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Blackduck School Board holds work session to discuss website

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The website of Blackduck Public Schools has come a long way since senior Nathan Jablonski took an elective in web design his freshman year.

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The Blackduck School Board held a work session meeting to discuss the school’s website after their regular meeting on Feb. 10.

Jablonski and junior Sasha Pfannenstein along with athletic director and teacher of the web design class Andra Vaughn presented the website to the School Board.

“It was pretty basic,” Vaughn said of the website before Jablonski began work on it three years ago.

Jablonski said that a lot of the time spent on the updated website was used to develop the header, which was created in Photoshop. He will usually spend the entire class period making regular updates to the pages and Pfannenstein will help whenever she has time, too.

Although the students make changes daily, the updated website is only loaded for public viewing once or twice a week by technology coordinator Bruce Norrgard, who was not present at the meeting.

“A website is a very important piece to a school or a business and it’s so important to get that information out there in a timely fashion,” said Rachel Larson, School Board member.

Larson suggested having the website outsourced or hosted on a server other than the school’s so changes could be made automatically.

Jablonski and Pfannenstein usually aren’t done making update to the website before noon, which is when Norrgard leaves for the day. The class is scheduled to end at 12:40 p.m.

Vaughn said that the school has several options to make sure the updates happen more than twice a week. The only one suggested at the meeting was to host the website with Paul Bunyan Communications.

“I believe they would charge us an extra $14 a month, which I thought was very reasonable, and then you would decide who you want to have access to the website to update,” Vaughn said.

Board members also agreed that it is essential to be able to access the website on a smartphone or tablet, which isn’t available at this time.

For that to be made possible, the program the website is created on would have to be updated. Norrgard is looking into costs of new software and would also have to decide how many computers would need it.

Board member and head basketball coach Grant Mistic suggested that having links to the Minnesota Scores website or the Minnesota State High School League website on sports pages would be the best way to keep viewers updated on sports scores.

He pointed out that a lot of games are on Friday, meaning the school’s website wouldn’t be updated with scores until at least Tuesday.

Vaughn mentioned that the school keeps its Facebook page updated with scores from sporting events also.

Other than the hours Jablonski and Pfannenstein spend on the website, Vaughn will come in on Mondays and spend anywhere from one to two hours on it.

Pfannenstein is hoping to take over Jablonski’s position of helping with the website full-time next year and said that she would like to pursue a career in working with websites.

“This is giving them practical experience, which is fantastic,” Vaughn said during the meeting.

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