Best of the Web Contest Honors Excellence in Web Content
Fairfax County Public Schools has recognized ten school websites for excellence in web design and use of web-based tools in the 2019 Best of the Web Awards. Winners were recognized at this year’s Web Curators conference.
Lucy Caldwell, FCPS director of news and information, recognized school web curators, saying, “An important part of this annual conference is honoring the hard work that has been done and showing gratitude to all of you who do it. You have reason to celebrate. Your school websites are looking better and better; they are more robust, and you are engaging your readers. As a network of website people, you are supporting each other and sharing good ideas.”
Best of the Web award winners for 2019 are:
Best Blog or Feature: Lee High School, Matt MacDonald, web curator, and Deirdre Lavery, principal. The Lee High website features a series of blogs on a variety of subjects, including classroom activities, staff and student accomplishments, and schoolwide events. Features have included a story about student artists drawing portraits as gifts for Bangladeshi orphans, a student crossword puzzle posted in a local paper, and recipients of art awards. MacDonald also republishes information about Lee that is published by FCPS.
Best Use of Photography: Bailey’s Elementary School, Sara Quesenbery, web curator, and Julie Easa, principal. Bailey’s website features a number of photo galleries that tell the story of what’s happening in the classroom through photos. Partners in Print, teachers’ professional development and accomplishments, student artwork and project-based learning projects, and arts-related projects are depicted in photo form.
Best Use of Webforms: Forestville Elementary School, Ann Marie Mochen, web curator, Tony Washington, principal. Mochen was praised for having her school’s attendance form and change of transportation form easily available on the website and automatically emailed to the front office and the students’ homeroom teacher. She also received kudos for her long-range planning, which last year included posting the May SOL (Standards of Learning) testing schedule in December to help parents schedule vacations with testing in mind.
Best Academy or Special Center Website: Fairfax Academy, Erin Molek, web curator, and Andrea Cook, administrator. Molek was praised for using photography and content to document the hands-on learning going on in the academy’s 11 classrooms. The academy’s classes in communications and the arts lend themselves to visual interpretation, and Molek says she enjoys showcasing the students at every possibility.
Best Use of Calendars and Events: Langley High School, Lindsey Fisher, web curator; Nancy Ayoub, administrative assistant; and Kimberly Greer, principal. Fisher and Ayoub work as a team to populate the calendars and events on the Langley website. They plan in advance and include as many events as possible to provide parents with plenty of planning time. They also use taxonomy, enabling events and calendars to be filtered by categories including athletics, clubs, PTSA, student services, and performing arts. A one-page printable daily rotation schedule can be printed for convenience.
Best Elementary School Websites:
Dogwood Elementary School, Kara Armstrong, web curator, and Mie Devers, principal. New curator Armstrong is credited with making the Dogwood website welcoming and informative; it now includes names and photos of teachers, a page about the early childhood program, and a page about the primary years program. The school has seen increased attendance and interest by parents due to Armstrong’s efforts to communicate with parents through the website and with the News You Choose newsletter and social media.
Stratford Landing Elementary School: Pearl Graham, web curator, and Kevin Morris, principal. Graham is the first office assistant to win a Best of the Web award. She has worked to upgrade the content on the website, and quickly learned to include photo galleries. Graham updates events and announcements and coordinates with other staff members to collect great photos. Recently, she posted the parent handbook on the website and learned through Google Analytics that the page has high readership.
Groveton Elementary: Gail Mulder Rossman, web curator, and James Swoger, principal. Rossman conveys the positive school culture with features on student wellness and the school’s mindfulness program. The website also features fun events enjoyed by staff members and students, including their recent celebration of the Washington Nationals baseball team and a video of a Fox 5 news visit.
Best Middle School Website: Herndon Middle School, Heather Ziab, web curator, and Kim Sanchez, administrative assistant; Justine Klena, principal. Ziab focuses on the website’s home page, displaying a hero image showing students learning in the classroom. With help from Sanchez, announcements are plentiful, current, and thorough. PTA meetings, student services events, surveys, and wellness screenings are promoted on the website. The site also features a slideshow of students in this year’s homecoming parade at Herndon High, and the quarterly student newspaper as a blog, something that students (and parents) appreciate.
Best High or Secondary School Website: West Potomac High School, Amy Stoll, web curator, and Tangy Millard, principal. Stoll, a fine arts teacher, keeps the website fresh by switching the home page photo several times a month and posting lots of announcements. Her student activities section includes lots of information on school clubs, sports, performing arts, publications, and service learning. West Potomac’s robust student services pages offer information on the college and career center, programs and presentations, student testing, registration, and contacts.
For more information, contact the FCPS Office of Communication and Community Relations at 571-423-1200.