Washoe Country School District

August 23, 2014

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WCSD School Web Development

It is very important for each and every school to have a web site that is up to date and available to relay information to the parents and guardians of the children that attend the school. 


Site Content Guide

This may be the first web site you have ever had the pleasure of working on. Or this could just be the first schools site you have worked one. Either way there are a few things you will want to make sure to remember when building or maintaining your schools site.

  • Who is the Audience? While your audience could be anyone, your main audience is the parents of the children that attend your school. Content should be written in a manner that is directed to this audience.
  • Is your site usable? It is a good idea to form a small committee of staff and parents to evaluate your site.
    -Is your site easy to navigate? - Keep your navigation the same from page to page. Navigation pieces are normally distributed across the top of the page or down the left side of the page.
    -Is your site attractive? - In general how does your site look? Using your committee of parents and staff get an idea of whether the site is attractive or not.
    -Is the information clear and to the point? - Your working on a school website and therefore the information presented should be about the school. Your busy, your audience is busy so keep the information brief and to the point. If the information you are trying to relay is from another site let that site provide the details. Give a brief description along with a link to the more detailed information provided on the site responsible for that information.
    -Is the content well organized? The title of the page should relay what a user of your site will find on that page. Links to related content should be clearly described to the user.
  • Is the content readable? Content on your site should be easy to read. Text should be black on a white background using a font that is easy to read like Aerial or New Times Roman. Script fonts should be avoided as they can be hard to read.

ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Compliance

Conforming to ADA web guidelines are important and not as difficult as you may think. Following the guidelines stated above will help you to stay in compliance with the ADA guidelines.

A lot of the guidelines listed in U.S. Department of Justice's web site were written many years ago. At this time many of the most commonly used web browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari, etc...) have built in tools for ADA compliance. One example is for those that are visually impaired. In the past web developers would have to use multiple style sheets to increase and decrease the font size of the content. Now web browsers, using a zoom feature can increase the size of the content without the formatting issues that were caused with multiple style sheets.


In an effort to support the schools we have developed a few options to help the schools in the task of developing and maintaining a website.

  1. Building your site with a template driven design (recommended)
    Skill Level: Beginner to Advanced
    Building your site in a template driven editor is as easy as editing a Word document. Using a template driven editor is fast and easy and will allow you to maintain your site from any location with an Internet connection. This option is recommended for anyone that has never attempted to build a web page. This is the recommended option as the biggest issue with school web sites is keeping skilled volunteers. This option eliminates the need to have a volunteer with web development skills.
    More information on building your site with a template driven system.
  2. Building your site using standard HTML
    Skill Level: Moderate to Advanced
    Building your site from scratch with no template or editor can be very time consuming and have a high degree of difficulty if the person building the site has had no previous experience with building web sites. The person building the site can use an editor to build the page but without prior knowledge even editors can be very difficult to use. Advantages to building your site like this is that design and layout are completely open to person developing the site.
    More information on building your site with standard HTML.
  3. Building your site using a standalone HTML template
    Skill Level: Moderate to Advanced
    This option allows the benefits of being able to build your site using HTML, but starts you off with a pre-existing design. Using a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editor like Dreamweaver or Pagebreeze the template will allow you to make changes to the template without having to manipulate the html code that drives the site. Editing can become time consuming as more and more pages are added to the template as links will need to be added and edited to each page. If using a WYSIWYG editor, you will need to install it on each computer you wish to edit your site from.
    More information on building your site with a standalone HTML template.

Accessing Your School's Web Files

Your school's web site is located on the district's web server. If you are charged with building and or maintaining your school's web site please have your administrator (Principal) contact Michael Morris at mmorris@washoeschools.net to obtain the login information required for accessing the web server.

Helpful Resources

  • Building a Web Page for the Totally Lost - This is a simple walk through on how to build your first web page. The instructions are clear and get the point across. The page you build in the tutorial is very simple and is a good start for anyone that has never worked with web pages.
  • W3Schools HTML Primer - If you decide you like building web pages and would like to learn more the W3Schools site is one of the best sites for information on building web pages and using programing languages.