Need to know what's going on in North Hills? There's an app for that
More than a decade after most school districts got websites, the North Hills School District is keeping up to date with technology with the mobile phone app it just launched — one of a handful in the state.
“This is the next wave of communication. A lot of people still don't have Internet access. But it's getting harder and harder to find someone without a smartphone,” said Amanda Hartle, the district's communications coordinator, who set up the app and updates information on it.
She said North Hills was the first in Allegheny County to start an app for smartphones and tablets. It is compatible with iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
The app was designed by SchoolInfoApp, based in Ruston, La. The company has done apps for the Conrad Weiser Area School District in Berks County and the Penn-Delco School District in Delaware County.
The district spent $2,000 to have the app designed and will pay an annual operating fee of the same amount each year. Some of the cost is offset by ads on the app, including one from Tom Bianco, an Allstate insurance agent in Ross Township. The North Hills School District covers Ross and West View.
The app features school news, maps and telephone numbers and e-mail addresses for school personnel. It allows parents to check their children's grades.
The app also allows parents to download contacts for teachers, a principal or the school nurse. “That way, parents don't have to look up someone's phone number or email. It's just programmed into their phone,” Hartle said.
There were 550 downloads first week and half since the district launched the app earlier this month.
Another feature includes push notifications that can notify people about district news and include reminders about school events, such as field trips, games or changes to calendars. Eventually, the app will include information about weather-related school closings or delays.
Monica Anderson, a member of West View Elementary's PTA, said the app's best feature is the school calendar.
“It lists events and deadlines, when registration forms are due, book swaps, fundraising events. This all used to be listed on a printed calendar that your kid might never bring home from school. They are kind of keeping up with the times and reaching more people with this app,” she said.
The calendar is available on the school's web site, but only as a PDF, Hartle said. “The calendar is much more user-friendly on the phone,” she said.
Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Project to put iPad minis in hands of Shaler middle schools students
- New position brings uniformed officer into Shaler Area buildings
- North Hills Middle School posts 5th-best improved score
- New AP courses considered at Hampton
- Proposed budget keeps steady tax rate for Shaler residents
- Ingomar MOPS offers discussions, videos, social time
- Northern Tier librarian discusses life, pursuits
- 7 North Allegheny schools see dip in state scores
- Wexford church’s candlelight evening brings the past to life
- State Rep. English to meet with Richland residents to hear ideas, concerns
- North Hills residents continue to fight proposed sale of elementary