07/18/10 — Officials hope Duplin school site easy to use

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Officials hope Duplin school site easy to use

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on July 18, 2010 1:50 AM

KENANSVILLE -- Duplin County Schools launched a redesigned website July 1 officials say will help parents and teachers stay up-to-date with the latest school information.

Dawn Craft, director of technology and media, who also is assuming the role of public relations contact for the school system, said that the site will offer services to keep parents involved and teachers connected.

Technology facilitator Kristin Hall spent six months building the site with company Schoolwires to migrate the system data and update the features.

It had been a number of years since the website was last overhauled. The old site "was great in its time," but needed a revamp, Mrs. Craft said.

"We feel like it's user-friendly, we feel like it's what we want it to be. It shouts who we are in Duplin County Schools," Mrs. Craft said.

Teachers will receive information about educational opportunities for staff development when they log into their online account. The goal is to make it easier for educators to take advantage of the opportunities, Mrs. Craft said.

"If there is staff development that's offered, either online or face-to-face, they will be notified through e-mail, and they can sign up online rather than the old pen and paper," she said.

There are also time-saving features built into the system. When school begins, teachers will be able to submit weekly lesson plans online, an environmentally-friendly first for the county.

The site will offer other features such as the events calendar, letting visitors view events for the entire county or for each individual school or department. It will make it easier for staff to communicate with each other as well, Mrs. Craft said.

The site will continue to provide an emergency notification service which can automatically send a recorded phone message to employees and parents in the event of a school delay or emergency situation.

And parents will also be able to sign up to receive e-mails or automated phone calls for certain events, such as when a school's site is updated or when report cards are issued at the end of a grading period.

"It's just another way to reach parents," Mrs. Craft said.

The new site design features photos from around the county and pictures of children in the schools.

"We feel like a website is very important, it's a portal to the world. When the world looks at a Duplin County website, it's a window to who we are and what we are. We wanted it to be something that reflected the county, but mostly emphasized our schools," Mrs. Craft said.