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McKeesport Area revamps website, joins social media

| Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, 7:19 a.m.

McKeesport Area School District has a new website and has officially joined social media.

Superintendent Rula Skezas announced that final touches on the site's redesign are under way, and the district has created Facebook and Twitter pages “to highlight district happenings and to get information to families fast.”

The website has the same address, www.mckasd.net.

District spokeswoman Kristen Davis said it took her three weeks to design the website using a template from Schoolwires, a company that builds and hosts kindergarten to 12th-grade school websites.

New features include:

• Notification alerts.

• Opt-in user preferences to allow the user to choose one, multiple, or all buildings from which to receive updates.

• Customizable calendars with sports information included.

• Passkeys to allow a simple login for many educational websites.

• Interactive questions and answers with administrators.

• Quick links and alerts on the home page.

• An adaptable interface to allow mobile viewing of the website with ease.

• A searchable district directory.

“It's a more user friendly and more appealing website,” Davis said. “It catches the eye. There's a lot more features on this available to our families and community. It's easy to access generally. We're overhauling a lot of our technology type of things, so it just fit seamlessly into that.

“Our website before was more or less a series of folders and documents. You could make it look a certain way, but there wasn't much ability to make it eye catching. It was pretty much a lot of text. Now we have the ability to add a lot of graphics and videos. We encourage everybody to create a username and a password. That's how you can make it your own experience.”

The Facebook and Twitter pages were launched about two weeks ago.

“We're going to start using it throughout the school year to get news and different things out, create another avenue for parents and community members to get in touch with us,” Davis said. “People are getting their information more and more from social media, and I think it's important to throw our hat into the ring so to speak and meet kids where they're at. Parents and community members are on there in different groups and able to access a plethora of information on these sites. Why wouldn't we utilize something that's of no cost to us to get additional information out and be reachable to our parents and community?”

The district's official Twitter handle is @McKeesportArea. Its Facebook name is McKeesport Area School District.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1965, or mdivittorio@tribweb.com.

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