Many modern school district websites are built on a CMS, from open source systems (Drupal, WordPress) to more proprietary architectures (Ektron) and closed systems such as Blackboard.
An efficient content management system (CMS) makes updating, creating and deleting webpages a simple process for any teacher or administrator, regardless of technical skills.
Factors in Making the Right Decision For Your District
With the right vendor, any CMS can work well. The key to making a decision usually comes down to the following:
- If you are already invested in a system and it is working for your district, there is no need to make a change. The cost of moving to another system may be significant, and you have to include training on the new system.
- If your current system is difficult to use, and is having a negative impact on your website, you don’t have to be tied to one vendor. Explore options.
- Have your bidding vendors provide a one, two or three year cost for purchasing, implementing and maintaining your system. If budget is a consideration, open source will generally be much more cost effective than proprietary systems.
- If you are looking for a new system, consider open source. With school budgets tightening, this will likely be your best option in both convenience and cost.
Training, Support and Content Still Matter
Regardless of what system you select for your schools, do not neglect the basics:
- Training needs to be part of any system. Your vendor needs to include extensive training and support until teachers and administrators are up to speed on the new CMS, and provide resources for training later on as new users join and others leave.
- What is the cost for ongoing support? Even when you have your staff trained there are times when you may need additional help to create new templates or add functionality.
- Any CMS needs to be populated with content. In fact, this is often the biggest stumbling block to completing a site on time. 360Civic offers experienced content writers who can interview stakeholders, edit pages for consistency and create/develop content. This service is provided at no additional cost.