Published DateBELMONT — When parents, students, and interested residents log on to the Shaker Regional School District Website they'll notice it has a new look and is much simpler to use.
What makes it even more special is the site was designed by Belmont High School graduate David Caouette — now in his second year at Lakes Region Community College, where he is studying Computer Technology.
"I thought it was an awesome idea," said Caouette describing how his professor came to him with the idea for his capstone or final project. He said he was especially excited because he graduated from Belmont High in 2011 and has a special connection to his alma mater.
Caouette said the hardest part of the project and from which he learned the most was sitting down with Superintendent Maria Dreyer and her administrative staff — the people who are responsible for maintaining the site and posting things to it — and hearing in lay terms what they wanted from it.
He said while in school he and his fellow students and professors typically use technical lingo or "program speak" when discussing computers and they sometimes forget that the average computer user and many of the people who maintain Websites have minimal technical experience.
"I loved the experience of learning to communicate in a way a client could understand," he said.
Caouette also had a job interview to get through with the Shaker Regional staff before he got the go-ahead to design the site.
"They wanted to know I was capable of doing the job they needed," Caouette said.
Dreyer said last week that the district tries to use local contractors and/or students from the LRCC and the Huot Regional Technical Education Center in Laconia when they can because it's good citizenship for the local businesses and it good experience for the students.
She also said she's a "little tight with a dollar" and feels getting the best price for all contracted work is part of her responsibility to the taxpayer. While she acknowledged that there are private companies who could have designed the site she felt it was also something she should see if one of the LRCC students was up to the task.
And so far, Dreyer is very happy with the finished product. After the presentation, the School Board voted to accept the Website. It was operating the next day.
To accompany its new site, Shaker also has a new logo — a learning tree with an open book at its base — now prominently displayed in the upper-left corner of the homepage.
Dreyer said she put the call out to students at Belmont High School and they submitted a number of logo designs — four of which were posted on the old Website where site users could vote for the winner. Until this point the district has never had an official logo.
Caouette said he likes the new logo and while designing the home page said he left a prominent spot for it.
He said designing the Website also benefited him because now he has a piece in his professional portfolio that he'll use a part of his application to Plymouth State University where he hopes to earn his bachelors degree in computer science.
"It was an awesome opportunity and I had fun doing it," he said.
To check out the site, go to www. Shaker.k12.nh.us.
CUTLINE: LRCC student David Caouette sits at his computer in his Belmont home. Caouette designed the new Website for Shaker Regional School District. (Courtesy photo)
The new Shaker Regional School District logo.