January 27, 2006

2006 Catholic Schools Week Supplement

Office of Catholic Education’s Web site is helpful resource

By Brandon A. Evans

About two years ago, the archdiocesan Office of Catholic Education (OCE) received an opportunity to radically improve its Web site.

“With Project Exceed funds—that’s money from Lilly Endowment Inc. and other generous corporate and individual donors—we developed a Web site that was very functional,” said G. Joseph Peters, associate executive director of Catholic education.

While the rest of the archdiocesan Web site is out of date—and receiving a major renovation later this year—OCE took advantage of the right moment to create a powerful site (www.archindy.org/oce) with the help of ServerSide Inc., which hosts the main archdiocesan site.

Though it is still “a work in progress,” Peters said, it has already shown tremendous success. In a single month last year, OCE garnered half of the hits that all the rest of the archdiocesan site received and more than 7,500 visitors registered more than 80,000 “page views.”

Those who use the site include the general public, pastors, principals, directors of religious education and youth ministers. Each week, an OCE-notes e-mail newsletter packed with links to the site is sent to the principals.

Besides the public face of the site, school administrators can access a members’ section that contains a variety of information, including archives of newsletters, the chance to apply for jobs or the opportunity to sign up for workshops.

Visitors can browse through the OCE staff listing, look up individual schools, see the archdiocesan curriculum or check out an organized calendar of events.

Local news and announcements are posted on the homepage, and those interested in something more specific can delve further into the site.

Peters said that besides troubleshooting and the development of new features, ServerSide is not involved much with the site. It was created by the company so it can be updated internally by OCE employees.

“We can easily update most sections of our Web site through our administrative assistants,” Peters said. Anyone who knows how to use a word processing program can learn how to update the site, and they can do it from the office or from home if necessary.

One of the effects of the Web site, he said, has been to make the archdiocese “smaller”—to pull together many aspects of Catholic education in central and southern Indiana in one place.

The future will see continued development of the OCE site, and the redesign of the archdiocesan site will take into account the effectiveness of OCE’s site. †


Local site Links: