A 2019 survey of Medford parents and teachers has led to the redesign of the district’s website and a focus on better accessibility.
Educational Technology Coordinator Mark Damon, Instructional Technology Coach Christy Green, district technology engineers, leaders and the webmasters in the district’s seven schools collaborated in a year-long effort to update and redesign the website as features became outdated and the community requested better access.
The site — Medford.K12.NJ.US — launched on June 27 as a contract with Schoolwire expired and support for Adobe Flash Player began to drop. (Adobe has placed websites and browsers on notice it is retiring the program on Dec. 31).
School colors remain the same and a “less is more” approach requested by both parents and teachers has taken shape. Education website developer Edlio was awarded a new contract for the website.
“It became very clear that parents wanted to be able to go in, get information and get out,” Damon explained. “They didn’t care about the look or social media presence, they wanted to be able to see the lunch menu, calendars, absences, staff directory and paying cafeteria bills.”
So the district complied. The corresponding links front the website as visitors are shown upcoming dates in the district and a message from Superintendent Joseph Del Rossi. His statement and those of school principals were placed at the top level of the respective pages to keep the faces of schools at the forefront.
Teachers were kept in focus for the website’s new look; educators can view personnel documents by using their district login credentials.
COVID-19 had slowed the migration process, as webmasters serve dual roles in preparing educators and other employees for online instruction. The web experts were also restricted from their offices and had to use other collaborative measures to remake the website.
“We narrowed it down that all of the schools should have a centralized approach to keeping the menu items similar, so parents can access everything the same way,” Damon explained.
Districts use various documents and photography for the home page. A review of other district’s pages showed at least one favored the quaintness of its small town; another highlighted student success. Damon said Medford’s approach adhered to its motto — “excellence in education” — and educational activities.
The new webpage has also resulted in a new logo for the district that webmasters believe emphasizes the district’s mission and can be reproduced without losing the integrity of the image. An older version of the logo contained the boundaries of Medford Township and a historic building.
“We updated it to reflect our motto, ‘excellence in education,’” Damon reiterated. “Some schools were going to use their mascots, but they kept throwing off the template completely. So we felt that as we moved toward our new logo, we wanted something that was consistent in size and offered the same message to others.”
A black and white M with the district motto is featured in the upper left-hand corners across the platform. It has yet to be adopted as the new logo by the board of education.