By Tori Zackery
Entirely East Lansing
The East Lansing Public Schools district is beginning the use of an electronic school messenger to deliver important documents, such as report cards.
The communication system was created in an effort to improve the exchange of news between parents and faculty and is available for free download in the iTunes app store. Its development was discussed at the district’s school board meeting on Monday, March 28. It was revealed that this past marking period, the messenger was used to distribute electronic report cards for elementary and secondary school students.
“Now that we’ve kind of passed this hurdle, we’re looking at other things we can send out that same way,” said Director of Technology & Media Services Christian Palasty. “Packets of information, anything else to reduce that paper, potentially make it a little bit more convenient for those families that are okay with getting it that way.”
Relying on the notification system to deliver important documents concerned some of those at the meeting. School board member and parent Dr. Kath Edsall voiced that she had yet to receive report cards for her children, revealing the technical obstacles of using electronic communication. Also of concern was reaching parents that don’t have internet or email.
Palasty said that parents could still opt to receive traditional report cards and documents and that the school messenger reflected the district’s mission to reduce paper usage. For many parents, a school messenger was a welcomed and convenient way to receive school news.
“I think a messenger is a smart idea because people check their phones and emails more than anything nowadays,” said parent Tiombe Bey-woodson. “Papers can get lost. Having a digital connection is the more stable option for many people.”
The district plans continue developing the application over the next few months and aim to make it an integral part of parent communication. As the messenger is updated and improved, more information can be found on the district’s website.