Busy parents, pre-teen kids, lots of after-school activities, homework ... where is the time?
When parents of Sudlow Intermediate School students face a time crunch, well, there's an app for that.
The app is the brainchild of Evan Mosier, lead teacher in technology, and the yearbook adviser at the Davenport school. Mosier got the idea for the app and found a way to secure it last summer.
"I look for ways to get students more engaged," said Mosier, a 2005 graduate of Davenport West High School who teaches on topics like digital citizenship and staying safe online. The app was "a dream of mine," he said, after he noticed schools in other areas had one.
The new Sudlow app, however, may be first one in the Quad-Cities. It is made possible by a company, A+ Apps, and costs $2,600 per year. Mosier has found individual sponsors for the app, so none of the funds come from the regular budget.
The app was launched at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, and by now, 283 families have downloaded it. It is available in both Android and iPhone formats.
Sudlow is the pilot program for individual school apps in the Davenport Community School District.
One parent who uses the app is Malavika Shrikhande, who has a daughter, Maitreyi, in eighth grade.
Cautious at first about downloading an app, Shrikhande said she looked into it and then did the download. "I love it," she said.
The app saves her time every day, Shrikhande said; it is like a virtual backpack. She can make food payments with the click of a button and see the lunch menu, which is important as Maitreyi only eats in the cafeteria on certain days.
"We check out the menu together, and then she decides which days to go," Shrikhande said.
The app essentially includes all the information one may find on the school website, according to the developer, Mark Zhuk. Zhuk is product manager for A+ Apps, based in Auburn, Washington.
Tools include a calendar with Sudlow events, Parent Portal, staff contacts for everyone who works at the school, lunch menus and other things.
There is a side menu with quick links, including to the Sudlow website, PTA, school district website and the district's academic calendar.
Some of the app's tools were developed with help from Sudlow's principal, Tonya Wilkins. Wilkins also is a parent of a student in intermediate school.
Often, she said, information between the school and parents, can be a "dark cloud" during the intermediate years. "Sometimes, you really have to search for information," she said.
Wilkins talked to her friends who have children of the same age and got suggestions, including for the district-wide academic calendar.
In addition to how much she appreciates the app, Wilkins said not everyone has a computer in the home but most do have a cellphone.
Recently, she said it was particularly useful when Sudlow went on a school lock-down. Parents were able to quickly get trusted information from school officials even as their children texted them about the lock-down.
One of the neatest aspects of the app, Mosier said, is to allow quick uploads of photos. When parents are out and about, and see a Sudlow student at an event, it can be quickly uploaded to the app and will be shared with the Sudlow school community.
Shrikhande enjoys that choice, and the next time she's out in the community with Maitreyi, she said she may do just that.