Website Changes Create Confusion

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Website Changes Create Confusion

The first of many technology changes at Lewis-Palmer, the familiar website was changed without warning

The first of many technology changes at Lewis-Palmer, the familiar website was changed without warning

The first of many technology changes at Lewis-Palmer, the familiar website was changed without warning

The first of many technology changes at Lewis-Palmer, the familiar website was changed without warning

Catherine Best, Ranger Review Reporter

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Students and teachers across the district encountered an unexpected change on the weekend of April 17; the familiar district and school websites were inaccessible to some, and once reached they looked startlingly different. The changes were not just topical, though, and led to increasing amounts of confusion among members of District 38.

School Fusion, Lewis-Palmer’s website platform for nearly 15 years,  is ending much of its operation. Lewis-Palmer District 38 was one of the company’s last large users, so the transition was delayed as long as possible. However, this switch meant that many of the School Fusion features, like file storage and sharing, on which students and teachers relied were no longer available.

“I went to put something on my Fusion page and it was no longer there,” Kathy Thirkell, Lewis-Palmer math teacher, said. “It wasn’t until a few days later that administration sent out an email saying ‘here’s how to move your files over to the new website’.”

Students did not receive the same instruction, however. Underclassmen, especially, who had relied on the website’s accessibility from home throughout elementary and middle school found themselves lacking a way to reach their projects and papers.

“I actually think it’s really odd to change the format right in the middle of the school year. First of all, we have less than three weeks of actual material left, and they’re going to change up the system now? That just doesn’t make sense to me. Why couldn’t they just wait for the summer and do it then? Especially when people are trying to access their final projects and files right in the middle of everything,” Ethan Berry, 11, said. “I didn’t have any trouble with losing stuff but I heard a lot of people complaining that they couldn’t access what they needed to.”

The change of platform was also related to Lewis-Palmer’s immanent change to being a Google School for the next school year. Google Drive’s more sophisticated document sharing and collaboration abilities would make simple website storage obsolete.

Files previously stored on School Fusion are not gone forever, though. By going to lewispalmer.schoolfusion.us, students can still access the log-in for their old account. The files can be downloaded from the website in this way until June 30, when anything remaining on various accounts will be permanently deleted.

Due to the mixed pros and cons of the transition, most reactions to the unannounced change were neither totally supportive nor totally oppositional.

“It’s just a new format. It’s not negative, but it’s not positive either. It’s just new; the only negative thing is the weird glitches, like Infinite Campus sometimes not loading, but I’m sure that’s just a bug that will be worked out,” Berry said.

Thirkell agreed, stating “The system is different, but I don’t know if different is necessarily better. Right now I’m not very impressed.”

For those having difficulty navigating the transition, the main page of the website has added a “Help” section. Other aspects of the new platform are being debugged and perfected, and will provide an easier way to find, use, and customize the web experience in the future. Links to Naviance and Infinite Campus are now displayed prominently, and the website design incorporates heads-up items like upcoming events, weather announcements, and school phone numbers that were previously tougher to find on the Schoolfusion website. Students and parents can even customize and personalize the information being delivered, like alerts for particular sports.

Students should be advised that the Lewis-Palmer site no longer has the same web address, and can now be found at http://www.lewispalmer.org/lphs. Any concerns or difficulties related to the new website should be voiced to administration staff so that they may be remedied.

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