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Education

D-427 launching its own smartphone app soon

SYCAMORE – Sycamore School District 427 will launch its own smartphone app soon to help broaden its avenues of mass communication with families.

David Olson, communications and community engagement manager for District 427, said the development of the app, which currently is in beta testing, has been three months in the making. He said creation of the app comes after the district revamped its website a couple of years ago.

“It’s kind of the next native step for us to do,” Olson said.

The announcement about the app was made during a communications update report at the District 427 board meeting Tuesday night at Sycamore Middle School. The app will be available for download in app stores in a couple of weeks, Olson said.

Olson said apps are the way of the future and another way for parents to get information from the district. While it’s meant to help with family and community outreach, he said, the idea for the app’s existence didn’t come from a specific request from parents with students in the district.

Sycamore Superintendent Kathy Countryman said the app also will help with some school principals wanting to make certain print-outs, such as the school lunch menu, primarily accessible online to help reduce paper waste. She said parents also will be able to deposit lunch money to their child’s school account.

Countryman said the app was partly inspired by a communication survey the district conducted among families a couple of years ago. She said it will help pull together the district’s current modes of mass communication and will coexist with them.

“We didn’t think we would get here this fast,” Countryman said.

Board member Julenne Davey said she is excited that the app is in development, but she worries about how some families will be able to obtain certain information such as school lunch schedules without internet or data access.

“The reality is not everybody has it,” Davey said.

Countryman said the administration is being sensitive to that reality and that families in certain schools will be accommodated at the building level.

There is no DeKalb School District 428 app available on the Apple store as of Wednesday. Genoa-Kingston School District 424 is the only other DeKalb County school district with its own app.

Genoa-Kingston Superintendent Brent O’Daniell and DeKalb Superintendent Jamie Craven did not immediately return requests for comment from Daily Chronicle.

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