The Internet as a Way to Communicate With Parents and Students|
Since 99 percent of public schools were connected to the Internet in 2001, most schools had the capability to make information available to parents and students directly via e-mail or through a Web site. This section presents key findings on the availability of school-sponsored e-mail addresses and on school Web sites.
School-Sponsored E-Mail Addresses
The survey asked whether administrative staff, teachers, and students may have a school-sponsored e-mail address. If the answer was yes, schools were asked whether few, some, or all or most of the members of these three groups had school-sponsored e-mail addresses.
Overall, 95 percent of public schools with Internet access reported that administrative staff may have a school-sponsored e-mail address (table 13). Ninety-two percent of schools reported that addresses were available for teachers, and 16 percent that they were available for students.
Among schools that made e-mail available to staff, teachers, and students, respectively, 92 percent said that all or most administrative staff had a school-sponsored e-mail address, and 89 percent reported that all or most teachers had a school-sponsored e-mail address (table 13). Fewer schools (34 percent of the 16 percent providing e-mail addresses to students) indicated that all or most students had a school-sponsored e-mail address.
School Web Sites
The survey asked whether the schools had a Web site, the type of information it carried, how often it was updated, and whether parents and students could communicate with the school through the Web site. In addition, the survey asked whether students helped develop the Web site, helped maintain it, and contributed materials to it.
9 This estimate is derived from the percent of public schools updating their Web site monthly, weekly, or daily. Although estimates for the details are shown in table 16, the total in the text is based on the raw data and because of rounding, it differs trivially (i.e., 1 percent) from the estimate that would be obtained by adding details directly from the table.
- Seventy-five percent of public schools had a Web site in 2001 (table 14). There were differences by school characteristics. For example, the likelihood of having a Web site decreased as the poverty concentration of the school increased; 83 percent of schools with the lowest poverty concentration had Web sites compared with 59 percent of schools with the highest poverty concentration.
- Among schools with a Web site, about three-fourths indicated that their Web site contained the schedule of school events/school calendar (76 percent) and the staff directory (73 percent) (table 15). Between 50 percent and 70 percent of schools with a Web site reported that their site contained information on programs and classes (70 percent), information for parents (64 percent), links to Web sites for educational tools for students (61 percent), information on sports and/or clubs (58 percent), school policies/rules (52 percent), and links to, or information on, middle/high schools (50 percent).
- Whether selected topics appeared on schools' Web sites varied by school characteristics. As the poverty concentration of schools increased, the likelihood of having links to Web sites for educational tools for students decreased (from 66 percent in the schools with the lowest poverty concentration to 44 percent in schools with the highest concentration) (table 16).
- Fifty-two percent of the schools having a Web site reported that parents and students could communicate with the school via the site (table 14), and 63 percent reported that the Web site was updated at least monthly (see table 17)9.
- Among the 75 percent of schools with a Web site, 41 percent reported that students had participated in its creation and 31 percent reported that they participated in its maintenance (table 18). In addition, in 57 percent of the schools, students contributed materials to the Web site. This proportion decreased as the poverty concentration of schools increased.