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Schools Embrace Blackboard for Advanced Placement and Gifted and Talented Programs

K-12 Districts Work With Neighboring Colleges, Universities and Virtual Schools to Leverage Technology and Faculty Resources

SAN DIEGO, CA, Mar 01, 2006 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX News Network) -- BbWorld 2006 -- As K-12 schools around the nation strive to meet the needs of all students, technology is proving a critical tool for providing a wide variety of classes and programs, of various levels and subject matter. Many schools rely on the learning management platform from Blackboard Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBB) to offer advanced placement and gifted and talented programs, which they might otherwise not be able to provide. Blackboard is currently hosting BbWorld 2006, its 8th annual users conference in San Diego, where more than 1400 people from academia and K-12 schools are gathering for this year's event.

With President Bush's recent State of the Union announcement of the American Competitiveness Initiative, calling for strengthening math and science education, and significant expansion of advanced placement programs, schools have more reasons now than ever before to implement such initiatives. Advanced placement courses offered through Web-enhanced and distance education programs provide a multitude of benefits to students, teachers and communities overall. Benefits include:

  • reaching students in rural districts where schools' resources and staff are limited;

  • access to AP courses for home-schooled students;

  • saving families hundreds of dollars off college tuition;

  • helping high school students get a head start in college by introducing them to higher level course work.

PRIME EXAMPLES

BlendedSchools.net, a non-profit organization based in Pennsylvania, provides advanced placement and gifted and talented online course material to more than 100 school districts across the state.

"Our school districts find blendedschools.net's online courses delivered in our robust Blackboard Academic Suite(TM) to be an inexpensive, powerful tool for expanding learning opportunities for students," said Jed Friedrichsen, Chief Administrative Officer. "Thousands of gifted, talented and AP students across Pennsylvania are now logging in to take courses otherwise not available to them."

In California, The University of California College Prep Online (UCCP) provides 23 advanced placement courses online through Blackboard software to K-12 schools, in 56 counties across the state. This academic year UCCP enrolled 1,119 students in AP courses.

"We receive regular positive feedback from the schools and students using the courses," said Curt Anderson, Director of Strategic Partnerships at UCCP. "Many of the students who take our AP courses do so because they live in remote areas or in poor school districts where these courses are not available. It's an example of how online learning can really make a difference."

LearningLinks, the online, distance-learning program offered by The Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University in Illinois, allows gifted students from Kalamazoo to Kazakhstan to take online courses via Blackboard software. The program has grown considerably since the first class was offered in 1982. 550 students signed up for LearningLinks classes in fall 2005, a 31% increase from one year before. Available courses range from AP Physics to Creative Writing Honors.

Duke University in North Carolina has a similar initiative called the Talent Identification e-Studies Program offered through Blackboard software. Duke launched the first full offering of the program last fall in which 137 students enrolled from across 20 states and one student from China.

"We applaud the schools and colleges which are leveraging their investments in technology to provide the best educational opportunities possible to students," said Michael Chasen, President and CEO of Blackboard. "We all realize that learning doesn't start and stop when students enter a classroom. Using Blackboard to extend the classroom and education experience is exactly what we had in mind when we founded the company -- it's very satisfying to see this vision coming to fruition at academic institutions all over the country."

About Blackboard

Blackboard Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBB) is a leading provider of enterprise software applications and related services to the education industry. Founded in 1997, Blackboard enables educational innovations everywhere by connecting people and technology. With two product suites, the Blackboard Academic Suite(TM) and the Blackboard Commerce Suite(TM), Blackboard is used by millions of people at academic institutions around the globe, including colleges, universities, K-12 schools and other education providers, as well as textbook publishers and student-focused merchants that serve education providers and their students. Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in North America, Europe and Asia.

Blackboard
Educate. Innovate. Everywhere.

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 Annual Report on Form 10-K filed on February 15, 2006 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of March 1, 2006. 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 March 1, 2006.

Senior Manager, Public Relations; Blackboard:
Melissa Chotiner
Blackboard Inc.
202-463-4860 ext. 2404
Contact via http://www.marketwire.com/mw/emailprcntct?id=62EF0C91B5CB8A18
Media Contact:
Dan Baum
DBC Public Relations Experts
202-298-7600 ext. 205
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SOURCE: Blackboard Inc.