Is Your Website Ready for Summer Break?
The hallways are empty, the final grades are tallied, and teachers are heading home for some well-deserved time for planning, continued education and rest. For most schools and districts, June marks the end of another school year.
But while the classrooms may be quiet for the next two months, your website's job isn't on hold. In fact, your website may have to work even harder during the summer months when students are out of school and staff is less available to answer questions for families, prospective families, and potential job recruits.
So before you head to the beach, take some time to update your website for summer and get a head start on back-to-school. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your community feels supported during summer break.
Many school activities—including sports, clubs and professional development—continue on through the summer months. Make sure summer activities are on the school calendar, especially since it may be hard for families and staff to get ahold of someone to find missing information. Also take a look ahead and put back-to-school events through the first few weeks of school on the schedule.
Summer Assignments and Reading Lists
Many schools have summer reading lists or other assignments for students to complete during break. These assignments can give students a head start on the school year and help prevent the dreaded "summer slide" in academic skills. Don't give students an excuse to say they couldn't find the homework—make sure any summer assignments can be found on the individual teacher's class page, from the school's main page, or both.
They may now be thinking about it now, but come August parents will be frantically looking for back-to-school information on your website. Don't make them wait—get it up now, before wrapping up this school year. Create easy-to-find links to the information and materials families want the most, such as orientation or meet-the-teacher days, supply lists, and important forms. Consider creating a block on your homepage that links to a subpage that gathers everything for back-to-school in one place.
Information for New and Prospective Families
For families who are new to your school or district, or who a making a decision about school enrollment in the fall, your website is usually the first stop in their information gathering process. This is especially true during the summer when school doors may be closed. Make sure your website tells your storyand puts your best foot forward for them. Consider creating a special page or area that gathers information about enrollment and answers frequently asked questions about school placement, grade level standards and expectations, and special programs.
Make sure staff directory information is up to date and has current contact information so families know how to contact their new teachers once they get their fall schedules. With eChalk, keeping directories current is easy—you can perform a bulk upload for automated directory updates.
Keep in touch with families while they are on the go this summer. With a mobile notification system like eChalk Notify, you can push important announcements and reminders out to everyone's mobile devices. Mobile notifications are a great way to make sure students and families don't forget summer assignments and know when to show up for back-to-school orientation. Just be sure to use them judiciously in the summer months!
Looking for more tips on getting your website ready for fall? Check out our back-to-school website checklist.