Schools release mobile app

Published 9:22 pm Thursday, May 17, 2018

Suffolk Public Schools has introduced a new mobile app to stay better connected with the Suffolk community.

The new app, available on Apple and Google Play, will connect users to the school or schools of their choosing. Users can choose specific schools to get news feeds and calendars for the schools.

Those downloading the app will have access to up-to-date, district-wide information, and once parents allow push notifications, they will receive news about canceled events, schedule changes and other reminders quickly.

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“Connecting with families where they are is important. Today’s parents prefer mobile technology, and for that reason, we expect this new mobile app to strengthen communication between families and schools,” said spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw.

While parents are encouraged to use the app, school staff, volunteers, community leaders, grandparents, daycare providers and others may also find it useful, Bradshaw stated in an email.

In the app, calendars are available for every school, and users can add events directly to their personal calendars from the app.

The push notification is a part of the School Messenger system that the division has been using to send automated phone calls, emails or text messages. The school division or school principals can send out a message via the push notification system.

The app also brings together other tools such as Home Access Center, School Bus Tracker, Volunteer Connect and more.

The mobile app was launched as part of the new division and school websites, which were redesigned in April. The redesign allowed for web content to be easily accessed and navigated on other devices.

The mobile app is for more than just calendar and news updates. The app features options to inquire about employment for Suffolk Public Schools, volunteer opportunities and new student registration.

“Research shows students do better in school when their families are involved. We hope this new communication tool will encourage more parents to participate in school activities, to share ideas with decision-makers, and to reach out more easily if their child needs help. The mobile app will also provide connections to anyone in the community who wants to know what’s happening in Suffolk Public Schools,” Bradshaw said.

While the app does not allow for two-way communication, all of the school’s phone numbers and locations are available.

“The user can have their phone automatically dial a school when they click on the phone number,” Bradshaw said. “The division’s social media sites are ‘at their fingertips.’”