City school district unveils new smartphone app for students, parents
By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio
Wednesday, July 20, 2016, 3 p.m. — The Bardstown City Schools will have some new tools to communicate with student and their parents when when school opens next month.
Kim Lacy, the district’s director of public relations, introduced the city school district’s new app for smartphones that will give users complete access to the city school’s website.
Instant Connect replaces the old OneCall system as the district’s emergency notification system. Parents and guardians will have a choice of how they wish to be notified — phone call, text message or email. Signing up for Instant Connect can be done on the district’s website.
Most of Lacy’s presentation focused on the district’s new smartphone app for Apple iOS or Android devices. The new app includes complete access to the district website content, plus additional features to help parents and students keep in touch with important school resources.
Users can set up push notifications and receive daily or weekly updates from the district, individual schools, teachers and coaches.
The app is easier to use than viewing the website on a mobile device, Lacy told the board. The app is a product of a partnership between eSchoolView, the district’s web hosting company, and SchoolInfoApp.
App users can select the school or schools they wish to follow. The first thing people will see when they visit their school on the app is their next events on their calendar. Users will also have access to teachers’ contact information — their school phone number and email — from which they can call or email in single touch.
The app can operate in 32 languages, a feature that should be useful as more families enter the district who have English as a second language.
DIRECTOR OF CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION, ASSESSMENT HIRED. Superintendent Brent Holsclaw announced that Tim Beck has been hired to serve as the district’s director of curriculum, instruction and assessment. He will replace Cara Blackmon, who announced she is retiring at the end of December.
Beck is currently the director of student support services for the Nelson County Schools. He told the board that coming to the city school district was “a dream come true.”
With the district’s reputation for excellence, he jumped at the opportunity when it was offered.
SECOND CIA POSITION APPROVED. The board approved creating a second director of curriculum, instruction and assessment (CIA) position on Tuesday.
Holsclaw explained that most of the districts in the region that have reached proficient level in the area have separate curriculum, instruction and assessment directors. He praised the job Cara Blackmon has done in that position, adding that there’s more work to do — more than one person can accomplish.
“One person cannot truly do it in a K-12 setting,” she told the board. “Twenty-first Century skills require more coaching and more getting shoulder-to-shoulder with teachers and principals to help them learn to do things in the right way. I really believe this will take our district to another level of excellence.”
Holsclaw said the district is close to achieving proficiency districtwide, and this change will help that effort.
“The one common denominator is [proficient districts] have someone at the primary and elementary level, and another person at the middle school and high school level” handling CIA duties, he said.
Holsclaw said the position would be posted this fall, and a candidate hired in the January 2017 time frame.
BUS GARAGE PROJECT. The board received an update on plans to move the district bus garage to the former Salt River Electric property on Templin Avenue.
Engineers recently inspected the property, and are working now to come up with cost estimates for the bus garage project, according to Todd Hood, the district’s director of instructional related services.
Hood said he will bring the costs for the garage relocation back to future board meeting, and will likely include three alternates to consider as part of the project. The first alternate is to convert the building’s lighting to LED lighting. The second is creation of paper storage space in the existing Templin property building. Doing so would free up space now used in in the middle school for paper storage.
The third alternate will look at how to address the fact part of the building has a raised floor, which could mean removing the raised portion or raising the part that is lower. The goal is to make the floor all one level, Hood said.
In other business, the board:
— approved the district’s funding assurances for 2016-17. The assurances are the district’s promise to use state and federal program funding in the approved manner.
— approved the district’s extra service schedule, which includes three new positions: a sixth-grade cheerleading coach; an assistive technology assistant; and someone to collect and compile free and reduced price lunch data. The district does not need the information for the school lunch program, but for other programs that rely on that data.
— approved district’s extended time schedule, substitute salary schedule and the amended 2016-17 salary schedule.