The West York Area School District iPhone app provides resources, alerts, grades and other information.
The West York Area School District iPhone app provides resources, alerts, grades and other information.

Need the latest sports scores, class grades and snow day updates?

The West York Area School District has an app for that.

Superintendent Emilie Lonardi, and it will help streamline communication between the district and the community.

West York is among the first to have a district app. South Western introduced its app last year, said Superintendent Barbara Rupp.

"There's an app for everything," Lonardi said. "It's a really novel idea for school districts."

The free app is available for download in time for the beginning of the school year, and human resources staff are working to populate the new platform with building information, staff contacts and other information, Beth Thieret, human resources director, told the school board this week.

Budgeted money: Thieret's office had an additional $5,000 budgeted in the 2013-14 school year to develop better communication methods between the school, parents and other community members, she said.

"We knew we wanted to make the communications relations change," Lonardi said.

That money, coupled with part of the $5,800 budgeted for the school's previous communication system, Global Connect, will fund the $7,000 cost of the app, she said. For the 2014-15 school year, the app will save the district about $3,800 compared to the previous system, she said.

With the app, district officials will be able to record messages and type notifications in one place, but send them out as phone calls, texts or mobile alerts, Thieret said when she introduced the app at a board meeting in March.


Advertisement

App content: Certain aspects, such as checking student grades, are available this year. The app will be expanded to allow for other functions next year, Lonardi said, such as checking students' missed assignments and attendance.

And when school is canceled for snow or other reasons, app users will receive immediate notification, similar to a text message, Thieret said.

Students will also be able to use the app for school-related news and updates.

The number of students with a smartphone in the high school is "just short of 100" percent, Lonardi said at the March meeting.

Lunch menus, the district calendar and a tip line are all available features, and parents can follow specific schools for updates, or follow the entire district.

Thieret said another feature allows families who speak English as a second language to select from 60 different languages, which automatically translates the content.

In upcoming weeks the district plans to promote the app with posters in school buildings, mentions at back-to-school nights and signs near the concession stand at football games, Thieret said.

— Reach Nikelle Snader at nsnader@yorkdispatch.com.