For families who are homeless or in transitional housing, communication can be challenging. But thanks to a new app being deployed by Rutherford County Schools, help is on the way.
The app is known as POSSIP, said Jessica Johnson, the liaison for RCS ATLAS, the program that serves students who are homeless.
“POSSIP is a new tool,” Johnson said. “Typically messages are not answered, or their voicemail boxes are not set up, or they’re full. So this will give us a way to text (parents). They can text us back, but it goes to a call center, where the POSSIP community actually filters the text messages they send and gives it (back) to us in a printout. So they will tell us their needs.”
A big benefit of POSSIP? Not having to send kids home with letters or information for parents — just letting kids focus on being kids.
“Sending it home with — especially our little kids or even our high school kids — it’s endless. Considering it doesn’t get where it needs to go most of the time, (with POSSIP) we can send it to their device right then,” Johnson said.
For Johnson, and the ATLAS team, POSSIP will give data and information on what families across RCS need — overcoming the barriers of language and communication.
With 100 different languages in use across RCS, Johnson explained that getting through to parents is often the hardest part.
“With POSSIP we don’t have to be concerned about only covering three languages. I know we have three languages that all of our information goes out in — as far as for ATLAS — but we have many, many more languages than that, that all need our services.”
For families that may not have a device, Johnson said there are some devices available, but once the need for those devices is further clarified — there will be plans to push out more devices in the future.
“We have an ATLAS contact at each school. (Parents) can definitely contact them if there is something we are not giving them,” Johnson said.
If you or someone you know is a family or student who needs help, please contact your school and ask for the ATLAS contact. You may also contact ATLAS liaison Jessica Johnson by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.