February 4, 2015
Henry County Public Schools has updated its website to make it more user-friendly.
“It’s very, very different,” said Monica Hatchett, HCPS coordinator for family and community engagement. “We made a shift on Jan. 16. It’s a totally changed format.
“The idea behind it is to make it more user-friendly for community members and families,” she added. “Everything is like a button — click and it takes you somewhere.”
The Parent Connect area of the website, which contains information about resources, information and links, is now called Family Connect.
“In addition to parents, many students are supported by grandparents and other family members,” noted Hatchett. “We feel it is important for all members of a student’s school-home team to be involved. This site is one way we can engage in partnership as a collective team.”
For example, a new link on Family Connect provides information about STEM Fair, such as procedures and important dates.
One feature on Family Connect is a weekly informational blog, Family Five: five things parents need to know about a particular topic, and the topics will vary. It’s five “quick and easy” points for families to know. For example, the current topic is five things to remember about FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
Another section on the HCPS main page is “Tech This Out!” It offers a variety of information and resources, including how-to information, policies, Internet safety tips, technology available in schools, names and contact information for staff, and more.
“Join the HCPS Team” has job listings and related information.
“Dr. Cotton’s Chalkboard” has a blog, presentations and speeches, monthly highlights and book recommendations from Superintendent Jared Cotton. It also has meeting minutes for advisory committees, the Equity Council and the Henry County Education Association Executive Committee.
“Video Library” features video highlights, such as high school graduations.
“Bulletin Board” contains, among other things, blogs, recognitions and awards, information, and a brief feature on a star student, outstanding staff person, dedicated teacher, engaged family or caring community; the current subject is Jacob Williams, a Bassett High School senior who won the district American Legion Oratorical Competition.
There is a section on the main page with news and another section where important announcements will be made, such as weather announcements, information on the program of studies in order to register for classes for next year, and a thank-you note for National School Counselors Week. A calendar section lists several important upcoming dates and events and links to the full calendar.
A red menu bar at the top of the main page has links to information on many topics. For example, under “About,” there is information about 2015-16 budget planning; district information; fliers that have been distributed; the HCPS strategic plan; inclement weather facts and procedures; and more.
Other categories on the red menu bar at the top of the main page are menus, bus routes, schools, departments, school board, students, family, staff and human resources.
There are social media links, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, where information and updates about HCPS also are available.
HCPS worked with HD Web Studio, a website/graphics design firm in uptown Martinsville, to upgrade the website.
An exact cost of the upgrade was unavailable. The work was done as part of HCPS’ ongoing (year-to-year) hosting and maintenance contract with HD Web Studio, Hatchett said.
“We are very excited about the higher speed and greater functionality” of the upgraded website, she added.
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