Charter schools represent a wide variety of educational benefits and their popularity is growing in Utah. Your school offers parents and students improved student learning, innovative teaching methods, increased learning opportunities and greater parental involvement in management decisions at the school level.
When it comes to competing with other schools, the importance of a website should not be taken lightly. These days before a parent physically sets foot on a school campus, parents take a virtual visit.
Your school’s website is often the first point of contact parents make with a school. Your school’s website needs to work for you not against you.
If parents don’t like what they see, it creates a bad impression and can affect the overall reputation and popularity of the school. Your school’s website needs to be functional and informative. Each school should have a designated person to maintain the website and update it regularly.
Here are some of the top features a charter school website must have.
1. Online Academic Calendar
An organized academic calendar schedules information such as registration dates, class start/end dates, parent teacher conferences, special events, etc. The regular weekly, monthly, daily updates from the calendar serve as an information source for parents, students and staff.
User Friendly Calendars:
- Have attractive layouts with engaging images
- Are located on the main page — the best way to showcase events to website visitors
- Provide printer friendly calendar versions
2. Contact Information
According to Samurai Experts, 64% of website visitors look for a company’s (charter school’s) contact information on the homepage. Charter school websites should include the postal address, main phone number, and email. Parents will also look for a link to find contact details of every department and teacher so that parents can contact them directly.
Best way to optimize contact information on the website:
- Place the contact details for the school in the header and footer of the homepage
- Provide easy links to find teacher and staff contact information
- Include features such as google maps, so that first time visitors can get directions to the school
3. Online Curriculum Guide
Having an online curriculum guide promote the vision and mission of the school and will help parents to get involved in their children’s studies.
Showcasing a school’s curriculum:
- Create stunning imagery and video footage to reveal the vision and mission of the school to parents and new visitors
- Add a spotlight to showcase the talents of students like student of the month, teach of the year, athlete of the week, notable alumni, etc.
- Add links to teacher lesson plans and updated student grade reports
4. Responsive Website
According to a study by IDG Global Solutions, 77% of people are reporting they use their smartphones to research a product or service for their business (charter school). When building your school’s website, be vigilant in designing a mobile responsive site.
Benefits to having a mobile responsive website:
- Development cost is comparatively low
- Engaging parents and students is easy
- Easy to reach audience in any of their preferred device, Android, IOS, Windows, etc.
5. Visually Appealing User Interface
It goes without saying that all web pages must be attractive and easy to scan.
Content on the site must be simple to read and straight to the point:
- Use color combinations that highlight the school and avoid eye strain
- Have an attractive and professional website
- Remember your website is a reflection of your school
- It is best practice for your website to be ADA compliant, or working toward full compliance, for accessibility to all users
The world is digital and charter schools that do not have a strong online presence will be left behind. School websites can increase enrollment and improve retention. They become an easy to use communication school, engaging families even when they can’t be there in person. Make sure your website is working for your school.