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711AR - Standards and Guidelines for District and School Websites

711AR - Standards and Guidelines for District and School Websites

Adopted: October 2003
Revised: December 2022

Download 711AR - Standards and Guidelines for District and School Websites

1. Purpose

1.1 District and school websites are designed to do the following:

1.1.1 Provide information about the district and school resources, services, facilities, activities, parents, the community, teachers, support staff and students;

1.1.2 Showcase district programs, services, student and staff achievements and,

1.1.3 Be an educational resource.

1.2 This regulation does not apply to instructor or student websites used for curricular purposes except as specifically stated in this regulation. For guidelines about the use of websites for curricular purposes, see Administrative Regulation 503.7AR, Acceptable Use of Information Technology – Students and Administrative Regulation 407.7AR, Acceptable Use of Information Technology – Employees.

2. Website Content

2.1 Principals and district-level department heads are strongly encouraged to designate a website committee, made up of one or two lead web designers, administrators, support staff and, as appropriate, community members, parents and/or students, to serve as website content advisors.

2.2 Student Information

2.2.1    Private information about a student, as defined by Minnesota Statute 13.32, may not be posted without permission from the parent/guardian or adult student.

2.2.2    Public directory information about a student may be posted, however, before posting any student’s name, picture or other directory information on a website, each school and district-level department is responsible for verifying that the student’s parent or guardian or an adult student has not completed District Procedure 505.2.4.3P, Denial of Release of Directory and Yearbook Information.

2.2.3    Student personal pages will not be allowed on district and school websites.  Students may participate in creating or maintaining school and district websites only under direct supervision of a teacher or administrator.

2.2.4    No web page content should allow people accessing the page to contact any student directly.

2.2.5    Student alumni bulletin board systems that are not moderated by a district employee are not permitted on district-approved websites.

2.3 Employee Information

2.3.1 Private information about an employee, as defined by Minnesota Statute 13.43, may not be posted without permission from the employee.

2.3.2 Staff web pages will be permitted, provided they are in relation to their employment with Independent School District 196.

2.3.3 Teachers may post classroom information on the district web server, following the same expectations and guidelines presented in this document.

2.4 External Links (links to sites and content that are not hosted on a district web server)

2.4.1 In all cases where an external link is used on a district website, the external link must open in a new browser window.

2.4.2 Linked materials should complement the focus of the web page. 

2.4.3 Certain fundraising information and links are permitted when they support district goals and absolve the district of managing related services such as selling letter jackets and other items with school-related logos, when that information is frequently requested by students, staff and/or parents. 

2.4.4 Links to commercial websites should be kept to a minimum and must have a clear educational purpose or be consistent with district advertising policies and regulations.

2.4.5 Schools may not link to a booster club website or other private website in a manner that gives the impression that it is a school or district-owned or operated website. Before linking to an outside website, a school should verify that the site clearly indicates the organization or person owning or operating the site.

2.5 School Website Content – All schools will follow the guidance of the District 196 District Office related to navigational headings, sub-headings, and the organization of dropdown menu items so that every website visitor has a consistent experience on all school and department websites in District 196. In addition schools are expected to include the following links and information (or equivalent) as part of the site’s home page:

2.5.1 The home page of each school website must include the school’s name, address (including state), telephone number, fax number, and link to a map and/or directions to the school;

2.5.2 Home (link back to home page of website);

2.5.3   General information, including when school opened, grade structure, school hours, enrollment, link to district attendance area information, picture of the school, mission, identification as a District 196 school, and history;

2.5.4   Current events, including information about upcoming activities and events, meetings, school calendar, school schedule, etc.;

2.5.5   Curriculum, including a link to the home page of District 196 Elementary Education or Secondary Education departments;

2.5.6   Student handbook link to district’s Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook and to specific school rules of relevance to the public;

2.5.7   Contact information, including general contact information and names, phone numbers and email addresses of staff;

2.5.8   Links to resources on the District 196 website shall be included as requested by the district, and

2.5.9   Each home page will include district-required footers including links to the District 196 copyright, accessibility notice, copyright notice, nondiscrimination notice, privacy policy, site map and language translation tools.

2.6 Copyright and Privacy

2.6.1 Unauthorized use of copyrighted materials is prohibited.  (Refer to Policy 407, Employee Responsibilities, and Administrative Regulation 407.6AR, Copyright, for additional information.)

2.6.2 The phrase “© Copyright Independent School District No.196” should be included and linked on the home page and all other appropriate pages, to the district’s full disclaimer.

2.6.3 The phrase “Privacy Statement” should be included and linked on the home page and on any other page that solicits private information, to the district’s full privacy notice.

2.7 District websites may not contain content of a personal nature that is unrelated to educational programs and opportunities provided by the district, its schools or departments.

2.8 Online credit card transaction services will be limited to those products and services for which the district is legally authorized to collect payments.

2.9   District websites must comply with the Americans for Disabilities Act requirements regarding accessibility.

2.10 District websites should not be used for advertising or commercial purposes except in the limited circumstances described in section 2.4 regarding externally linked information or when consistent with district advertising policies and regulations.

          2.11    Schools and departments should not display their building layout on websites

3. Website Maintenance

Principals and district-level department heads are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the information on their school or department’s website is accurate and updated.

3.1 Websites that contain time-sensitive information (including calendars, school events and staff information) must be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure current, accurate information that maintains the site’s status as an adequate means for communication for information dissemination.

3.2 Web pages that contain links must be checked routinely to ensure that all links work and point to relevant information.

3.3 Website Administrator – The website administrator must be a staff member(s) designated by the principal or district-level department head who has the ultimate responsibility and skills to update, design and maintain website content using current web technologies.