Wilkes County Schools

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7000 Series - Personnel » 3227/7322 Web Page Development

3227/7322 Web Page Development

Consistent with board policy 3225/4312/7320, Technology Responsible Use Policy, and to further the school district’s objectives, the Wilkes County Board of Education encourages the use of the Internet as a means of providing accessible, accurate, and timely information for staff, students, parents and others in the larger community. The Internet increases communication between schools and the community through the posting of pertinent district and school information online. The school system has established its district website at www.wilkescountyschools.org. This is the only official website of the school district. In addition to this website, individual schools may create school websites. This policy provides the standards that must be followed for the development of all district-related websites. Failure to comply with this policy may result in the removal of a web page or website from the Internet.

A. District-Related Website

A “district-related website” is any Internet website that is established in one of the following ways:
  • By school district employees or students on behalf of the district;
  • By any school within the district;
  • By any school-sponsored club or organization within the district; or
  • By students as part of an educational assignment.    
Only those websites that are created pursuant to this policy are considered district-related websites.  The board does not endorse and is not responsible for websites created by employees, students, or others outside the standards and guidelines of this policy. Students or employees who create personal websites that create a substantial and material disruption to the school environment may be subject to disciplinary action.

B. Standards for Website Development

  1. Non-Public or Closed Forums for Expression

All district-related websites are “non-public” or “closed” forums for expression. This means that the district has control over information on these websites and is not required to allow students, teachers, or others to place material on district-related websites. The purpose of district-related websites is to publish curriculum-related information; to present the public with information about the district, its schools, and its programs; and to provide the community with each school or department’s mission, contact information, activities, organizational format, and instructional program. District-related websites are equivalent to newsletters from the administration or the individual school. District-related websites are not equivalent to a student newspaper or non-school publication.

  1. Administration and Editorial Control

All staff members responsible for creating, developing, maintaining, editing, or approving a district-related website will behave legally, responsibly, and ethically in providing educational resources and information to support the mission and curriculum of the school district. These individuals will abide by the generally accepted rules of website etiquette, board policy, and regulations established by the superintendent.

  1. Superintendent Final Authority

The superintendent or designee may delegate authority to place information on a district-related website. The superintendent has final authority to approve or disapprove any information in whatever form on any district-related websites.

  1. School District Official Website

The superintendent or designee has editorial control and responsibility for the content of the school district official website. The superintendent will appoint a staff member to serve as the web manager/editor of the district website.

  1. Individual School Websites

The school district will provide each school with a web address, web design software, and the resources needed to publish its own website. All district-related websites must be housed on the system web server or designated external host. Each principal has editorial control and responsibility for the content of the individual school’s official website, subject to review of the superintendent or designee. The principal may appoint a staff member to serve as the web manager of the school’s website and a committee to advise the editor and principal regarding the content of the school’s website. Individual school websites must comply with the additional guidelines provided below.

  1. Teacher and Student Websites

Each teacher has editorial control over and responsibility for the content of his/her official website and for the content of his/her students’ authorized websites, subject to the review by the principal, the superintendent, and the board. With the knowledge and written consent of a student’s parent or guardian, a teacher may allow a student to create a website within or linked from a school’s or teacher’s website only for the following instructional purposes: (1) to teach a student how to create or maintain a website or (2) to facilitate a student’s work on school assignments or research projects. No student pages may be posted or made accessible to the general public until approved by the principal or designee.

  1. Personal Websites

The school district is not responsible for personal websites or web pages created or maintained by students, employees, parents, groups, or organizations. Personal websites or web pages are not considered district-related websites or web pages, and are not covered by the provisions of this policy.

The superintendent may use any means available to request the removal of personal websites that substantially disrupt the school environment or that utilize school district or individual school names, logos, or trademarks without permission.

Employees are to maintain an appropriate relationship with students at all times. Having a public personal website or social/online networking profile or allowing access to a private website or private social/online networking site is considered a form of direct communication with students. Employees are encouraged to block students from viewing any material or profiles that are not age appropriate. Any employee found to have created and/or posted inappropriate content on a website or profile that has a negative impact on the employee’s ability to perform their job as it relates to working with students will be subject to discipline, up to and including dismissal. This section applies to all employees, volunteers, and student teachers working for or in the Wilkes County School System. In addition, all professional and personal use of social media by school employees must also be in full compliance with policy 7310, Staff-Student Relations.

  1. Website Appearance and Evaluation

Web page content will be kept current and maintained regularly. All district-related websites will be reviewed, proofed, and evaluated regularly by the superintendent or designee for the official district website or the principal or designee for individual school websites.

  1. Copyright Laws

Websites must comply with all copyright laws and board policy 3230/7330, Copyright Compliance. Copyright permission must be obtained for the use of any copyrighted material unless use is permitted as “fair use” under federal law. The superintendent or designee and each principal or designee will ensure that all permission for use of copyrighted work is maintained in a safe place.

  1. Links
  1. Internal Links

All school websites will have a hyperlink to the school district official website. In addition, all district-related websites must include a link to this policy and to policy 3225/4312/7320, Technology Responsible Use.

  1. External Links

The superintendent and designee have editorial control and responsibility for the linking of a district-related website to other sites on the Internet that are appropriate to the mission of the school district. Links to external sites, including externally hosted teacher classroom sites, must be approved by the principal. If required, web managers must obtain permission from external websites before links to these websites are established from any district-related website. To the extent possible, school personnel will determine the level to which a secondary site is linked to other sites on the Internet and whether these sites are appropriate for access through the school district websites. Web managers will periodically check external links for accuracy and appropriateness of content. School personnel must report any inappropriate links to the web manager.

Since the school district cannot control the content of other sites on the Internet and their published links, the following disclaimer statement will be inserted in a prominent position on the official district website:

Wilkes County Schools retains control over what links will be placed on district-related websites. Linked sites are not under the control of the school district, its agents, or its employees. The school district is not responsible for the contents of any linked site, any link contained in a linked site, or any changes or updates to these sites. The school district provides links as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement of the site by the school district. The school district reserves the right to remove or restrict any links at any time.

  1. Links to Personal Pages

Links to personal web pages of students or staff and lists of personal web pages will not be permitted on school websites or web pages.

  1. Behavior Standards

When using the Internet, employees and students are responsible for understanding and complying with board policies and administrative regulations, including policy 3225/4312/7320, Technology Responsible Use, the 4300 section policies, Student Behavior, and the 7300 section policies, Staff Responsibilities.

  1. Accessibility of Website

The web manager/editor, in consultation with the technology director, will ensure that the school district website meets required standards to ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities.

C. Requirements for Individual School Websites

Each school may promote itself by publishing an official school website on the Internet through the official school district website only. In addition to the website standards provided above, the following requirements apply to individual school websites:
  1. The content of school web pages must be approved by the school principal.
  1. The safety of students and employees must be considered when constructing school web pages. The following precautions must be taken:
  1. Home addresses will not be listed.
  1. Home telephone numbers will not be listed.
  1. Student email addresses will not be listed.
  1. Photographs of students and student work will only be used if approved for release as directory information under policy 4700, Student Records. Students will be referred by first name and last initial only.
  1. The principal or designee is responsible for maintaining records for the release of directory information (see policy 4700, Student Records). 
  1. The principal will implement other safety precautions to be followed when constructing web pages.
  1. To protect a student’s rights in his or her intellectual property, if a school or teacher publishes a student’s work, a disclaimer should be provided indicating the terms of redistribution or reuse.
  1. Schools must provide contact information and other general information about the school on the school website, including the school name, phone number, fax number, address, grade levels, and principal.
  1. Graphics used on school websites must be appropriate to the school and should be of a size that will download quickly into a web browser.
  1. Schools must keep information presented on their school’s web page current, accurate, grammatically correct, and visually appealing.
  1. Failure to comply with these guidelines or standards of this policy, as determined by the superintendent or designee, may result in the removal of a school’s web page from the Internet.
Legal References:  U.S. Const. Amend. I; 17 U.S.C. 101 et seq.; Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. 2510-2522; Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. 1232g; G.S. 115C-325(e) (applicable to career status teachers), 325.4 (applicable to non-career status teachers)
Cross References:  Curriculum and Instructional Guides (policy 3115), Technology in the Educational Program (policy 3220), Technology Responsible Use (policy 3225/4312/7320), Copyright Compliance (policy 3230/7330), Student Behavior Policies (4300 series), Student Records (policy 4700), Public Records (policy 5070), Staff Responsibilities (policy 7300), Staff-Student Relations (policy 7310), Personnel Files (policy 7820).
Adopted:  December 15, 2008
Revised:  April 4, 2011, May 11, 2015, January 10, 2022