Ed­u­ca­tion app needs fund­ing

Cov­ing­ton mom launches par­ent-teacher com­mu­ni­ca­tion app, Kick­starter cam­paign

The Covington News - - LOCAL - KAYLA ROBINS krobins@cov­news.com

A Cov­ing­ton busi­ness owner and sin­gle mother of four felt a dis­con­nect be­tween par­ents and teach­ers when her chil­dren kept bring­ing home notes cov­ered in mud or not at all, so she took mat­ters into her own hands.

Les­lie Hau­gen launched a crowd-fund­ing cam­paign through Kick­starter to al­low her to de­velop TAPP: Teacher and Par­ent Por­tal, a par­ent-teacher com­mu­ni­ca­tion mo­bile phone ap­pli­ca­tion she de­signed. The Kick­starter cam­paign has a goal to re­ceive $25,000 by June 28 for the app to launch be­fore the 20142015 school year.

“As a mother of four, I’ve strug­gled with send­ing notes to school and en­sur­ing they ac­tu­ally get there,” Hau­gen said on the Kick­starter site. “I’ve also been com­pletely sur­prised to learn of events we’d missed, home­work that was not turned in and cor­re­spon­dences the teach­ers had sent home with my lit­tle an­gels as­sum­ing they would reach me.

“I’ve de­cided to take mat­ters into my own hands and cre­ate a more stream­lined process for send­ing my com­mu­ni­ca­tions to teach­ers.”

Hau­gen, a web­site de­vel­oper and graphic de­signer who sends her chil­dren to East New­ton El­e­men­tary School, cre­ated the app to al­low par­ents and teach­ers to com­mu­ni­cate di­rectly, whether about home­work and project due-dates, sick days or real-time no­ti­fi­ca­tions when mes­sages are read.

Teach­ers can post home­work and send no­ti­fi­ca­tions about par­ent-teacher con­fer­ences and field trips to ev­ery­one or con­tact a sin­gle par­ent.

“(My chil­dren) used to change the word­ing on notes so I would think I was sign­ing some­thing I wasn’t,” Hau­gen said.

The app also cuts down on paper-waste and gives teach­ers a more con­fi­den­tial and ef­fec­tive way to send home sen­si­tive mes­sages.

“My plan is to cre­ate the ap­pli­ca­tion and dis­trib­ute it with an easy-to-fol­low on­line guide to set it up for teach­ers and schools and charge a nom­i­nal us­age fee of $1.99 to par­ents as they down­load the ap­pli­ca­tion, which would help with up­dat­ing the soft­ware in the long term.”

TAPP will be free to ed­u­ca­tors and avail­able to down­load on both the iPhone and An­droid. And while par­ents will be asked to pay for a down­load, they only have to pay once and can man­age any num­ber of chil­dren through the same por­tal.

How­ever, mes­sages and no­ti­fi­ca­tions are not the only as­pect of TAPP that Hau­gen wants to in­cor­po­rate if she gets the nec­es­sary fund­ing.

“I also had been stricken many times with em­pa­thy for those who ex­pe­ri­enced emer­gency sit­u­a­tions in the class­room that we hear about far too fre­quently,” Hau­gen said. “I feel if teach­ers had a one-stop, easy ‘panic but­ton’ type of safety mea­sure, that the safety of them and their stu­dents in their care would be much greater.”

She in­cluded a panic but­ton in the app that can be ac­cessed with a tap and slide to en­ter a code that would no­tify ad­min­is­tra­tion or se­cu­rity of an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion re­quir­ing as­sis­tance in the class­room.

Many class­rooms have such but­tons built into ei­ther walls, desks or tele­phones, Hau­gen said, but what hap­pens when the emer­gency oc­curs and the teacher is with stu­dents at re­cess or not close enough to those built in emer­gency con­tacts in the class­room? Cell phones are usu­ally kept in a pocket and can be reached wher­ever the teacher is, which may po­ten­tially be some­where in hid­ing dur­ing an emer­gency.

“If the teacher isn’t in that area of the room at the time and can’t move around, it’s re­ally a use­less fea­ture,” Hau­gen said. “Most people, in gen­eral, have their phones on them or within arms’ reach at all times.”

Hau­gen must re­ceive the fund­ing she asked for be­fore June 28 to be able to de­velop the app. Kick­starter cam­paigns usu­ally of­fer in­cen­tives for do­na­tions as a thank you, which are listed on the site ac­cord­ing to the level of fund­ing each per­son gives.

Visit Hau­gen’s cam­paign at kick­starter. com/ projects/ 285984019/ tapp- is- a- par­ent-teacher-com­mu­ni­ca­tion-in­no­va­tion or her busi­ness web­site at lesliehau­gen.com.

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