Parents and family members no longer have to log onto a computer to check for school closures in Umatilla and Echo school districts, because both now have an application that will notify parents via their smart phones.

Both the Umatilla and Echo school districts launched their own district apps this week, which were developed by School Messenger, the districts’ parent notification system, with assistance from the InterMountain Education Service District. Both apps will allow students, parents and community members to stay up to date with what is happening in each district.

Umatilla’s app will feature news, a calendar, a directory, links for particular schools, STEM Academy after school program information and a way for parents to check their students’ grades right from their cell phones.

Echo’s app will feature a number of the same items, in addition to some others. Some of those features include school calendars, school lunch payments, student grades, district news, a full directory and information on the school’s preschool program.

Superintendents of both districts said they are excited about the technological advancement for the benefit of students and their families.

“I am so excited that our district has such a fantastic new tool to reach out to our parents and community members,” Umatilla School District Heidi Sipe said in a press release. “We have a number of parents and community members without access to a computer, but they have a smartphone. So our app opens up opportunities for us to reach those folks.”

Echo School District Superintendent Raymon Smith said in a press release that he is excited that students, parents and community members will now have access to school information, regardless of their location.

“The Echo School District is always looking for new ways to improve our communication, and we’re excited to have another tool to communicate with parents and the community,” he said. “The exciting thing about a mobile app is that it allows parents and community members access to information about the schools whenever they want, wherever they are.”

Through both apps, parents will be able to receive “push notifications,” meaning they’ll receive instant alerts on their mobile devices when important information about school, such as a closure or school emergencies, are released. Both apps will also be updated regularly all year so those who download it will always have the latest information about the district.

Both apps, which are titled “Umatilla SD” and “Echo SD,” are free to download for both Apple and Android mobile devices.

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