June 30, 2014 11:28:30 AM
Starkville School District unveiled its redesigned website Friday in hopes of better branding the school system and helping improve communication efforts for students, teachers and parents.
More than 60 SSD stakeholders identified promoting "the Starkville Spark" through various advertising and re-branding efforts last year during months-long strategic planning efforts. A new marketing campaign was subsequently launched to help better tell the school system's story.
The new-look website -- starkvillesd.com -- streamlines resources like announcements, calendars, schedules, course offerings and back-to-school information, and allows parents and students to track attendance, assignments and grades through PowerSchool, a Web-based student information system.
SSD began heightening its presence on social media last year after the spring stakeholder meetings and during consolidation meetings. The school system even held Twitter town hall meetings to discuss 2015's merger with Oktibbeha County School District, and its top administrators joined the social media platform to answer questions and provide clarity to those issues.
SSD's new site was designed by Haley Montgomery, of Small Pond Graphics. The district is expected to unveil a mobile version of the site before the start of the 2014-2015 academic year.
"The brand and the story give us a conversation that we can have not just with prospective parents, but also with our own, invested parents and the community as a whole. We want to encourage all of our stakeholders, parents, teachers and administrators to share their stories and experiences with their children's education," said SSD Public Information Officer Nicole Thomas. "What we're promoting and the stories we are telling are all real. Our brand, these conversations and (social media efforts) provide the vehicle to tell everyone about the special things we have in our schools."
SSD's new website is expected to serve as a repository of consolidation-specific information for incoming county students and parents, as well as Oktibbeha County stakeholders as a whole.
A merger Frequently Asked Question guide, including specific documents developed during local consolidation talks and the last legislative term, will be posted to the site soon, Thomas said, along with information pertaining to Common Core. New course offerings, including the district's expanded Advance Placement classes, will also soon appear on the site, she said.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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