A Portfolio and a Path to Connection: How Josephine C. Locke Elementary’s CMS is More than a Website
The leaders of Josephine C. Locke Elementary School wanted a website that was an accurate and polished reflection of the hard-working students and staff at their school.
Josephine C. Locke School
Location: Chicago, IL
School Type: Public
Population: 1,200 Students
Age Group: PK-8
Reflect their student body on their website
Use the newsletter feature for family outreach
Showcase student work on the website
Drive traffic from the newsletter back to the website
Waiting for the Middle Man for Website Updates
Josephine C. Locke Elementary School had an existing website for years, but it wasn’t a good fit for students or staff. “The website was somewhat childish looking,” notes Edgar Valentin, International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme Coordinator at the school. He adds, “our middle school students didn’t really care for the website too much. We actually had input from them and from parents as well, so that’s one reason we wanted to change.”
On the back end, the old website was difficult to update; it required assistance from their previous CMS provider every time they wanted to make a change. “We wanted a little bit more autonomy with regards to making changes to the website, so that was a big contributing factor for why we decided to explore different options; and eventually we went with Edlio,” Edgar comments.
The transition to an Edlio site was a smooth one for Edgar and his colleagues. “Taking a lot of our content from the old website to the new one went pretty smoothly; Misty was great with all of that,” Edgar advises.
He adds that the new Edlio CMS gave him more creative freedom than their previous website. “With updating pages, it was a little bit of trial and error. We had the steps, but then I wanted to push a little further, see what else I could do. And the interface is pretty conducive to trial and error; you're able to move things around and to view it as a draft before you actually publish it,” Edgar says. Their new Edlio CMS gave the staff at Josephine C. Locke the creative freedom to customize their site to work for them.
Showcasing Student Work for the Community
What started off as a project designed to create a user-friendly website that would be easy to update and visually reflect the age levels served by Josephine C. Locke quickly became much more.
Now, Edgar uses the Josephine C. Locke website as a digital portfolio to showcase student work, and a pathway to bring the community together with the school. “We upload our school newsletter to the website every month, and the focus of that newsletter is to highlight and showcase student work for the entire community,” he explains. Edgar goes on to say that they include a few examples of student work in the newsletter and then encourage the readers to click back to the school’s website to view the full gallery of work. “That's truly the highlight of the website,” Edgar says.
Connecting Stakeholders to Important Information
The Locke website is also a digital platform to support the stakeholders of the school and help them find the information they need. “Almost everything that we send out to parents is a hard copy, so we wanted to make sure that we're able to make it accessible for the community on our website as well,” Edgar comments. He adds, “Now we're able to upload a lot of different documents onto the website. It's very easy for parents to use it.”
Edgar uses his IB section of the website to provide teachers with links to documents they need to access when planning their inquiry units. “I have it in Google Drive as well, but it's just more accessible via the website,” he explains.
The website also houses the school’s Continuous Improvement Work Plan, outlining the school’s goals and progress toward improving student achievement. As Edgar comments, “if a parent or any stakeholder wants to see the Continuous Improvement Work Plan it's much easier for me just to go to the website and click to open it - it's literally at my fingertips.”