Newton schools launch updated Web site

COVINGTON - The Newton County School System launched its updated Web site last week in an attempt to provide more information to the public and create a more navigable site than the one it had before.

The new site, still located at www.newtoncountyschools.org, is more colorful and provides more information than the previous site.

"Although our previous Web site had won both state and national awards, we knew we needed to change the format of the site because we had simply outgrown it. We had a lot of information on the site, but it had become difficult to find that information at times," said Sherri Viniard, director of public relations for NCSS, in an e-mail. "Our goal was and is to increase the amount of news on the home page, provide easy access to important information through the use of quick links and include an opportunity for the public to offer feedback on important school district issues."

School system officials also say the site is easy to navigate.

"We wanted a site that had sections dedicated to our different publics: students, employees, parents and the general public," Viniard said. "There are numerous helpful 'Quick Links' that provide easy access to frequently requested information. Current news items are now on the home page, and we've provided contact information for our various departments."

She also said the site includes more information about standardized tests and employment with NCSS.

"And we are not done yet," Viniard said. "A Web site is actually a neverending project because once you stop adding information to it, the site becomes stagnant. We want the site to be something the employees, students and the public can continually use. We want them to visit the site on a regular basis."

Viniard said last week when the site was launched was the end of a year-long planning and creating process from school system employees and Web designer Sam Harry from AtlantaSky Creative Solutions, Inc.

"When we started, the only thing we knew for sure was that we needed a new Web site," she said. "The Public Relations department sent out an e-mail to all system employees asking their input on what they would like to see on the new site."

The PR department also spent months looking at other school system Web sites around the United States from which they could use features.

She said the school system implemented some of the dozens of suggestions it received from employees and the public and plans to use more of the suggestions in the future as it continues to improve the site.

"Our future goals are to create a free, electronic system newsletter than can be accessed online or by subscribing to it through our site. We also want to continually add information that students, parents and employees can use on a daily basis, such as links to sites for testing or homework assistance, college scholarship information and, maybe later on, a section for alumni information," Viniard said. "We have a lot more information to include on our site; we just wanted to take it live (last week) so everyone could start using it."

Because of the site just launching last week, Viniard said some links and pages on the site aren't all active and working yet, but will be "soon."

Anyone can submit feedback and suggestions regarding the Web site through the "Community Feedback" Quick Link on the home page.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.