Best of the Web Awards Honor Excellence in School Websites
Fairfax County Public Schools has recognized six school websites for excellence in web content and use of web-based tools in the 2020 Best of the Web Awards. Winners were recognized at a virtual meeting on January 15.
The annual awards, organized by the FCPS Office of Communication and Community Relations, celebrate schools that create excellent websites to inform and engage readers. The winners remind us of the substantial talent that exists among the community of FCPS school web curators.
Best of the Web award winners for 2020 are:
Herndon Elementary School:Cheryl Day, web curator; Laura Santini, office assistant; and Teresa Fennessy, principal (retired). Day and Santini work as a powerful team to bring timely, engaging, and current information to parents, students, staff, and community. "They are both superstars," said Principal Fennessey. During 2020, more than 60 announcements, about a dozen features, and 35 events kept readers up-to-date about school happenings. A parent center on the website is an important resource for school policies and procedures.
Ravensworth Elementary School: Melissa Keller, web curator, and Erika Aspuria, principal.
"Melissa Keller collaborates with staff and parents to create a user-friendly, up-to-date website," said Principal Aspuria. Keller is also an innovative web curator. She created a webform that allows readers to easily submit student photos for the yearbook or website. Her robust features section includes many spotlights featuring school staff. A return to school page offers parents and students the information they need to successfully navigate virtual learning. Keller also created a military connected youth website as a resource for Ravensworth families.
Lake Anne Elementary School: Dianne Caron, web curator, and Jill Stewart, principal.
"We work to make sure that our website information is updated regularly to keep people coming back to the site," said Principal Stewart. One way Caron entices readers to check back often is by changing the photo on the website homepage several times a week and by publishing lots of events and announcements. She makes sure that the school’s daily news broadcast show web page is updated early each morning. Her popular teacher teams web pages include short videos from teachers.
Falls Church Academy: Jill Burrer, curator, and Bill McGreevy, administrator. Burrer’s site is highlighted by the way she spotlights her courses. In addition to engaging photos, videos, and slideshows, each course links to its instructor’s profile page, which has a bio that highlights their experience in their field. Her career experiences page helps students find both current opportunities to start their career and postsecondary plans for their continued studies, scholarships, and more. "Our Academy relies tremendously on our website to share the amazing features of our program," said McGreevy. "The website not only serves as an important informational hub, but also as an amazing recruitment tool for our future Academy students.
Stone Middle School: Alison Costanza, web curator, and Meredith Norris, principal.
Costanza helped create a Schoology template page that other pilot schools were able to adopt and adapt. Her 2020-21 virtual learning page includes a welcome message from the school admin. Her most recent site addition is a portrait of a Panther feature, which spotlights students recognized for their Portrait of a Graduate skills. Principal Norris commented, "In this fast-paced, ever changing world of distance learning, our school website has become increasingly important. We not only publish pertinent information, but we celebrate the many successes of students and staff, which is so important during this time when we aren’t able to physically see one another."
Hayfield Secondary School: Mindy Klein, web curator, and Martin Grimm, principal.
Klein uses a webform that allows for community photo submissions, which are then featured in the website’s senior spotlight. She also has a comprehensive Student Services section that incorporates, but distinguishes, several middle and high school components from one another, creating an inviting path for users to navigate. "Our website is an increasingly important medium for communication between our school and the community," said Associate Principal Matthew Mough. "Mindy Klein finds ways to make the website a pleasurable, informative, and easy experience for all users."
For more information, contact the FCPS Office of Communication and Community Relations at 571-423-1200.