The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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January 25, 2014

App a game-changer

CLINTON — Lori Kness is a Clinton Schools parent, and on one evening this week, her son wanted to know what was for lunch the next day. In the past, Kness would have had to log on to her family's desktop and visit the CCSD website.

But now, all Kness needs is to take out her smartphone and open the Clinton Schools app. Since Kness doubles as a mom and the district's administrative assistant to the superintendent, she sees benefits on both sides of this new, free technology.

"A lot of parents will call schools and ask what's happening that day, or when an event is going to be happening," Kness said. "All that information is there to look right there on the app."

Made official this month, people curious about menus, contacting teachers, viewing athletic schedules and other news coming out of the district can now have all of that information at the touch of a screen. Possible through a $1,340 anonymous donation to the district, Clinton contracted the services of QC Mobile Tech, a company that specializes in developing mobile software.

Jennifer Austin, president of the district's Parent Teacher Association, said members of her organization approached the school board in late September with the idea. She never thought the technology would be ready four months later.

"In October we were just tossing around some ideas," said Austin, who has two children at Whittier Elementary and a husband who's a middle school teacher. "In December, we were like 'Yeah, let's get this up and running.' It was that fast."

The PTA was prepared to budget for what it believed would be a two-year process to develop and pay for the technology. Austin said she was emboldened when Clinton Superintendent Deb Olson fully endorsed the PTA's idea and urged the group to continue working toward making the project a reality.

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