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July 06th, 2020

actual usd 480 logo ELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

There have been many changes going on throughout USD 480 and most recently, changes and updates were made to the district’s USD 480 smartphone app. 

Work on the app began in 2019, according to USD 480 Director of Technology Rusty Tuman. 

“Our new app was part of a package we purchased from Apptegy that included a new website.  In March of 2019 we started working with the team from Apptegy designing and building the new app, both went live in August of 2019,” Tuman said. “We provided the team from Apptegy our ideas on design and aesthetics as well the functions we wanted the app to accomplish.  We had many sessions back and forth on what we wanted versus what could be done and the team from Apptegy was really great at taking all that information and coming up with the app and website we have today.  All the technical work came from Apptegy as part of the package we purchased.”

Tuman added discussion of making updates to the app began in 2018. 

“In the spring of 2018 we begin to discuss the state of our then current website and app.  We discussed many features we currently did not have with both of these systems and where we wanted to be in a year,” Tuman said.  “One of the items in this discussion was that the app at that time was not being utilized by the public or our team. Our app, along with our new Web site, launched in August of 2019.  The app displays the ‘Live Feed’ and ‘News’ sections of each Web site, you can view building events/calendars as well as dining menus.  If you turn on notifications for the app, you will receive announcements including school weather updates and other important USD480 information. Currently, a notification through our app is the main source of communication for all weather-related school announcements.”

Upon looking at the app’s different features, Tuman said it was determined that a full overhaul was needed. 

“It was really a total overhaul that was needed, there were parts of the app that weren’t being used and we also wanted to make sure there was the option for people to have the push notifications for the more immediate stuff we wanted them to know,” Tuman said. “The package the Apptegy team offered to use includes everything that’s on the Web site, which works hand in hand with the app so we’re not having to upload stuff to two sites. It’s easier accessibility and we wanted to make sure the app has the different features everyone wanted.”

With the improvements made to the app, Tuman said there are many benefits people will see. 

“They will be able to see building specific as well as district events through the calendar section of the app.  Dining menus are available for each school. The push notification feature is also vitale and is only used for urgent or important information.  Many other features available on the websites are also accessible through the app,” Tuman said. “We were really happy with the result of all the work done with the app, there was great communication between everyone as far as what we wanted with the design and things like that, so that was great. The last two weather incidents especially, we were grateful to have everything ready.”

Tuman added some other changes to the app could come at some point in the future. 

“We don’t have have any immediate plans to change anything right now, we’re really happy with it at the moment, but one of the great things is if there are some things we want to add or some things we want to change, the Apptegy team is great as far as communication about that,” Tuman said. “But at this time, like I said, we’re very happy with the app right now.”

Tuman also offered some encouragement for people to download the app for themselves. 

“Currently, a notification through our app is the main source of communication for all weather-related school and urgent announcements. To download, go to your phone or tablet app store, search ‘Liberal USD 480 to find our district app.  When installing or opening for the first time please choose ‘allow notifications’ to receive all push announcements,” Tuman said. “If there was anyone who did not receive the announcements from the distinct about our late start Jan. 17 or the school cancelation due to weather Jan. 28 the app would have been a great way to get these notifications as early as they were posted to the public.  If some of your readers have the app but did not receive notifications for these two events they might check their ‘allow notifications’ settings for the app on their device.”

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