Using the Internet to Reach Stakeholders
Finding an easy, universal means to reach out to broad, key stakeholder groups, especially parents, is essential. The Internet is an ideal resource for this and your school or district website is an ideal vehicle. Parents, teachers, and students go there all the time for information and you can be a part of that resource.
Just as teachers utilize websites to communicate with parents on homework assignments and upcoming exams, school psychologists are learning to engage parents and others across the school community on such crucial topics as mental health, child development, and behavior management.
An effective approach is for the school psychologist at a school level and/or the school psychology team at the district level to maintain a webpage on the school website. Once an initial page is established, it typically is easy to maintain and update on a regular basis. The more consistent you can be in regularly keeping your site up to date, the more that school staff and parents will begin to look to you for updated information on topics of interest to them.
"School Psychologist's Webpage Project"
This year, NASP is introducing the "School Psychologist's Webpage Project" to help you get started creating your own page on your school and/or district site. In some cases this may simply mean augmenting information that is already provided about staff and departments on the district site. In other cases you may be able to create a new page designed to provide helpful topical information that goes beyond names, titles, and contact information.
To help members do this, NASP has adapted existing NASP resources on a variety of topics that you can easily post to your page. Many school websites do not allow posting of documents (word or PDF) so the materials are available on the NASP website in text format that can be easily saved as an html document and posted your webpage. Each article includes a link to the original, full article on the NASP website. We will add new articles to those available each month.
Steps to Creating Your First Webpage
Find out your district's policies. Every school and district has different policies and technology but an increasing number have an individual method for creating and updating a webpage. Contact your school or district's webmaster to determine what is allowed. In some cases, they may prefer to help you create your own website that links to the main school site but this is less common. Questions to ask include:
- Can I post and update information easily myself?
- If the webmaster needs to post content, how often can this be done?
- Does someone need to vet or approve content? If so, who?
- Are there copyright issues related to content posted on the school site?
- Can I include links to outside websites? Do these need to be approved?
Include basic, permanent information. This would be text that would remain static on your webpage and might include: contact information (where you are and how to reach you on specific days), credentials, information on the role and function of a school psychologist, and important links (i.e., NASP, state school psychology association, various mental health resources). If possible, it is nice to include a photo of you or the school psychology team. This personalizes the page.
Use site to share relevant topical information. The following link includes monthly topics to copy and paste into your website. We have chosen material that is relevant to issues that might arise in particular months throughout the school year. We encourage you to mention this same information if you contribute to your school's weekly or monthly newsletters and direct them to your website.
Let people know that your site is there. As mentioned above, direct parents to your site through newsletter communications. Inform your administrator about the information that you will be posting and encourage them to visit it. Send quick reminder emails to staff when you have updated information posted for them to read.
Have fun with this new communication tool! As the year goes on, NASP would like to hear about your experiences with this new tool. Send us your thoughts through a brief e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will share what others have to say in a future format.
Sample Web Pages
NASP has adapted existing NASP resources on a variety of topics that you can easily post to your page. Many school websites do not allow posting of documents (word or PDF) so the materials are available on the NASP website in text format that can be easily saved as an html document and posted your webpage.
Insights From the Field
Creating your own website is not rocket science but it can take some forethought and advice. Don't worry; others have gone before you who can provide some useful guidance if you are just getting started.