If all good things must come to an end, really bad things must really come to an end. Like immediately.
And so it is with our reviewing of APS middle school websites. What began as a simple, and simplistic, attempt to make a point has taken on a rather dark and lengthy life of its own. Yes, I knew there were 27 APS middle schools going into this thing. But little did I know that going to these 27 sites would be so psychologically damaging. So soul-crushing.
Long distance runners speak of “hitting the wall”. Well, I hit the wall here about 20 schools ago. Ever since roughly John Adams MS it’s been a slog of ultra-marathon proportions. I need a website PowerBar….I need some fluids….I need to see a finish line.
And there it is, shimmering before us. The end. Let’s “break the tape” on this thing. Let’s “kick”, go slam some oranges and get a massage.
For those who haven’t paced me during this shindig, it’s a simple 1 – 10 rating scale, with:
1 = bonking to the point of bodily evacuations and collapse upon the roadway
10 = overtaking the Kenyan contingent and winning the NYC Marathon
26. Washington Middle School. Rating: 1.5
I seriously feel like Krusty the Clown at this point. “Oh buddy. This I don’t need.” Yes, at this point in the reviewing process I feel like a misanthropic clown with a heart condition. But we move past this first “gut” reaction to the WMS homepage and move onward.
The Washington MS site has some stuff on the homepage. A declaration about its “Dual Language” school status, which is cool. A link to the “Dress Code” and a “Supply List”. Fine. An announcement about a flamenco program. Interesting.
And then you have some links to some other internal pages, and that’s where things go wrong. Just as is the case at pretty much all the other middle school websites. A few links (“teacher resources” for instance) have at least some information on them, but others, like the faculty and class pages, are almost entirely bereft.
Sitting lonely as the world’s last passenger pigeon perches the class webpage for a Mr. Mulder, 7th Grade Science teacher. I would personally like to applaud Mr. Mulder for being the ONLY teacher with a class webpage at WMS. I acknowledge him for several reasons, not the least of which is the almost certain fact somebody (or more than one somebody) at his school has asked him “why would you want to have a class webpage?”
Mr. Mulder, I humbly and sincerely honor you as someone willing to stand alone on the frozen field of website notoriety. I looked at your website, Mr. Mulder, learned your first name is Don and that you served in the Air Force and Navy. Learning such things reminded me that it would be nice to know a little more about your many colleagues at WMS. Like their names. Or their email addresses. Anything.
27. Wilson Middle School. Rating: 1
Only fitting we end up at another “Professional Innovations” website. Other than noting that the few staff members who have webpages at Wilson have bizarre non-functioning links to MSN and Yahoo pages, I think I’ll just dispense with the usual tirade against “Professional Innovations” and make a few closing comments.
Closing (Finally…Yeah!!!!!) Comments:
- By the way, Wilson’s website is lousy, too.
- Readers will have noticed I tend to focus on the class/faculty/staff pages at these websites. Why? Well, it’s not because I’m trying for a “gotcha”, making fun of these places in a vulnerable area. I know staff turnover is high, and that keeping up-to-date with the many changes is difficult. But not EVERY SINGLE STAFFMEMBER is replaced every school year. Plenty of middle school teachers stay at the same place for 15, 20, 25 years. Yet, still nothing or a frustratingly close next-to-nothing from many of them. Why?
- And don’t give me that “well, our kids and their parents are poor and can’t afford the Internet”. That act is tired. I don’t have a number in front of me, but the percentage of internet-connected homes is much, much higher than when many of these websites were last updated.
- And I know the demands of teaching and administration make little things like updating a webpage seem inconsequential. I know. I’m a teacher.
- And I know school “technology coordinators” are very busy people, with little time for website update.
- But those are poor reasons to have websites last updated in 2007.
- And yes, having an updated website IS important. Really. I know it wasn’t that important in the days of Geocities vanity webpages and Mosaic 2.0.
- But…well…you, dear reader, are on the Internet…you know.
- But somehow these schools DON’T KNOW. And one thing they don’t know is that they have all these 8th grade kids just sitting around as “classroom aides” who would LOVE to update some webpages. That some geeky staffmembers would be thrilled to have updated pages if only someone would tell them how to connect to the school website. That there are millions of website creation tools infinitely better than “Professional Innovations” that wouldn’t cost anybody anything to use.
Alright. I’m finally done. Time to go to school 90 seconds early and update my class webpage. Thanks for sticking this ultra-marathon out, dear reader. I don’t know if all of this has/will have a pimple on a butt’s worth of impact on anything, but perhaps a point has been made. And remade and remade and remade and….