Have you seen Junior's grades?
The rock group Van Halen asked that question on a 1980 record album, long before mobile devices became the rage.
Now parents can not only see Junior's grades on their mobile devices but receive an alert if his grades dip too much.
Papillion-La Vista schools have launched a new computer application this year giving parents with smartphones and other devices such capability.
Several metro area districts, including Omaha and Westside, are considering similar apps, driven by the belief that when parents have information, their kids do better in school.
Papillion-La Vista's app pulls together a variety of student and district information, much of which is accessible through the district's website but would take some digging to find. The app puts it at parents' fingertips, accessible anywhere, anytime.
“It puts it all in one place, accessible from one device,” said Annette Eyman, district spokeswoman.
The password-protected app allows the parent to search the library, access the calendar for their child's school, survey upcoming assignments, review grades and check attendance records.
The app knows which calendar to display for each child.
Parents can customize the app to provide alerts when a child's class grade drops or a score on an assignment dips below a predetermined threshold.
It also provides convenient access to school staff phone numbers and email addresses.
The app is provided through ParentLink, the company that also supplies the district's automated calling system.
The calling system costs the district $25,000 a year, Eyman said. The app cost about $2,000 to develop, she said.
According to the district's research, 79 percent of parents have mobile devices, Eyman said. A growing number of people have phones with Internet access rather than have Internet in their homes, she said.
By Monday evening, the Papillion-La Vista app had been downloaded 3,000 times.
For iPhone and iPad users, the free app is available from the App Store. Parents with Android devices will find it at Google Play.
Eyman said district officials are still developing what information will be accessible for elementary grades.
Across the metro area, online access to grades and homework has become pretty standard. Districts employ systems that allow parents to log on or sign up for email updates.
In the Gretna Public Schools, 72 percent of parents accessed the student information system last year, according to Superintendent Kevin Riley.
Parents can see individual assignment grades, attendance, student schedules, unofficial transcripts, year-to-date grades and student progress reports, he said.
Of the parents who use it, those with middle-school students view it an average 1.5 times a week, and parents of high-schoolers twice a week.
In the Bellevue Public Schools, parents can have emails sent to them daily, weekly or monthly containing grades, attendance and announcements.
Officials in the Westside Community Schools are investigating the creation of an app that would give parents access to additional information such as lunch menus, website information and social media, said spokeswoman Peggy Rupprecht.
The district's information system already allows access to grades, assignments, announcements, teacher comments, attendance records and a student's schedule.
Last year, the district logged 80,681 total sign-ins by parents, and 830,541 sign-ins by students, she said.