That was one of the largest driving factors into Eastern Regional High School’s latest development, when it announced the release of its own app for parent, student, staff and community use at the beginning of the school year. The school had previously teased the production of the app near the end of last school year with a tweet, preparing for a rollout in 2019-20.
The app, titled “ECCRSD’ on both the App Store and Google Play, launched in late August for teachers, during the first day of school for students, and at Back-to-School Night for parents on Oct. 3, while also being available for community members.
The breakup in dates for rolling out the app to the different users was to ensure the school district could instruct each group of the app’s functionalities, as it pertains to their use, says Supervisor of Technology Phil Smart.
“We wanted to roll out to the staff first because it was the beginning of the school year for them and we had that captive audience to get them all the information on how to use it,” Smart said. “We rolled it out to the students during that first week of school to the different classes through their meetings so we could show a promotional video along with it. Then of course we waited until Back-to-School Night on Oct. 3, prior to (parents) going to the different classes, so we could show them the video along with going over the instructions.”
While the use of the app may slightly differ from group to group, overall the mindset remains the same according to Smart, aiming to increase the way the school district is able to quickly and more easily get important information to necessary people at the correct time.
“The goal of the app is to help improve communication with the school community,” said Smart. “The app will allow you to do a lot of different things.”
First, according to Smart, the app is overall a better version of school’s website. Furthermore, parents can choose the ways that the school communicates with them through the four available methods of delivery: phone message, email, text message and push message. The school can send out notifications regarding school closings, student grades, attendance, student account balances and more.
Due to its versatility, the school is able to send out notifications to specific grade levels or groups of students, parents and teachers regarding important information.
Students and parents have their own login information, granting them more accessibility than regular community members. However, Smart says he recommends more parents download and login to the app to ensure notifications can reach parents.
At the time of this interview, Smart and the technology department at Eastern did not have accurate information regarding the specific number of students and parents that were logged in to the app. However, he recommends that all parents make sure they are logged in within the coming weeks.
“We will be sending out reminders to parents with instructions that haven’t logged in (over) the coming months,” Smart said. “I encourage parents to sign up for the app, and even community members as well. It’s a great way to stay in touch with what’s happening at Eastern.”