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New Haven school brings education to smart phones

NEW HAVEN --  Teachers always struggle with students to get off of their smartphones.

"YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat. That's what I'm battling with," said Larry Conaway, the first year Principal at the Riverside Education Academy.

But, REA's philosophy now is if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

"I wanted to find a way to utilize those cell phones for productivity," said Conaway.

To achieve this, a focus group, comprised of students and staff, was created.

"If you say app, you're talking their language," said Pamela Kelley-Monk, the Chairperson of Riverside's Planning & Placement Team.

So they're creating an app that puts learning at their finger tips.

"You could look for your grades, homework, missing assignments, make ups," said Najae Neely, a senior.

The app will even connect students to virtual learning tools. Bottom line: There'll be less paper to worry about.

"I'm losing my papers all the time, literally. Like I have it in my hand one minute and then like two minutes later I'm like where did the paper go" said Aries Greene, a senior.

"It's allowing students to know what's going on right in the palm of their hands," said Kelley-Monk.

"You could be on the road, home, outside and still be doing your work on your phone," said Neely.

And parents will also be permitted to download the app, which is a breath of fresh air considering kids often grunt when asked what they did in school that day.

James Boemmels, a Spanish and technology teacher at Riverside said the app shows parents "This is what we did today. These are the pictures. This is the video. This is the work. These are the projects were working on."

Many of the students will begin using this app before the end of the school year. But, it will be fully operational, including available to parents, by the beginning of next school year.