School system opens site on Web Test scores, maps menus, help with homework available

September 15, 1996|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,SUN STAFF

The schools have a new address. But they haven't moved.

"Carroll County schools will be located not only at 55 North Court Street, but also at welcome.htm," said Assistant Superintendent Gary Dunkleberger. "That represents our address on the Internet."

The relatively new World Wide Web site is accessible to anyone with a modem and Internet access. Once users call up the page, they can click on buttons on screen to see the county's test scores, the location of each school on a map, a description of programs in each school and even some homework help.

Visitors also can send electronic mail to the administration or school board, although C. Scott Stone is the only board member with an e-mail address listed: As for administrators, they are accessible through Dunkleberger's e-mail address:

"This is a one-stop shopping place," Dunkleberger said, and a way the schools can get information to the public, all over the world. So far, visitors to the Web site have come mostly from Carroll, but one person from Denmark looked in.

The site tallies the number of visitors, which came to 350 in July, 489 in August and 331 for the first 10 days of September, said W. Carey Gaddis, public information officer for the schools.

"And this was with no marketing taking place at all," Gaddis said. She expects hundreds more once she begins wide release of the Web address.

"The Web is going to be an invaluable tool from a public information standpoint," she said.

The schools can post national or state test scores on the site the same day they are released to the media.

The school calendar and lunch menus will be there.

The elementary hands-on science curriculum that has won awards and been duplicated around the world is also available on the site.

And job vacancies soon will be.

Several schools already have home pages that can be reached through the school system Web site. Eventually, each school will have a home page providing information and featuring student work, Dunkleberger said.

For schools that haven't created a home page -- most of the elementary schools -- about 10 students and a science teacher at Sykesville Middle School have volunteered to maintain the site.

Maintaining it means that as a school wanted to add or change information, the students would help enter it into the computer and design the pages so the information appeared with graphics.

"The school will decide what they want to put on the page," said Eric Conway, who teaches Earth science at Sykesville. In his spare time, he will be the schools' "Web master," Dunkleberger said.

Students Adam O'Sullivan, Andrew Morse and Jim Miller, all 13-year-old eighth-graders at Sykesville, are among the first to volunteer to maintain the system's site. Conway is training them and hopes to build a team of about 10 students by the middle of the school year.

Adam says he thinks the Web site is a great idea.

"If a new student is moving here, they could get an idea of what they'd be doing," Adam said.

The homework help file will make it easier for students to find useful information on the Internet that relates to what they're studying in school. The file has far to go, but the goal is that eventually every elementary grade and every class in secondary schools will have a list of Internet-accessible pages that might help students.

Dunkleberger said this will help students sift through the overwhelming amount of information available electronically.

The list is one that teachers have screened for appropriateness and accuracy, he said.

That's important, Dunkleberger said, because practically anyone can put anything on the World Wide Web, regardless of accuracy.

"I can put a Web page out there that says the world is flat. So we're screening for ones that say the world is flat," he said.

While browsing through the homework file, a student could, however, link with Dr. Math, who will answer math questions, or with "The Electronic Beowulf" for students who are reading it in British literature classes.

Pub Date: 9/15/96

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