Hudson City School District

The Hudson City School District needed to update an aging and inadequate content management system and more efficient front-end markup. Both were written from scratch, implemented in PHP 5 with a MySQL backend, using standards-compliant markup and tools.

The CMS product was a complete rewrite to replace an aging product, adding features and updated visual styling, as well as increasing security. Built with a plugin architechture for extensibility, the CMS was designed to be a unified, central point of control for all content hosted by the district. Users were given the ability to publish multiple sites, manage pages, send email newsletters, create educational games, and manage media such as images and video. A detailed, role-based permission system allowed both individual teachers as well as district administrators to use the same tool to manage content in their areas of responsibility.
Below is an example of a staff website created using the CMS tool. The implementation of these hosted sites was accomplished as a completely new product for the public-facing site, allowing users control over the layout, colors, and navigation displayed by changing settings in the CMS tool.
Media management was a critical component of the CMS product. Users could upload images, as well as organize them using the universal tagging system. Tags were "universal" in that they could be applied to content of any type, allowing related images, videos, web pages, and other information to be easily grouped for display and navigation.
The design of the district's main page was carried over from the previous implementation of the site, however the underlying structure and styling was completely rewritten in order to ensure validation and compliance with best practices. Search was also re-implemented using a new Google Custom Search Engine, and calendar pages were rewritten to offer a clearer and more flexible view of upcoming events. The sidebar was redesigned to use a widget-based architechture as well, allowing for greater flexibility between individual school sites while enforcing uniform styling across all.
In addition to managing news items for the district and individual schools, the CMS provided automated email to subscribed community members for new items. Additional email alerts, messages, and newsletters could also be sent manually, all under the district's "eSubscribe" brand for automated electronic mailings. The system was designed to use batch processing and delayed delivery to efficiently send updates, often daily for some schools, to thousands of subscribers reliably and on-demand.
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