Overview of Jackson-Reed Website


Create a new website for Jackson-Reed High School, based on the current website with a plan to add on new functionality and features.

  • Use WordPress, a widely used Content Management System(CMS), for the platform.
  • Create a student website club at Jackson-Reed to create, update and manage the website.
  • Include administration, staff and teachers in the project.


To reimagine the purpose of the school's website.  Yes, it should continue to be a repository of information that is available for staff, parents and students.  But, it could also be a method for students to gain valuable experience and skills in the technical, marketing, content creation and visual design areas of website development.
A website club, similar to the Beacon, will teach students the basics of designing, creating and maintaining a website. And much more - social media, marketing, advertising, content, visual design.  It would be a way to get students who are not interested or are intimidated by "real coding" classes interested in technology.  Call it gateway tech.

Skills Gained

    Idea Creation - how to brainstorm and create solid ideas that meet the needs of the Jackson-Reed community.
  • Project Management - how to create a plan and track progress for a complicated schedule.
  • Graphic Design - how to create icons, how to design a website for usability.
  • Responsive Design - how to design a website that is used across all devices - mobile to desktop.
  • Content Creation - how to create evergreen content as well as timely updates.
  • WordPress Front End - how to manage the updating the of the website via an understanding of WordPress.
  • WordPress Back End - a deeper understanding of how to create a WordPress site and how to maintain it using complex plugins and basics HTML & CSS.
  • Custom Coding - if needed - WordPress websites can be extended into more full-featured functionality by using custom HTML, CSS & PHP.

Website Club

  • Two co-leaders with WordPress and coding skills.
  • Adult to lead with solid website development and WordPress skills.
  • Train new members on the various skills that are needed as we plan, design and build a new website.
  • Skills areas include:
    • WordPress Basic Knowledge - front end and content
    • WordPress Back end skills - user role management, plugins, security
    • WordPress advanced front end skills- complex page layout
    • WordPress advanced Back end skills - Forms & data
    • Digital Design
    • Social Media
    • Photography
    • Content Creation
    • Basics of HTML
    • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) - to do advanced design
    • Even some real coding with PHP

Steps to Take

  • Identify the needs of the new website.  Is it just a duplicate of the existing website or do we want more features and functionality?
  • Identify the platform. WordPress is an easy choice - check out the box below for the explanation of why!
  • Identify the hosting platform.  A competent web hosting company can be in charge of the critical back end issues that can be more serious.  And provide continuity of support over time.
  • Create the base website.  Over the late spring/early summer, create the basic website using an outside firm so that it is set up correctly.  We could have students do an internship to participate in the process.
  • Form a website club to start next school year.  If no teacher can take on the role of advisor - I would be happy to do so for a while.  I do have a rising Freshman.
  • Work with teachers, administration and staff on the design and creation so they are fully on board and comfortable with using and maintaining the site.
  • Document everything!  Having an extensive Help system allows new helpers to easily and independently come up to speed. And requires little help from true techies.

Why WordPress?

  •  WordPress is the predominate Content Management System in the world which means there are lots of tools that work with and it is worthwhile to learn for the students.
  • It is an open system so Jackson-Reed would own the website completely and be able to customize it as much as needed.
  • It is one of the the easiest to use CMS platforms from a backed perspective enabling non-technical people to create and update complex websites.
  • With a basic knowledge of HTML & CSS, you can create complicated design elements
  • Using PHP, a high-level programming language, you can create custom functionality that integrates seamlessly.