The Riverside Elementary School District 96 website will have a new look this fall. 

Last week, the District 96 Board of Education voted 6 to 0 to hire a different company to provide content management services for its website. The district has selected Edlio, a company that specializes in creating websites for school districts and serves more than 5,000 school districts across the country.

“They were a pretty clear choice among the ones we did evaluate,” said District 96 Director of Technology Don Tufano told the school board last week.

District 96 website has been using the WordPress website creation service for its website, which has been hosted by GoDaddy. Edlio provides both those services in an integrated package.

“Going to a content manager, it’s kind of an all-in-one solution,” Tufano said.

The transition to Edlio will cost $7,400 in the first year and will have annual recurring costs of $5,400. The district paid GoDaddy about $1,200 the last year, but that would have increased to about $3,000 to $4,000 next year, because GoDaddy was recommending switching to a dedicated server to address access issues that have plagued the website.

The target launch date of the new website is around Sept. 1.

Tufano said the website will not look all that different, but it should be much easier to use for both district staff and parents. The district had a choice of templates for its new website and went with a more traditional look.

“We did go with a more traditional one, because our site is currently more traditional,” Tufano said. “We didn’t really want to make too many wholesale changes and have it be a shock to individuals who are already comfortable with navigating the page.”

Visitors to the new website will notice improvements in the way news and calendar items are displayed, Tufano said. 

“I think they will definitely notice there’s a change,” Tufano said. “But from a navigation standpoint, we’re going to maintain a level of site navigation that we currently have.

“I think they will find it to be a lot more intuitive and visitor-friendly as well especially when it comes to subscribing to different bits of information that they might want to receive notifications on.”

The new website will be integrated with the district’s calendar and its social media platforms.

“It’s integrated with all social media, so principals will be able to post via social media and have it post to the [website] page. They’ll also be able to post to the [website] page and have it go to the various social media outlets.”

Teachers will be able to use Edlio to create their own websites.

“That will give us more consistency,” Tufano said. “Right now, we are using a number of third-party tools to host to those sites. This gives a great level of control and consistency across sites.”

Edlio’s websites also score high in compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).

“Websites need to be able to be read by individuals with disabilities,” Tufano said. “So if somebody, for instance, has an issue with sight, it needs to be able to read back to them based on the tools that they might have on their device. 

“The site prides itself on the ADA ratings that it has and that was one of the criteria that we had in evaluating the various solutions amongst other things.”