Your School Website: A Reflection of Leadership
Have you looked at your school website lately?
Far too many principals I know are just too busy to worry themselves with their school’s website. Some simply do not have the know how or understand the value of their school site as a means of communication, community support and teacher interaction with students. Let’s face it, just about all of us know how to search Google for information. We have encountered good and bad websites. Our ultimate goal is finding a site that is user friendly, with up to date information and fairly intuitive to navigate. Your busiest usage on your website will be those weeks right before school starts, so it is important to make sure teachers have their pages ready to go at the end of the school year in order to help communicate expectations right before school gets started.
In order to manage your school’s website, you must first find a reliable and trustworthy webmaster.
- The first step is to find someone that you trust and that shares your vision for the school.
- Help them get the training they need from your district level technology team.
- Determine together what special features you want your site to include.
- Use the webmaster to train teachers to update their individual pages quarterly.
- Utilize the calendar feature to keep parents and students informed.
- Allow your webmaster to link pages to social media for additional communication.
Outstanding service to your parents, students and community requires a great school website. An informative site that is relevant and up to date will keep your stakeholders coming back. A web presence is more than just a nice looking web site with fancy graphics or flashy pictures. It is a way to connect to your parents, students and community and draw them in. An effective web presence provides a way to build trust in your school. It explains how you can meet the needs of your stakeholders and why they should trust their child’s education with you. It is essential that your website reflects the school’s vision and mission, who you are, your qualities and the personality of your school. Your website may be a visitor’s only impression of your school.
As a principal the more educated you are in your approach the more likely you will be to succeed in your efforts. And ultimately, the more successful you will be in making your school stand out in your district. Your school website is a reflection of your leadership. If it still has last year’s staff listed, your stakeholders are not likely to trust in your communication efforts. A great website will show you care about how your school is perceived in the community.
With your vision and mission statement, include your school wide goals for the year. Short term and long range plans should reflect measurable goals of the school as a whole. Your site needs substance. Use your teachers to help keep the site updated with professional bios and quarterly objectives. Include upcoming events and field trip information. Show that you pursue excellence in all you do. Explain your relevance. Utilize your site as a holding place for important and routine forms and keep it consistent through all of your printed materials.
The world isn’t static and neither is your school. Reconsider your web presence every six to twelve weeks. If you have added new programs or services, want to recognize students and staff, or have volunteers and community partners to highlight, this will enable you to stay in step. Do not underestimate the power of your school’s web presence.