When most parents send their elementary-and middle-school-aged children off to school, they rely on school websites and notes in their children’s backpack to keep them informed. But one Winnipeg school has changed all that. Now, Winnipeg Mennonite Elementary & Middle Schools (WMEMS) parents can download a school app to stay in the loop with their children’s world.
Called WMEMS Connect, a beta version of the app was rolled out last fall, and parents have been testing it out as a school-to-home communication tool.
“The way people are communicating has evolved so much due to digital trends, but that change doesn’t seem to have been reflected in many school systems,” says Dina Chudyk, the school’s director of community relations and marketing, adding, “At WMEMS, we want to use all the technologies available to help our school families be involved with what is happening at their child’s school. As far as we know, WMEMS Connect is the first app of its kind to be launched in Manitoba.”
To aid busy parents, the app includes campus and classroom calendars to reflect schoolwide or classroom-specific events, and reminders for homework and fundraising deadlines, as well as staff biographies, links to classroom-specific websites, direct access to the school’s online resources, a parent portal for student-specific information, opt-in push notifications to remind parents of upcoming early dismissals, hot lunch days, in-service days and much more.
“Thanks to the app, we can virtually pop into our child’s day at any time. It’s like being there!” says school parent Wendy Swanston, adding, “Instead of asking. ‘What did you do today at school?’—and perhaps not gleaning much information—we can ask, ‘What did you discover in the playground today during science class?’ and have an opportunity to engage a more fruitful conversation with our children.”
WMEMS Connect is available on the Apple App Store and also on Google Play for Android devices. The school will continue to refine the app based on user experience in order to create an optimal tool for school-to-home communication.
“Keeping parents connected with what is happening at their child’s school is so essential,” says Chudyk. “What could be better than having access to all the information you need about your child’s education—essentially their whole world—in the palm of your hands?”
WMEMS is a faith-based independent school with two campuses in Winnipeg that strives to provide a quality, Christ-centred education to early-and-middle-year students, creating a foundation for success in life.