Hey parents! Mitchell School District has a new website and mobile app – Mitchell Republic | Hot Mobile Press

MITCHELL — When it comes to juggling schedules, sports and activity practices, and changes to daily routines at the Mitchell School District, communication between district leaders and patrons is critical to ensuring school days run smoothly.

Thanks to an updated district website and the launch of a new and improved district mobile app, that communication should now be smoother than ever, according to Mitchell School District officials.

“Nowadays everyone has a cell phone and is on the go,” said Levi Hohn, Mitchell School District’s director of technology. “It was just something we needed. We did some planning ahead of time and developed a roadmap of where we wanted to go, what content we wanted to show and how we wanted to show it.”

The new site replaces the previous iteration, which was found at www.themitchellkernels.com. The previous website has been abandoned in favor of the new, more modern looking website at www.mitchell.k12.sd.us. It has a new, streamlined look with better access to information and a live stream of news and announcements, while still providing access to the features users have come to expect over the years.

Along with a new mobile app, the Mitchell School District launched its new website earlier this summer.

Screenshot of the Mitchell School District website

The site, which has been up and running since earlier this summer, improves both the site’s form and function and its ability to get information out to the public, Hohn said.

“We wanted a better way to express the school culture and what’s happening and what’s going on. The website and app are both very mobile-friendly, and we wanted to make it easy for parents, students, and community members to learn what’s going on in the Mitchell School District,” said Hohn. “Whether it’s staff contact information, upcoming events or activities, the lunch and breakfast menus, or even school supplies lists.”

The site includes a news section as well as a live feed that simulates the look and feel of social media. Here, students, parents, and staff can keep up to date with announcements that have been approved directly by school officials.

It provides a safe place to get up-to-date information from the county quickly and regularly. This feature allows students who otherwise don’t have access to social media to keep up to date with schedule changes or other important announcements.

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The new Mitchell School District website and mobile app both offer a live stream feed of news and announcements from district officials.

Screenshot of the Mitchell School District website

“I’m happy about the live feed,” said Hohn. “It’s versatile. Some people don’t allow their kids to access social media and this is the best of both worlds. If they are not on social media, they can still receive our information. That’s really nice for me.”

The functionality of the new website is reflected in the mobile app, which is available for both Android and Apple devices via Google Play or the Apple Store. Links to both versions of the app can be found on the new website.

The new mobile app replaces a previous version that wasn’t as mature and flexible, Hohn said.

“We had one before, but it wasn’t that well developed. It was missing some features like the live feed, and the calendar and events section was a bit more difficult, a bit clumsy, while this one is a bit sleeker and more modern. It’s easier to work with for our staff and students,” said Hohn.

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The new Mitchell School District mobile app, designed to better connect district patrons with official information from the district, where available for both Android and Apple devices.

Hunter Dunteman / Mitchell Republic

Ease of use is an important factor in the effectiveness of digital communications, Hohn said. The easier the technology is to use, the more people are likely to use it, and the same goes for behind-the-scenes features. Gone are the days when someone had to be an IT professional to implement functionality on a website, and the new website will give teachers and students easier access to put their own content online.

“In the backend, you don’t have to be a web designer or HTML expert. We can differentiate it with permission levels if we want to include students,” Hohn said. “For example, the high school journalism class. They have some great stories and great content and they can write content and we can approve that or a teacher can approve that. The most important thing is that children can participate.”

The new technology will get its real test when the new school year begins on August 17, but school officials have occasionally conducted tests to see how effectively the system is doing what it’s supposed to do. So far, the website and mobile app are performing as expected.

Mitchell School District Superintendent Joe Graves said ever-changing technology can be frustrating for users, but these new systems seem to avoid the usual pitfalls.

“I’m one of those people who, once I’ve got used to a certain technology like email, every time the company changes it even slightly, I get angry for a week. I always struggle with change,” Graves said. “That was an exception. I immediately liked the new website and the new information.”

Graves said he sent test messages through the live feed feature and found it easier to navigate and use. This ensures a smoother process when announcing class cancellations due to weather or other information that students, staff and parents need to get through quickly.

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The new Mitchell School District mobile app is now available on Google Play for Android and the Apple Store for Apple devices.

Hunter Dunteman / Mitchell Republic

The first step on the way to the 2022/23 school year will be the official Back to School Day on August 3rd, when the students will receive their timetables, have their picture taken and, if they wish, be assigned a locker. Also leading up to the first day of school there will be a marketing campaign informing parents via email and SMS about the new website and mobile app and how best to use it to stay up to date with what’s new in the district.

Hohn said he’s heard positive feedback from district staff, and he and Graves hope other district sponsors will find the upgrades an improvement over the previous system.

Communication is vital to a smoothly running school system, Graves said, and the website and mobile app should be a great tool for keeping everyone on the same page.

“I hope that all of the different people in our district will become more and more communicative about what’s going on because (this new system) makes it easier and allows us to do it more professionally. I’m looking forward to it,” Graves said.

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