Last week, the Connect team was on-site at Prince William County Schools in Manassas, Virginia to train its users on the new Blackboard Connect 5 interface. We met with administrators and educators from schools and departments across the district to demonstrate the new features and functionality. In the breaks between training sessions, we gathered reactions and received feedback from training attendees.

As PWCS was previously using an auto-dialer system, many of the people we spoke with were enthusiastic about the possibilities and uses of Blackboard Connect 5 throughout the district. From district outreach messages to school event reminders to bus route delays, we demonstrated the versatility and ease-of-use of Blackboard Connect 5 for sending routine communication.

“I really like the groups feature for after school remediation, as we can let now let parents know if we are keeping their children for a few minutes after school so they don’t have to show up immediately after school,” said Chris Kozendorfer, bookkeeper for Henderson Elementary.

While some noted the usefulness of the system for sending out messages quickly to announce a delay or schedule change, others were thrilled to use the system to deliver the everyday calls, like student attendance notifications. By pulling daily attendance data from the school’s student information system, Blackboard Connect 5 can send out phone calls to parents of students with unexcused absences. Effectively saving school staff time by making an everyday task more efficient.

“At a middle school level, we put out a lot of calls — from clubs to athletics to PTO to messages from the principal,” said Amber Johnson, attendance secretary of Parkview Middle School, “I run attendance and using these features is great as I know that the call has gone out.”

As more clients implement Blackboard Connect 5, we will continue to gather their stories and publish them here. To learn more about what’s new in Blackboard Connect 5, watch our flash video to hear about all the enhancements.

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