SCASD app made to improve communication with district, public

Access to the State College Area School District is as close as a click of a button.

Earlier this month, district administrators released information on a new app for the school district — or SCASD app — which its development leader Nabil Mark said “provides a one-stop shop for all things related to the district.”

“We feel everyone will find some use for the app, be they students, staff, parents and even the community at large,” said Mark, the district’s web and social media coordinator.

It replaces the old district app, and is free and available to anyone with access to the Apple App Store and Google Play.

“It’s been a long process getting this app ready to launch,” Mark said. “But it’s easy to work hard on (a) project you believe in, especially when you can see how powerful of a tool it is. I feel a great sense of pride finally seeing it out there — a little bit like a proud papa.”

Designed “from the ground up,” Mark said he and a team of administrators started application development in August.

“We studied other districts around the country to see how they were using their apps and what they included in them,” he said. “We did a parent and staff survey to see what people were looking for in our app — finally, we did a focus group consisting of students, parents and staff with a beta version of the app.”

The group studied and used the app for about two months, allowing administrators “to mold the app into (an) extremely powerful tool,” Mark said.

But the main mission is to help better communication with the district and public.

“Our overall communication goal for our school district is to improve community understanding of what is occurring throughout our schools,” Superintendent Bob O’Donnell said in a prepared statement. “This app supports this work and does so in a manner that is very timely and simple for members of our school district community.”

Mark said the app allows the district to bring all resources to one place.

“It’s only been available for a few days and we’re already putting it to use with rapid notifications due to the recent inclement weather,” Mark said.

It was a mode of communication when the district notified families of children at the school that there was a limited school day on Tuesday, and a snow day on Wednesday.

“No longer will you have to use multiple platforms to find the information you need,” Mark said. “Whether it’s the district calendar, directory, notifications, school menus, news feeds, athletics and so much more, it’s all in one place.”

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo