New BHS website to launch in December

The above is a screenshot of what the new BHS homepage will be as of Dec. 1. The new website will be a slideshow of pictures with news events on top.

The above is a screenshot of what the new BHS homepage will be as of Dec. 1. The new website will be a slideshow of pictures with news events on top.

On Dec. 1, the San Mateo Union High School District plans to implement new websites for all schools, including Burlingame, using the new “Schoolwires” program instead of School Loop.

The change is part of a district initiative to make school websites uniform because all the high schools currently use different platforms. The change is intended to make navigation across all school websites in the district much more intuitive and user-friendly.

Instead of the current information-heavy layout, the new website will host a slideshow of pictures with headlines and captions advertising news and events going on at BHS.

“The way we’ve organized this is that you can move school to school and the same information is displayed on it, and it's posted in the same manner, so our menus at the top are consistent,” said Valerie Arbizu, the BHS administrator leading the initiative at BHS.

However, apart from simply making the system more uniform, the new website is much “cleaner” Arbizu said. The information is more easily accessible for students and more visibly appealing, with an increased amount of high definition pictures being the dominant face of the website.

“We have some quick links on the side, for example, our bell schedule is there, [avoiding] someone clicking around trying to find it,” Arbizu said.

Other useful links include the school calendar, log in to canvas or schoolloop, staff contact information, donation information and the cafeteria menu.

Arbizu also expressed the fact that the new website is Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant in terms of the images, making it available for students and families with visual impairment and other disabilities.

One of the biggest new features of the website is the ability for students to translate any page on the website into a variety of different languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Arabic, Turkish, Korean, Filipino and Persian. The district has the ability to add more languages as well, with these being the default options.

“I think as a district we have gotten much better about trying to find ways to communicate with all of our families in a more user-friendly way,” Arbizu said, which is the main reason for the website changing.

Despite a promise for a more user-friendly interface, there are students who are hesitant to support the change.

“I think the website is perfect the way it is, you don’t need to change it,” said junior Kristina Jiang. “I’ve been using this website for almost 3 years and just looking at it makes me happy.”

Still, many others embrace the change to the websites, including senior Grecia Tapia.

“I’ve been dealing with this since freshman year, and I’ve gotten used to it, but it just really feels compacted with get piles of information right at your face, and it just feels squished,” Tapia said. “I feel like it could be improved, and I welcome the change.”

Posted on November 26, 2017 .