Bryant goes mobile

Josie Hill

Student uses the Bryant Public Schools App | photo Madeline Colclasure


The Bryant school district has created a new app called Bryant Public Schools that smart phone users can download for free. It features news, sports and even the lunch menu.

ParentLink developed the app, which is the system the district uses for student’s grades on Pinnacle. ParentLink built the application using links to the Bryant Schools’ website, social media, and data in their student information system.

The majority of parents and students have smart phones, so families who don’t have computer access at home, and those whose home language is not English, can now stay connected to the school.


“Part of my role is to help our schools communicate with parents and the community,” Devin Sherrill, director of communications said. “With the app, mobile device users can more easily stay in touch with what’s going on at school.”

The majority of the content updates automatically, such as the news, lunch menu and calendars icons. Sherrill can add new icons with specific content when needed.

Opening the application, it brings the user to the home page. The home page features a rotating carousel of the three most popular stories at the top of the screen, with three of the total 11 icons people can launch on the bottom, Called News, Calendar and Athletics. Users can swipe from right to left to view the other eight buttons, which are the Schools, Lunch Menu, Student Info, Notifications, Twitter, Facebook, Superintendent and Settings icons.

The app has a feature to alert students and parents if a grade drops below a certain level. Over 3,900 people have downloaded the app. Almost 3,000 were Apple and around 900 were Google downloads.

“The more engaged parents and students are in the learning process, the more successful the student becomes.” Sherrill said. “The app provides an easy way to keep in touch and know what is happening in the schools.”

The News icon has multiple features for owners to enjoy. Showing eight stories at once, and then allowing people to scroll down to view more, the news button ranges stories from most recent to nine months ago. Users can adjust the settings of the app to include stories from just one specific school or the whole school district. Since the app includes information from Facebook and Twitter, owners can enable or disable those features from the settings. Also, when viewing one certain story, they can swipe from story to story to have easy-access to each one.

The second icon on the main page is the Calendar icon. It features events that are going on district wide and users can narrow the search down for just certain schools. Users can adjust the view of the calendar by month or by a list of weeks. They also can view a certain event by tapping it, which allows them to discover more information on the event.

“I got the app to see when the football games were and what days we’re out of school,” senior Jacie McMahan said. “It would be cool if you could view your grades on it.”

The technology department is working with ParentLink to update the schedules and data for the new school year. The app does show student assignments and events that are coming up.

The Athletics icon shows sport stats, schedule of games and even player’s rankings. Users can stay updated on the scores of any game they choose by adjusting which sports sites they want to see and search for new ones. The sports included that users can change are: varsity and junior varsity boys and girls basketball, varsity football, varsity and junior varsity boys and girls soccer, varsity and junior varsity girls volleyball, and varsity wrestling. Owners of the app can also change what sports and or schools they desire to look at. This section also features the schedule information of the sports, the roster of the players, and the rankings.

The first icon on the second page of the app is the Schools icon. It lists all of the districts, high schools, middle schools and elementary schools in the Bryant school district. Users can touch one of the schools’ name and it will transition to a new page featuring brief information on the school. That also gives the schools’ phone address, website, staff, teachers and at Bryant High School, information on Principal Jay Pickering.

The next icon is the Lunch Menu that shows what students will have for lunch everyday in all schools, since every school has the same lunch on the same day. When users first click the icon it has to load 271 KB to read the page but once it loads it features a calendar that the owner can zoom in on to read the food for any specific day. There is a side bar on the right side of the page that shows the prices for students’ lunch. It also has a new “Did You Know?” fast fact inside the calendar every month. The whole page is set with a themed background that changes every month.

“I would like see an option for parents to check account balances and pay for school meals through the app,” Sherrill said. “One of our main reasons for building the app was to include access to attendance, grades, and assignments.”

The sixth button is the Student Info that lets users personalize the app. Users type in the student’s ID number and password they use on Pinnacle so then they can view more personalized information like notifications. This section allows app owners to check the student’s upcoming assignments, classes, and their attendance. If the user wants to log out of a certain student’s account, they would go to settings, and select log out under miscellaneous.

“To access your ParentLink account on your app, tap the icon labeled Student Info. Log in using your Student ID and 6-digit birth date as your password,” Sherrill said. “For example, August 26, 2001 would be 082601.”

After the Student Info button, there is the Notifications icon, that notifies users when the information they’re subscribed to are updated. When users touch the icon, it brings them to a new page that shows all of the new and old notifications the user has acquired.

The next two buttons are the Twitter and Facebook icons. They send users to either one of the two social media sites that’s showing the Bryant Schools’ page. On those viewers can see the latest tweets, posts and information from each.

The tenth icon is titled Superintendent, that tells users information about Superintendent Randy Rutherford.

The last button the app has is the Settings icon. Users have the option to follow certain schools so then they can obtain information from them. Some of the settings they can alternate are the Alerts, the New Message notification that they can turn on or off, Select languages which has the choice of many different languages users can choose from and the Auto-translate feature.