School to update website

January 5, 2009 — by Vijay Menon and Karthik Sreedhara

Students who log into the official school website saratogahigh.org next spring will be in for a surprise—a newly redesigned Saratoga High website.
Media Arts teacher Tony Palma, principal Jeff Anderson, tech guru Julie Grenier, and librarian Kevin Heyman have been working with the company Educational Networks to create the new site.

One of the main reasons for the major changes is difficulty users have when navigating the website. The new one will be much “cleaner, more organized and easier to use,” according to Palma.

“If you want to access information, there will be multiple ways to get there,” said Palma. “If you want to get to your teacher’s website, you can go through the staff directory, or through department directory or you can search by name or by subject. You’ll be able to access the information you need quickly.”

Visitors of the site will also be treated to several brand new features, such as a calendar of events that continually updates itself based on the date, a module that will cycle through pictures of the school, websites for each teacher, a new and revamped search engine and a language translation tool, said Palma.

According to Palma, the current website is stagnant and hard to use. People who need to post items on the website must first e-mail the information to the person who manages the site. The site manager then posts it using an on-campus server, but the process is tedious with only one editor.

With the new website, any teacher or administrator can post information on their part of the site from any place with web access. He hopes that with this new system, information will be updated more often and that the public can rely on the website for new information when needed.

“We’ve broken up the one-person editor and decentralized the web authority, so it will be easier for whoever is responsible to edit their part of the site,” said Palma.

Also, every teacher will have a presence on the website because the new site will not require teachers to have any previous experience with website-creating software such as Dreamweaver.

The school’s main goal is for the website to be the “front door” to the school, and to be people’s first source of information about the school.

“I’m glad that they’re updating the site,” said sophomore Navneet Ramesh. “It’s really hard to find the information I’m looking for on the current site.”

Since August, the school has been providing information to a team of designers such as their desired style, color scheme, text and layout. At completion, the entire process will cost around $5,000, Palma said, but it is a price worth paying.

“Hopefully it’ll be a seamless transition, but ultimately it’s going to be better for the future no matter what we end up doing,” said Palma. “It’s going to be beautiful.”

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