RIO RANCHO PUBLIC SCHOOLS, established in 1994, is New Mexico’s newest school district. It is made up of 18 schools (with a second high school scheduled to open in 2009-2010), and it has approximately 16,100 students and some 1,200 teachers.
Although this site has a text-heavy presentation (there are very few images), all of that text is highly organized and laid out sensibly. On the home page, there are section listings for “General Announcements,” “Parent News,” “Student Achievements” and “District Events.” The individual school sites share the same design. The district logo (at the top left on the main district pages, as well as on the individual schools’ pages) provides a fast click back to the main district home page. There is also an “RRPS Home” link atop the left-hand navigation bar on the district site.
The site’s consistent top navigation bar has links for “School,” “Jobs,” “Policies,” “Calendars” and “News,” along with a search entry box. The left-hand nav bar has 16 choices, among them: “Our District,” “Our Schools,” “Online Resource Catalog,” “Student Services,” “Parent Services,” “Superintendent,” “Administration” and “School Board.” Most of these navigational links open to cascading secondary menu listings. An upper-right “District Quick Links” nav tab is quite handy, with similar access to a complete list of school site links.
The search functionality, powered by Google, returns relevant and accurate results. A site map could not be located at the time of this review.
The site provides a great deal of information for a variety of site audiences. While there were a few broken links, the site offers a productive and smooth online experience overall.
There are no accommodations for disabled users.
The “Parent Services” section presents content in a variety of applicable areas. These include a parenting tips service (offered in conjunction with the Parenting Institute), forms and policies, general school and registration information, student safety and dress code guidelines, food services, parent advisory councils’ meeting dates and agendas, and many others.
The “Student Services” section is especially deep and informative. Featured content includes the S.A.F.E. Before and After School Program, a benefits statement regarding district student counselor services, an outline of student nursing and health programs, and much more.
The “Contact Us” section for the district offers several ways of getting in touch, including a quick feedback (form-driven) link and e-mail links for the district office, board of education, and the site’s Webmaster. Additionally, the district office’s street address, phone and fax numbers, and hours of operation are embedded in the sitewide header design.
Use of Online Technology
Online professional and staff development training is provided.
A customizable calendar of events, a rumor hotline (phone- and e-mail-based) and a guest map (on which site visitors can “stick a pin” in a global map to indicate location, as well as post messages) are offered.
A “Jobs” area, hosted by the Human Resources department and a third party, includes position descriptions and listings, online application access, detailed benefits and salary information, and a helpful FAQ page.
Most of the individual schools have newsletters in PDF format (although some of them had older issue dates).
Most of the information offered on this site is timely and relevant. A notable exception is the “latest issue” of the “Inside Our Schools” PDF-format newsletter, which is dated “Summer 2008.”
A good deal of the content is offered in both English and Spanish. DA
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.