Content Guidelines

  • Whether spearheaded by students or staff, creating and maintaining a website is an ongoing task and learning experience. The following guidelines, which are intended to aid you in the creative process, to safeguard students, and to provide accessibility to our website to everyone, have been established for schools and central offices.

    1. All web pages should include links to the main AACPS site - The frontpage should include prominent links to that school's newsletter, MealPayPlus and the ParentConnectxp portal.
    2. Presentation and content should be balanced and information should be displayed in a clear, easy-to-read manner. Too much text can be overwhelming, so be sure to take advantage of the many resources on the web regarding writing and summarizing for the web.
    3. Be sure to include contact information for the subject matter of the site. (including title, e-mail, phone #).

    View more detailed information here

    Use of Student Names/Photos


    Outside Links/Advertising

    An opening site page should provide a summary statement describing the purpose of the page. Page titles should reflect page content.

    Newsletters - Ideally, your school's newsletter should be featured on your site; either a downloadable version of your school newsletter (in html or pdf format) - or - consider creating an online version. Also, please refer to writing an effective school newsletter.
    Be sure to develop a plan and name a Web Coordinator - a person who is responsible for regularly updating website information.
    School and office internal links might include:

    Student Projects
    Departments/Grade Levels
    Calendar of Events
    Faculty/Staff Information
    Student Projects

    IMPORTANT - Use of Student Names/Photos/Identification on the web
    The previous Media Release form is no longer required for use of photos on AACPS websites. Parents fill out an Emergency Notification form at the beginning of the year which denotes whether their child's information can appear on AACPS websites.

    E-mail addresses of former students, age 18 and older, may be included upon permission of the former students. E-mail addresses of current students may not be included.

    Effective pages draw in outside visitors. Be sure to ask the members of your school community: “What content are we offering our school community and people outside our community?” and “Do our pages reflect the uniqueness of our community?”



    Page layouts should be simple, clean and attractive. When using graphics, be sure to consider the amount of time required to load graphics.

    For speed of loading, keep graphics to a reasonable size. Consider keeping the number of graphics on one page to a minimum and compress graphic files whenever possible.

    For graphics larger than the above specifications, consider using a separate thumbnail link and be sure to inform the user of the original size of the graphic.

    Whenever possible, it is always best to use original graphics. Graphics and clip art obtained from the Internet must be properly referenced. Be aware that web pages are subject to current copyright laws. Copyright guidelines are available from your school media specialist. In general, graphics should be related to school activities or student projects.

    Provide a text alternative <ALT="description of image"> tag to images for those users who cannot or choose not to use graphics (section 508 specifications)


    Outside Links

    While we recognize the interactive nature of the web, we are also aware of the school system's responsibility to provide a reliable, safe learning environment in which students can work. Outside links from school and central office web pages are allowed, based on the following established criteria for selection of outside sites:

    instructionally based sites (well-known - not run by an individual),

    sites of non-profit partnerships/educational institutions/governmental agencies (i.e. Department of Natural Resources, Johns Hopkins University);

    PTA/PTO/PTSO sites as long as the sites do not link to businesses or for profit fundraising companies or contain advertising* (see below). It is the obligation of the public schools not to promote commercialism;

    regularly updated sites that provide daily or weekly updated information such as homework assignments, changes in athletic schedules; sports scores for school teams. These sites should not have links to for profit businesses.
    Online Advertising (on

    *AACPS does not provide advertising services, including web links, on our website to outside entities. From time to time, where appropriate, we allow schools to post relevant information about specific agencies and/or events when it is beneficial to AACPS students and/or parents. AACPS reserves the right to decide the specific information we allow on our entire network of websites.

    When using hyperlinks where you are not sure