By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
Students from Oxford High School’s Career and Technical Education program (CTE) redesigned the Charter Township of Oxford’s website.
Released to the public on Monday, Aug. 9, the website intends to improve upon the previous site by making the most in-demand services readily available.
“As our community grows people do not want to pay bills in-person, so we have the availability (to pay) on our website,” Township Supervisor Jack Curtis said. “It was hard to find (where you could pay bills online). Added up into the other questions people were bringing up, we just thought we had to design the whole thing to be more user friendly.”
One of the most immediate ways the website prioritizes the user’s experience is the placement of frequently used services on the front page.
“If you scroll down and look at all the stuff (there is) how to pay your bill, how to get a mobile food establishment, building permits, meals on wheels, dog licenses,” Curtis said. “We even include the audit report for 2020. Those (services) are the ones that are clicked on the most, and we’ve got them on the first page.”
When the idea of having the township’s website redesigned was discussed, Curtis knew the CTE program was where to go.
“I work with Oxford Community Schools and I am a strong supporter of the (CTE) program,” Curtis said. “I’ve been on their advisory board for the last few years.”
Curtis and C.J. Carnacchio — Oxford Township communications and grants manager — discussed the idea with OHS CTE Teacher Kim Monkevich around late February and early March. Once the plan was finalized, the task of building the site came down to Monkevich and several students from her class.
“Anytime we can give students real world, real life experiences, that’s gold and very important to include in my program,” Monkevich said. “(The students) were excited to have this experience because I don’t think you’re going to find that in a typical high school classroom.”
While one of the biggest challenges of building the website was making sure everyone was on the same page, it was ultimately a learning experience for everyone involved.
“One of the reasons it was such a valuable experience is because if I am teaching the class in the fall, I wanted to make sure that my knowledge was fresh and updated with the new technology,” Monkevich said. “Technology constantly is changing and I needed to get updated in order to produce (the website).”
After working on the website for months, a demo version was brought before township staff in July. Feedback from the township was taken and used to further refine the website, and it was released to the public on Monday, Aug. 9.
“It looks very professional,” Curtis said. “Something we would’ve paid thousands of dollars for was done (for) the cost of a lunch. It gave the students some experience, it gave the instructor experience in teaching and working with the children, and it gave our community’s schools the opportunity to shine.”
By Dean Vaglia