May 16, 2013 | Vol. 117 -- No. 4

Medical Lake School District's website has a new, sleek design

For the past month, the Medical Lake School District has been enjoying a digital facelift following the debut of its new website design.

Screen capture of www.mlsd.org
The new Medical Lake School District website was made to look more inviting to the public as well as businesses.

Mary Kay Rolwes, librarian and teacher at Medical Lake Middle School, led the design for the new website and worked with Schoolwires, a design company, to find the best look for the school district. Input from administrative assistant Claudine Muelken and Superintendent Dr. Pam Veltri helped to form the direction of the website’s look.

“We wanted a more professional image and a more welcoming image for companies,” Rolwes said.

The front page of the district site features a rotating group of photos that will provide community members a glimpse of what happens at district events. Rolwes said she hopes the photos will change every month, to keep things fresh on the page.

The design is also meant to provide an ease of access while navigating the website. That idea will flow from the home page onto the individual school sites.

“We also want parents to find information easily,” Rolwes said.

Working with Schoolwires took about a day in mid-April to get the design up and running. Discussions and all of the work leading up to the design, mapping details out took around three months. Rolwes was happy the site wasn’t down for longer than a day, which would have prevented access to calendars and other elements.

“I didn’t want it to be down for too long,” she said. “I had a plan going in, so we took it down and got it back up as fast as we could.

The front page is largely finished, but some minor work remains on the inside pages.

Rolwes said students aren’t working on the website at the moment, but there is the potential to gain Web design experience. Different people will be handling the content updates for each school, adding new events and keeping things connected throughout their portion of the website.

One item carried through from the previous design model was pages for teachers. When first introduced some time ago, there were only a handful of teachers who wanted their own page on the website. A few years later, Rolwes said around half of the teachers are keeping a blog and making it easier for parents and students to access classroom-related information online.

Throughout the summer, Rolwes said she’ll work on the pages for the middle school and Hallett Elementary, setting up their pages and keeping a consistent style throughout the site.

Rolwes’ interest with Web design dates back to her time while at Blair Elementary (replaced by Michael Anderson Elementary). She took an interest in the subject right as websites first became popular, and brought the same enthusiasm to the plate while designing the district’s website.

A phone number is listed on the bottom of every page for residents to call if there is a problem with the website. Rolwes encourages the open communication with district residents, and said she’s happy to hear their input.

James Eik can be reached at james@cheneyfreepress.com.

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