Buckeye Local High School Principal Coy Sudvary's love of technology and his personal commitment to making the educational process a positive one is once again making an impact. Students, families, teachers, building staff, sports fans, and even caregivers who have reason to schedule life's plans around the constantly shifting nuances of a busy high school community can now say they have "an app for that."
Yes, there really is a mobile app built on the details of life at Buckeye Local High School. The mobile application is available to download free of charge from either an iTunes store or from Google Play.
Sudvary was glancing through various technology publications some months ago and happened on a story about a mobile application specifically designed for the challenges of communicating in real time details of a specific school's activities, essential communications for parents, students, teachers, the community and just about every other appropriate audience.
Ron Clark of Buckeye Local High School and Coy Sudvary, Buckeye Local High School, show off the school’s new mobile app. The app provides students and their families, staff and the community, real time details of school activities, events and even reports and permission sheets.
Pictured are screen shots from the new Buckeye Local High School app.
What he found there has quickly and cost effectively been put into place at the local high school this year and is changing the dynamics of how individual households across the school district manage their daily schedules.
The typical exchange seen below now seldom applies to the lives of many of Buckeye Local's high school families.
"Didn't you check your phone for notices from the school?"
"School was delayed for two hours, but then it was canceled altogether for today. I guess you didn't get the message before you left the house this morning. "
"I thought I saw notices on the bottom of the TV screen, but I didn't have time to stop and wait until it scrolled back through to my district again."
Not getting essential information in a timely way can wreck havoc on schedules for just about anyone, but if you have children in school or are employed by a school district, getting the news that plans have changed for any event in a timely manner is very important.
Saying that this app has made all the difference might sound like it is giving too much credit to the technology, but increasing numbers for downloads and such are clear testament to the practicality of using the services available to the average person in the school district through it.
Designers of the application are with SchoolInfoApp, a business headquartered in Louisiana.
Sudvary had the opportunity to meet with them at a recent professional conference in Columbus where he and another Buckeye Local employee, Ron Clark, had been invited to present a break out session on the application's success within Buckeye to date.
Sudvary could not be happier with the success the unique communications tool is meeting with on the local level, both inside the physical walls of the school and out.
"I checked the downloaded numbers for the application at Buckeye Local before we made the presentation in Columbus, and it was at about 400. Now it is close to 800 downloads," Sudvary offered, noting it is easily available and usable for either Android or iOS. It can also be downloaded to desktop computers.
He sees it as a great way to help take at least a little stress out of the classic process of sending notes, reports, permission sheets, etc. home with students and simply hoping the information actually makes its way into the hands of the right adult and then back to the school if necessary.
"The whole idea of having Buckeye Local purchase this customizable application was to improve the real time ability to get information into the hands of those who really do need it," he noted.
Not only are weather delays able to be communicated to all the people who should get them in virtually the blink of an eye, but it also provides a means of giving media students opportunities to have a place to post school news and projects for the right audiences, changes in a team schedule or practice times, transportation messages, and even maps for away games.
"I can use the push notification to get information quickly into the hands of everyone having the app needing that news shared correctly and quickly," offered Sudvary. "For instance, with the spring athletic team schedules coming up, it will be easy to get news of any change in scheduling or details to students and to their parents."
The application is also becoming a popular home to notices about a student's individual and team accomplishments in the classroom as well as within the athletic venues.
"We are able to easily make the school handbook available via a tab in this application. Scholarship packets can be accessed there," he shared. "That will be providing a very real savings for us in the future."
The startup cost for Buckeye was $2,200. The annual subscription is $1,000 but the school is able to cut that cost in half by selling up to $500 worth of ads. The benefit for supporters is easy to see: if a viewer simply clicks on a banner ad, it will take them directly to that company's business website.
Sudvary, while excited to have this smooth avenue to travel when needing to share information with others who are themselves connected to Buckeye Local, is ever cautious about protecting and controlling any access beyond simply viewing the information.
SchoolInfoApp's success realized at Buckeye Local High School has gotten noticed by several of the surrounding school districts, which have already connected with the design company to make plans to possibly add it into their individual operational tools.
The company highlights several of the broadly customizable and very practical information platforms it makes available to subscribing schools:
- Stay up to date with your school's newsfeed delivered instantly via push notifications
- Track all of our school's upcoming events and schedules with interactive maps and calendars
- Easy access to school contacts, weblinks, documents and school photos
- Quickly add, prioritize and track upcoming assignments with the My Assignments tool
- The Tipline, a tool for direct, anonymous reporting to school administration
Loccisano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.