LOS ANGELES (Nov. 14, 2017) – The Los Angeles Unified Board of Education voted unanimously to approve Board Vice President Nick Melvoin’s resolution to transform district communications with a new smartphone app for the second largest school district.
Among the initial functions of the app would be an overhaul of antiquated robo-calls and paper surveys, opting for a more modern system of push notifications to alert parents and school staff of any relevant updates, such as emergency notifications, school closures, and calendar updates.
To better understand the challenges and opportunities that parents face in communicating with L.A. Unified and schools, Melvoin has hosted several roundtable discussions with L.A. Unified parents and community members who would most benefit from a modernization of district communications.
“The goal of soliciting input was to make this an app for parents, by parents,” said Melvoin. “We are ushering in a new era of innovation and transparency by making key information more accessible to parents and caretakers so they may have a louder voice in the education of their kids.”
Board President Mónica García co-sponsored Melvoin’s resolution, citing the need for technology to increase parent engagement.
“Technology is part of the solution to get to 100 percent graduation!” said García. “This initiative will increase opportunities for parents to have access to accurate, useful, and relevant information for their student’s success. Parents are partners in L.A. Unified.”
“I’m pleased to work with my colleagues on this important step to make our District more accessible to parents and stakeholders more accustomed to accessing data through mobile devices,” said Board Member Dr. Richard Vladovic, who co-sponsored the resolution along with the Board President. “I believe strongly in transparency, and making information more accessible and more convenient for our parents is critical to the long-term sustainability of our District.”
Along with families and community members, the L.A. Unified Information Technology Division has played an integral role in the ideation of this app.
“Providing tools to access information easily and securely is a major part of the service we provide to students, parents and employees,” said Shahryar Khazei, the District’s chief information officer. “Doing so requires that we stay at the forefront of technological advances, identifying the best and most cost-effective solutions.”
Two L.A. Unified parents spoke publicly at today’s Board Meeting about the need for a more modern system of communication with the District.
“As a first-generation immigrant and product of L.A. Unified, I remember the struggle my parents had communicating with the district regarding records and any other issues that came up,” said Dora Khoubian, a parent of two L.A. Unified students. “Modernizing communication can help immigrant parents better navigate any issues that come up in the district. Mine is just one story of the lack of equity immigrant students and their families experience regarding communication.”
Parshant Jain, an L.A. Unified parent and technology expert, is excited about the District’s effort to transform communications with parents.
“In my experience, every successful initiative in technology is built on transparency, and I feel like parents were included in this process,” said Jain. “I look forward to using this app to access school and District information in the palm of my hand whenever I have a question or concern.”
Nick Melvoin is proud to serve the dynamic communities of District 4 as the Vice President of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education. Nick’s election to the Board in May of 2017 follows a career fighting for our city’s schoolchildren. He believes that together, with the right leadership, we can ensure that every student in Los Angeles has the opportunity to succeed. Los Angeles Unified Board District 4 includes the communities of Brentwood, Del Rey, East Hollywood, Encino, Hollywood, Mar Vista, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Playa Del Rey, Playa Vista, Tarzana, Topanga, Westchester, West Hollywood, Westwood, Woodland Hills & Venice.
Contact: Ally Salvaria, Communications Manager
Phone: (213) 241-4259