Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Winners announced in MCPS Web contest

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Einstein High School, Benjamin Banneker Middle School and Highland Elementary School were named this year’s ‘‘Best of the Web” schools in Montgomery County.

The annual award, given out for the fourth year, was voted on last month by more than 1,000 Webmasters in the school system. The awards were announced on April 30.

Technological progress has come at different rates at each of MCPS’s 200 schools, said Chris Noon Sturm, Director of MCPS’s Web Services Team.

But in the end, what separates the better Web sites comes down to content, not coolness.

‘‘More and more, it’s all about the message — what we're seeing is more focus on the content,” she said. ‘‘There may be less coolness but better there’s better content; that's what the users — the parents — care about.

Among the emerging trends is schools broadcasting daily announcements via the Web, such as Paint Branch High School.

‘‘More [Webmasters] are realizing it may be boring, but it's what people want to see,” she said. ‘‘The standard is getting better, parents are expecting more because they’re getting more Web savvy, so I think over time it's going to get better.”

Winning schools receive an engraved plaque and a special MCPS graphic to display on their site. The primary webmaster for each school receives a certificate.

Five schools were nominated for each category.

Einstein beat out Clarksburg, Damascus, Gaithersburg and Springbrook in the high school category. Paula Pero is the primary Webmaster for Einstein.

In the middle school category, Banneker bested Montgomery Village, Thomas W. Pyle, Redland and Rocky Hill. Banneker’s Web site is maintained by Debbie Sheftell.

Among the lower grade levels, Highland Elementary in Silver Spring, topped Rock Creek Forest, Washington Grove, Wayside and Woodlin.