GCA High School Website

Good Counsel Academy High School

52 North Broadway, White Plains, NY 10603

(contiguous with Pace Law School campus at 78 North Broadway)


Website Requirements

Version 3.0, 9/22/04



The following are the identified requirements of a GCA HS website.  The phase I requirements are presented first in three sections designating High, Medium and Low priority items.  All phase I items are desired; however, if cost is prohibitive, medium and low priority items can be postponed.  Phase II and III requirements will not be addressed at this time but may be considered at a later date. Design style requirements are listed after the Phase III requirements in this document.  These design style guidelines are to be followed in all phases.



Phase I – High Priority Website Requirements


Requirement.1:  Alumnae


The Development Office indicated the High School alumnae are a key target audience for the website.  It was noted that GCA HS has about 5000 total alumnae and addresses are known for about 4000 of them.


Requirement 1.1 Alumna Bio Form


The Development office would like to be able to solicit alumna bio information via the website.  The mechanism desired is a form that would allow entry of key bio information for the alumna herself or for another alum.  This information would not automatically update any database; the information would be transmitted by the website to the email address of the Development Office.  The Director of Development would then take the appropriate action regarding the addition of this information to the alumnae database.


The bio form should contain fields for submitting the following information

·         Identification Information: First Name, Last Name at graduation, Current Last Name, Current Title (Ms., Mrs., Dr., etc), Year Graduated GCA High School.

·         Address Information:  Street Address 1, Street Address 2, City, State or Province, Zip Code, Country

·         Education: Multiple lines to enter Degree (e.g., B.A.), Major Field, Year Degree Received/Expected and Educational Institution for each degree earned/in progress.

·         Family: Fields to enter name of spouse (first name only or first and last names) and children’s names (first only or first and last)

·         Employment: Freeform field to enter name of current employer and current job title

·         Awards, Accomplishments:  Freeform field to enter awards received or other accomplishments.

·         Miscellaneous:  Freeform field to enter any other information of note


Requirement 2: Recruitment/Admissions


Requirement 2.1: Contact for Recruitment


The Recruitment section of the website should contain the email address of the recruitment office and when this address is clicked, should open the user’s email software with the address in the TO: field. 


Requirement 2.2: Information Packet Request


Prospective students or their parents may request an information packet about the school.  They may request this packet be mailed to them or they may download a .pdf file from the website.  Application procedures, including a list if the documents needed for acceptance and procedures for submitting late applications, must be included.


Requirement 2.3: Admissions Calendar


An Admissions calendar is needed indicating when the coop exams are given (and how to sign up), when applications are taken, visitation dates, open house date(s), when acceptances will be sent, when responses are due, registration night and the date of placement exams.  Also, the website should be updated to indicate which visitation dates are fully booked.


Requirement 2.4: Transportation Options


The various transportation options for reaching GCA should be enumerated.


Requirement 3: Teachers


Requirement 3.1 Teachers’ email


A unique email address for each of the teachers is desired. Capability should be included; may not be activated immediately. Once activated, there should be an escalation mechanism for forwarding unopened email.


Requirement 3.2: Teachers’ Homework Area


Each teacher will have an area where they can post homework assignments for their students. Each teacher’s homework area will be updatable only by that teacher but will be viewable by anyone. 


Requirement 4: Administration


Requirement 4.1: School Delay/Closing Announcements


The capability to post information regarding school delays or closing, possibly as a news ticker, is desired.


Requirement 4.2: Parent Bulletins


The capability to post parent bulletins on the website is needed.


Requirement 5: Students/Current GCA Events


            Requirement 5.1: Photos


Photos of students involved in extra curricular activities should be displayed.  The security issues associated with posting such photographs was noted as well as the need for permission to be obtained.  Photos of improvement projects in progress and as completed (such as the new athletic fields) should be shown.


Requirement 5.2: School Calendar


The school calendar including sports, club activities and special events should be available on the website.  Tuition due dates, SAT dates, etc. should also be included.


Requirement 6: Athletics


Requirement 6.1: Game Schedule


A list of sports available at GCA HS and the schedule and location of games for each sport is required.


            Requirement 6.2: Photos


Photos of students involved in sports activities should be displayed.  (The security issues associated with posting such photographs was noted as well as the need for permission to be obtained.) 


Requirement 7: General School Information


Requirement 7.1: History and Photos  


A webpage containing a write up on the history of Good Counsel is required. This page would contain both text and photos or graphics. A slide show or a virtual tour accessible from the home page is desired.


Requirement 7.2: Mission and Philosophy


The Mission and the Philosophy of Good Counsel should be displayed on the website home page.


Requirement 8: Guidance


Requirement 8.1: Guidance Resources


A page should be dedicated to guidance resources.  This may include links to other relevant websites, a downloadable copy of the “senior packet” in .pdf format and other similar resources.  A description of the National Honor Society mechanism for locating a tutor should be included.


Requirement 9: Library


            Requirement 9.1: Library Information


Information about the library, its mission, staff, hours, circulation, procedures, fines, passes, etc. needs to be posted. Resources including the card catalogue, the list of periodicals received in hardcopy, the MLA template, web evaluation checklist and a list of resources teachers have placed on reserve.


            Requirement 9.2: On-Line Subscriptions


            Access to subscription databases from the website is needed.


Requirement 9.3: Useful Links


Useful links including search engines, Westchester Library System, iplibrary, refdesk, Inspiration, websites related to each academic subject including art and music and professional URLs for teachers.


Requirement 10: Academics


Requirement 10.1 Academics


A list of the courses, including AP classes, offered at GCA High School is to be displayed on the Academics portion of the website. Statistics on college acceptances for the current senior class should also be listed. 


Requirement 11: Internet Policies


Requirement 11.1: Internet Policies


Policies on acceptable internet use, plagiarism, copyright and internet safety must be published on the site.


Requirement 12: Quality


Requirement 12.1:  Quality Characteristics


The site should have the following quality characteristics:

·         It was noted that the GCA site must remain virus free in order to assure visitor confidence.

·         The site must be stable and all links must be active and up to date.

·         Key information and navigation should be presented “above the fold”.

·         Site should be easily navigable with a minimum of mouse clicks.

·         A “catchy” URL such as GoodCounselAcademy.org should be used. 

·         The website should have a consistent style and an up-to-date look and feel.



Phase I – Medium Priority Website Requirements


Requirement.1:  Alumnae


Requirement 1.2 Missing Alumnae List


The Development Office would like the capability to publish a list of alumnae whose current addresses are unknown.  The Development Office would like to be able to highlight one graduation year at a time and be able to display a different graduation year each month.  Although not requested, it may be useful to highlight one year on a main website page while including a link to a full list of missing alumnae.


Requirement 1.3 On-line Alumnae Chit Chat Publication


The ability to post the most recent issue of the Alumnae Chit Chat on a web page is requested.  This may be a .pdf of the full Chit Chat edition or a page where selected or special articles could be published. 


Requirement 2: Recruitment/Admissions


Requirements 2.5: Benefits


An essay on the benefits of an all-girls independent school and/or choosing the school that’s right for you and your child should be included.  A student essay on GCA students and quotes from students and alumnae can be included also.


Requirement 6: Athletics


Requirement 6.3: Driving Directions to sporting events


Directions and maps to all games and sporting events must be provided. A MapQuest link is desirable.


Requirement 10: Academics


Requirement 10.2: College Acceptances


A list of colleges and universities at which the seniors have been accepted and the total dollar value of scholarships they have been offered should be displayed on the website.


Requirement 10.3: Statistics and charts


Graphic representations of the ethnic and geographical diversity of the student body should be presented.  Statistics should be presented on the number of candidates who apply, the number who are admitted and the number who enroll.  Tuition and fees as well as the dollar amounts and type of scholarships given to students and amount of financial aid provided should also be displayed.


Requirement 13: Parents’ Auxiliary


(The requirements for the Parents’ Auxiliary are not known at this time.)



Phase I – Low  Priority Website Requirements


Requirement 4: Administration


Requirement 4.3: Student Handbook


The Student Handbook in .pdf format should be downloadable from the website.


Phase II – Website Requirements


Requirement.1:  Alumnae


Requirement 1.4 Accept Donations via Credit Card


The Development Office desires the capability to accept, in a secure fashion, donations via credit card on the website.  The page that accepts donations must allow entry of the following information:

·         Name (first, last and middle) as it appears on credit card

·         Billing address (street 1, street 2, city, state, zip)

·         Credit Card Number

·         Credit Card Expiration Date

·         Total Amount of Donation

·         Type of Donation (Annual fund, In Memoriam, Scholarship)

·         Freeform for entry of instructions associated with donation


A minimum amount may be applied on credit card donations and a process to send donation acknowledgement must be established.


Requirement 1.5 Message Board


It was suggested that the ability of alumna to post messages for other alums would make the website an attractive on-line destination.  Job postings could be included in the section. Concerns were expressed about the need to monitor and manage such content.


Requirement 2: Recruitment/Admissions


Requirement 2.6: Prospective Student Bio Form


The website should permit the prospective student to fill in a bio form including Name, Address, Phone, Current School and Year and Guardian Name when requesting an Information Packet.


Requirement 2.7: Alumnae Profiles


The ability to provide an alumna profile is desired.  This will include text and pictures of an alumna, for example the senior (yearbook) picture juxtaposed with a picture of the alum in her current profession.  This section should include a link to the alumnae page. It is important to obtain the alumna’s permission to display this information on the website.


Requirement 5: Students/Current GCA Events


Requirement 5.3: Student Newspaper


The On-line publication of the school newspaper is desired.


Requirement 5.4: Student Accomplishments


A sample of student art work and prose should be displayed.  Awards, money raised for charity and any other student accomplishments should be noted on the website.


Requirement 14: FAQs


Requirement 14.1:  FAQs


A section with answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) should be provided.



Phase III – Website Requirements


Requirement 15: On-line Store


Requirement 15.1: On-line Store


An on-line store with merchandise browse, shopping cart and checkout capabilities is desired for purchasing school uniforms, text books and school memorabilia.  Order fulfillment processes, return policies, etc. will need to be identified.  Book and uniform purchases may be re-directed to vendor sites




Design Style


Style guidelines provided by Sr Mary Alice O’Brien are included here verbatim:


1.      Good Counsel's colors: royal blue and gold

2.      Sports Mascot: cougar; possible unifying graphics: school seal, church, school

3.      Front page should be uncluttered but bright and welcoming

      White space should be used effectively.

      It should load quickly; all buttons or links should be visible on the opening screen.

      Visitors should not have to scroll down on the front page.

      List only the main page categories. 

      If users would benefit from a more detailed table of contents, provide a separate link for this purpose.

4.      Numbers of clicks to almost anything on our site should not take more than 3 clicks.

      Speed of movement through the site is important.

5.      Don't use multiple front pages.  The top level should offer no more than 12-20 categories in order to minimize the need for scrolling. 

6.      Keep awards information subtle.  Keep awards icons small and unobtrusive or list on a separate page.

7.      Do not use "Under construction" to the point that the link is almost nonexistent. 

      Placing items on a page as place holders of "coming attractions" is acceptable.

       Do not hypertext links if they lead to dead ends.

8.      Text should be easily readable on all pages. 

9.      Colors:  light colored link on a dark background or visa versa (work with white and school colors)

10.  Design throughout the web site should be consistent in design and colors.

11.  Photos and graphics should be clear and on the smaller side.  Possibly provide options of clicking to see larger versions of pictures.

      Use graphics and pictures sparingly; Visual should contribute to meaning/information on the page.

12.  Have a unifying aspect e.g. colors, icon or menu bar

13.  All pages should have a clear indication of what web site they belong to. 

14.  Every page should have a link to the home page. No dead ends.

15.  Have a counter and feedback mechanism for visitors.  Feedback mechanism for admissions and alumnae page, especially.

16.  Include appropriate copyright notices. E.g. student art work, writings, photographs

      When copying is permitted and expected, those permissions should be clearly stated where the notice can be easily found.

17.  Set the library home page as the default on computers in the library and in the computer lab.



In addition to the above requirements and style guidelines, the committee also noted that appropriate processes need to be put in place to review the content and ensure that it is accurate and up-to-date.  A coordinator with overall administrative responsibilities for the website must be identified. Identifying persons responsible for content is essential. 


No databases will be updated directly from the website.  Information will be routed to the proper person for review and manual entry.  In the future, the option of an automated data entry mechanism will be explored.  Recipient of data will retain the ability to review and approve the entries even when automated.


Teacher’s email will be included in the site but may not be enabled immediately. Policies regarding frequency of checking and responding to email will have to be established.