In Mar. 27-Apr. 2 issue
By Derek Aaron
Times Journal Reporter
RUSSELL SPRINGS - With a growing school population — now at an all-time high of 710 — Russell Springs Elementary sees a need to reach its students and parents like never before … on the Internet, according to school Principal Kathy I. Hammond.
A new school web site, www.russellspringselementary.com
, has been up and running for nearly two weeks. The new site will allow easier communication between administrators, teachers, parents and students, said site developer Bob Williams, a teacher at the school.
Hammond said that several of the teachers had already begun to add content to the site as of early this week.
"They're really doing some neat things with their sites," she said. "It's been about two weeks and they're already getting them up so that's good."
Hammond said that she and several other of the school's faculty had looked at various school Web sites from other counties and states and decided to link the school and the home together through the Internet.
"We want good links for parents," Hammond said. "I'm hoping we can get it to where we can post school closings and PTO schedules."
Hammond commended Williams and librarian Joel Wolford for their efforts in building the site to what it is today, more than 70 pages of educational content.
Williams said the site had been visited more than 1,000 times since going live nearly two weeks ago.
"That's letting us know that people are visiting it," Hammond said.
According to Williams, it took some time to find a hosting site before finally settling on one that, according to various reviews and information from DuoCounty Telephone, was reliable.
"We spent about three weeks designing the site," Williams said. He said the site offered "general good information," for the school's students such as a homework helper tool.
A photo tour of the school is also on the site, according to Williams. The tour contains 26 pictures of locations on the school's campus, both inside the building and out.
To get the word about the Web site out, Hammond said the school was going to use school newsletters and the parent-teacher organization.
"I think just letting the kids get on it here at school too will help," she said.
The site even has a Spanish link to several educational Spanish-to-English translation sites for the school's 18 Spanish speaking students.
"The majority of those don't speak English," Hammond said. It is hoped that the Spanish translation links can serve the school's Spanish-speaking population to learn English in a fun, enhancing way.
She said the consensus of the teachers at the school was the need for a useful, informative Web site for students and parents could feel more connected to the school.
The site is independent from the school district's Web site, http://www.russell.k12.ky.us
, but is linked to the site, according to Hammond.
Williams said he wants people within the community to comment on the site, either at the school in person or online, through e-mail.
"Even positive criticism is good," he said. "If something needs to be changed, we want to change it."
Williams noted that the web site will play a key role in getting school announcements to parents, just as Hammond did. Many times, he said, when teachers send information home with students it ends up getting lost on the way to the home.
The web site should change that by allowing parents to log on to the school's site and reading the announcements and information there, Williams said.
Williams said he updates the site several times each week and checks it every day to make sure it is running properly.
Many parents now have computer and Internet access, he said. "It just makes sense that we provide this service."