Submitted by: Centralia School District
Centralia School District has launched a new smartphone app for iPhone and Android devices. The free app is now available for download from the Apple App Store, or Google Play Store.
Using the new app, parents can check students’ grades, attendance, library book status, account status, contact teachers, and receive push notifications from the district and their schools. A transportation feature for bus route info is being added soon. Even school closure and emergency information can and will be transmitted via the app. “This is one convenient portal for parents and the community to access a wealth of information about their students and our schools,” said Ed Petersen, the District’s Public Relations Coordinator. “All a parent has to do is download the app, and login using their existing Skyward Family Access credentials.” App users can select which schools they wish to receive news and information updates from.
The app is connected to the District’s new mass notification system, which debuted earlier this school year. “Teachers can send messages to their entire class group or individual parents and students via email, text message, and now those notifications will also appear via our app on phone lock screens just like any social media app, as long as the parent is logged in,” said Petersen. Parents can also e-mail teachers and other staff through the app directory. “Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for parents and interested community members to stay connected with our schools.”
The launch comes at the end of a six month development process. “Our superintendent and the Board of Directors asked me to look into options for developing a district app last spring,” said Petersen. “We selected an option that integrates with and complements our existing websites. The majority of our website visits that come from outside of our schools are on mobile devices. So the launch of the new app dovetails nicely with work we have previously done to make our websites easier to navigate on mobile.”
In addition to the new mobile app, the district has launched a new mass notification system that offers more contact options than before. “We can now send text messages, update our website messages, share information via social media and more, with one click from one portal. It’s a huge improvement in our communications efficiency,” said Petersen.
Centralia School District has earned accolades from the Washington State School Public Relations association for their communications program. Last April, the District’s print newsletter was named “Best in Category” for districts under 10,000 students. The District’s websites, financial publications, annual report and weekly e-newsletter also earned recognitions. “Our district has made a strong commitment to outstanding communication with our stakeholders. A community that is well-informed about their school system is better able to feel a sense of ownership in their schools. We never want Centralians to feel disconnected from our schools,” said Petersen.