The Hazlet Township (N.J.) School District, located in Monmouth County in central New Jersey, has approximately 3,300 students and 400 teachers. There are six elementary schools, a middle school and a high school in the district.
The design and layout of this site is neat and pleasing. The focus of the home page is on the eight individual district schools, with prominent graphics and links for each. The rotating images also feature photos of those schools. This is a bit excessive, and that valuable home page real estate could be better utilized to call attention to, perhaps, current district events and news items. Although there are other informative content links offered on the home page, conspicuously absent are any featured mentions of district news or goings-on.
There are “Home” and “District” links in the top left of all site pages; however, the district logo, which also appears at top left virtually sitewide, does not serve as another direct means of returning to the district’s main page, as is common.
The individual school sites share the same design as the main district site.
There is a consistent top navigation bar, with links to “Board of Education,” “Departments,” “District Information,” “Athletics,” “Resources” and “Calendar.” The depth and breadth of content provided from each of those links vary greatly. Curiously, the main page for each of these main navigation sections does not replicate the list of options on the nav bar drop-down menu. A “Contents” left-side navigation listing contains links to section-specific content.
Unfortunately, at the time of this review, there was no site search functionality offered, and no site map was available.
There is a good variety of school district and individual school content provided on this site. Specific department information (including athletics, board of education and health services) is very easy to find.
The site boasts a particularly detailed curriculum section. Included is information on testing, revisions and rewrites, as well as a periodic newsletter, a listing of helpful Web sites and other teacher resources, and a selection of related Power-Point presentations.
This site is not optimized for access by disabled users.
The “Parent’s Corner” appears to be the primary section for content of particular interest to parents; however, the information it contains could benefit from a more intuitive, thoughtful presentation. This sought-after content section is available solely via a simple text link from the body of the home page; more prominent positioning from the top navigation bar would be preferable.
It was odd to find that an announcement of upcoming parent and child workshops—sure to be of high interest—was not actually linked from the “Parent’s Corner” but rather only from a link within the “Curriculum” area.
There is a “Staff Directory” search, but it is necessary to know the last name of the person for whom you are searching; the same is true of the individual faculty directories available on each school site. There are staff contact listings offered in various district department sections on the site, but no comprehensive district staff directory is provided.
A “Contact” link for the district is not provided, although the mailing address and phone and fax numbers for the district office appear at the top right of all main site pages.
Use of Online Technology
The site makes good use of several online technologies:
? It features a well-stocked, customizable events calendar.
? RSS feeds are available, as is e-mail access for district faculty.
? Various newsletters (in Adobe PDF format) are offered.
The information on this site appears, overall, to be current and timely. The Events calendar and meeting minutes, for example, are kept up-to-date. From the “last updated” date stamp that appears on many of the district site’s pages, it is clear that the content is refreshed on a regular basis.
Laura R. Bona is a contribututing writer for DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION. To nominate your district for a site review, contact Judy Hartnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.