Muncy School District gets an app

CARA MORNINGSTAR/Sun-Gazette
Jacob Hill, ninth grader, looks at the new Muncy School District app on iPads at Muncy Jr. Sr. High School. The app displays photos from sporting events.

CARA MORNINGSTAR/Sun-Gazette Jacob Hill, ninth grader, looks at the new Muncy School District app on iPads at Muncy Jr. Sr. High School. The app displays photos from sporting events.

The Muncy School District started this school year with a new district wide app program available to download in Google Play or the Apple app store.

“All you have to do is type in ‘Muncy SD,’ and it should come up,” said Dr. Craig Skaluba, superintendent. “It’s a free download.”

He said that the app is used in addition to the phone message system they have been using previously. With the recent flood, the district was able to communicate to people by updating messages with the app.

“It depends on who has it downloaded for who gets it. Some people didn’t have electricity or phonelines during the flood, but … if they were able to have the app and a charged cellphone, they were able to get the message and spread the word,” Skaluba said.

He said that it helped the district keep families informed about school closing during the flood. The district started the app to improve communications.

CARA MORNINGSTAR/Sun-Gazette
Students look at the new Muncy School District app on iPads at Muncy Jr. Sr. High School. From left, Abbey Millard, ninth grader, Sehya Moyer, tenth grader and Jacob Hill, ninth grader.

CARA MORNINGSTAR/Sun-Gazette Students look at the new Muncy School District app on iPads at Muncy Jr. Sr. High School. From left, Abbey Millard, ninth grader, Sehya Moyer, tenth grader and Jacob Hill, ninth grader.

“It was really a communication piece. We wanted to push the communication feature,” Skaluba said. “We can get information out really quick through the device that we know most people have in their hands. Not only does it let you get the message out quick, it gets it right into the device people have in their hands immediately.”

Making sure the district could work with cellphones was important.

“Some districts have Twitter, some use Facebook and some use Blackboard. We brought in a representative to talk to us from Blackboard, and they showed us features of an app. We really liked the idea,” Skaluba said. “We really like the primary means of communication through cellphone. If we can get into the cellphone, we can promote and communicate effectively.”

Skaluba said that the district lets students and parents of students have a specific password, so they are able to see personal information on a student’s status with the app.

“For me, I have my daughter, so I can click on my daughter and click on her assignments and her grades,” he said.

With more detail, he can see his daughter’s attendance records, cafeteria balance, bus information and more.

“I can even see see what library books she has out and when they’re due. It even tells me the cost of having to replace them … It’s all there in one spot,” Skaluba said. “We really try to streamline information for the school community and have an effective means for the general community.”

He said the goal is to have all the information available in one place rather than to have to hunt for it on a website, but passwords are required for specific, individual information regarding students.

“I like that I can check my grades on it, and it gets me updated with school news,” said Jacob Hill, ninth grade student.

Hill said that having access to all of his test scores has helped him keep track of his grades and helped him improve in school. He has reminders for upcoming tests in his schedule, so the app has helped him stay organized and up to date on his assignments.

Abbey Millard, ninth grade student, said that she loves being able to see how much money she has in her lunch account through the app whenever she looks at her phone.

“Not having to log into everything on all the pages through the school website has been really great,” Millard said. “I can’t remember all the passwords, so I just use the app now.”

Sehya Moyer, tenth grade student, said her favorite part of the app was getting to see the photographs from sports games and events going on in the school. She said it was a nice way to stay in touch with what happens at her school.

All three students said they use the app daily.

The app is intended for all community members, not just those actively in the district. General community members can look to see what’s happening in the district without needing a password.

“It’s not just for the school community. It could be for the general community, whether it be an alumni, a community member or a family member just keeping track,” Skaluba said. “We’re just trying to get the word out that it’s available.”

The app displays information about game times, school play and other activities for anyone to keep track of if interested in attending.

“I think the app has been beneficial for the school district. Each school district has other means they can find effective … For our purposes, we definitely find it beneficial and we look forward to continue to using it,” Skaluba said. “I think each school district has to find what works for them. Each school district is unique in its own context, but this is what works for us.”

As the number of downloads for the app grows, feedback is welcomed for ways to improve the app with new features or more information the community wishes to be available.

“We’re looking to see what the parents and what people need for us to put on the app,” Skaluba said. “We want it to be a one stop shop for people to have all the resources they need.”

For any feedback on the app, please email Linda Kneedler, administrative assistant to the superintendent at lkneedler@muncysd.org.

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