There is a new app for Staten Island parents of public school students to help them stay up-to-date on their child’s education.
The NYC Department of Education’s Staten Island School District 31 recently launched an app— the NYC District 31 Staten Island app by New York City Geographic District 31 (Staten Island). The new app is designed to be a one-stop-shop for resources that parents can use to stay informed and involved in their child’s education. The app also has a student feature that includes information on financial aid, educational workshops and other resourceful topics.
Funded by a $100,000 New York State grant to help improve parent engagement, the new app for Staten Island parents is a result of a brainstorm between district superintendent Dr. Marion Wilson and Jermaine Cameron, principal of the Eagle Academy of Staten Island, Clifton.
“I thought there was a need to better communicate with families,” said Wilson.
Wilson began the process of putting the app into action in January 2021—even before she was superintendent. She spoke with colleagues and discussed the features she would want in place with the app’s designer, Solved Consulting. Then, in March, the app was launched and available for download at Google Play and the App Store.
“I said to the designer that there’s a possibility I may become superintendent. If I do become superintendent, this app is one of the first things I want to do,” Wilson said. “It’s making sure I really get to know my families and they get to know me. This is something that is really important to me.”
Wilson became superintendent on March 1, and the app went live on March 15.
Features of the New App for Staten Island Parents
While working on the app, Wilson made sure to involve parents, students and colleagues in the process.
“Feedback is important to me,” said Wilson. “I had all the stakeholders give me feedback. I had a parent focus group, a student focus group, a principal focus group and other administrators who have other capacities to make sure they gave feedback.”
Features of the app include:
- Social Media – The superintendent’s twitter feed that includes posts that highlight the school district.
- Translation Feature – To help ensure families with language needs get access to content.
- Alerts – This includes notifications about upcoming meetings and workshops.
- Meet the Staff – Parents can read bio information on staff who work in the district office. They can also get in touch with staff members directly from the app.
- Program Information – Parents can get access to information about important resources when they become available, including broadband benefits, federal student aid information, health screening information and much more.
- Information about Individual Schools – Including elementary, middle and high schools.
- Student Section – Students can tap into the app’s student folder to find helpful resources such as financial aid information, educational seminars and more.
The NYC District 31 Staten Island app is managed by a DOE team that includes Wilson, her deputy superintendent, a family leadership coordinator and family support coordinator. The last update for the app, which was the translation update featuring over 100 translations, came out in December 2021. There are currently approximately 640 users.
“Educators can’t do this work without parents,” said Wilson. “Parents are our partners, and they have to know what’s happening. During the pandemic when we had to quickly shift from in-person learning to remote, you needed real-time information. The app allows us to do that.”