By MIKE COURSON
Great Bend Post
Parenting is difficult enough. USD 428 is trying to make the job a little easier with the launch of the SafeArrival feature via the SchoolMessenger app. District Public Information Director Andrea Bauer said the feature will make reporting absences easier and more efficient.
"The app is something that's been available to our parents for a couple of years," she said, "but this SafeArrival adds a feature for Great Bend Middle School and Great Bend High School families to actually report absences in advance using the convenient app on their smartphone."
Bauer estimates 50-60 percent of district parents are already using the SchoolMessenger app. The SafeArrival feature will be activated Wednesday and put into use for Thursday's launch. First-time users of the app can create an account using the same email used in Skyward. SchoolMessenger also has a website or an automated phone system. The app, Bauer said, is another convenient way to report absences.
"We want to make sure our kids get to school safely, and they're accounted for, and we know where they're at," she said. "This will speed up that process of being able to verify who's in the building, where we need to reach out to families to make contact, and it will even automate some of that family contact to make sure families are aware, and the school is aware of where our kids are."
Depending on the type of information being shared, the district can communicate with parents using the app via email, text, phone, or push notifications from the app. Bauer said now is a good time to try the app for those who have not already.
"We want to encourage all our middle school and high school families, in advance of the launch, to download the SchoolMessenger app," she said. "We are testing the SafeArrival program for the remaining nine weeks, just to get an idea if it works for families. So this is a test run. We're hoping if all goes well, we'll continue on with it for next school year."
District staff will assist those interested in using the SchoolMessenger app on a Support Night planned for Wednesday, March 22 in the Great Bend High School from 6-8 p.m.