With 120 school buildings, the Greenville County Schools is the largest public school system in South Carolina. It includes almost 69,000 students and just over 5,000 teachers.
A great deal of content is presented on this site in an organized, compartmentalized manner. The look and feel is crisp and clean.The home page offers “News and Notes,” a section for the featured video, and “Quick Links.” Two rotating text areas (both at top left) call out other featured information. The individual school sites sport different designs, but they are listed from a well laid out directory listing, so there is no user confusion. The district logo appearing at the top left on the main district site pages) does not serve double duty as a direct link back to the home page. However, there is a prominent “Home” link at the top left throughout most of the site.
The top navigation bar has nine consistent choices, including one for the site’s home page and a search box. There is a secondary nav bar that appears when cursoring over a given section link. The “Quick Links” right-side nav box is handily and helpfully customized to the various site sections (for example, “Departments,” “Parents,” “Teachers” and “Students”). Again, secondary nav links are provided as appropriate.
The search functionality is powered by Google, and for the most part it delivers relevant and accurate results. There is no site map offered on the main district site, but some of the individual school sites provide them.
A wide array of information is offered on this site, applicable to all types of potential visitors. In addition, that information is highly accessible and intuitively presented. At the time of this review, there was a smattering of broken links. This site is not optimized for access by disabled users.
The “Parents” section is exceptional. There is “Parent Express,” a downloadable back-to-school guide chock-full of relevant tidbits, a “How Things Work” overview of district policies and procedures, and myriad other resources. The interactive “Parent Portal” enables easy access to student grades, attendance records, coursework and more.
“The School Channel,” a cable TV channel, provides an additional way for parents, students and other members of the community to access information.
An extremely thorough “Contact Us” section for the district is provided, covering every possible manner of communication access. In addition, contact details for most of the district departments (such as administration, communications and finance) are available.
Use of Online Technology
The main district site offers separate, in-depth, interactive portals for parents, students and employees. In addition, login access to teachers’ Web pages and for email accounts is provided.
There is a customizable calendar of events, a “VIP E-Newsletter” subscription and an RSS news feed. (At the time of this review, however, instructions for subscribing to the RSS feed could not be found.)
Access to the “SmartFind Express” substitute management system is provided. A robust “Jobs/Human Resources” area includes job listings, application forms, detailed benefits and salary information, and much more.
The district site has several videos. Various individual district schools, teachers and departments host blogs and/or podcasts.
Overall, this content-rich site is fresh and relevant. The News section has links to hundreds of items in its news release archives. The “Fast Facts” about the district were recently updated.
Laura R. Bona is a freelance contributor to DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION. To nominate your district for a site review, contact Judy Hartnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.