September 08, 2010

DCPS Website Wins Best-in-Nation Award 

Center for Digital Education and Converge online names DCPS as winner in the K-12 District Education Website category

Contact: Frederick Lewis | (202) 442-5919 | Contact Email

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Best of the Web Award 2010District of Columbia Public Schools won first place in the 2010 Digital Education Achievement Awards (DEAA) and Best of the Web Awards, according to an announcement made today by the Center for Digital Education and Converge online. The awards showcase exceptional K-12 and higher education Web sites, digital technology projects and programs that have enriched education for students and teachers.

“Despite the tough economy, education leaders remain committed to improving learning through the tools of technology,” said Cathilea Robinett, vice president of the Center. “Our DEAA winners demonstrate truly innovative uses of technology and the Best of the Web winners have beautiful, functional websites that speak to the needs of students, parents and educators. Congratulations to you all!”

“Since Day One, my administration has been dedicated to transforming our schools into a high-performing system that delivers the education our students and parents deserve,” said DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. “Technology is one of the many tools we’re using in that transformation, and I’m delighted to see our efforts honored with this award.”

DCPS has made significant improvements in its communication with families and the community since Chancellor Michelle Rhee took office in 2007 and the website is a major part of that effort.

“This award is well deserved recognition for the DCPS Web team, which has worked tirelessly since our website went live in August of 2009 to keep the DCPS community well informed and engaged in the education of our children,” said Chancellor Rhee. “Our Web team continues to innovate and improve our website, adding a wealth of video, features and vital information for our students, parents, teachers and school staff.”

In August of 2009, DCPS overhauled its website with a focus on increased transparency and accountability.

“As we transform our schools, it’s vital that we transform the information we deliver to students, parents and teachers,” said Bryan Sivak, Chief Technology Officer for the District of Columbia. “This award recognizes our transformation of the DCPS website to make it clearer, cleaner, more dynamic and more accessible for all.”

Families, teachers, students, DCPS staff and community members have come to rely on the website as a source for accurate information including reports, announcements, press releases, comprehensive calendar listings, school news, high-quality video and photo slide shows, and job postings.

The community has responded to the enhanced site, said DCPS Director of Technology Jill Nyhus, the chief architect of the new site. Between the 2008 and 2009 school years, page-views on the site increased by 42 percent. And once there, people are staying longer, said Nyhus, who reported an increase of 31 percent in the average time viewers spent on the site between the 2008 and 2009 school years.

This week, DCPS takes another step to enhance district transparency through the website: new school profiles have been posted for every school in the system. These profiles include details on enrollment, test scores, student demographics, academic and extracurricular programs, and parent engagement.

While the website is central to DCPS’ communications strategy, it is just part of the school system’s digital presence. In addition to a robust video presence on dcps.dc.gov, DCPS has its own channel on YouTube where it regularly posts video features and vital information for our students, parents, teachers and school staff. DCPS also connects to the community through social media outlets, such as Twitter, with more than 1,200 followers, and Facebook with nearly 900 fans. Almost 50 percent of DC’s public schools have Facebook fan pages.

2010 BEST OF THE WEB AWARDS 

K-12 District Education Website category
Winner:
District of Columbia Public Schools, Washington, D.C.

Higher Education Website category
Winner:
The University of Texas-Pan American 

Department of Education Website
Winner:
West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission 

2010 DIGITAL EDUCATION ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS 

K-12 Education Digital Application/Project category
Winner:
Redefining Learning with Smartpen Technology, Mr. Licata’s Math Classroom,
St. John's Lutheran School, Staten Island, NY 

Higher Education Digital Application/Project category
Winners:
Researcher's Dashboard, Wayne State University
Value Add in the Hand, University North Carolina Wilmington 

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Download the community letter about DCPS Website Wins Best-in-Nation Award.

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