A new app for iPads, Android smartphones and other mobile devices will allow students at Libertyville and Vernon Hills high schools to check grades, collect assignments, get athletic schedules and perform other tasks on the go.
But the app, which was unveiled at Monday's District 128 school board meeting, isn't just for students. It'll let parents and community members look up teachers' phone numbers or email addresses, review lunch menus, watch videos from school events and access other districts resources.
Superintendent Prentiss Lea called the app "historic." His enthusiasm was echoed by other officials.
"I think this is one of the neatest thing I've seen in a long time," school board President Patrick Groody said. "From a communications standpoint, this is huge."
After months of preparation, the app debuted Monday in Apple's App Store for iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch devices. It's also available now for smartphones and tablets that run Android software.
People with smartphones or tablets that run other software can download the app at m.d128.org starting Wednesday.
Libertyville and Vernon Hills are among the first high schools in the country to have their own apps. In the Chicago area, Maple Park's Kaneland Unit District 302 and West Aurora School District 129 offer apps that are limited to communication with staff members.
Apps are becoming more commonplace at the college and university level. Northwestern University and Northern Illinois University are among the Chicago-area colleges with apps.
District 128's app was developed with Blackboard Mobile, a Washington, D.C., company that has created apps for high schools and colleges across the nation.
Highly customized for the district's needs, the app will continue to be modified as needs arise, said Mick Torres, the district's technology director.
Updates will be available for download via the website or the app stores.