Lewis Update

We are into our second full week of school at Lewis Elementary and we have our annual Open House this coming Thursday. We have even had a rainy day recess which I hope is our last for a while.

Screenshot 02-29The conversation that started last spring with the possible closure of a school in our area, (Lewis being one under consideration) has resulted in a proposal to have all the schools in question remain open with with boundary adjustments. Last week we held a meeting for our community and I used Google Earth Plus to highlight the boundary adjustments. Using a kmz file I had earlier created to map the homes of Lewis students, we were able to be very specific about how the proposed changes might effect current and future students. The resulting map outlining the changes is available as a kmz file and can also be viewed in Google Maps.

So far our move to Drupal has been pretty smooth. I started off the year with one theme, (newsportal), but wasn't completely satisfied with it. Over the weekend I found SEO Position and ended up using it for the site. It is based on the Andreas 01 theme by Andreas Viklund.

200609182319I have incorporated a random image rotator script that D'arcy Norman uses so well on his site. It was easy to set up and provides some visual variety each time you visit the page.

I have also installed and configured Gallery to run within Durpal to use for images. We plan to set up another install of Gallery for use with our 4th and 5th grade students, similar to what Jeff Utecht is doing with Flickr, but running on our server with comment moderation. While I love Flickr, I know that at some point it will not longer be available within our firewall, and wanted the flexibility to run something that we had a bit of control over. In addition I followed the directions in this article, How to build Flickr in Drupal... and set up Drupal and Gallery to mimic Flickr. It is not a total experience, but it does allow me to utilize tags and comments if I see fit. I'll definitely do this when we set up the Gallery/Drupal photo site for our 4th and 5th grade students. (Note: I have a few issues with the theme I am using and my Gallery pages are not displaying as I would like. Something to work on next weekend... )

Finally I have taken advantage of Talkr (thanks to a pointer by Stewart Mader) and we now have an audio podcast or our school website. I did this more because it was so easy and not because I believe anyone is actually going to download and listen to the lunch menu announcements. But as Stewart has pointed out, it does give those visiting your site an option in how they interact with the site. What I find interesting is if you could hook something like Talkr in with the on the fly translations available at Google and other web sites. We have incorporated a script from donutey.frihost.net that provides for quick translation of our pages into nine languages via Google. It would be nice to have a version of Talkr that also produced audio files in other languages. Then I would like to see some kind of hook into our phone system so that parents who may not speak english could call up and hear the school announcements in their native language.