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October 10, 2017 10:03 PM

Sioux Falls Schools Get KiNVOLVED

Finding out if your kid is in class or not is about to get easier. The Sioux Falls School District is trying out a new communication app in select buildings. We talked with the district to find out how this could boost attendance. 

One of the goals of the Sioux Falls School District is to make sure more kids get to class.  After learning about a company called KiNVOLVED this summer, the district decided to try out a new app to connect the school to the student's personal lives.

"On that app, our teachers will be able to communicate directly with home. They'll be able to communicate with mom or dad. Or if mom or dad want us to, aunt, uncle, neighbor, cousin. Just to kind of put a whole village behind our students," Sioux Falls School District Superintendent Brian Maher said.  

Maher says that village is crucial in helping kids succeed.

The schools they chose to try out the KiNVO pilot program are: Hayward, Hawthorne and Laura B. Anderson Elementary Schools as well as a middle and high school. The elementary schools are those that take part in the Summer Climb program.

"Those are high poverty schools. Low performing schools. So we thought we'd try to provide a little extra help there. And Whittier Middle School and Washington High School are two of the schools that those students are fed into. So we thought that was a natural next step to look at," Maher said. 

The app will be able to send messages about attendance to parents and teachers.  It even includes a translation feature for families who don't speak English.

The data collected will then be examined to see what's happening to hurt attendance and how to change that.

"We'll be able to compare does attendance improve, stay the same, or get worse in those five schools as compared to our other schools," Maher said. 

Those results will determine whether the school district stays connected to KiNVO. This partnership is costing the district $37,795 for this year.

The app should launch at the end of this month or in early November.

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