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Lester B. Pearson School Board Partners With Blackboard to Improve Parent Outreach With Community Messaging Service

Mass notification allows school leaders to quickly reach parents, students and staff

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB), a global leader in education technology, today announced that it has been selected by the Lester B. Pearson School Board in Quebec, Canada to help improve parent and community outreach with the Connect-ED(R) multi-modal mass notification and alert service.

The Blackboard Connect(TM) platform will be used to inform parents, students and staff members of school closures and contingency plans due to unforeseen incidents, as well as other important school and student announcements such as attendance issues. The service will improve time-sensitive communication and help prevent the spread of misinformation at Quebec's largest English speaking school board, which is home to nearly 30,000 students.

The Blackboard Connect platform has been successfully leveraged by schools and districts covering more than 12 million K-12 students and staff members in the United States, keeping parents informed of important events in their child's education from bus route announcements and delays to school breaks and registration days. The Connect platform can be used to quickly reach thousands of recipients through a variety of channels, and is used by colleges and universities, federal agencies, military organizations and state and local governments in addition to K-12 schools and districts.

"It's crucial that we are able to notify parents quickly in time-sensitive situations because up-to-date and uniform communication is conducive to an informed and engaged school community," said Marcus Tabachnick, Chairman of the Board.

"We are honored to partner with the Lester B. Pearson School Board, a visionary school board that is committed to providing high quality education in a fiscally responsible manner," said Tom Motter, President and Chief Operating Officer of Blackboard Connect. "We look forward to exchanging communication best practices for improved student achievement and parental engagement."

With the Blackboard Connect platform, parents will be able to receive important messages directly from their school through the lines of communication that are easiest for them, including home phones, cell phones and other mobile devices and email. The service will also be used to improve attendance and truancy issues by alerting parents in a timely manner.

"We recognize how important parental engagement is in the overall success of our students," said Robert Mills, Director General at Lester B. Pearson. "With Blackboard Connect, we will be able to quickly communicate with parents and students to enhance ongoing outreach initiatives with our entire school community that help support our overall mission and direction."

Drawing on the experience gained in delivering hundreds of millions of messages for K-12 organizations, the Blackboard Connect service enables school leaders to schedule, send and track personalized voice messages at up to six phone numbers and two e-mail addresses per student and staff member. To ensure that important messages reach residents, students and parents quickly, regardless of their location or preferred method of communication, the Blackboard Connect platform sends voice and text messages through four different modes of communication:

    --  Voice messages to home phones, work phones, cell phones and e-mail
    --  Text messages to cell phones, PDAs, networked digital signage and
        other text-based devices;
    --  Text messages to e-mail accounts; and
    --  Messages to TTY/TDD receiving devices for the hearing impaired.

The Blackboard Connect platform allows officials to send an unlimited number of messages, requires no additional hardware, and can be used from any computer with Internet access or telephone. This ensures that administrators can send vital messages from wherever they are located--even if they are evacuated. Additionally, officials receive detailed reports on contacts that did not receive a message, enabling them to follow up through alternative means as needed.

For more information about Blackboard Connect solutions, please visit

About Blackboard Inc.

Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) is a global leader in enterprise technology and innovative solutions that improve the experience of millions of students and learners around the world every day. Blackboard's solutions allow thousands of higher education, K-12, professional, corporate, and government organizations to extend teaching and learning online, facilitate campus commerce and security, and communicate more effectively with their communities. Founded in 1997, Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for Blackboard and other statements containing the words "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "expects," "will," and similar expressions, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including the factors discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of our Form 10-Q filed on November 6, 2008 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of February 11, 2009. The Company anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause the Company's views to change. However, while the Company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company's views as of any date subsequent to February 11, 2009.

SOURCE Blackboard Inc. 02/11/2009
CONTACT: Matthew Maurer of Blackboard Inc., +1-202-463-4860, ext. 2637,;
or Kate Taylor of Edelman, 1-916-420-7848,,
for Blackboard Inc.
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