Bangor schools upgrade Web presence

By Eric Russell, BDN Staff
Posted July 30, 2009, at 8:24 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Paul Butler, director of gifted and talented and Title I for the Bangor School Department, has one other responsibility tacked on to the end of his title: special projects.

Until recently, though, he hadn’t been assigned any.

Toward the end of last school year, Superintendent Betsy Webb decided the department’s Web site needed an overhaul.

Butler got the call.

“I’m not the most tech-savvy person,” he said this week from his office at City Hall. “I know just enough to be dangerous.”

Once he got started, Butler realized the task wasn’t as daunting as he thought.

“The biggest ‘aha!’ moment for me was the level of control that even a layperson can have,” he said.

The school department’s old site was created by Bangor-based Sephone Internet Solutions, which also worked closely with the city on the upgrade. Butler also got some help from adult education director Greg Leavitt.

So, what was wrong with the old site?

“It was functional, but just very static,” Butler said.

The new site, which has been online for about a week, also has a level of detail the old site never had. Each school has its own page and can be changed and updated by a specified liaison. Butler said he wants the site to be the first place people go when a school wants to alert people about time changes and cancellations.

“We can manage the content much more easily and timely,” he said.

Additionally, the new site is hooked up to Google Analytics, which tracks users and allows Butler and others to cater the site to its audience.

“Right now, it’s geared toward parents, but eventually we want to bring students in too,” he said.

Some school department Web sites allow parents and students to monitor homework assignments and even grades, but Bangor isn’t wading into those waters just yet.

“It’s still primarily one-way communication at this point, but we can move toward interactive use. This Web site is something we can grow into.”

The Bangor School Department Web site is: www.bangorschools.net.

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/07/30/news/bangor/bangor-schools-upgrade-web-presence/ printed on July 24, 2014