Brandon Rebel is a typical high school freshman, very young looking, smallish and surrounded by friends. But over the course of two days Rebel created four GIFs for the overhauled Lawrence School District website.
GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format that supports a lossless format for image files that can include both animated and static images. “I just have a feel for tech,” said Rebel, a member of the high school’s tech department.
A portion of his schoolmates attended the Feb. 11 Board of Education meeting, where he was presented with a sweatshirt that had the school’s Golden Tornado mascot imprinted on the front.
Along with showing its updated website, district officials unveiled the newly created app. App, short for application, is a computer program or software application designed to run on a mobile device. Now keeping up with the school district is as easy as turning to a mobile device — cell phone, tablet or watch — and installing the app. The school district app is available through the Apple store and can be installed for free and as fast as the Golden Tornado that graces the app’s cover.
“The ongoing cost is $12,000, which is less than our current site along with the replacement of the robo-call system to an alert parents via text and calls,” said Lawrence Superintendent Dr. Ann Pedersen, adding it’s through the Arkansas-based company Apptegy that builds apps and websites specifically for schools. “We can now text real time attendance to parents.”
On the app’s drop down menu list is a live feed of messages, curated news stories and photo graphs from district events. News, events, staff, documents, notifications and settings can also be accessed. The documents range from parent resources to registration and transportation. “I think it’s pretty advanced and hope it succeeds,” Rebel said about the new app.
Jessica Brown and Rob Wiebke presented the upgraded website. “It’s much more user-friendly and much more organized,” Brown said. “It’s a better way for us to communicate with the community,” Wiebke said. “We can seamlessly control the new website with the brand new app.” The new website is expected to go live in the near future.
The Hewlett-Woodmere School District has had an app since September 2014. School officials said it was created it in conjunction with the company SchoolMessenger that has offices in California and Toronto.
It features a listing of the district’s six schools accompanied by local maps, the district calendar, school food menus and photos and district news. It is updated on a regular basis, officials said.