2 Texas teachers develop app to tame school dismissal
Many educators know school dismissal can be chaotic for both staff and parents, so two Texas teachers have come up with a mobile solution.
Jay Morales, a teacher coach in Dallas ISD, and Jesus Lopez, a bilingual coordinator in Denton ISD, have released an iOS app, iDismiss.
The tool was inspired by a spreadsheet system Lopez had created to smooth school dismissals in another Texas district after a student was hit by a car, Morales says.
After completing a pilot period in 2019-2020, the pair have let schools use the app free during this school year as many administrators grapple with COVID-related budget demands, Morales says.
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“Both of us have always worked at Title I schools, and we thought everyone should have access,” Morales says.
That extends to the pricing for the next school year, which will be a flat $149, rather than being based on enrollment.
The coding of the app was done by Lopez, who has worked as a computer engineer in Mexico. Administrators can adapt it to their own school’s needs, but here are the basics of how it works:
- Parents are assigned a number, which they can print out and place on their windshields.
- A staff member checks in the vehicle in, and the check-in, with a photo of the student, is reported to the teacher in the classroom or wherever students are gathered for dismissal.
- The teacher then sends the students to the pickup area.
- A staff member in the pickup areas serving as the “gatekeeper” confirms the student’s identity on the app and releases the student to their vehicle.
For added security, all steps are time-stamped and those records are retained for a year, Morales says.
On March 15, the pair will release a web-based version of app, so it can be used on all devices.
“The feedback has been very very rewarding, ” Morales says. “Users have said the app has brought the balance to the chaos.”
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