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

Adopted: October 2003
Revised: June 2013

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. 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 Each school and district-level department is responsible for determining whether an adult student age 18 or older or student’s parent or guardian has completed District Procedure 505.2.4.3P, Denial of Release of Directory and Yearbook Information, before posting any student’s name, picture or other directory information on a website.

2.2.2 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.

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

2.2.4 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 – 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, webmaster’s email address 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 (i.e. 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, history);

2.5.4 Current events (i.e. information about upcoming activities and events, meetings, school calendar, school schedule, etc.);

2.5.5 Curriculum (i.e. link to home page of District 196 Elementary Education or Secondary Education departments);

2.5.6 Student handbook (i.e. link to district’s Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook and to specific school rules);

2.5.7 Contact us (i.e. general contact information; names, phone numbers and email addresses of staff; etc.);

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

2.5.9 An email address to the school page master; the page master must check mail regularly.

2.5.10 Schools and departments should not display their building layout on websites.

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 Accessibility -- Schools should strive to be in compliance with 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.

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.