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Southern York schools debut mobile app


Do you have a child attending classes in the Southern York County School District? There's an app for that.

The district this week unveiled its new phone app — which is available at no cost through iTunes for Apple devices and the Google Play store for Android users.

"For us, it came out of the desire to find the best way possible to communicate with our parents and our community," said the district's chief financial operations officer, Wayne McCullough.

Features: The app boasts a handful of new features, including athletic rosters, school board information with meeting dates, agendas and minutes, as well as the school lunch menus, said the district's coordinator of marketing and public information, Mark Rill, who worked closely with those developing the new program.

"One feature a lot of people requested was an 'add to calendar' button," he said. "So when you go into the app and click on the district's calendar, there's the option to add it to your personal calendar right there."

Rill expects the feature allowing parents to update lunch money accounts as well as the news and tools section will be among the app's more popular uses.

"The tools section is a quick, easy way for students and staff to access programs and tools that are regularly used, things like student handbooks and Blackboard," he said.

One year later: This time last year, West York Area School District was the first in York County to launch its own mobile app, said superintendent Emilie Lonardi.

It has since been downloaded more than 2,300 times.

The most convenient feature — which also will be found on Southern York's app — is the one that delivers push notifications.

"Any time there's a delay, a closing or any emergency changes, the first place I go is our app," Lonardi said. "It's a really quick way to get the message out, and people just get it right there on their phones."

After its inaugural year, Lonardi said the app was "very popular and helpful," and she also expects the number of downloads to increase as it becomes more well-known and efficient.

One feature the district is in the process of developing for the upcoming year is sports updates.

"We want to do up-to-the-minute sports scores of all our varsity teams," Lonardi said. "We dabbled with it somewhat last year with football, but we're hoping to do it with everything and give our sports parents and fans a good chance to follow all of our sports when they can't be there in person."

Lonardi said the use of technology and social media has improved communication and interaction with the community.

"It's been very beneficial and something everyone is getting very familiar with," Lonardi said. "We're looking to continue improving it, and we really want this to be a one-stop shop for everything you could need."

— Reach Jessica Schladebeck at