New Drupal School Developments

Last week, I noted some interesting developments involving Drupal and secondary schools.

New Schoolyard

NewSchoolyard launched at NAIS, promising inexpensive school Drupal sites built on a template. This fills a hole in the school website market between buying an expensive product, hiring an expensive developer, and doing it completely yourself. In addition, New Schoolyard offers products and services at different price points, allowing schools to decide how much of the work they want to take on themselves or hand over to this company.

If successful, New Schoolyard may open the door even wider for more schools to adopt open-source websites and learn how to modify them. I greatly anticipate the first sites they will create and the code that they promise to contribute to the Drupal community. I have found in my own work with Drupal that it is a challenge to create a customized site that others can then truly make their own. I wonder what strategies New Schoolyard will employ to make full ownership possible for their clients.


Around for a while but flying under the radar, is readying for a relaunch. Go check out their list of Drupal sites, tips and tricks, and thoughts on the potential role of Drupal in changing how schools work. This site promises to serve the secondary school community and put the thoughtful use of technology before techie talk. Also check out my list of school “front door” Drupal sites that I started in 2007 and have added to a bit over time.

More interest in our work

The frequency of inquiries into our work at Catlin Gabel continues to increase. Some of these schools are tinkering with demo Drupal sites, others are launching a community intranet, and others are moving toward a new, public-facing website. More schools are discovering the benefits of working with a piece of open-source software before committing to it and sharing their knowledge and perspectives gained.


  1. Thanks for the update, Richard. We have our Drupal site for three MS clsses about 85% done, and we hope to launch next week with organic groups, multimedia handling, and pages and portfolios (including student choice about publishing range and comments). This is just a pilot project, so we’re allowing some leeway for change and mistakes, but it’s fun.

  2. admin says:

    Congrats and good luck. I look forward to seeing it.

  3. I can corroborate your experience on increasing inquiries about open-source school sites. I’ve had several schools contact me in the last few months about our use of Joomla.

    How many people do you have working with you on your site. If for instance the database corrupts.. how many people at your school are equipped to fix it? Or if you need to add an item to your main page, like you have the 3 mini-features, how many are able to do that?

  4. admin says:

    Three of us can troubleshoot serious database issues. Two of us are trained to post home page badges, but four people have the necessary access. Three of us develop custom modules. 51 staff members are trained to edit core program pages.

  5. Hey, Richard.

    Thanks for the shout-out about Drupal Schools, and the heads-up on New Schoolyard. Interesting – New Schoolyard is an initiative of – which is, of course, the “Cadillac” of school web building companies.

    I found that out by Googling New Schoolyard’s phone number.


  6. admin says:

    FinalSite bought SchoolYard and their old website platform some years ago. As part of their agreement, SchoolYard went away for a couple of years, and now they’re back with a new company, website platform, and business model.

    When will “Cadillac” drop out of the lexicon for “fancy?” How about “the BMW” of school web building companies?

  7. Interesting! I wonder how FinalSite did with it? Did you follow up with anyone from SchoolYard?

    RE: Cadillac – I personally enjoy anachronism. For example, I love it when people say “drinking their own Kool Aid”. To me, the proper response should be not, “why not BMW?” but rather, “What’s a Cadillac?”

  8. I’ve been collecting school websites that use Drupal for a while too. I use the tag drupalschools at; Feel free to play along if you have a delicious account.

    I’ve been focusing on k-12 (plus subsets thereof but only individual schools –as opposed to school districts) because that’s where my interests are.

  9. admin says:

    Awesome and thanks. I’ll start tagging them on delicious, too.