School System Web Site Wins National Gold Medal Award

June 4, 2004
The Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) web site is one of the best educational sites in the country.

That is the consensus of judges from the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA), which awarded the school system the Gold Medallion Award for its Web Site Communication Improvement Project.

The award is the organization's highest honor in the top national competition recognizing excellence in educational public relations. Judging is highly competitive and is against criteria and other entries.

"We're thrilled our web site has brought this honor to MCPS," said John Q. Porter, chief information officer. "We're on the right track to making the web work for everyone - students, parents, staff and community."

The Web Site Communication Improvement Project focused on the past year's work to improve the content and structure of the MCPS web. Critical to that work was the creation and implementation of a site template for all non-school sites; a more frequently updated home page; updated pages for parents, students, and staff; improved support for MCPS webmasters; and other changes. The new site template and home page launched in March 2003 to positive responses from site visitors.

In the year since the new template launched, the site has seen dramatic growth in visitor satisfaction, use of the site template, and visitor traffic. Page views, visits, and visitors to the site were more than 80 percent higher in the first quarter of 2004 compared with the same quarter in 2003.

The NSPRA judges evaluated the improvement project on a point scale, examining the program's assessment, planning, communication, and evaluation. The project was managed by the Web Services Team in the Office of Global Access Technology. Members of the Web Services Team are supervisor Chris Sturm, art director Susan Eskite, webmaster Gail Horvath, technical lead Elaine Keagle, and senior systems engineer Derek Sundra.

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