Staying informed about schools has become easier this year-at least for some parents, now that the Vancouver School Board has developed a free, mobile device app.
The school board says it's the first custommade iOS app of its kind for a school district in Canada. It will alert parents through push notifications about school holidays, parent interviews, school scheduling disruptions, such as snow days or days off, and eventually after-school activities, including concerts, plays and sports events. Parents will be able to select which schools they want notifications from, allowing them to receive updates directly and immediately from any elementary or secondary school in the district.
It's good news for those of you with iPhones or other Apple products such as iPads and the iPod touch. Not so good for people like me since the Courier provides me with a cellphone running Android-the most popular smartphone operating system in the world, but a distant third in Canada behind market leader RIM, which makes BlackBerry devices, and Apple.
The VSB tells me once it gets a sense how much demand there is for the iOS app, it hopes to develop apps for Android and Blackberry. "This is one of the VSB's first software development projects. For the first app we picked the platform that is most widespread when it comes to mobile web browsing," the district's media specialist Kurt Heinrich told me in an email. The app cost less than $10,000 to develop.
PORTABLE PROBLEM ADDRESSED
Laura Secord elementary students won't have to contend with a school ground full of portables when they return to classes after Labour Day weekend.
Twenty-two portables were on school property to house students while the school underwent a significant seismic upgrade, which has now been completed.
Last school year, parents were told it was unlikely the portables would be removed immediately because there was nowhere for them to go. That posed a problem since the school's 634 students need a play area and the portables take up a lot of space. During the upgrade, the school was forced to hold two lunches and two recesses to accommodate students on the playground, which created problems with scheduling prep, physical education and library time. The portables were transported to a storage facility in Surrey.