Colorado’s second oldest school district used Drupal to revive its unwieldy web presence
Design & Concept
Harrison School District Two is one of the oldest school districts in Colorado with a large network of websites on the web and tens of thousands of students. The colossal amount of work Monarch Digital invested in this project comprises one of the most massive projects I have undertaken.
I interfaced directly with the district’s Director of Communications as well as their lead web developer, Jennifer Rexrode, to provide a cohesive and unified design for the entire district using Drupal. I led all of Monarch’s work on Harrison, including the initial design concepts, which were quickly approved with a minimal amount of red tape by their communications department. I lent special attention to accessibility and standards in the course of the designs’ implementations, crafting well-formed XHTML and CSS that would remain relevant for years to come.
In the theming process, many potential issues were taken into account. Teachers and other faculty had limited experience with any type of content management system. I worked with Ms. Rexrode to ensure that teachers received the requisite training and that editing interfaces were not overly complex. My intention was to mold Drupal into a system so simplified that even a student could edit it.
Ms. Rexrode spearheaded the district’s large-scale implementation of Drupal as its selection for content management system. The former district website was entirely handmade and all editing was manual. Procedurally, it was a nightmare of glacial proportions. At the time of the redesign, Ms. Rexrode noted that Harrison was receiving greater amounts of complaints from visitors. I completed a larger plan for the organization of the new website in January 2009.
I am glad to have been part of this project, especially given my previous experience with school districts and their notorious intransigence. The students of Harrison now have a unified web presence that serves as an exceptional locus for visitors, faculty, and students. The entire site is much more usable from the user's perspective, due to the unified cohesion between all pages. Thanks to my efforts, the Harrison website has been cited repeatedly as the finest district website in the Colorado Springs metropolitan area.
Schooling the Rest
All school sites use essentially the same standardized design with variations in color scheme to ensure that users don't get confused. This is one of the myriad themes I created for Harrison's elementary, middle, and high schools. See a school theme »