Rush-Henrietta (N.Y.) Central School District www.rhnet.org
The Rush-Henrietta (N.Y.) Central School District serves nearly 6,000 students in nine schools outside the city of Rochester, just south of Lake Ontario.
The home page is appealing and well designed, with clearly defined sections, easily accessible content and a professional looking heading, all in the district's colors. The main navigation bar reaches across the top of the heading, recent news headlines are located in the right margin, and commonly accessed "quick links" are located in the left, leaving room in the middle of the page for important announcements.
While the page is not of an excessive length, the content would fit better if the very large, empty margins were smaller, which would also minimize the amount of page scrolling.
The physical address and phone and fax numbers of the school district could be displayed more prominently in the heading, rather than in fine print at the bottom of the page.
The overall page layout and heading, which includes an excellent navigation menu and links to the contact information page, e-mail login page and the home page, are maintained consistently across the top of every page. Such consistency makes navigation straightforward and information easy to locate as users move from page to page.
When a main topic heading from the menu is accessed, the dropdown menu options are duplicated in the left margin and utilize a helpful "breadcrumb" navigation trail so users can easily understand their current location.
The site search tool functions superbly and organizes search results into site categories where terms are located, such as "Board Policies" or "Instruction." However, the search tool could be located more prominently at the top of every page, rather than in the bottom left corner.
Interaction with the User
An introductory message in the middle of the home page explains how to navigate and make the most of the Web site, which is particularly helpful for any users who are inexperienced with the Internet.
The "Take Our Poll" tool on the home page actually displays rotating quizzes about various topics with correct and incorrect answers, rather than polls. Instead of these trivia questions, the district should take advantage of this opportunity to discover the opinions of the community with polling about important topics.
The district uses a bulletin board service in its Communications department, which provides e-mail accounts for community members and hosts discussion forums where staff, parents or students can write postings on various topics.
There are no access provisions for disabled users.
The customizable "E-News" subscription service allows parents to receive regular e-mail updates with news and announcements of interest to them.
The Athletics link includes driving directions to all athletic events in PDF format, which can be easily downloaded and printed.
The School Board policies page is extremely well organized into categories and also includes a policy search feature.
While the Sports page boasts of the sixteen sports played in the district, only five of them have their own Web pages.
The District News page allows users to search the news archives through categories such as the date of posting, the school involved, athletic events, or overall district news.
Use of Web Technology
The Photo Galleries page has dozens of galleries featuring photographs from around the district, organized by event. Each photo can be viewed individually in a large format, or each event can be viewed in a slideshow. The page could be better organized into archives, instead of having such an extremely long list of events, which date back several years.
The "Video-on-Demand" page includes a wide variety of high-quality videos with lectures on different topics relevant to parents, such as developing social skills, preparing for kindergarten, or fostering appropriate use of the Internet. Similar to the photo galleries, the long list of videos could be organized into categories or archives to make the page shorter.
Most information presented on the site is timely and clearly updated regularly. The superintendent's message, however, was months out of date at the time of this review, referring to the start of a school year that had nearly concluded.