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District U-46 rolls out new website structure


By Seth Hancock
  School District U-46’s website has undergone an update to its design and added a customer service tool called Let’s Talk.
  The website, at u-46.org, is designed on the Blackboard Inc. platform and Let’s Talk, approved by the Board of Education over the summer, is from K12Insight.
  According to a district press release, the new website has a “sleek, modern design” for “an increased use of multimedia elements, easier navigation, and a responsive design” allowing for easier use on tablets and smart phones.
  “A school’s website is one of the primary ways that parents and families stay connected to their child’s school,” U-46 CEO Tony Sanders said in the release. “In the mobile age, U-46 had to have a website that works and looks just as good on a cellular phone as it does on a desktop.”
  On the Let’s Talk page of the website it states it “offers an easy and convenient way to submit feedback directly to the U-46 staff member who can help” and the press release said it will allow U-46 to “measure the timeliness and satisfaction of staff responses from each department.”
  Current departments setup on Let’s Talk include business services, food and nutrition services, human resources, school and community relations, school safety and culture and student registration according to the release, and all remaining departments will be added in the spring.
  “We have long aimed to be responsive and transparent, but this customer service tool really helps us track and improve on those efforts,” Sanders said. “We’re excited to see how ‘Let’s Talk!’ can help us improve our relationships with our employees, parents, students and community members.”
  At the board meeting on Monday, Dec. 4, board member Sue Kerr said there’s a learning curve in figuring out the new website but she likes the look.
  “I’m still trying to figure out where everything is, but it looks good,” Kerr said.
  Feedback on the new website can be given through the Let’s Talk tool.
  Board member Phil Costello offered a “shout out” for Let’s Talk as he hopes the public will be able to get more transparency through it citing a specific case presented to the board that evening. Members of a district PTO from Bartlett Elementary School who said they had a “protracted” process in making a purchase.
  “I know it’s just rolling right now, but it would be a good way to vet that type of situation so that we can get better feedback and that there’s more transparency in the problems that we face as a district,” Costello said. “We are a very large district, but we have to have a way to channel these things through without a protracted timeline. I’m looking forward to seeing the results from this system.”

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