The Beaufort County School District is moving to put technology in the hands of its students, but schools officials don't want to leave their parents behind.
To keep everyone connected to the schools, the district is launching a free mobile app for iPhone and Android phones that delivers some of the most frequently requested information.
Now there's an app for that, superintendent Jeff Moss quipped.
"It's a fast and easy way for parents to stay connected," Moss said in a press release. "Wherever you happen to be, a lot of useful information is just a click away."
The app provides much of the same information available on the district's website, but in a more user-friendly format for phones, according to spokesman Jim Foster.
Parents and students can access a calendar of district events, lunch menus and contact information for schools and Board of Education members. Parents also can check their students' grades or pay for their lunches.
The app allows users to tailor the information so they receive updates from specific schools. For example, parents will receive notifications for those schools when classes are canceled because of bad weather or the school is placed on lockdown.
The app is free and can be downloaded from the phones' application stores. See the accompanying sidebar for links.
Foster said the district first wanted to develop an app to make the resources available to parents and students who might not have Internet access at home but do have a smartphone. Although they could access the district's website from their smartphone browser, the app cuts out a step and provides the information faster and smoother, he said.
The technology is becoming a popular way to reach parents and students, district officials add. A similar idea was behind the district's new bully-reporting app, which is downloaded on all the students' school-issued tablets to allow them to report bullying.
Foster said the district hopes the new app will make its services more accessible to the community.
"It is designed to convey very quickly what are the most looked-at things on our website, like lunch menus, calendars, etc.," he said. "And it helps bridge that communication between people who might not have high-speed Internet at home, but they certainly have a phone."
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