HTCSD app designed more for parents

Nathan Liewicki
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The days of kids skipping school and your parents not finding out are over.

Ryan Stinn, the program supervisor of technology for the Holy Trinity Catholic School Division, discusses the division's new Apple iOS and Android app at Monday's board meeting.

Holy Trinity Catholic School Division’s (HTCSD) new mobile app allows parents to track their child’s attendance and grade information. That information can be found in the Power School parent portal.

Designed predominantly for parents, the app – available on Apple iOS and Android devices – also allows users to keep up to date with all HTCSD news and events, access the school division calendar and link to every school website in the division.

The app only became available Jan. 9, but HTCSD Curriculum Assessment Technology Consultant Mark Selinger is pleased with the headway it’s already made. He also designed the app.

“I think in that short amount of time we are pretty happy with that number,” said Selinger. “The more users the merrier because that makes it a more powerful tool and when we send a push notification it's hitting more parents.”

As of Tuesday morning the app had 280 users.

Developed last autumn, the idea for the app came from the HTCSD technology working group.

The first place the app was discussed was in the division’s schools. After talking with schools, Selinger said the main thing they discovered was the app needed to be able to communicate with parents.

“Being able to inform (parents) instantly of issues – the big one being bus cancellations – was what schools wanted out of the app,” Selinger said.

According to Selinger, the division has realized more parents and students don’t do as much traditional web browsing.

“More people are using a phone or a tablet as their primary device, so providing a friendly way for people to reach our website for news and updates, as well as to use it to push out stuff like emergency notifications were the two big driving factors behind it,” said Ryan Stinn, the program supervisor of technology for the HTCSD.

“We really want our news and information to get out to parents,” said Selinger. “So, by having it all go instantly to the app it's just a matter of opening the app and seeing the information, as opposed to them going to the website.

“It makes communication easier. That's the big important piece.”

Since it’s a new app, Stinn said he hopes to receive plenty of feedback on ways they can improve the app in the future.

“As we hear feedback I'm sure things can be added to the app, but it depends on what people see as needs.”

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

Organizations: Power School, Apple

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