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Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Hamilton School District Win Connect-ED(R) National Leadership Communication Award

  Schools to Receive Award at American Association of School Administrators
                   (AASA) National Conference on Education

TAMPA, Fla., Feb. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Miami-Dade County Public Schools in Miami, Fla., and Hamilton School District in Sussex, Wis., have been named co-recipients of the 2008 Connect-ED(R) Leadership through Communication Award, which will be presented at AASA's National Conference on Education in Tampa, Fla., on February 14, at 5 p.m.

The award, jointly sponsored by Connect-ED, a service of The NTI Group, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB), the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) and the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), recognizes Dr. Rudolph F. Crew, superintendent, and Cathleen Healy, marketing officer, of Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Dr. Kathleen Cooke, superintendent, and Denise Dorn Lindberg, APR, public information/volunteer programs coordinator, for Hamilton School District for demonstrating exemplary leadership in the enhancement of school-to-parent communication within their school systems and the communities they serve.

"This year's recipients are a wonderful example of how districts large and small, urban and rural, excel in communication. Their strong communication programs have changed community and staff attitudes and built support for strong achievement initiatives," said Rich Bagin, APR, NSPRA executive director. Miami-Dade County Public Schools serves more than 353,000 students in 378 schools. Hamilton School District serves 4,300 students in seven schools.

Now in its third year, the Connect-ED Leadership through Communication Award program is open to all school districts throughout the United States. A special recognition reception sponsored by NTI will be held in the districts' honor on February 15, and a $5,000 contribution will be made to each district's scholarship fund. Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Hamilton School District leaders will also give a panel presentation on their communication programs at the conference.

The judges for this year's program noted that the leadership team at Miami-Dade County Public Schools is to be commended for its strategic plan, which integrates a mass notification component into key decision-making processes. They also commended the school system for creating a marketing team dedicated to marketing public education as an obligation of the school district. Hamilton School District was commended for creating genuine synergy between the superintendent, the public relations professional and the leadership team. Hamilton was also recognized for articulating the connection between communication and student achievement and engaging the entire community through innovative practices.

Thomas Motter, President, Connect-ED, noted that these leading districts are to be commended for their excellence in communication and leadership and making the commitment to effective communication and emergency preparedness. "Nothing beats timely, accurate information to assist parents and their children when it comes to academic achievement or coping with unforeseen incidents in today's schools," Motter said.

AASA's Executive Director, Paul D. Houston, applauded the winning districts for taking a leadership role in establishing effective communication systems. "Communication is a critical component of leadership," said Houston. "AASA is pleased to honor the Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the Hamilton School District for developing strategic communication programs that benefit the entire school community."

About The NTI Group

The NTI Group, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) that provides award winning communication systems designed specifically for local, regional, state, and Federal government entities. The Connect family of services enables rapid dissemination of critical information via voice and text devices using its premier mass notification engine designed to allow users to quickly and easily record and send time-based notifications to thousands of people in minutes using just a telephone. NTI makes and distributes the Connect-ED(R), Connect-CTY(R), Connect-GOV(R), and Connect-MIL(R) systems, allowing users to target specific groups and/or geographic regions within their database(s) and engage recipients in two-way communication by asking them to respond to questions via their telephone keypads.

SOURCE  The NTI Group, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Blackboard Inc.
    -0-                             02/14/2008
    /CONTACT:  Candace McCarty, +1-916-288-2205, for The NTI Group, Inc./
    /Web site: /

CO:  The NTI Group, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Blackboard Inc.;
     Miami-Dade County Public Schools; Hamilton School District
ST:  Florida

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