Blackboard's Mass Notification System Reaches 20% of U.S. Parents


Blackboard Inc., a global leader in education technology, today announced that it is now sending messages to the parents of over 11 million K-12 students in the U.S. through the Connect-ED mass notification service, representing about one in five student households nationwide.

A growing number of K-12 schools and districts have adopted the Blackboard Connect mass notification platform to encourage parental engagement, increase student safety and support student achievement. The service has been leveraged for parent outreach programs aimed to address a range of academic and student safety needs, including efforts to improve student attendance.

For example, La Mesa-Spring Valley School District in San Diego County, Calif. recently saw a significant increase in average daily attendance after sending absence and truancy notifications to parents, which resulted in a $450,000 increase in funding to the district from the state.

“Having technology to reach parents and staff during an urgent situation is important for the safety of our students, which is our top priority, but the service has provided an important financial benefit,” said Brian Marshall, superintendent at La Mesa-Spring Valley. In this economy, we cannot lose a single dollar and Blackboard Connect has directly resulted in increased revenues for our district.”

Districts have also used Blackboard Connect to help ensure student safety during a number of natural disasters including Hurricane Ike and the massive wildfires in Southern California. During these situations, districts used the platform to send messages to parents and staff-both at home and during evacuations-with updates on school schedules, health warnings and other time-sensitive information.

“Superintendents, principals and other education leaders recognize the positive impact that reliable, timely communications with parents can have,” said Tom Motter, president and chief operating officer of Blackboard Connect. “And they demonstrate, on a daily basis, how such a platform can help foster a stronger education experience for students particularly in times such as these. Achieving the scale we’ve reached across the country is an important milestone for us and for our client community.”

Drawing on the experience gained in delivering hundreds of millions of messages for K-12 organizations, the Blackboard Connect platform 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 addresses;
  • 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, click here.

Blackboard Inc. February 2009 press release.

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