By Priscella Vega
The Glendale Unified School District will debut a new smartphone app in the coming months that will allow users to anonymously report bullying, vandalism or a need for school maintenance via a tip line, which can also be used to make suggestions.
The tips can also include a photo and geotag.
“It’s a free app and allows students, parents and staff to communicate and share a variety of information,” said Frank Schlueter, director of educational technology and information services for Glendale Unified, during a school board meeting last week.
The mobile app will include information about the district, a directory of all school sites, a calendar of events and construction updates. It will also have information about demographics, grades and attendance already provided by Parent Connect, an online portal parents can access from a computer with Internet access.
Training for district and school staff will begin in the coming months. Community input will also be sought.
Schlueter said the app will be an additional feature to the services provided by Blackboard Connect and Blackboard Parent Link, two web-based services that provide communication services to school districts.
Parents will be able to customize the app by subscribing to specific school-site updates and using color coding to differentiate events.
Information received by the district will be routed to the appropriate department, Schlueter said.
He added that the app is a “nice and tight, single location” where all district information can be accessed.
“When we go into Connect, we can choose how we send out notifications. Is it the traditional phone call? Email? Text? Or a combination? The app can be far more efficient than a phone call home,” Schlueter said.
He added that it could help send messages to parents during the day, notifying them if a student missed first or second period. Parents could then help get their child to school before the day ends.
“It’s a win-win. Students get more instructional time and students help increase revenue,” Schlueter said.
In the future, Schlueter said he would like to include features that will allow parents to view nutrition services and make payments.
Greg Krikorian, school board vice president, suggested including live-streaming of school board meetings and making the app accessible in a variety of languages.
“I love this program, but [a] majority of parents are bilingual in this district,” Krikorian said.
Source: Glendale News-Press