SOCSD rolls out new website

A screenshot from the new website of the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District
Staff Writer

The Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District unveiled its new website last week after working on the project since December.

The project was initiated following the district’s past website being found to not be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the new website makes several subtle changes toward compliance, as well as other features added for convenience and general updates. The total cost of the redesign was approximately $18,000, with the next two years costing approximately $12,500. The total will drop to $10,200 in the third year.

“School districts are required to meet accessibility standards for website content, which means text-only versions, being able to navigate using arrow keys, having alternate text available for photos,” said SOCSD public information officer Nicole Thomas.

Thomas said an accessibility policy could be found at the bottom of every page, as well as a link for users to report any accessibility concerns.

Thomas emphasized reaching compliance being a process, and said the new site would be audited by Campus Suite, the district’s new web platform.

“We’ll continue to work toward making everything on the site accessible,” Thomas said. “We sort of have a plan for new content, and, after that you have to draft a plan for existing content, old information that’s on the site is basically what that’s referring to, because sometimes that takes a while to comb through or research.”

The site also includes slight updates in design including a revamped layout, and updated school pages including directories of staff for each school in addition to the single directory from the old site.

“We do believe that the new site offers a fresh, clean look, and is easier to navigate,” Thomas said.

She said the district received approval for its new site plan in December 2017, and began moving information to the new site in January.

“Campus Suite has certainly provided us with a lot of technical support to make sure the site meets ADA standards,” Thomas said.

Thomas also mentioned the efforts of Haley Montgomery with Small Pond Graphics, who worked with the district on the aesthetic design of the site.

The site made its official soft launch on Thursday, March 8.

Thomas also said the website was often the first glimpse of the district prospective parents or employees got.

“We want to have a strong web presence with a website that is as welcoming as our schools are, and we want our website to reflect what is happening in our schools,” Thomas said.