SOURCE: Blackboard Inc.

October 24, 2007 08:00 ET

Blackboard Announces K-20 Connection Strategic Initiative

Pledge Leverages Technology to Enhance Student Learning and Preparedness

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwire - October 24, 2007) - EDUCAUSE 2007 Annual Conference -- Blackboard Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBB), a leading provider of enterprise education software and services, is unveiling this week at the EDUCAUSE 2007 Annual Conference, the launch of the Blackboard K-20 Connection™, a strategic initiative to significantly impact the way K-12 schools and higher education institutions connect and collaborate. Blackboard plans to invest over one million dollars in strategic and tactical imperatives that enhance K-20 collaborative opportunities in the US and around the world.

"It is critical that secondary and post secondary education leaders work closely together to better prepare today's students for success in school, in their careers, and in life," said Michael Chasen, President and CEO of Blackboard. "The lines that traditionally separate high school and college have become blurred as more and more high school students aspire to take college level course work. Similarly, large numbers of college students are in need of remedial work in order to succeed academically. Today's announcement is just the first step in a multi-year effort to leverage our resources to build new and lasting connections between K12 and college."

"K-20 collaborations demonstrate how linking K-12 and higher education can positively impact access and the quality of education for students," said Adam Newman, Managing Vice President, Industry Solutions at Eduventures, Inc. "Blackboard's role as a leading provider of academic technology and its commitment to dedicate resources to this effort will further advance K-20 initiatives at the state and local levels and augment the current efforts of educational leaders."

The data and market research around the need for K-20 collaboration is clear -- an estimated 50% of students entering college do not meet placement requirements, 40% take remedial courses, and over one million students this year will fail to graduate with their high school classes according to the Eduventures ACT Institutional Data File, 2005.

"We have a tremendous opportunity to leverage education technology to build communities that better engage students, individualize learning experiences and increase learning productivity," said Jessie Woolley-Wilson, President K12, Blackboard. "Today's students are global citizens and require new skills to compete effectively in a global economy. Education leaders are challenged to find new ways to successfully prepare and transition students from K12 to post-secondary education. Blackboard wants to help them build new bridges to facilitate their efforts."

The Blackboard K-20 Connection initiative will focus on the following objectives:

--  Provide strategic leadership to help define and promote models for
    successful collaboration between K12 and higher education, including state
    and province-wide initiatives;
--  Create an online community of education leaders to promote the
    exchange of best practices in K-20 policy, curriculum, and education
--  Cultivate meaningful dialogue among all education stakeholders,
    including students, parents, school leaders, and administrators by
    leveraging Blackboard's relationships with thousands of K-12 and higher
    education partners;
--  Increase the use of technology solutions that foster engagement and
    collaboration while delivering more individualized learning experiences.

To achieve these goals, Blackboard will launch the following specific efforts in the coming months:

--  Create a K-20 Connection Virtual Learning Community;
--  Publish case studies of innovative K-20 Initiatives from the US and
--  Offer financial incentives related to Blackboard solutions and
    services to encourage K-20 coordination and collaboration; and
--  Develop a K-20 Blackboard practice area that can serve as a resource
    to education leaders.

K-20 Collaborative Models in Practice:

Many K-20 initiatives are already successfully impacting change. For example, the National Internet2 K-20 Initiative currently provides advanced networking access across elementary, secondary, and post-secondary institutions. During Blackboard's presentation at the EDUCAUSE conference, Louis Fox, Director of National Internet2 K-20 Initiative and Vice Provost of the University of Washington will present some of the ways this collaboration is directly benefiting students across the state, highlighting the role of research institutions. "Research universities engage in discovery. They can make that discovery mission visible, exciting and accessible to students and their teachers," he said.

David J. Ernst, CIO and Assistant Vice Chancellor, Information Technology Services at California State University, will also discuss successful K-20 models, during the Blackboard session. Ernst points to the Corporation for Educational Networking in California ( for their work linking together university campuses as well as county offices and school districts through its high speed statewide network. The result is greater access to educational resources for K-12 schools across the state.

To learn more about the Blackboard K-20 Connection™, including registering for upcoming web presentations, downloading the just-released "Building K-20 Connections" issue brief and accessing research and best practices of successful K-20 models, please visit

About Blackboard Inc.

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. Millions of people use Blackboard every day 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, Australia and Asia.

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 Form 10-Q filed on August 7, 2007 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of October 24, 2007. 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 October 24, 2007.

Contact Information

  • Senior Manager Public Relations at Blackboard:
    Melissa Chotiner
    Blackboard Inc.
    202-463-4860 ext. 2404
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    Fleishman-Hillard Inc.
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