Keller Citizen

Northwest district launches new, sleek smartphone app

The Northwest school district launched a new mobile app for students, staff and parents this month.
The Northwest school district launched a new mobile app for students, staff and parents this month. Courtesy

The color-themed interface, large icons and simple art give a clean, sleek, user-friendly look to the new, free smartphone app launched last week for the Northwest school district.

“This app isn’t just for parents, we really encourage our community to take advantage of it, too,” spokeswoman Emily Conklin said.

The new one-stop-shop for all district news and updates had over 450 downloads after its first day, and Conklin expects that to increase substantially in the next few weeks.

The app was designed by the same company that designed the district’s website, synching the two, and allowing for real-time updates. A committee of students, parents, staff and professionals were an integral part of redesigning the app from the 2013 version, and ensuring the quality of content available on it.

A few of the apps features include bus locators, monthly lunch menus, the ability to easily add money to a student’s meal account, an anonymous tip line for any district-related issues or comments, and the option to check student grades straight from the app.

The app is customizable, allowing users to choose for which specific schools they will get news.

The calendar icon also will feature events, activities, early releases and holidays for the chosen schools. Conklin said this feature is helpful for parents who have students at multiple schools because once they customize it with their preferred campuses, parents can have one calendar with every important date.

The district’s social media feed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, can be accessed through the app, even if you don’t have an account.

According to the Texas Social Media Research Institute, Northwest ranked No 1 out of 77 public school districts in Region 11.

“Twitter is a great way to communicate with parents and community stakeholders,” said Jennifer Edwards, assistant vice president for student success and multicultural initiatives and associate professor at Tarleton State University. She is executive director of the Texas Social Media Research Institute.

“Northwest ISD does a great job of showcasing quality classroom learning, highlighting traffic updates, thanking community volunteers, recognizing extracurricular activities and accomplishments, honoring school district academic scholars, and using photos and videos to provide campus updates and engage viewers,” Edwards said.

The main goal is for the app not to replace any current communication channels, but to help people stay informed about district happenings.

“We know with communication changing and evolving over the years, and people really wanting the two-way communication, it’s not to replace but to give people another channel of receiving news from us,” Conklin said.