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Raleigh County Schools Launch New App for Communications

A West Virginia school district will use a new mobile app to share information and alerts with students and families, giving select users the ability to send messages via text or social media with the push of a button.

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(TNS) — Schools in Raleigh County will now have a much easier way to communicate with parents, students and the community thanks to a new app unveiled by Raleigh County Schools on Wednesday.

Rachel Pauley, the director of technology for Raleigh County Schools, said the new app will be a "one-stop shop" for parents and students looking to find everything from upcoming school events to alerts about delayed or canceled classes to even the school lunch menus.

Pauley said the new app will not only make it easier for parents and students to get school information, but it will also be easier for schools to send out quick notifications to all parents and students even if they haven't downloaded the app.

She added that the app also has a feed where photos and messages can be displayed celebrating and recognizing student and staff achievements.

During an interview with The Register-Herald on Wednesday, Pauley demonstrated some of the new features of the app, which is available now in the Apple and Google-Play stores.

She said one of the most exciting features is a new alert system which allows select users to send out messages to the school's app, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as well as send text messages and automated phone calls with just the push of one button.

Previously, Pauley said each of these actions had to be done separately and they were very tedious and time consuming.

To demonstrate how user friendly the app is for school staff when it comes to sending out alerts and messages, Pauley prepared a quick test message to send out.

After clicking on the tab to send messages, Pauley clicked several boxes at the top of the screen indicating that she wanted her test message to be sent to the school's app, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as well as send out a text message and an automated phone call.

She then typed out a brief message, recorded a voice message and attached a picture. Next, she selected a group from a large drop-down list of whom she wanted to receive this test message.

After that, all she had to do was hit send and in a matter of seconds, her phone dinged indicating that she had a new text message from Raleigh County Schools. This was followed almost immediately by a phone call from Raleigh County Schools, which played her message as soon as she picked up.

She also checked the school's social media accounts, which were also displaying her test post.

Pauley said the alert system on the app can be tailored so that messages are sent out to the entire district or just one school or even one single grade level in a school.

"The app gives a place for our schools to be able to communicate and get information out quickly," Pauley said. "If there's an emergency or we just need to get information out quickly, it's a one-stop shop ... For me that I don't think you can beat this product."

Pauley said she has also spent the past week helping train principals how to use the app as well as setting up public social meeting accounts for all the schools to post to.

In a way, the app mirrors other popular social media sites. It has a section where users can choose to follow certain schools. They can then scroll through recent posts from those they follow in the app's main feed section.

There's also a tab for events, documents and notifications.

Pauley said there are still a few features of the app that need to be worked out but overall she feels the launch of the new app has been a success.

"Its potential is endless," she said.

The launch of this app is also coinciding with updates being made to the school district's website.

The website updates will allow all district and school announcements, events, messages and alerts to be easily viewed through the website as well as the app.

To download the app, type " Raleigh County Schools, WV" into the search bar of the Apple or Google-Play store. Users will then see Raleigh County Schools' logo as the icon for the app, which is a blue pentagon with a white circle inside it.

Pauley said people who search for the app may see an older app the district used years ago but the new app has the pentagon logo as the icon.

She said she also invites users who run into difficulties while using the app to reach out to the school district so they can be made aware of and fix any issues that may arise.

Pauley said Raleigh County is one of 32 school districts in the state using this app created by apptegy with a program called Thrillshare.

©2022 The Register-Herald (Beckley, W.Va.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.