to log in—they’d rather focus on the more substantive messages they need to deliver, Weeks says. Mobile-friendly website products can increase efficiencies by integrating multiple management functions.
Another challenge for administrators is the growing percentage of students and families who don’t speak English. “It’s absolutely critical that school districts can reach those family members” says Weeks.
Here are some solutions:
Finalsite’s Composer computer management system features drag-and-drop capabilities for creating page layouts and navigation. It provides users with coders, designers and a project manager. It also comes with a preview tool and is geared for search engine optimization. It integrates student information systems, payment gateways and other educational software.
eSchoolView Content Management System
This flexible system allows district leaders to create websites, stream video, and publish blogs, podcasts, surveys and photos. The eSchoolView Quick-Edit feature allows users to edit the contents of a webpage directly on the desktop site. The system is also mobile-friendly, making for content consistency across platforms.
This comprehensive and inclusive management system—which administrators can access from mobile devices—is customizable and scalable, with a large array of data collection options. It includes real-time grading and assignment tools, emergency management, a multi-language translator, and a new special education module that tracks an entire individualized education program (IEP).
In addition to a full content management system, eChalk provides responsive, mobile device-friendly design themes that also include simple class and group page creation tools for teachers. Users can easily build sub-sites that feature separate navigation and design. Calendars, menus, news feeds, photo galleries, social media and school sports scores can be integrated as well.
Presence’s user-friendly platform includes browser-based in-context editing and drag-and-drop functionality. It also has a validation checker and legal compliance functionality to ensure content is appropriate. The system offers full client support and unlimited page depth, tracking of site changes, news release scheduling, photo editing, calendar functions and searchable directory capabilities.
Edlio designs original, customized district websites with an intuitive, user-friendly content management system. Highlights include teacher and class subscriptions, news alerts, slideshows and integration with Google Drive and calendars. Provided tech support manages hosting aspects such as domain registration, cloud-based resources, server setup and maintenance. Websites are responsive to mobile and desktop platforms.
Blackboard Web Content Management
Blackboard Web Content Management (formerly Schoolwires) features an easy-to-use back-end management platform and responsive design. This offers users a single tool to create a website that is easily viewed on laptops, tablets and mobile devices. Administrators and teachers can build their own pages, edit content, upload pictures and communicate with families.
Blackbaud’s onMessage CMS features responsive design, including drag-and-drop tools and the ability to publish content in multiple locations. The intuitive, mobile-friendly system accommodates e-commerce for school merchandise, custom forms, notifications, messaging, content feeds, media galleries and unlimited users. And it allows the customizable filtering of users for various reports, mail merges and labels.
The cloud-based FacilityPointe system helps districts oversee various administrative tasks, including building maintenance, internal equipment requests and facilities rentals. It can also manage transportation activity, such as bus schedules, field trips and athletic trips. The ticketing system prioritizes and monitors requests, and staff can sign up for notification texts and emails.
This advanced, point-and-click toolset includes a variety of features and custom modules, including unlimited streaming media, secure blogging, social media integration, multilevel calendars and profanity filtering. It also offers custom permissions and authoring rights so administrators can maintain overall control while individual departments can create their own pages, calendars and content.