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Blackboard Mass Notification Services Help Schools, Communities Prepare for Hurricane Season
May 27, 2010 (04:05 PM EDT)

WASHINGTON, May 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) is helping K-12 schools, higher education institutions and local governments prepare for hurricanes with mass notification services that alert entire communities in just minutes. While the 2009 hurricane season was quiet – only one named storm reached the U.S. mainland – the National Hurricane Center today predicted an "active to extremely active" season for 2010, posing above-normal risk to U.S. and Caribbean coastlines.

Building on success using the AlertNow and Blackboard Connect services to manage previous storm events, Blackboard clients are busy preparing for the new season that begins June 1. Both services have become trusted tools in hurricane-prone regions, helping to keep communities informed throughout the lifecycle of a storm incident, from preparation and evacuation to cleanup and recovery.

Virginia Beach City Public Schools, a K-12 district serving approximately 70,000 students, has integrated Blackboard's AlertNow service into its crisis communication plan for more than two years. Hurricane Hanna struck the region as the 2008-2009 school year began, and school officials sent a number of messages to families and staff to keep them up to date on school operations.

Likewise, when Hurricane Ike struck La Porte, Texas in 2008, Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Suggs used the Blackboard Connect service to send more than 227,000 messages to residents.  During the course of Ike, La Porte sent messages to urge evacuation in the face of the storm; to set curfews and deploy personnel and volunteers in the storm's wake; and to manage cleanup and recovery in the weeks that followed.

"The Blackboard Connect system was invaluable to La Porte in the 2008 season," said Suggs. "When Ike threatened, we didn't have to worry about the technology or budget when it came to sending messages and notifying our citizens. Every time, Blackboard Connect delivered. And when the storm had passed, the feedback we got from the community was overwhelmingly positive."

Such client experiences are not uncommon: Blackboard mass notification products offer many advantages that uniquely suit them to communicating during tropical weather:

  • A Software-as-a-Service model enables users to record and send messages from any location, whether a hardened alert operations center or an evacuation post miles from the affected zone.
  • Server and telecom facilities provide the speed, capacity and redundancy communities need to send tens of thousands of messages quickly and reliably.
  • Multi-channel delivery options, including voice, email, SMS – and new Facebook and Twitter alerts – increase the likelihood that parents, students and constituents will receive notifications, even if some networks are inaccessible in the wake of a storm.
  • No per-message pricing plans that might cause users to think twice before sending vital information. Blackboard customers don't have to worry about trade-offs between public communications and cost – freeing them to alert clients with safety instructions at each stage of a hurricane event.

"When they have critical information to communicate, leaders shouldn't have to wonder if their mass notification service will work reliably and quickly, or if they can afford to send a critical alert," said Ed Miller, President of Blackboard Connect. "Even when storms have knocked the power out, our redundant systems help school and community leaders reach families across multiple communications channels. It's a point of pride for us that Blackboard Connect mass notification solutions are ready when our clients need them most."

For more information about Blackboard's mass notification solutions, 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 May 7, 2010 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of May 27, 2010. 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 May 27 2010.

SOURCE Blackboard Inc.