Reviewing APS Middle School Websites: Volume VII, A Nerd’s Birthday Bash

Some people celebrate a birthday with a party. Others take a long hike celebrating the glory that is a life well-lived.

I’m spending this morning slamming coffee, sprinting between Euro soccer games on ESPN360 and looking at a few more APS middle school websites.

And they say I don’t know how to party….

To recap, over the last two centuries weeks we’ve examined in brief, yet highly divergent, detail the up and downs of these websites in alphabetical order. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried…we’ve mostly cried. The websites have generally been projectile-vomit inducing not so great.

Given the birthday morning, we’ll evaluate our sites today on the following 1 – 10 scale:

1 = an Arsenal “own goal” that bounces off the post and hits the goalie in the back of the head, ending up in his own net

10 = Franc Ribéry and Bayern Munich today versus Dortmund (5-1). I realize I’m speaking to a very, very small audience of those in ABQ who care about this…but Ribéry is pretty darn good.

School 23. Tony Hillerman Middle School. Rating: 5 (actually an Incomplete at present)

Aaaahh..that new school smell. It’s like taking that new IBook out of the box and spending 10 minutes just sniffing a 3-D rectangle of white plastic (as my classroom aides did the other day). Times infinity.

The THMS site is truly in a “honeymoon period” of smells and site. Actually I just made up the smell part, but everything is so squeaky new on these Google Sites-created pages you can almost catch the aroma.

One aspect of this newness is that the rancid stench of outdated stuff has yet to appear. Ancient information from 2006 can’t show up on a site/school that wasn’t created until last week. Well, that’s not entirely true…the volleyball tryout info is a couple of weeks old now, and many of the staff pages have a syllabus link and that’s about it.

Special Parent Informational Digression: Just so you know (although almost all of you have probably already figured it out): middle school syllabus is to what goes on in a middle school classroom as Bill Richardson press release is to Bill Richardson boat crashing into other boats on a piss-poor lake. Just so you know.

As a teacher at an “old” school, I envy THMS and its website a bit. The promise of both is so great. For instance, my guess is that the classrooms at THMS have more than three electrical outlets, unlike my classroom. I’m guessing the ceilings aren’t painted dung-brown with expanding circles of invading rain and rust. I’m guessing more than just one classroom at THMS has a mounted computer projector and screen.

And I’m also guessing, although it’s a bit too early to tell, that the squeaky-clean THMS website will fill up with timely, topical information…at least this school year. My rating above reflects this speculation. It also reflects the sentiment that THMS staff and its “webmaster” will be able to maintain a burst of “honeymoon” energy for at least one school year, before plummeting in enervating brown-dung circles of hopeless despair. You know…like all the other middle schools.

24. Truman Middle School. Rating: Argh!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry Truman. It’s my birthday. And for my birthday I’m giving myself a present. That present is: I refuse to look at another “Professional Innovations” school website. Happy Birthday to me!

For those just dropping by, I’ve spent much time on these reviews railing against “Professional Innovations”. I’m tired of it…(insert deity/probability of choice) only knows how sick you folks are of reading about it. But let’s think of the parents, etc. who actually go to these sites to “find things out” about a school. What’s the line from that movie: “dumb luck bastards”? Something like that. We move on.

But wait…even though it’s my birthday present to myself, I felt bad and spent a minute or two at the TMS website. That’s a minute or two of my life irreplaceably wasted. Argh is right. The site indicates it’s had over 52,000 hits since February 2008. How? Why? Are those other 51,999 people also stabbing themselves in the eye with knitting needles right now?

25. Van Buren Middle School. Rating: 1.000001

Oh for the love of toasters! Another “Professional Innovations” website? I think I’ll go watch an hour of Livorno v. AC Milan over at ESPN360 before I can stand looking at the VBMS website for a single second.

Okay, now I’m back…let’s explore! Here’s what we find:

  • Time period late 20th Century javascript crawl with hyper-slow information that is already outdated (“Open House” on September 8th!!!!!): check.
  • Faculty section with almost zero teacher webpages or contacts, and with a high percentage of that dinky number of sites failing to include any useful information whatsoever: check.
  • Left sidebar with completely dead link to “photo gallery” and utterly worthless “school info” page: check.
  • Bizarre homepage link to another “School Information” page with the following on it (and I quote):
School begins at 8:17.
School ends at 3:05.
School lunch is free.
We are an uniform school.
We are a no gum school.
We are a no touch school.
Students are expected to arrive and leave on time.
Students are expected to be ready to learn.
We are a PBS(Positive Support School) school
All students are to have a Student Agenda at all times

  • CHECK.

That’s right. The school is a “no touch” school, and pledges to be an acronym, “PBS”, that doesn’t even correspond with what the first letters of the stupid, mission statement-esque, slogan are….

Oh buddy.

I first considered expanding my birthday present to that of a “Professional Innovations”-free world forever in which I would never, ever look at one of these sites again. But I had a commenter in a previous review post mentioned s/he was looking forward to a review of a school that “began with a V”.

Well “V” commenter, “V” is not for “Vendetta”. “V” is for “Vomit”. “V” makes me want, now more than ever, to blow up the entire APS middle school web architecture (English Parliament-style) and start again from scratch.

All I need is a virtual subway car full of explosives. Anybody gotta a spare ton or two of html fertilizer?

Have a good weekend, everybody. Enjoy my birthday. And if you’re not reading this until the new week…have a good one of those, too.

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3 thoughts on “Reviewing APS Middle School Websites: Volume VII, A Nerd’s Birthday Bash

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