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Ohio County Schools App Getting the Word Out

WHEELING — The new Ohio County Schools app is getting the word out about happenings in the school system.

The app has been up and running for about a month, and feedback thus far has been positive, according to Gabe Wells, director of communication for Ohio County Schools. It is not known yet how many people already have downloaded the Ohio County app.

It was crafted by Apptegy, an Arkansas-based software firm focusing on the development of marketing strategies for schools. Ohio County Schools paid $8,000 for the initial development and start-up up of the app, which also included the development and launch of a new Ohio County Schools website, said JoJo Shay, innovation coordinator for Ohio County Schools.

She said the school district will continue to pay Apptegy $20,000 a year to maintain the app and website.

Ohio County Schools previously used School Messenger as a centralized communication network to disseminate information by a phone call blast to school district subscribers, and that had cost the school district $13,000 annually, according to Shay. The Apptegy app replaces School Messenger.

While the School Messenger call-out system was open only to the Ohio County Schools families and staff, the new OCS app is open to the public and the community and isn’t restricted.

Subscribers can choose on the app from which schools they want to receive push alerts on their phone.

Last week, subscribers to Steenrod Elementary School information learned the kindergarten class’s baby chicks had hatched from their eggs.

There were reminders to register for the Ohio County Schools summer session, that the Wheeling Park Players would be performing their spring musical during the weekend, and that the WPHS baseball team was heading to the state finals.

Board of education meetings are no longer being streamed live over Facebook since the Apptegy technology was launched. Instead, subscribers will get a notification on their phone that a live-stream meeting is about to start and can be watched via the Ohio County Schools website or through the OCS Video YouTube channel. If they aren’t able to watch then, the meeting is archived and can be viewed later.

Administrators at the school buildings are able to immediately update news about their schools and send out alerts. Shay acknowledged some are using the app more than others.

Shay said as administrators become more comfortable with the technology, changes will occur.

She explained the new app is a more efficient way to disseminate the new information. Previously, the administrator wanting to post information would have to post separately on the school’s website, Twitter, Facebook and any other relevant social media platforms.

Now they can program one post to go to all platforms simultaneously.

“We encourage the public to download the app,” Shay said. “It is a quick way to get our information as we are putting it out.”

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