The Blackboard Connect team is traveling to San Jose this week to participate in the 96th annual ICMA (International City/County Management Association) conference. Kicking off on Sunday, October 17, ICMA is hosting more than 2,000 local government representatives to present on topics related to this year’s theme, Local Government 2.0: Innovative Applications for Extraordinary Times and Beyond. Presentations and sessions will showcase new, available technologies and practices designed specifically to serve and benefit municipalities.
This week we joined K-12 schools and districts in celebrating National School Lunch week. The initiative, as sponsored by the School Nutrition Association and the Milk Processors Education Program, was created to increase awareness of and garner support for healthy, nutritious lunches in schools across the country. As National School Lunch week comes to an end, schools and districts can dramatically improve their school lunch programs throughout the year with better food options, while also instituting a system for efficient management.
School lunch programs feed 31 million children nationwide with 95 percent of schools participating. With so many children to feed, schools and districts benefit from having a system to effectively communicate about school lunch balances, menu updates or options and other program reminders. In the past year, schools and districts using Blackboard mass notification services have sent out more than one million messages concerning school lunches.
The East Coast is certainly no stranger to Mother Nature’s extreme weather patterns – from torrential rains that left us swimming a few weeks ago to the record-breaking Snowmaggedon of last winter. While hurricane season has not yet churned out the crazy systems as predicted at the start of June, Tropical Storm Nicole did her darnedest to end the summer season in high style. A few weeks ago, the East Coast relentless rain forced many cities, towns and school districts to turn to their Blackboard mass notification systems to get messages out to thousands in minutes. As severe flooding caused closed roads, backed up sewer lines and school cancellations and delays, more than 2.5 million calls were successfully sent out using Blackboard Connect, with AlertNow putting out more than 1.3 million calls. Combined, Blackboard mass notification services sent more than 3.8 million calls over the course of last week.
Recently at BbWorld 2010, Terry Patterson hosted a session discussing the implementation and utilization of the Blackboard Connect Integration Toolkit for Learn. As the Director of Distance Learning at South Arkansas Community College, Patterson is very aware of the digital divide between higher education institutions and their increasingly tech-savvy student body. To help students and professors stay connected outside of the classroom, SACC implemented the Toolkit earlier this year.
As Patterson explained in an article published in Converge, students rarely check their school e-mail, or even their personal e-mail for that matter. Instead, they're reading text messages, sending pictures and tweeting on their smart phones.
Today is National Child Health Day, a time to build awareness and encourage people across America to work together in preventing problems and improving childhood health. It’s also a timely reminder to those who care for children to take the necessary precautions in preventing serious illnesses. Flu season is around the corner, and as last year’s H1N1 outbreak demonstrated, it’s important to be vigilant. Additionally, the whooping cough outbreak in California has become so severe that it was recently declared an epidemic. As reported cases spread across the California border, the importance of childhood and routine vaccinations is great.