Lester B. Pearson and Connect-ED(R) Partner to Improve Communication, Parent Outreach and Response with Implementation of Community Messaging Service

    School-to-Community Communication System Built Specifically for Education
    Allows School Leaders to Quickly Reach Thousands of Parents, Students and

    DORVAL, QC, Feb. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - Lester B. Pearson School Board
announced today the immediate availability of the Connect-ED(R) community
messaging service by Blackboard Connect Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of
Blackboard Inc. (NASDAQ:   BBBB), to provide board leaders with the ability to
quickly reach parents, students and staff with time-sensitive information.
    "We recognize the important roles that parental engagement and student
involvement play in the overall success of our students," said Robert T.
Mills, Director General. "With the Connect-ED service we will be able to
quickly communicate with parents and students thereby enhancing ongoing
outreach initiatives with our entire school community."
    The Connect-ED service enables board 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. In all, the multi-modal service helps
officials reach out to parents and staff via:

    - Voice messages to home phones, work phones cell phones, and even e-mail
    - Text messages to e-mail accounts

    "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 Chairman of the
Board, Marcus Tabachnick.
    The system can be used to inform parents, students and staff members of
school closures and contingency plans due to unforeseen incidents, improving
the organization's communication strategy and preventing the spread of
misinformation. The Connect-ED service has successfully been used for
communication by schools for events such as bus route announcements and
delays, school breaks, registration, and immunization days. It is an effective
way to keep parents informed about important events in their child's
    With the Connect-ED service, parents will be able to receive important
messages directly from the school through the lines of communication that is
easiest for them. The Connect-ED service will also be used to improve
attendance and truancy issues by alerting parents in a timely manner.
    Lester B. Pearson will be deploying the Connect-ED service on February
11, 2009. The board advises that it is also testing the contact details
provided by parents. Letters to parents/guardians, adult and vocational
students have been distributed by each school and centre to inform them of the
upcoming initial message and provides details how to interact with the Lester
B. Pearson Community Messaging System.
    Community members who erroneously receive a call should contact
514-422-3000 x4545 to have contact information removed from the service
    More information about the Connect-ED service is available at

    About Lester B. Pearson School Board

    The Lester B. Pearson School Board, an English school board serving the
territory from Verdun to the Ontario border, serving approximately 30,000
students in 52 elementary and secondary schools; 6 adult and vocational
centers; and 1 International Learning Center and Residence The Lester B.
Pearson School Board is recognized locally, nationally and internationally as
a progressive and innovative public education institution pioneering a model
of inclusive education, an acclaimed International Studies Program and as the
first board in Quebec to pilot a universally-available half-day Kindergarten
program for 4 year olds. The Lester B. Pearson School Board has earned a
reputation of effective leadership in public education posting consistently
high rates of student success and graduation.

    About Blackboard Connect

    The Connect-ED(R) service is provided by Blackboard Connect Inc., a
wholly-owned subsidiary of Blackboard Inc. (NASDAQ:   BBBB). The service was
created specifically for K-12 schools and school districts based upon the
award winning Connect platform. Additionally, the company provides the
Connect-ED(R) for Higher ED service, a unique service designed to meet the
needs of institutes of higher learning. The service can be used to send
targeted, time-sensitive voice and text messages to landlines, cell phones,
e-mail addresses, PDAs, pagers, TTY/TDD receiving devices, and other text
receiving devices and is SIF v1.1 certified. The Connect platform is a
Software as a Service (SaaS) solution that has been in service since early
2001 and includes the Connect-ED, Connect-CTY(R), Connect-GOV(R), and
Connect-MIL(R) systems. In 2007, the Connect platform was used by over 20,500
active sites to send over 240 million voice calls and over 17 million e-mail
and SMS messages to constituents.

    (*) Blackboard Connect Inc. does not sell, lease, share, or rent
        personally identifiable information (names, addresses, phone numbers,
        etc.) to any companies or persons outside of Blackboard or its
        service providers.

For further information:

For further information: Emilie Verret, Edelman, (514) 844-6665 x225,

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