Wilton’s new school website, app addresses parents concerns

WILTON — The school district is set to launch a new website and app this summer, which officials say will address parents requests to have a more intuitive and user friendly web presence.

A prospective launch for the website is scheduled for July 1, however Fran Kompar, Wilton’s digital learning director, surmises that the app will come later, though likely in time for the next academic year.

Board of Education Chairwoman Deb Low said Monday that surveys were sent out to parents and guardians over the past number of weeks. The goal was to accumulate feedback on what parents would want from a new and improved district website.

Low said that the district has also received “informal feedback” in the past, beyond the parameters of the survey, asking for a more user friendly website that is easier to traverse and find integral information for their child.

The survey also asked what aspects of the current site they use the most.

Kompar recently broke down how parents responded in their survey to the Board of Education.

Survey results found that 125 parents or guardians selected the district calendar as their most frequently visited page on the website, deeming searching for event times and holidays as a priority. The second most used website feature, per the survey, was the parent portal, which encapsulates items such as the “dismissal manager” and provides ways for parents to pay for needed school items or programs.

“Please make the district calendar of the current and upcoming years more accessible so I can confirm days off for vacation, etc. more easily,” one parent wrote in the survey responses. “Currently, it is difficult to find, and I always end up using the search button because I can’t find it in the listings.”

Administration and staff directory followed as the third most popular, with the lunch calendar as the fourth most used feature and the notifications tab as the fifth.

“I use the calendar the most but would love all tools to be centrally located such as the dismissal manager, ‘school bucks,’ directory and parent portal,” another parent requested, “so we don’t have to hunt down each of these things separately.”

The district’s partnership with new school website vendor Gabbart Communications will also provide a more all-encompassing web presence, Kompar said.

Gabbart Communications, based in Oklahoma, creates sites for schools across the country. Kompar said that one of the major deciding factors in partnering with them was their ultra-responsive support teams that will benefit the district in times of need. She called the return on investment “amazing” for the new project as it will include access to an app, downloadable for both students and parents, as well as a full e-notification system.

The new redesign would also make the website compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act standards, as the current one is not.

The new website will also feature compatibility with Google Calendars, something the current iteration cannot boast, and have a better interconnectivity with the district’s other social media account — namely Twitter and Facebook.