MIDLOTHIAN - School districts across the state are turning to phone apps to communicate with parents who are always on the go, giving them access to school-related information from grades to special events.
"It's nice to know that I don't have to wait to go get a computer to check on my daughter's school and see how things are going on there," said Marni White, a Midlothian ISD parent.
Midlothian ISD was the first school district in the state to launch the free app, called School Connect. They rolled it out in January and so far, nearly 3,000 people have downloaded it. District-approved ads and sponsors pay for the service.
"[Parents] can check student grades," said Dennis King, Midlothian ISD's webmaster. "There's homework online where they can check future assignments and a push notification system, which is a great feature."
The push notification feature alerted parents last April when tornadoes touched down in North Texas.
"We were able to push the information out to our parents, real time, as to different procedures we had on each campus and what we we are doing to keep their kids safe," said Midlothian ISD spokeswoman Jana Hawthorne.
Crowley ISD is also using School Connect, and DISD plans to launch its own version in two weeks.
Nick Migliorino, School Connect's president, told News 8 in a Skype interview from his home base in Norman, Oklahoma, that the goal of the app is to reach more parents and students. For the educator, the app can also be used by districts to stop bullying.
"The key is communication," Migliorino said. "Being able to communicate with those people who have the ability to make a difference and to intervene."
The new version of the app will include a section where students and parents can access phone numbers and e-mail addresses to alert the district about a problem.
"It's bigger than schools," Migliorino said. "It's about helping each other and the community."