MAPS new website getting good reviews

MANISTEE — Members of the Manistee Area Public Schools Board of Education were informed this week by superintendent Ron Stoneman that the district’s new website that was designed by RIGHTside Design, is up and running for the public.

The Manistee Area Public Schools recently unveiled a new website which they say will increase their ability to get information to parents and the community.

The Manistee Area Public Schools recently unveiled a new website which they say will increase their ability to get information to parents and the community.

“We have had about 1,000 hits since it has been going,” said Stoneman. “We had a little stumbling or delay related to the re-directs and the ISD is holding those domains. We have been working with the ISD getting those addresses to swing over to our new website. It has been a little bit of a struggle, but is no one’s fault.”

Stoneman said they now have a good flow with it. MAPS technology director Ken Blakey-Shell said the site is really coming together.

“There was a period there where we had the old and new website going at the same time,” said Blakey-Shell. “When the forwarding takes place it makes it so the old website is no longer accessible. If anyone tries to go through the old one it redirects them to the new one.”

Stoneman said Blakey-Shell is working with RIGHTside Design on identifying how those in the school population can add information. He said they will be working with the teachers on the process.

“We will be going over that process during teacher professional development on Sept. 28,” said Stoneman. “We have a half day professional development to update them on how and what is the procedure to put information on the website. That is for areas they would specifically be responsible for doing.”

Blakey-Shell said the whole system has been designed for making it as quick and easy as possible for teachers to add the information.

“We want to get the latest and greatest information out there to our public,” said Blakey-Shell. “It will be very easy from coaches wanting to list scores to daily announcements for the schools.”

Stoneman said the district is looking for a more grand roll out of the website and relating it to the time they do the parent-teacher conferences.

“We are going to use that opportunity to communicate the new website and the utilization for scheduling conferences,” said Stoneman. “That will be October 10 and a week or two weeks prior to those conferences. It is very exciting stuff.”

MAPS business manager Howard Vaas also updated the board on the Honeywell project, which is rapidly coming to an end. The Honeywell Project was to cut energy costs with replacement of dehumidification units at the Paine Aquatic Center, new lighting in several of the buildings and other energy type projects.

“We are nearing the close out of that project and most of the work has been completed,” said Vaas. “We are just chasing down a few things. It’s been going pretty good, but there has been a few hiccups as there always is with any project.”

Vaas said they are owed some additional training on operating the lighting at the high school. He said they said it happened on the day there was no cellular service and it impeded the company’s ability to provide that service, but they will be back to do it.

“We also have been able to touch on some of the problems of the fire alarm system at the middle/high school building,” said Vaas. “It isn’t part of the Honeywell project, but it is part of the QZAB funds as we are coming in a little under budget on the Honeywell project and it allowed us to make some updates to the high school fire alarm system.”

The system has been bouncing in and out of trouble status and Vaas said the funds are being used to replace and update the board and the monitoring system.

Vaas also told the board that the companies who installed some of the upgrades with the Honeywell project have exterior monitoring with the boilers and HVAC systems. That allows them to see the data that will send out an alert if there is an error in the system and make repairs before something goes wrong.

Other items to come before the board was an update on the former high school building that was given by Stoneman. School officials have been discussing for quite some time the possibility of bringing a bond proposal before the voters in the future to tear down that building which is located right behind Kennedy Elementary School.

“Next week I will be at the MASA (Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators) meeting and I have made arrangements to meet with our architect and construction management firm while I am there,” said Stoneman. “We will be talking with them about where we are with our plan for facilities discussion and we will be shoring up some plans moving forward. I will be bringing back some details on that and updating you at our (Sept. 26) study session.”

Stoneman said that the removal building is really a community issue and that he is also working with city officials who are concerned and want to know what the district’s plans are concerning the building in moving forward.

“I hope they are engaged with us as we discuss a potential facility options and get things moving forward,” said Stoneman. “They will be invited to the table to understand what we are talking about and what the process is.”

Stoneman said a lot of attention will be on this process because they want to get the process moving forward.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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