With today’s competitive environment and changes in education, the recent implementation of Common Core, and the plethora of information that is constantly needed to be disseminated between parent, students and faculty, it can be hard for superintendents and principals to equip their schools with better communication. How can a school district set themselves apart from others with top-notch communication and an effective and convenient way for parents, students and faculty to receive it?
One company has stood up and is heading a nationwide campaign working to make a difference in education by helping schools receive fully funded mobile apps that will greatly improve parent, student and school communication, student safety and parent involvement. Media Authority Marketing, a division of Local Online Visibility is a PR and Marketing firm and its President, Lisa Williams said, “We are championing this school app sponsorship initiative and are dedicated to getting this technology in as many schools as possible around the country.” When asked why, Williams said, “That’s simple, because it will help!”
Education experts and authorities nationwide have been discussing the changes taking place, and how they can reach out to parents more effectively while increasing parental involvement. Derrick Meador, a School Administrator and authority on education, recently wrote an article on About.com regarding the impact of the Common Core Standards in which he said: “The level of parental involvement will need to increase in order for students to be successful with the Common Core Standards. Communicating with parents on a continual basis is a key ingredient to increasing parental involvement.”
The community initiative involves a strategic partnership between local schools, Media Authority Marketing and local businesses. The PR Company orchestrates the initiative by bringing in community minded businesses as partners to sponsor the schools. The entire development of the app is covered and schools can actually create a revenue stream by having an app. Williams added, “Our aim is to match local businesses who are positive influences in the community with schools districts that understand the importance of streamlining communications and increasing parental engagement.”
Local businesses are motivated to participate in this sponsorship because it offers value to them and media exposure. Media Authority Marketing incentivizes the businesses by providing a complimentary marketing and a PR campaign to alert the community of the generosity of the businesses. Johnathon Burke, Head Counselor at Palisades High School shared this about having sponsors and the benefit of his mobile app, “The other big benefit of having our own app is vendors could advertise on it. So we basically went to all the advertisers that were advertising for athletics, advertisers of football games and stuff, and sold them this advertising media. We have a place on the app for supporters of PHS, and it’s been a money maker for us. We did the same thing with our yearbook and our newspaper advertisers. We simply contacted these local businesses and said next year we’re going to up the cost of your advertising and place you on our mobile app.”
The vendors who have been advertised on the app have seen great results, and monthly funds from advertisers can be spent however the school sees fit. Burke said that the advertisers like being featured on the app. The monthly funds from advertisers have allowed the school to buy a few things including a big screen TV placed outside the counseling office, which has become yet another communication improvement.
By collaborating with MAM and getting mobile apps into their schools, districts also receive a free PR campaign recognizing them as a district that is staying with the times and utilizing technology for the betterment for students, parents and their schools. This media exposure will set the school district apart from others. Each school’s Principal will receive an interview, a professionally written article that will be syndicated to many affiliate outlets of ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox that highlights the school for obtaining a mobile app, a social media campaign, and a press release sent to local media.
A mobile app can offer many great benefits to schools that many other forms of communication cannot. Schools will be able to post newsletters and update them regularly, inform parents instantly and without any cost by sending unlimited push messages as often as they like. Reminders for school assemblies, field trips, meetings, and other events can all be sent out instantly through the mobile app.
Parents can send absentee notices and schedule parent-teacher meetings right from the app as well. One great advantage of having a mobile app is being able to offer parents a way to easily stay informed and be alerted with updates right on their mobile devices in real time. This eliminates the need for students to be the messenger and allows the school to get important information to parents directly.
Other schools that have adopted mobile apps have noted long term costs savings by not printing so many materials and not paying for expensive alert systems as well as increased participation and communication with parents.
Here is what other school officials say the benefits of the app are: “I would say the dissemination of information and being able to get the information to parents in real time, also having an app was “a massive cost saving for us,” said Simon Duffy, Principal at Holy Spirit Primary Catholic School. Duffy explained, “We’ve had a higher rate of parents reading the school newsletter and increase in fundraising participation.”
“One of the big benefits we’ve seen is from our counseling department. We’ve seen a sharp increase in our parents and their students’ attendance to certain events like financial aid nights, back to school nights and college nights, just because we’re hitting them with the information in a way that is easily accessible to them,” added Jonathon Burke, Head Counselor at Palisades High School. Burke added, that he understands many schools are fighting tight budgets and he can commiserate with their concern. He said, “Part of the administrator’s job is stretching this small pool of money. I think the little investment will turn into huge payoff, as it has for us. We were the first in our district to do this, and every other school has immediately jumped on board seeing the benefit of it. I guess what I’m saying is you’re going to see it pay for itself even if you can’t find a grant to pay for it. A little investment will go a long way and it will pay for itself in no time flat.”
By investing in a mobile app, the school and the surrounding district become a beacon in the community striving to offer the best experience possible and aiming to keep up with technology. Principal Duffy who has now gotten apps in three schools he has been principal of said this about having a mobile app, “gives us kudos against the other schools here, lifts the profile of the school and helps bring the school into the 21st century.” His school was the first in his area to have the app. Other schools quickly contacted him asking how they too could get an app.
There are several ways a school can have an app and it be no cost to the school. MAM will present these options to school administrators along with details of the sponsorship. Why is getting mobile apps in schools important to Media Authority Marketing? It’s their way of giving back and helping at a very critical time in education especially with the implementation of the Common Core Standards. It’s also important because they understand schools need communication to be shared in the most cost effective and efficient manner and lastly, they know how many areas this technology will help in schools. So, they are reaching out to help and huddle in community support. Every school district can benefit from participating in this initiative and getting this important technology into their schools. A mobile app will enhance the excellence most school districts already provide.