ABC Unified School District


Web Publishing Board Policy and District Guidelines

Board Policy
Community Relations
District and School Websites

Board Policy 1113
Administrative Regulation 1113

Guidelines for Web Publishing (Draft)

 The ABC Unified School District Information and Technology department designs, manages content, and maintains the public website for the ABC Unified School District. The district site is a major communications hub for parents, teachers, students, and community.

The IT Department supports independent web development at the school and teacher levels. Schools and teachers are bound by borad policy addressing disitrct and school websites.  The following Web development guidelines are offered to assist district staff with their web publishing efforts. Schools, district departments, and program personnel may contact the district's web master Chi Tran at for clarification of web policies and procedures. 

School or District Program Level Web Sites 

1.  The principals and directors of district programs are ultimately responsible for the content of school (teacehrs) and district departments' websites. Principals and Directors should be aware of a websites' existence and content.

2. All content should be monitored for accuracy and appropriateness and be kept up-to-date by the specific department or school.

3. All web pages should include links to the main ABC Unified School Disitrct site -

4. Include the e-mail address of the staff person overseeing the page to allow feedback and review; effective web pages are always evolving.  

5. If yours is a school site, be sure to link to the website so that visitors to your school site may access your school's test data. 

Website Content GuidelinesThe Home Page should provide a summary statement describing the purpose of the page.  Page titles should  reflect page content.
Newsletters - Ideally, your school's newsletter should be featured on your site; either a downloadable version of your school newsletter (in html or pdf format) - or -  consider creating an online version.  Remember, specific student information (-refer to this-), should not be featured in the web version.  Also, please refer to writing an effective school newsletter.Sites should provide information that is relevant for over 30 days. Be sure to develop a plan for regularly updating Home Page information.
Consider including the following demographic information: school namelocationpopulationhighlights of the school improvement plan.School and office internal links might include: 
Student ProjectsDepartments/Grade LevelsCalendar of EventsFaculty/Staff Information (with individual faculty/staff permission). Staff members' work e-mail addresses may be included with permission of individual staff members.Student Projects
IMPORTANT - Use of student names: Only first names and first initials of last names (i.e. Adam B.) of elementary and middle school students may be used on Anne Arundel County Public School web pages.
The full names of high school students may be included on the school system's approved home pages with informed parental consent, using the attached permission form. Once signed by the parent, this form must be kept on file in the principal's office at the student's home school. The form may be copied or originals may be obtained by calling the Public Information Office at 410-222-5313. Remember that it is school system practice not to identify a student by name in photos that appear on the web.E-mail addresses of former students, age 18 and older, may be included upon permission of the former students. E-mail addresses of current students may not be included.  
Effective pages draw in outside visitors. Be sure to ask the members of your school community: “What content are we offering our school community and people outside our community?” and “Do our pages reflect the uniqueness of our community?”
Developers of pages are welcome to use plug-ins such as Shockwave or Flash. Be sure to indicate to users that these plug-ins are required to enjoy your home pages. If you use lesser known plug-ins such as Hyperstudio, you should provide a link to the helper application.

GraphicsPage layouts should be simple, clean and attractive. When using graphics, be sure to consider the amount of time required to load graphics.
For speed of loading, try to keep your graphics to a reasonable size. Consider keeping the number of graphics on one page to a minimum and compress graphic files whenever possible.
For graphics larger than the above specifications, consider using a separate thumbnail link and be sure to inform the user of the original size of the graphic.
Whenever possible, it is always best to use original graphics. Graphics and clip art obtained from the Internet must be properly referenced.  Be aware that web pages are subject to current copyright laws.  Copyright guidelines are available from your school media specialist.  In general, graphics should be related to school activities or student projects.
Provide a text alternative  <ALT="description of image"> tag to images for those users who cannot or choose not to use graphics (section 508 specifications)Student Photos/Identification on the webWhen using photographs of students, be sure to obtain prior written permission from a parent or guardian. Photographs may not identify students by name. (See photo release form.)

Outside LinksWhile we recognize the interactive nature of the web, we are also aware of the school system's responsibility to provide a reliable, safe learning environment in which students can work. Outside links from school and central office web pages are allowed, based on the following established criteria for selection of outside sites:education instructionally based sites (well-known - not run by an individual), 
sites of non-profit partnerships/educational institutions/governmental agencies (i.e. Department of Natural Resources, Johns Hopkins University);
PTA/PTO/PTSO sites as long as the sites do not link to businesses or for profit fundraising companies or contain advertising.  It is the obligation of the public schools not to promote commercialism;
regularly updated sites that provide daily or weekly updated information such as homework assignments, changes in athletic schedules; sports scores for school teams. These sites should have no other outside links. It is the local school's or office's responsibility to ensure that outside sites to which you are linking do not require permission. If permission is required, it should be in writing.When using hyperlinks where you are not sure of the changing content, the following approved language can appear when the user clicks on the link:You are leaving the AACPS website. The link you have just selected is an independently managed World Wide Website and is not affiliated with Anne Arundel County Public Schools. While every effort has been made to evaluate the sites to which we link, we cannot control the content that may appear on these sites or on related links. Please be advised that you are leaving the official Anne Arundel County Public Schools' website and materials found on these associated links are not approved or sanctioned by the school system.

 - or -

You can use the following code in your hyperlinks (you do not have to include the language above if you use this code).  
<a href="">The Link name goes here</a>

  Posting ProcessNew web sites and updates to existing sites should be submitted in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), with a printed copy and the Web Home Page Review Form. HTML format is preferred.  Sites may be submitted:Via e-mail to the Web Services Office.  PLEASE Zip files whenever possible, especially when e-mailing.
Placed in a public directory on a file server (for schools on the WAN) with notification by phone or e-mail, or 
submitted on floppy disk or CD-Rom.
The Web Page Review Formshould be sent via basket mail.The content of new web sites associated with Anne Arundel County Public Schools is reviewed by the Web Services Office before posting.Depending on the size of a new site, the number of technical corrections that need to be made, and the number of posting requests received, posting may take a few days. Every effort is made to post time-sensitive information very soon after it is received.Web Publishing GuidelinesAll school site content (and site webmasters) are subject to approval by the principal (or designee) of each individual school.  Individuals who are working independently on school sites and who are not employed by or students of that school (in the case of those volunteering or donating their website services) must work in conjunction with a student or employee at that school.  Individuals who have access to independently hosted sites must be a school employee, student, or group of students who have responsibility for the site (a tech support at the school, for example). 

Web Services Office should be contacted if a school does not have a designee responsible for the maintenance of a school website.
Some schools have purchased a custom URL ( for their particular school.  Please note that all AACPS school website content is owned by AACPS and is subject to the same rules governing site content under  This decision to have an independent URL is subject to approval by the principal (or designee) of the school. 

If schools desire a customized URL, the use of website forwarding (redirection) is encouraged (and not independent hosting) so that we may offer appropriate technical and content support, ensure consistency as well as the privacy and security of school websites.

Additionally, AACPS has the right to oversee content for all independently hosted school sites, request access to, and/or require changes/deletions to inappropriate, out-of-date, or irrelevant site content. 
Executables, Perl, and Cold Fusion are not currently supported at this time for school sites hosted under If more information is needed about this subject, please contact theWeb Services Office
A general school template, designed for AACPS school sites, is available if you need a general site to "plug in" content for your school.  Please contact the Web Services Officeso that we can assist you in setting up your site and show you how you can update your content live. Online SurveysIf you need to conduct an online survey, please contact the Web Services Office to discuss your specifications. AACPS has a standard survey system - many options are available for survey deployment and displaying/utilizing results..    Web Services - Guidelines Section 508 Accessibility Standards School websites should be based on simple HTMLAvoid the use of animation (animated gifs in particular), advanced technologies such as Flash, dynamic and popup/under menus, and excessive Javascript.   Images and Animations: Use the alt attribute to describe the function of each visual. Image maps: Use the client-side map element and text for hotspots. Multimedia: Provide captioning and transcripts of audio, and descriptions of video. Hypertext links: Use text that makes sense when read out of context. For example, avoid "Click here" Page Organization: Use headings, lists, and consistent structure. Use CSS for layout and style where possible. Graphs and Charts: Summarize or use the longdesc attribute. Scripts, applets, & plug-ins: Provide altenative content in case active features are inaccessible or unsupported. Frames: Use the noframes element and meaningful titles. Tables: Make line-by-line reading sensible. Summarize. If you need to conduct an online survey, please contact the Web Services Office to discuss your specifications. AACPS has a standard survey system - many options are available for survey deployment and displaying/utilizing results.

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