Howard school system mobile app 'meets people where they are'
By By Blair Ames
Oct 31, 2014 | 8:55 AM
Nearly one-third of traffic to the Howard County Public School System website is through a mobile device.
Now, those parents, students and community members looking for school system information have a mobile app for easier access to what they're looking for.
HCPSS launched a mobile app Oct. 23, becoming the latest Maryland school system to offer the application for mobile devices. The app provides information on events, news releases, lunch menus, links to school social media pages and the superintendent's blog, and school contact information.
School systems such as Baltimore County, Charles County, Montgomery County and Worcester County also offer a mobile app for school system information.
The app is just another way HCPSS is upgrading its technology tools to get information to parents, staff and students, according to Rebecca Amani-Dove, HCPSS director of communications.
"We're using all of the available communication tools that are there, that are available, so we can meet people where they are," she said.
Amani-Dove added that one particular benefit of the app is directed to parents with children in multiple schools. Now, instead of going to individual school websites, parents have all the information they need in one place.
Superintendent Renee Foose said in a statement the school system is excited to debut this new tool for the community.
"We are constantly working to enhance transparency and collaboration with our stakeholders, and this is an additional tool to support communication flow," Foose said.
The free app is now available in the iTunes and Google Play stores.
The launch of the mobile app follows the school system website redesign, which was unveiled in July.
Online pages for elementary and middle schools have been updated while those for high schools are in the works, Amani-Dove said.
Within the next week, the school system will also be launching an improved news service platform, which is expected to upgrade immediate communication from the school system to the community in the event of a weather emergency.
During the frequent snow storms last school year, some school system emergency text message communications were delayed up to 30 minutes on the old system, according to Amani-Dove.