Mobile Apps for Schools – The Story of Beaverton High School

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Public High School leverages their mobile app to improve communication with students and families, as well as for emergency notifications

Beaverton High School, just outside of Portland, Oregon, is the oldest public high school in the state of Oregon that’s still in its original location and building (where it’s resided for over 100 years). While the school may be historic, the school’s use of mobile technology to improve communication between families, students, and faculty is as modern as could be.

“We were the first high school in our school district to develop a smartphone application,” says Andrew Robinson, Vice Principal.  “We are always innovating at BHS.”

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Beaverton’s mobile journey began three years ago, when school administration recognized they needed to find ways to improve communication with students and their families. Brian Sheets, CEO of PRIA Technologies, was introduced to BHS Principal Anne Erwin, and a brainstorming session quickly ensued. The school had previously relied on the BHS website and an internal school messenger system that could be used to send phone calls and emails. Now the idea of having a smartphone application was raised.

“At BHS, we create as many student-centered experiences as possible and this is an example of that,” says Mr. Robinson. “Under the guidance of marketing teacher Katy Robinson and Mr. Sheets, BHS students worked collaboratively to create the design of our smartphone app.”

The school’s mobile application was soon built on the Bizness Apps platform for both Apple and Android users. The school then set out to market the application in an effort to get it into the hands of as many students, families, and faculty as possible. “Our Principal sends weekly email updates to families that often include a link to the app, it’s posted on our website, it’s in our e-signatures, and we also have posters prominently placed it in the main office,” says Mr. Robinson. “Some of the posters have a QR code that, when scanned, bring users right to the app store for downloading.”

The school’s efforts were rewarded – the app has now been downloaded over 1,100 times and maintains a 4+ rating in the App Store.

Today the school leverages their app’s push notification functionality to send messages directly to the phones of their students and their families. The app also includes school news, contact information, the option to join the school’s mailing list, and information on athletics and alumni events.

“It’s really served as a practical tool,” says Mr. Robinson. “For example, I’ll send out a push notification saying ‘Seniors, remember to bring your resumes tomorrow,’ in preparation for a resume presentation. We’ll also use push notifications in an emergency situation to alert people.  If the campus is in a lock down, that’s one way we’ll let people know so they don’t come onto campus.”

Beaverton High School serves as a perfect example of an organization that’s adopting their communication strategies to the demands of the stakeholders they serve. “I would recommend a mobile app to other schools,” says Robinson. “These days schools need multiple avenues to get information to people.”

To view the Beaverton High School app, please visit PreviewYourApp.com and enter App Code “BeavertonHS.”

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