When you’re out to make your school website the best it can be, you need others to compare it to, right? Regardless whether you are early on in the planning stages or narrowing down your list of website providers, you want to look around to see which school districts are doing it right.
Let me save you some digging around. I’ve assembled my list of the top 10 school district websites that feature great design. It was no easy task to do so, but it’s an exercise that reinforces my own design principles and school web design best practices. By combining function with aesthetics, you can produce a website that your users and visitors will want to keep coming back to, and one that raises your level of engagement with your school communities.
How to make the list of top 10 school district websites
Determining what constitutes a great school website starts with avoiding the seven fatal mistakes in school website design. My top 10, of course, all do a good job of ducking those. For example, being unfriendly to your mobile users and having way too many links in your navigation are two major design flaws that actually are pretty common.
So what are some of things I look for in determining greatness? An overall simplicity should permeate your site design (think Apple products), with the most popular pages streamlined in terms of layout and copy. Quick links and frequently accessed information – news and calendar information, for example – should jump out at you. The images you choose are very important too.
While it’s hard to eliminate subjectivity from the equation, there are several constants that every great school website has these days. Specifically, a great website should feature:
- Clear, well-organized navigation
- Exceptional brand/design consistency
- Responsive design and/or mobile app integration
- Featured videos
- Social media integration
All of my top 10 sport these features and then some, check them out:
Mariemont City Schools
Mariemont City School's website is a great example of a school district website with a strong brand. The blue ribbon school district is conveyed through the use of blue and white colors throughout the website. The design is informative and easy to navigate.
One of the highlights of the website is the featured videos that showcase the different programs and activities that the district has to offer. These videos give a great insight into the district's culture and values. The videos are professionally produced and give a sense of pride to the community.
Another great feature of the website is the branded calendar. The calendar is easy to use and has all the important dates and events in one place. It is also easy to filter events by school or district-wide events. Mariemont City School's website is a great example of a well-designed and informative website.
Columbus Public Schools
One of the standout features of Columbus Public School’s website is the stunning photography that greets visitors on the homepage. From images of happy students engaged in learning to shots of the beautiful campus, the photography on the site truly captures the spirit and energy of the school.
In addition to the beautiful imagery, the website also boasts a variety of interactive quicklinks that make it easy to find the information you need. Whether you're looking for the school calendar, staff directory, or student resources, the quicklinks provide fast and easy access to all the important information.
The live feed on the website is a great way to stay up-to-date on all the latest news and events happening at Columbus Public School. From important announcements to upcoming events, the live feed keeps visitors informed and engaged with everything happening at the school. Overall, Columbus Public School's website is a must-visit for anyone interested in learning more about the school.
Park Ridge-Niles School District 64
Park Ridge-Niles School District 64's website is a testament to their commitment to providing a top-notch education to their students. The website makes strong use of imagery to support their mission, showcasing students and teachers engaged in learning and collaboration. This visual element helps to convey the school's values and the positive impact it has on its community.
The website's navigation is well-organized and user-friendly, making it easy for parents and students to find the information they need. The homepage features quick links to important resources, such as the district calendar and lunch menus. Additionally, the website's design is clean and modern, further enhancing its ease of use.
One of the standout features of the website is its feed, which does a great job sharing stories about the district's students and staff. From highlighting academic achievements to showcasing community service projects, the feed provides a window into the vibrant and dynamic culture of the school. In summary, D64's website is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning more about the district.
Hamilton High School
Hamilton High School's website is a true reflection of the school's commitment to excellence. The website's branding, with its striking green and black color scheme, is both stylish and professional. The colors are used consistently throughout the site, giving it a cohesive and polished look.
The video featured on the homepage is an excellent addition to the site, providing visitors with an engaging and comprehensive view of the campus. It's a great way for prospective students and parents to get a feel for the school and its atmosphere.
The design and layout of the website are well thought out, with a clean and symmetrical design that makes it easy to navigate. The menus are easily accessible, and the content is well organized, making it simple to find the information you need.
Hamilton High School's website is a shining example of what a school website should be. It's informative, engaging, and easy to use, providing visitors with an excellent user experience. If you're considering Hamilton High School, this website is a great place to start your research.
Kirby School District 140
Kirby School District 140's website is an excellent representation of the district's values and mission. The website features high-quality images that showcase the district's commitment to education and community. The imagery draws the user in and entices them to learn more about the district's schools.
One of the most impressive features of the website is the strong branding carried out to each school. By clicking on a school, users are taken to a page that reflects the school's unique personality. This attention to detail makes it easy for parents and students to find the right school for them.
Another standout feature of the website is the live feeds. The news widget and events section keep users up-to-date on what's happening in the district. I imagine this district has high engagement, and the website's live feeds further promote a sense of community and involvement. Kirby School District 140's website is a well-designed and informative platform that showcases the district's commitment to education and community.
Community Consolidated School District 59
Community Consolidated School District 59's website is a true reflection of their commitment to branding at the highest level. The website is a well-crafted masterpiece that tells a story of what the district is all about. As a user, you can easily navigate through the website, and it provides all the relevant information you need.
One of the standout features of the website is the beautiful rich content that is spread throughout its pages. The news articles are well written, informative, and accompanied by high-resolution images that make the website visually appealing. For instance, I clicked on a news article about Clearmont students and staff gathering for Polish Constitution Day, and I was impressed with the quality of the photos and the level of detail in the article.
Overall, the Community Consolidated School District 59's website is a great representation of the district's values, mission, and vision. It is user-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and full of valuable information. If you are looking for a school district that prides itself on preparing students for life, then Community Consolidated School District 59 is the ideal place to be.
San Luis Coastal Unified School District
San Luis Coastal Unified School District's website is a beautiful representation of the district. The clean and sophisticated brand is reflected throughout the site. The images and media used are top-notch, making the site very appealing to look at. The district's mission statement is prominently displayed with epic scenery behind it, which adds to the overall beauty of the site.
The guiding principles section is an excellent addition to the website. It ensures that the community knows what the district is all about. As you scroll over each principle, you can learn more about it, which is very informative and helpful. The video section and side bar list keep the site engaging and informative, making it easy to navigate and find the information you need.
Overall, the San Luis Coastal Unified School District's website is an excellent representation of the district. It's beautiful, informative, and engaging, making it easy for the community to learn about the district's mission and guiding principles.
West Clermont School District's website is an impressive display of modern design and effective functionality. The clean layout and vibrant colors immediately draw the user's attention, making it clear that this is a district on the move. The website's engaging video also adds a personal touch, showcasing the community involvement and commitment to education.
One of the standout features of the website is the sticky call-to-action buttons on the drop-down menus. This makes it easy to navigate and quickly access important information. The text is clear and concise, making it easy to read and understand. The use of cool colors adds a touch of creativity without sacrificing clarity.
West Clermont School District's website is an excellent example of how a school district can create an engaging and informative website. The design is modern and visually appealing, while the functionality is intuitive and user-friendly.
Round Rock Independent School District
Round Rock Independent School District's homepage is celebratory and inviting, with a focus on academics and student achievement. The print and images displayed on the website highlight the district's commitment to excellence in education and provide a welcoming atmosphere for prospective students and their families.
One of the standout features of the website is the A-Z index, which provides easy access to all areas of the site. This is particularly useful for those who may be new to the district or simply need to quickly find information. Additionally, the website provides language accessibility for non-English speakers, ensuring that everyone has access to the resources they need to succeed.
Another notable feature of the website is the "Apply Today" call to action. This highlights the district's commitment to addressing the teacher shortages facing many schools across the country. By encouraging prospective teachers to apply, the district is able to attract top talent and provide the best possible education for students.
Round Rock Independent School District's website is a valuable resource for anyone interested in education, and a great example of how a well-designed website can enhance the user experience.
Lafayette Parish School System
The Lafayette Parish School System's website is an exceptional example of a well-designed website. The use of fun colors and vibrant media in cubes immediately draws the attention of the user. The drop-down menus are dynamic and useful, making it easier to navigate through the website. Whether you are a student, teacher or parent, the website is designed to cater to your needs based on your persona.
One of the best features of the website is how easy it is to find the mission and vision of the School System. This is important as it gives the user a clear understanding of what the School System stands for and what they are trying to achieve. Even down to the footer, the website is clear and friendly, making it an enjoyable experience for all.
Overall, the Lafayette Parish School System's website is an excellent example of a user-friendly and well-designed website. Whether you are looking for information on schools, job opportunities or simply want to stay up to date with the latest news, the website is easy to use and provides a great user experience.
What schools (and why) would you add to the list?
Those are my top 10, but there are more. In our own work for schools, we ask early on in the discovery process for a short list of school websites they like, and why they like them. It's a great exercise that's worth the time you spend on it.
Most times you'll come back to the ones that include simplicity (think white space!) concise copy and images and media that make you want to view more than once. Toss in clear, well-organized navigation, consistent branding, responsive design and social media integration, and your school district website will make somebody's top 10 list.
You might have some favorites of your own you'd like to share. What are they?
Here's a follow up article you might like that exploresfive tips for a great school website design.
Topics: Website design
About the author
As a former teacher, Gracie believes in simplifying school communication, boosting engagement with parents and creating a sense of community within schools. Her mission to make SchoolNow an intuitive and reliable platform is making a difference in the lives of students, parents, and school administrators.