LIVINGSTON, NJ — Livingston parents from Heritage Middle School, Mount Pleasant Middle School, Collins Elementary and Riker Hill Elementary are adopting a brand new mobile app to help build a stronger and better-connected school community. The app called MobileArq Directory+, which enables parents to be fully engaged with other parents and teachers, was developed by local technologist and fellow mother Nirupama Mallavarupu. So far, the app has received positive feedback from users in more than 50 schools across 10 states.
With the purpose of having one’s kids’ school information right at one’s fingertips, MobileArq provides a comprehensive and easy-to-use software solution for the Parent Organizations in schools to raise money for school activities and connect parents through a school directory. According to Mallavarupu, the impact of MobileArq School Directory+ is to significantly reduce the PTA workload, increase PTA funding and enhance communication within the school community.
“The convenience for parents was all I had in mind at first—it was just about filling a need,” Mallavarupu said. “But as I started developing the app, I realized that building a school directory was a major time-consuming task for the PTA. This simple convenience will make life easier and better for parents.”
Mallavarupu, a mother of two elementary-school boys, understands the difficulties of managing her kids’ lives and being a working parent all at the same time. She said between going to work, picking the kids up at practice and running errands, her printed school directories always go missing when she needs them most—when she’s stuck and needs to contact another parent or teacher.
“There really wasn’t a solution around that addressed this problem faced by all parents,” Mallavarupu said. “So I used my expertise as a technologist to build a secure, private and easy-to-use mobile school directory for my children’s school and surrounding schools.”
Prior to founding MobileArq, Mallavarupu directed the engineering team at Bluenog, a venture-backed company in NJ. With a work history in Oracle, Sun Microsystems, a number of web-based startups and volunteering as a technology consultant for the City of Summit, Mallavarupu is no stranger to the electronic world. In other words, the tech-savvy mother of two is more than qualified to create a comprehensive and easy-to-use software program for parents like her.
“The mobile directory fulfills a basic and totally intuitive function for parents: creating a permanent, easily accessible, impossible-to-lose format for school directories,” Mallavarupu said. “With the mobile directory, parents can access the directory information on their mobile devices as well as on desktop computers, when and where they want.”
Mallavarupu calls the application “your all-in-one school and personal calendar at your fingertips.” Parents can update information whenever they feel it’s necessary. For instance, when new families move into the district or there is an address or email change—it all goes straight to the app ready to be viewed immediately.
Without MobileArq, parent organizations spend hours publishing printed school directories for local parents, which are typically given to the parents in exchange for PTA membership. But membership directories require hours of volunteer work and changes aren’t updated until the following September issue of the directory. Instead, MobileArq streamlines the entire process of directory production and membership dues for parents and the PTA.
“Our solution has transformed the process of directory production, distribution and fundraising. Adoption of MobileArq has saved time and made money for our customers,” Mallavarupu said. “For example, one district level PTA raised over $100,000 in PTA dues and donations within a couple of months.”
According to Mallavarupu’s feedback, parents love the convenience of having school information directly at their fingertips. Phone calls, texts and emails are sent directly through the application, but it’s also an easy-to-use membership management, fundraising and communication tool, which is exactly why the Livingston district is taking to it so quickly.