The Eastchester Union Free School District, located in New York, serves more than 3,000 students in five schools. According to the district’s history, “the term ‘union free’ refers not to the workers’ unions we know today, but instead means an independent school district, sharing no services or connections with any other district.”
This site’s design is simple and bare-bones, with a scarcity of photos or graphics and an emphasis on textual information. The home page offers sections for news, upcoming events, and links to individual school sites. The school sites are presented in various designs. The district logo (at the top left on the main district site pages) does not offer a direct link back to the main home page; however, there is a prominent “Home” link underneath the logo.
There is a consistent top navigation bar with links for “Home,” “Contact,” “Email Sign-up” and “Sitemap.” The left nav bar has 14 choices, including “Administration,” “Calendar of Events,” “Directory,” “Policies,” “Procedures,” “Programs,” “Services” and “Superintendent.” The bottom nav bar, with links to “Employment,” “Registration” and “Transportation,” for some reason appears only on the home page.
The search box, powered by Google, is located at the very bottom of the left nav bar—a somewhat odd and out-of-the-way location; it would serve site visitors better if placed in the upper right corner, adjacent to the helpful site map link. The search results returned are relevant and appropriate.
There is an adequate amount of information for the various site audiences. Because the text-heavy offerings are well-organized and there is not an overwhelming amount of content provided, the site offers a straightforward, albeit basic, online experience.
The site is not optimized for use by disabled users.
There is no formal section for parents or students provided on the site; however, applicable and pertinent content is peppered throughout the site. This includes important and timely student health-related announcements, directories of various district departments, a detailed listing of policies and procedures, a monthly calendar of events, and a newsletter, School Talk, in Adobe PDF format.
The “Contact” link simply provides an e-mail address; however, the “Administration” section lists the main district’s street address and phone and fax numbers.
Use of Online Technology
An e-mail and text-to-cell-phone notification system is available.
Cable TV coverage of school events and board of education meetings is offered.
The “Home Access Center” offers parents online access to student schedules, report cards, attendance records, and so on. Discussion forums are hosted on the Eastchester High School Web site. In the “Employment” section, there is online access to district job openings and applications. Most of the individual schools have newsletters in Adobe PDF format (although some of them had older issue dates).
Most of the content provided on this site is timely. Some of the “Happenings” links are from more than a year ago but offer information that remains applicable. The calendar of events is kept current.