Parents, students, employees and community members now have a new tool right at their fingertips to receive the latest news and information from the Shelby County School District. The district is launching a new mobile app as part of its strategic effort to strengthen communication with all stakeholders.
“We continue to search for better ways to communicate with our stakeholders,” said Superintendent Randy Fuller. “This mobile app gives us the opportunity to reach all of our audiences with useful information that they can access instantaneously.”
According to Public Relations and Community Education Supervisor Cindy Warner, the app was developed by School Apps USA and was customized with features community members indicated they wanted to be included.
“We sent out a survey link to our stakeholders to gauge the level of interest for an app and to determine what features should be incorporated,” said Warner. “We got 768 responses, 95 percent of which were very favorable. We also got helpful feedback about which features to include, which really helped us in developing an app that we feel meets those needs.”
Features of the mobile app that were specifically requested include access to grades, calendars and events, lunch menus, news, and the ability to receive push notifications for announcements regarding school closures, emergencies, or important upcoming events. Another important feature is a listing of all schools with one touch dialing which will automatically call the school’s main telephone number. Address locations are also featured with GPS directions that will map out a driving route to any designated Shelby County school.
In addition to the ability to send push notifications for emergencies, another important safety feature of the app is a confidential bully report that will enable students or parents to anonymously report bullying incidents.
“The app will enable the user to fill out a report listing the details of the bullying incident,” said Dr. Lewis Brooks, Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Services and Support. “Once the report is submitted, it will be reviewed by a supervisor in Student Services. We are very excited that this app gives our students and parents another confidential way to report incidents of bullying so that we can immediately address the issue in order to provide a safe and welcoming atmosphere for all our students.”
App users will find several helpful links under the “More” tab from the home screen, including specific sections “For Parents” and “For Students.” The “For Parents” tab features direct links to Information Now to check grades and to My School Bucks to pay into lunch accounts. There are also links to the school lunch menu, calendars, After School Care and Enrichment activities, and a complete listing of parent resources available from the district’s website. Students have similar links included in their section.
Additional features include links to the district’s newsletter blog, social media sites, and website. App users will also have the ability to submit photos from school events for consideration on the district’s social media sites and on the app itself through the photo gallery link.
The app is available for download from both the Apple App Store for iOS users and through Google Play for Android devices. Once downloaded, users will be asked to choose whether they want to receive push notifications from the district for emergencies, school closures, or important announcements.