According to district policy teachers are not required to have websites. This means that teachers who want their own websites are responsible to build and maintain them on their own.
Teacher websites, which includes blogs, can be linked to from school websites. Just let your school webmaster know, after you've built a teacher website, that you want it linked up to the school website.
Challenges of Having a Teacher Website
Lots of teacher websites fail because they aren't regularly updated. It's almost always better not to have a website than to have one that hasn't been updated for months. Some of our teachers haven't updated their websites for years!
Having a clear goal before you build your site will help.
Is your goal to update parents on what is happening in your classroom? Perhaps setting aside some time once a week to update a simple informational website would help you accomplish this goal.
Is your goal to teach courses online? If so, it will take a daily commitment of time and energy, and it's probably best to start slowly by teaching just one course online and seeing how it goes.
Starting slow is the best advice for all web projects. Aim at building something that is both useful and sustainable.
Teachers should remember that student safety is the most important element of teacher websites.
Old Fashioned HTML-Based Websites
Some teachers have websites built with old-fashioned HTML technology from the 1990s. They use tools like Dreamweaver to maintain their sites, and FTP changes to the server.
You need to know some HTML and CSS coding to build these kinds of sites.
These old-fashioned websites are difficult to maintain and support. The district simply does not have the resources of staff/time to help support these out-of-date websites.
Teachers who want their own websites should consider using modern browser-based technology to build teacher websites.
Modern Browser-Based CMS Websites
Modern browser-based websites are made using a "content management system," or CMS. These websites let you login with a username and password to do your work. Facebook is an example of a CMS.
You don't need any special coding skills to put together a simple website using a CMS.
Below is a list of free CMS options teachers can use to build websites.
Weebly is a good option for making a free information website. A tutorial on how to build a website is found on the company's website. Difficulty level: Beginner. Learn more >>
Kidblog is a good option for teachers who want to have students login to a secure site and do work online, such as online journaling, and commenting on assignments. Difficulty level: Intermediate. Learn more >>
Edmodo is another good option for teachers who want to have students login to a secure site and do work online, such as online journaling, commenting on assignments, and photo hosting. Difficulty level: Intermediate. Learn more >>
Google Sites is a good option for a tech-savvy teacher who wants more control over how a site looks and feels. Difficulty Level: Intermediate/Advanced. Learn more >>
Downside of Free Websites
The downside of using tools above to build free websites is that these companies could disappear, or begin charging fees, at any time.
The list of sites above includes online tools that have been fairly stable for many years. But there are no guarantees with free sites, so it's something to keep in mind.
Linking to Teacher Websites from School Websites
Teacher websites can be linked to from school websites. On school websites that the district's Community Relations & Communications department creates:
On elementary school websites, there is a link called "Teacher Websites" where links to licensed-staff websites are placed.
If you want more information on a specific website CMS, the best thing to do is a Google Search. You can find tutorial videos on YouTube and other resources online.