NYC public school websites should not be optional because, as the pandemic has shown (and some city schools have already figured out), a website can be much more than a marketing tool. Done well, the website can serve as a central hub for distance learning, providing parents and students with critical information.
While the Department of Education has a page for every school with surveys, reports and test scores, only some link to a school’s personal website and some of those links lead nowhere.
Missing websites and broken links may give the impression that a school doesn’t have it all together. Yet for hardworking staff at district schools, websites may seem like a luxury and a waste of the precious budget. (Charter schools consistently have slick websites because they must market their schools.) In some fine public schools, especially K-5, a website often doesn’t come together until a parent volunteer creates it.
Jennifer Pellerito, an instructional technology coach at PS/MS 89 in the Bronx, was tapped to redesign her school’s website, not because she’s a licensed technology specialist (she isn’t), but because she has tech know-how and a background in graphic design.
She completed the redesign before the pandemic hit to meet the city’s December 31, 2020 deadline to make all websites accessible. She said it didn’t take much work to add information for families when schools closed. The PS/MS 89 website can serve as a model, along with some other schools, including charters, that have posted daily schedules and links, lessons and FAQs, to their existing websites to help parents get through this time.
At InsideSchools we know a thing or two about websites and as it turns out, they are a great place to share ideas.
Let us know in the COMMENTS: Should all NYC schools have a website? If your school has a website, how useful is it?
Photo from PS/MS 89's website.