District Technology Director Laurence Garcia previewed the new web site last week at the regular meeting of the BISD board of trustees.
“The current web site is obsolete,” Garcia said. “It’s more than 15 years old. We knew we needed a new web site, but it was still working. Then we got hacked.”
Sometime between last March and April, a hacker, believed to be in China, broke through the web site’s meager security.
“That was the catalyst,” Garcia said.
A continuing federal grant pays 82 percent of the cost; the district pays the remaining 18 percent.
Unlike the old web site, which the district hosts through its own server, the new web site was created and designed by Edline, an Illinois software company that specializes is designing, maintaining and hosting web sites for school districts.
Edline’s hosting the new site guarantees greater security, Garcia said, and also shortens incidents when the web site goes down.
“Edline has numerous servers, so if one fails, it switches to another.”
He expects to launch the new web site “in a couple of weeks.”
The new design represents a significant expansion.
“Each class will have its own web page, each department will have its own web page and each school will have its own web page,” Garcia explained.
At their Tuesday meeting, board members were dazzled by the new page’s calendar system. Users — including the public — can sort through the calendar by numerous categories and parameters.
“You want to just see the calendar items for a certain class, you can,” Garcia demonstrated. “Or, you can just see the football schedule for the high school.”
Development on the new web site began in May. Edline graphic artists submitted three designs; Garcia and Superintendent Dr. Sue Thomas chose the final layout.
Because each class will have its own web page, teachers will be trained on the new system at the district’s technology center downtown.
Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com.