Stamford Public Schools Web Standards

Rationale

Stamford Public Schools (SPS) district and individual school websites are public sites welcoming visitors to the district and its schools, linking students and parents to important information. Often a school website is the first or only impression that a parent or prospective parent gets of the district. Because of this, it is imperative that all school sites are up to date and support the educational goals of the district.

In an effort to improve communications with our families, as well as the image of our district, SPS is upgrading all individual school websites by migrating them to a new, single platform. The platform will simplify the process for updating individual school websites, will provide a consistent user experience for parents across all websites, provide an enhanced user experience on mobile devices, and will give parents the option of subscribing to school news so they can be notified when new information is posted.

In producing individual school websites the following goals should be considered:

  • Introduce visitors to the school, its leaders and its program
  • Share the school's successes
  • Give a sense of what is unique about the school

General Guidelines

In an effort to provide a consistent and intuitive user-experience for parents, as well as to utilize best practice in communications, each principal should appoint a school webmaster, whose responsibility it is to keep the content up to date and to ensure that all content meets the SPS Web standards. Once the migration is complete, the district and all school websites will be hosted by the vendor.  Any teacher or other school-affiliated organization, such as a Parent Organization website should not attempt to represent the school or the district or have direct access to update content on the school site.

Every school must utilize the template provided by the vendor—choosing from the color pallets provided. If no color pallet provided works with your school’s logo or mascot, we will discuss other options with the vendor. The homepage for all schools must contain:

  • School name
  • Address and phone
  • Names of the administrators
  • School logo on top (will provide image specs)
  • SPS logo in contact box
  • District mission
  • Common top navigation (with minimal exceptions)
  • Quick Links, should include: Powerschool/Parent Portal, Peachjar button, school calendar, subscribe to news
  • School News
  • Social Media (if the school has no social media, the district social media will be used)
  • District News
  • Contact Us—which includes hours of operation, as well as phone, fax and address

To be effective, websites must be kept up to date. Parents will only return to your website, if they have found the information they needed the first time.

The new platform has the capability of posting news stories on the front page. This is where all important, engaging information should be “announced.” The news will get pushed out to all subscribers. Each school can work with the vendor to automatically subscribe staff. Additional information about a news item can then link to another page of the school’s site. For example, if a sports team wins a championship, you should post that as a brief news item on the front page along with a photo, but then link to the athletic department page or to the student newspaper for more information.

Style

Writing for the Web is different than writing for print. People go to a website to locate specific information or to obtain updated information. Keep the copy brief, clear and easily readable. For complex information, use bullets or provide a link to an outside source for more information on a subject. For consistency among the schools and district, follow AP Style (The Associated Press Stylebook) for punctuation, style and grammar. Always proofread your work.

Use the pre-determined font sizes and styles in the content manager. Do not use colored or unusual fonts to draw attention to something. Instead, use clear, engaging writing and photographs.

Never underline copy on the Web. Since website links are automatically underlined when created; readers expect anything that is underlined to be a link.

Links

If you wish to provide information to your users that you do not own, do not upload that information to your website; instead link to it.  For example, never upload the school district calendar to your website. Post a link to it from the district’s website. That way when the calendar is updated throughout the year, your link will always point to the most recent version. It saves you from having outdated information on your site. Additionally, do not use the words: click here, for links. Instead use words that describe the link.

When linking to content on the school’s own site, you may set it to open in the same window if you prefer. However, when linking to information on another school’s site, the district’s site, a PDF or an outside organization always set to open in a new window.

Photographs

As per Board Policy 5115, photographs of staff members and unidentified students at school or school-sponsored events are considered ‘directory information’ and can be used on your school’s website, unless you have been otherwise notified. Do not identify any student by name, unless you have written permission from a student’s parent. In all cases be cautious. Check filenames and images to ensure that no student’s name or any identifying information is contained within.  

Copyright

Do not use copyrighted materials on your website without proper permissions.

Disclaimer

SPS has adopted and enforces the standards set forth in these Web Policy Guidelines for materials posted on its Web site and on the individual Web pages that it hosts. SPS reserves the right to remove or disable access to material that violates its acceptable use policies. However, SPS does not assume any responsibility or liability for content provided by others, including content provided by faculty, staff, and students on sites hosted outside of the official district or school site, nor does SPS assume any liability or responsibility for failure to enforce its acceptable use standards as set forth herein.