LEESVILLE, La. - The new Vernon Parish School District website officially launched this week at
. Individual school websites are available on the main district site, mirroring its structure.
"It is full of information," said Renita Page, Vernon Parish School District Secondary Curriculum Director. "Now everything is in the same location. It makes it a whole lot easier for parents."
Fort Polk Progress provided funding for various aspects of the website project, including costs of website licensing, software, development and training.
The monetary contribution was part of the Education Initiative - led by Fort Polk Progress in partnership with Vernon Parish schools, the Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce, the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk and community stakeholders - which aims to improve school performance and educate parents on school curriculum in Vernon Parish.
"It is crucial that families in Vernon Parish, both military and non-military, have access to a school district website that provides all the resources and tools necessary for students to succeed academically," said Mike Reese, Fort Polk Progress president. "We hope they find this new tool beneficial as they navigate the school system."
Page said creating the website was a priority of the Education Initiative representatives, which worked collectively with Vernon Parish School District administrators and staff to make it happen.
"The website has been discussed ever since our Education Initiative came about. [It] has been the big push. For the last year and a half, we've really been talking about what needs to go on this website," Page said. "It was a team effort that took [many] long hours. We put in a lot of hard work."
The new website includes district structure and policies, parent, student and teacher resources, information tailored to military families, detailed lists of courses, sports and activities available at each school, specifics for new students, links to acquire diplomas and transcripts, fillable district forms, homework help, parish school bus routes and more.
"We want this to be a website they will be able to go to and find any resource that they need," Page said.
The need for the new VPSD website was identified by parents, community members, and school personnel who found the former website outdated and difficult to navigate.
"When families were moving into the area, it was hard for them to locate the information that they needed on the old website. This new website is organized to where parents should be able to find what they are looking for," Page said. "Now, everything is current and up-to-date. Parents can look at information about all of our schools and make choices about which school they want their children to attend based on their needs."
District staff are also receiving website training to make sure the district and individual school sites stay as current as possible. Feedback will continue to be accepted from stakeholders to ensure the website is the best tool possible.
Focus groups also took place to ensure the website captured the needs of Vernon Parish students, parents and teachers.
"[We were] trying to get everybody to tell us what we needed on this website," Page said.
The district also received and implemented feedback specifically from parents of military families on what website resources would be beneficial for them. This included enrollment packets, the military compact, athletic forms and policies and more.
"We tried to listen to what the military parents were asking for, and tried to address all those needs and put them on there." she said. "I hope when the soldiers and their families know they are moving to Fort Polk, they can go to this website and see all the good things going on in the Vernon Parish school system, and they can have all of their questions answered. I just hope that it's going to be a useful tool for everybody."