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Blackboard Upgrades Teacher Communication Platform to Improve Parent Engagement

System Makes it Easy for Teachers to Update Parents on Student Progress

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Blackboard Inc. today announced the newest release of Blackboard Connect for Teachers™, a notification platform that helps to increase parent engagement by making it easy for teachers to send important information directly to parents through phone or email messages.

The system lets teachers open up a direct, personal communication channel with parents that can complement general notifications they may be receiving from a school or district. Since being launched in 2010, teachers are using Blackboard Connect for Teachers to update parents on everything from assignments, exams and grades to classroom conduct, work habits and general encouragement.

With the upgrades, teachers can now more frequently share informal updates on student performance and behavior. Armed with this information, parents can work with their teachers to address issues more quickly, which can often lead to more positive outcomes.

The system also now features over 1,000 pre-recorded voice messages in 23 languages to help teachers make sure their communications are appropriate, targeted and relevant. The features make effective communication more likely and help to ensure that more parents can receive important information from teachers in personalized messages in their preferred language.

"Not a week goes by that a parent doesn't stop me and say 'thank you' for the messages they receive directly from teachers," said Dan Diehl, principal for Bedichek Middle School in Austin Independent School District. "Parents and family members are increasingly becoming more actively engaged in their student's educational experience and we want to do all we can to help them stay connected with us."

According to a recent Center for Public Education (CPE)'s report, partnerships between teachers and parents can have a significant impact on student achievement. Two-thirds of teachers surveyed believed that their students would perform better in school if their parents were more involved in their child's education.

"Competing demands often make it difficult for teachers to communicate effectively with parents outside of the classroom," said Ed Miller, president of Blackboard Connect. "By providing a tool that facilitates regular, routine communications with parents, we are creating an opportunity to make a powerful impact on in school performance. Parents no longer have to wait for a quarterly report card to make a difference in their student's behavior and achievement."

Designed specifically for teachers, Blackboard Connect for Teachers is a service of Blackboard Connect, the company's leading mass notification solution which now serves over 28 million recipients at more than 6,500 higher education institutions, K-12 districts and government organizations. To date, Blackboard Connect has delivered billions of messages on behalf of its clients, including millions of teacher-to-parent notifications in dozens of different languages.

About Blackboard Inc.

Blackboard is the world's leading education technology company. We challenge conventional thinking and advance new models of learning in order to reimagine education and make it more accessible, engaging and relevant to the modern-day learner and the institutions that serve them. In partnership with our customers and partners in higher education and K-12 as well as corporations and government agencies around the world, our mission is to help every learner achieve their full potential by inspiring a passion for lifelong learning. For more information about Blackboard, follow us on Twitter @Blackboard.

Source: Blackboard Inc.