On April 21, visitors to www.westfieldnjk12.org will experience the start of a new and improved website for the Westfield Public Schools. “Our new website represents a key element of our strategic plan and the achievement of one of this year’s district goals, which is to improve communication between the district and all our stakeholders,” stated Superintendent of Schools Margaret Dolan.
The new site bears a distinctively different look and navigation due to the formatting features offered by the district’s new Learning Management System called Edline, which is the successor of the previous provider, SchoolCenter.
Features include an updated calendar, new design for ease of use, and new staff directory, teacher and group pages.
Extensive training sessions for teachers, staff and PTO leaders have taken place over several months under the guidance of Master Technology teachers Jeanine Gottko (K-5) and Adam Pizzi (6-12 grades). More than 600 teachers are launching new individual web pages. According to Gottko, who also serves as the website Project Manager, “We have spent the past eight months training our teachers and staff on this new system. Many teachers have piloted the new site since the beginning of the school year and the feedback from those users and their students has been positive. Our teachers and staff have been working hard to ensure that they understand the new system, and we will continue to offer training and support going forward.”
“This new learning management system will provide a platform for more effective communication, collaboration, and creativity in and outside of our classrooms. Edline will be a tool to help better prepare our students for the 21st century learning environments they will face moving forward in their educational careers,” added Gottko.
The site will evolve in phases to include the implementation of new digital tools which will have the potential to provide web page design; blended learning – in which technology is used to improve the learning process; blogs; online discussions; posts of embedded videos/podcasts/screen casts; a place for student discussions; sharing resources; and a shared calendar. Parents and students will be provided logins for the fall of 2014.
“As the new website evolves, we will follow the standard themes of the International Society for Technology (ISTE), which include critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity,” explained Paul Pineiro, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction.
Very supportive of the new website rollout is the Board of Education’s Technology Committee. Chair of the Committee, Mitch Slater, stated, “This is an exciting day for all stakeholders in our district. I am very proud of all the hard work done by our committee and our Master Technology teachers Ms. Gottko and Mr. Pizzi for advancing state of the art technology in the Westfield Public Schools. This is only the first step of many new enhancements (coming this fall – Facebook) that will benefit all of our students, faculty, parents and administrators. A job well done!"
“We see this as a work in progress and look forward to moving ahead in developing our multi-faceted technology initiative,” added Dr. Dolan