GPS Claims to be *The Technology District* … by Standards of 20 Years Ago

Under the heading of *You Can’t Make This Up,* we present to you The New and Improved GPS Website. Click the link and take a look. If your reaction is simply, “OMG!” you’re right on target. You would think that the Arizona public school district claiming to be all things *Technology* and *Innovation* would have a state-of-the-art website to showcase the aforesaid technology and innovation. What Gilbert Public Schools has done is throw up a draft website that appears to use software, processes and techniques from 1996, when Al Gore discovered the Internet. 

You can’t make up something so stupid as launching a new website that totally destroys all functionality of the previous ugly-as-sin-but-serviceable-if-you-work-at-it institutional website of the school district run by Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, queen of self-promotion and negligible accomplishment:

* A sign posted, “Under Construction?” Check. Fortunately, there’s no animated gif, circa 1996.
* Deplorably amateur formatting? Yep, free software like WordPress is so much better, but GPS apparently has money to burn for technology!
Failing to preserve URLs from the previous website? Check. That’s why *404 – File Not Found* was invented.
* Failing to ensure cross-browser compatibility? Yep, completely different website appearance in Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox, but they’re all as unattractive as a gargoyle.
* Non-existent website architecture? Yep, but the chosen vendor likely can’t fix GPS stupidity. Or arrogance.
* A punchout list that most likely will never be complete? Of course! This atrocity of a website will never look professional or function properly.

There’s no excuse for this GPS website. Professionals don’t launch a website until it has been fully developed in the background, where it’s not available to the public, but where all functionality can be tested in private before the website goes public. All internal and external links should be operable. Formatting should be consistent, with bonus points for a webpage that is attractive to the eye. Website architecture should be intuitive, so visitors easily can find the information they seek. It’s not difficult. Most website elements can be checked by software. Design and architecture usually require human eyes and some amount of intelligence, but GPS apparently did not understand this concept. Sheeeesh.

It’s simply inconceivable that GPS, the *technology and innovation district,* threw up a seriously bad draft website. That’s just not done in this day and age. You would expect the *award-winning,* highly paid GPS Director of Communications to know these things; Irene Mahoney-Baloney-Paige apparently is totally inept in everything she touches. The ridiculous GPS website draft was created by a full time *webmaster,* also on the GPS payroll, who wrote an explanation of this boondoggle to GPS staff:

The Phase One cut over for our new website was successfully executed on Friday, July 1st. Today and over the next two weeks, School Messenger will continue to code our sites and I am approving and testing pages behind them.

What about training? Training sessions are currently being planned for various user groups. Please stay tuned for more information on training. Irene and I are in the midst of creating a “What’s New” on our site that will be posted on the front page of the District site.

Words of advice? While our new site will be much more user friendly, there may be some things that take time to familiarize yourselves with. School Messenger has done an excellent job working with us throughout migration and design and while we do not anticipate significant loss of any content, we ask your patience in the event that functionality or something is not where it is expected to be.

If you happened to click on the School Messenger link, you found a website that’s just as ugly as the GPS draft website. There are a bunch of templates, but GPS seems to be in love with its ridiculously amateur logo and eschews templates. Maybe the GPS *webmaster* doesn’t know what “template” means. Or how to use one. The folks at School Messenger should be embarrassed by all this; or maybe they just took the money and ran.

Why does it matter that the new GPS website is so screwed up? Beyond the stupidity of launching a draft website using technology and processes that are 20 years old, and being held up to public ridicule for outrageous and unsubstantiated claims of *Technology, Scholarship, Innovation* that GPS just irrefutably proved a lie, there are some important consequences that will inevitably cost taxpayers a lot of money.

First, it’s time to enroll students in school. Without a decent website, there is no way to communicate to the public such details as where, when and how to enroll new students in Gilbert Public Schools. Other school districts and charter schools would never do anything this stupid, but those folks stand around and laugh at GPS for this embarrassing idiocy and other debacles that are the norm in this district since Christina Kishimoto took the helm.

Second, parents who were on the fence about continuing in GPS, especially after self-inflicted injuries from attempting to close a junior high school in recent months, aren’t willing to trust the district as far as they can throw it. Since kids spend only two very important years in junior high school, parents are smart to vote with their feet. Gilbert is an affluent town, and many residents have the luxury of school choice. That choice isn’t GPS, and it never will be, not with the way that Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and Her Three Votes are demolishing a formerly “A” rated school district.

The much hoped-for new, out of district students that Gilbert Classical Academy is supposed to attract won’t come close to balancing the losses of students attributable to the insanity of closing a school without a plan for what’s next. In fact, birdies are chirping that GCA construction plans are already off the rails, such that GCA is facing an additional year before their move to a new campus will be complete. In the meantime, students and families who are being displaced are walking away or planning on doing so. No amount of persuasion can make up for the outrageous concessions that GCA folks are demanding from the former Mesquite Junior High School community. Apparently, no amount of money is going to give those GCA loudmouths everything they demand for their precious snowflakes, but the GPS Governing Board will try anyway.

Asinine public comments prove that the GPS administration has no idea WHY the district lost thousands of students in recent years, and the GPS governing board seemingly has no curiosity about those losses. Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s Three Votes continually wail about the resultant loss of money from the state and endlessly proclaim that there’s not enough money to run the district. They throw money at technology, but there has yet to be a successful technology initiative in GPS.

Christina Kishimoto’s *alleged* inappropriate relationship with her technology subordinate apparently blinded her to a multitude of technology failures. We don’t have high hopes now … the new technology dude allowed this shameful website to go public at a most inopportune moment. We won’t bother asking about HIS fringe benefits with his boss … not yet.

Does anyone in the GPS administration have any pride or professionalism? 

Below are some screenshots showing just how bad the GPS draft website is. the only thing one can think: FAIL!

 

GPS-GCAunderconstructionJuly16 GPSbookmarksJuly16 GPSmarketingJuly16
GPScabinetJuly16 GPSwebsiteJuly16 Click any of these
screenshots to enlarge.

 

Sheeeesh.


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