Among the gifts approved by the Highland Park ISD Board of Trustees at Tuesday’s meeting was $11,000 from our friends at Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, which is underwriting development of the school district’s mobile app.
District spokeswoman Helen Williams said development of the app is being done by a Virginia-based company called Willow Tree Apps, at a cost of $42,000. The district got things started last August by paying the firm $13,000, but Briggs Freeman is paying the bulk of the cost. The $11,000 approved Tuesday was just a portion of the real-estate brokerage’s $26,000 commitment, which is being paid in installments. The district will pay the remaining $3,000, with the goal of launching the app by the start of the 2014-15 school year.
The app, which will be free to HPISD parents, will interface with Skyward Family Access, a comprehensive student-management system that allows parents to track grades and attendance, input medical information, and pay for food in cafeterias, among other tasks. The app will also provide access to school calendars, faculty directories, and the district’s e-newsletter.
“We really want parents to know what’s going on with their kids,” Williams said.
Williams said she and her staff shopped around before signing on with Willow Tree; they even looked at some free apps, but decided they weren’t up to Highland Park ISD’s standards.
“You can get a free app,” Williams said, “but it just doesn’t do anything.”
Click through for a summary of the other gifts approved Tuesday:
The Armstrong Bradfield Preschool Association gave $39,000 to Bradfield Elementary School. It will go toward $24,400 worth of instructional supplies, $10,000 worth of supplemental pay for a math tutor, and $4,600 worth of miscellaneous expenses, including professional development, speakers, and furniture.
Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty donated $3,200 to refurbish the scoreboards in the four elementary schools’ gymnasiums.
Benchmark Bank donated $1,000 for general expenses related to the district’s centennial celebration.
The Highland Park Education Foundation donated $3,750 to the Best Buddies program and $2,000 to the Academic Decathlon program. The latter also received $1,000 from the Academic Scots Booster Club to cover expenses related to the state meet.
Hyer Elementary received a $1,000 gift from an anonymous donor to pay for staff development.
Jeffrey Olyan wrote a $500 check to pay for the care of animals in the Armstrong Elementary science lab.