A smartphone application is making a big impact in the McKinney Independent School District.
Since its launch in 2011, misdGo launched has been downloaded more than 13,000 times.
MISD has 25,000 students, so it's possible that the downloads could signify about half of the school district's parents, district spokesman Cody Cunningham said.
"We've had some of the largest volume of downloads of any school district app in the country," he said. "We want parents to know what's going on in the classroom and we want them to know as quickly as possible."
Cunningham said the app lets parents set up a private account to access secondary students' grades and attendance information.
"As soon as a student takes a test or a quiz and a teacher inputs that into the system, then that will be refreshed and, the next day, the parents can see whatever that grade was," he said.
The app can also send parents alerts and phone calls about attendance, such as when a student skips a class.
Kari Anne Rowland, who has three children in elementary school, said the app is making the rounds her neighborhood. She said misdGo is a big help in coordinating logistics such as sports schedules and school lunches.
"Every day, my kids want to know what's for lunch tomorrow," she said, showing the function that shows the school lunch menu for the week. "We can plan if we're going to make lunch or purchase lunch."
While other districts allow parents much of the same coordination and academic information via websites, Rowland said having the information in her hand is priceless because she's often in the car and driving from activity to activity.
"Communication is critical in the classroom between teacher and parent, and this just encourages that communication," she said.
Cunningham said McKinney ISD is one of the only districts in its area with a smartphone app. Some neighboring districts have expressed interest, he said.
The app created by Willow Tree Apps is available for iPhones, Android phones and BlackBerries, according to the district's website.