Local residents will find it easier to get information about the Wm. S. Hart Union High School District, thanks to a newly designed Web site and a new "Education Today" program on Public Access Television, both of which are launching this week.
The Hart District's Web page is still at the same location - www.hartdistrict.org . Much of the page's original content remains, but it is much easier to find and more up to date.
"The district Information Technology Department collaborated with the Community Liaison office and the Superintendent's office to envision a Web site that would be visually appealing, well organized, and offer more interactive features for our students, staff and community members," explained Theresa Morgan, a network/computer technician who worked on the new site. Much of the design work was done by Susanne Ma, a network systems administrator with the department.
The new home page incorporates a vintage western look in homage to silent film actor William S. Hart and the community's history. "At the same time, we wanted to maintain a professional and academic appearance," Morgan continued. "I believe we were successful in achieving both."
Ma emphasized that all of the redesign work was done in-house without utilizing outside sources for either design or implementation. The I.T. staff even took its own photos for the rotating campus shots that appear on the home page. "We easily saved the district tens of thousands of dollars by doing it all internally," she emphasized.
New features include an attendance boundary lookup program, custom designed by Hart District I.T. staff, which allows Web visitors to type in a street address and obtain the schools to which that address is assigned. A calendar on the home page lists major dates on the district schedule. Community links take visitors to pertinent Web sites such as the City of Santa Clarita, College of the Canyons and local elementary school districts. A slide show on the home page introduces visitors to the Hart District's award-wining campuses.
The Web site also has a survey asking visitors how they wish to receive information about the Hart District, and a subscription page on which guests can sign up to receive information on specific topics in which they are interested.
Local residents who want more in-depth information on Hart District topics can tune in to the newly created "Education Today" program filmed in collaboration with SCVTV at the local Public Access Television studio. The programs can be viewed on Channel 20 for residents with Time Warner Cable, at AT&T U-verse 99/Santa Clarita, or streaming on the Web at scvtv.com by clicking on Hart District TV.
The first program includes Superintendent Jaime Castellanos talking about millions of dollars in cuts the Hart District has made to survive the state's budget crisis, Assistant Superintendent Rochelle Neal with back-to-school information and Diversity Coordinator Greg Lee explaining a program to keep students safe on Hart District campuses. Placerita Junior High Principal Mike Kuhlman describes his school's newly modernized campus, and Chef Louis Eguaras talks about Beef Wellington and other delicacies his budding chefs have cooked up in the Culinary Arts classes offered through the Hart District's Regional Occupational Program (ROP).
Future programs will cover such topics as proposed attendance boundary adjustments, Hart High School's ongoing modernization program, an ROP class leading to well-paying jobs in the plumbing trade, new programs to keep kids off drugs, alternative education programs for students who do better in a small school environment, and new electronic communications programs the Hart District is offering and how to access them.
During its debut, the program will be rebroadcast Mondays at 8 p.m., Tuesdays at 5:30 a.m. and 10 p.m., Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m., Thursdays at 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 8:30 p.m., and Sundays at 5 p.m.
A second Hart District TV program featuring footage shot by video production classes at local high school campuses is scheduled to launch after Labor Day.
"Communication of current school information to all stakeholders is one of the primary elements in the Hart District's Strategic Plan," concluded Community Liaison Officer Pat Willett. "We are utilizing as many forms of communication as we can to be sure that local residents can receive information about their local schools in a way that is most accessible to them."