Highline Public Schools launches mobile app to engage students, parents



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Posted on June 5, 2014 at 7:26 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 5 at 7:26 PM

DES MOINES, Wash. -- Highline Public Schools administators want their students to use their cell phones even more - if that's possible.

"They're on their phones all the time," laughed Highline High School teacher Lori Box.

Students stare at their cell phones for hours, so the school system decided to use what they're staring at as a tool to make them better students.

"Almost everyday, almost all the time," Inthoulay admitted.

Last week, Highline Public Schools launched a first-of-its-kind mobile app in Puget Sound that students, parents, and teachers can customize.

It includes options to search everything from student schedules to graduation requirements to grades and emergency bus stops.

It even allows for quick messaging between students and teachers. It's available in nearly 70 languages.

The district wanted to better engage their community, aware that nearly 75% of students come from low-income families.

"There are more and more families that don't have internet access but they are using a cell phone," explained spokesperson Tove Tupper.

They plan to launch a new version in the upcoming school year which will include lunch menus and even alert parents when their child's grade drops.

"My parents would love this," Inthoulay said.

It cost the school district a one-time fee of $2,500 and 50 cents per student.

"It helps us partner with our families, partner with our community, and help them get on the same page with us," Tupper said.