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Salem school district unveils new mobile app

SALEM — The Salem school district is working to keep up with the latest technology when it comes to communicating with parents, students and the public.

The district recently introduced a mobile application for smartphones that helps keep people up to date on the latest news, events, and announcements from the district’s schools.

Rather than relying primarily on the school websites, the information on the Salem School District mobile application draws heavily from the district’s social media platforms.

The application can be downloaded through the Apple and Google app stores by searching for “Salem School District,” according to district web developer David Halpin.

“The thing about the mobile app is that it really is just a vehicle to present some of the communication changes we have undergone over the past four months or so,” said Halpin. “The days of people coming to our websites just because we built it and put it out there are fading away. People are on social media and they are on their mobile apps and we need to keep up with the times.”

As the district has worked to improve communications with the public over the past year, Halpin said the schools have increased activity on their Facebook pages and many of the district principals now have their own Twitter accounts.

“All of that can be brought together in a single device,” said Halpin. “We like to call it a content aggregator.”

When the app is downloaded, people can then enter the schools they want information about through the app.

The homepage of the app features top stories from those schools, many of which are drawn from Facebook and Twitter.

The app also has a school directory, lunch menus, and a calendar, among other functions. Halpin said more features, such as a section for high school students and more information on school sports will be added in the near future.

“We are very excited about it,” said Halpin. “We think it will be a real boon to our communication efforts.”

School board chairman Patricia Corbett said she was impressed by the app.

“While you were talking, I downloaded it, checked out my son’s bus route and lunch menu, and added three dates to my calendar,” she said.

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