Bb K-12 North Carolina News

Fresh new looks! NC updates from Kristin Eckels @ Blackboard

Sept 2021


To all my North Carolina School District Partners,


I hope this email finds you well!


As many of you know, I spent eight years as a K-12 school district Computer, Business and IT teacher before joining Blackboard. When I was teaching I always liked to share good news with parents and the community. I figured why not try that here too!? This newsletter will both consolidate a lot of helpful news and information in one place, while also celebrating some of your local districts and their recent accomplishments!


Working with our client success team , I will try to condense important Blackboard announcements, feature exciting regional client successes, and keep you abreast of recent news and events. Hopefully these newsletters will also help to build connections with your Blackboard account team and direct you to the right contact for the right answers.


~ Kristin

Spotlight on Wilson CS, Cumberland CS, Pitt CS and Sampson CS

Cumberland County Schools win an "Outstanding Website" Award from the 2021 Web Awards!!

Congratulations to Cumberland County Schools on their "Outstanding Website" Award from the 2021 WebAwards! Check out their winning website here: https://www.ccs.k12.nc.us/ and the judge's feedback! We couldn't be more proud of CCS and Blackboarders Tony Mantia and Matt Bassett for their incredible work! Take a peek at some of the judge's feedback below too!


Judge's Feedback: "I live in North Carolina (not in Cumberland County however) and was astounded by the quality and information architecture of this site. I was also proud that this school system is in my state! The amount of diversity of the families within the school system (military market/federally connected) with 75 countries and 89 languages is a challenge to master in building a website with such a variety of user needs and interests. WELL DONE! There was a nice balance of video usage in the site. I have worked in environments of sites needing language switches and translation needed for copious amounts of content. This site is sensitive to the variety of cultures and peoples. The icons for "schools", "search" and "languages" is fresh and necessary but nicely handled and is not disruptive to the user's focus. Navigation is great and the variety of user audiences is apparent in the easy-to-use navigation. I do not really have any suggestions for improving the design, look/feel/navigation other than considering putting in the footer, that FAQs be added that would go to a landing page for ALL of the FAQs that the site currently has. There is a nice representation of FAQs in the "Families" section and it was easy to find. Other lesser sections/categories have their own FAQs but an area that houses all of the FAQs vetted by each unique site area's FAQs would be a way for the user, regardless of role, to go and quickly find topics Q and A's that could help them get started on their journey. Nice job Cumberland County schools. I would be happy to have my kid be a student in your system. "

Wilson County Schools Goes Live!

Wilson County Schools has been a longtime customer of our Blackboard Mass Notification system and mobile communications app. In July 2021, they added our website platform to the list of Blackboard products that they utilize. "We cannot say enough about the incredible customer service and training we received during the website implementation, and we’ve heard nothing but great things from our stakeholders about our new school and district websites," Public Relations Manager, Amber Lynch.


Pictured below from the left are: Jimmy Starling, Christine Mitchell, Amber Lynch, Donna Currie and Aislinn Ramirez.


Congratulations to Wilson County Schools! We are so proud to partner with such wonderful districts like you! Check out the great work of the Wilson County Schools team, and see the MyWay Ultra Remix design template in place at Wilson by visiting: https://www.wilsonschoolsnc.net/ .

Pitt County Schools goes Diamond!

Pitt County Schools, PIO Jennifer Johnson (pictured below) and Zachary Pomeroy of La Flecha Film Co. (http://www.laflecha.cc/) worked together with Blackboard Senior Designer, Kyle Taylor to unveil PCS' gorgeous new Made to Order Diamond Custom Template! When speaking with Kyle about Pitt County School's new site, he said the design is meant to feel very open and spacious, allowing the user to notice things naturally without having to visually ‘dig’ through unnecessary elements and clutter. The use of color is purposeful and helps navigation. Content is interactive, making the user feel more connected and engaged as they explore the homepage. The grid of facts and figures is visually engaging and really helps to market the school to potential students/families. In a similar vein, the ‘Profile of a Learner’ draws further attention to what makes this such a great place to learn and be a student by bringing together content, color, visuals, and interactive components to communicate their unique profile of a learner along with the strategic plan that makes Pitt County Schools a dynamic and thriving place for learners. For interactive elements the template utilizes the following: Channel bar mega menu, custom school dropdown, high contrast toggle, streaming video, and a facts & figures collage.


Visit Pitt County Schools' new site: https://www.pitt.k12.nc.us/

Sampson County Schools Showcases their new template!

The team at SCS are proud to show off their new template! They even went a step above to tour their community around their new site with a video! Easing the changes with an informative video was surely appreciated by their parents and community. SCS used one of our MyWay Premium Templates- Energize. Energize is a great option for those who want a mid-size image rotator. Use a background image to increase the visual interest or select a solid color to place more emphasis on the homepage content. This template includes 8 global icons and 3 configurable footer links. Energize also features a sticky footer bar, to ensure various items such as social media, the site map link, user sign-in, and passkeys always remain visible.


Check it out here: https://www.sampson.k12.nc.us/Page/1

We're so glad to partner with Sampson County Schools!


Pictured below is Angela Williams, Lori Monk and Director of Technology, Belva Lovitt.

Blackboard's Accessibility Tool, Ally for Schoology

Accessible Content is Better Content

Blackboard Ally is a revolutionary product that focuses on making educational content more accessible for both your student-facing LMS course content and your community-facing public websites! We’re excited to announce the addition of Ally for Schoology to our library of existing LMS integrations, including Canvas, Moodle, D2L, and Learn.


Using inclusivity, sustainability and automation as its key pillars, Blackboard Ally helps you understand and tackle accessibility in a way that benefits all students. Ally is a revolutionary product that focuses on making educational content more accessible. Using inclusivity, sustainability and automation as its key pillars, Blackboard Ally helps you understand and tackle accessibility in a way that benefits all students.



Learn more: https://ally.ac/

Connecting Parents, Teachers & Students in One Convenient Place

Districts share how Blackboard Reach is transforming their two-way communication.


A lot has changed in K-12 over the past year, including how parents, students, and teachers stay connected. Remote and hybrid learning continues to increase the importance of keeping everyone in the know about classroom level information. During a Blackboard webinar earlier this spring, two district communicators shared how Blackboard Reach, a new two-way teacher-to-home solution, helps provide a safe two-way communication tool for teachers. Miss the April webinar? Watch the playback here.

More Than Laptops and Playlists: The Need for Equity and Student Agency in K-12

Thursday, Sep. 23rd, 2-3pm

This is an online event.

Attn: K12 Districts! More Than Laptops and Playlists: The Need for Equity and Student Agency in K-12
Thursday, September 23, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT
Register here.

#ProjectTomorrow #edtech #blackboard #education

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Design team continues to expand web template library

Blackboard's award-winning web design team is always working to improve and expand the catalog of Design Ready website options. The newest edition to the Design Ready template libraryRadiantwas released recently with features including streaming video, content slider, tabbed social media feeds, and more.



Newly released Design Ready templates

Are YOU using our free apps for your website?

New announcement feature for websites

Blackboard's creative team just launched a new announcement app that is available at no cost to all website clients. The Important Announcement App allows districts to add alert notifications along the top of a webpage where the app is placed.


Find all of our free apps available to you here.

The app can be placed in any content region on the page. Laura showcases this new app in this video here. Watch the video for more, and download the app here.

New Blackboard App: Multimedia Collage App!!

The Multimedia Collage app is a responsive media collage that displays images and embedded videos on any device and provides top-notch accessibility for all users. Image dimensions are flexible (portrait or landscape), but all images within a collage need to be consistent in size. The collage will automatically assume the width of the region it is placed in, but a maximum width can also be set within the app. Configuration options for colors, opacity, alignment, layout, and the mobile display can be found under Settings. This app requires a fee to use. Please contact our sales team for more information on purchasing this app.

Helpful Tips & Tricks

  • RESOURCE FOR YOU: Our Blackboard Basics Library of Tips & Tricks Videos. Lots of short helpful clips on various topics for best uses of your Blackboard solutions. Topics include Taking Mass Notifications Mobile; Reporting in Mass Notifications; Encouraging Families to take Advantage of your Mobile App; Updating Website Templates Images and more.

  • OFFICE HOURS: Click Here to join us for Mass Notifications Office Hours every Tuesday (Noon – 1 pm EST) & Thursday (4 – 5 pm EST) through September 30th. Offers a Mass Notifications overview as well as open Q&A.

  • TIP TO SAVE TIME: Consider adding a new message category called something like “COVID Notifications” so that when you send out a COVID related message in Mass Notifications, you can then place it into that file folder. This makes it easy to find the message quickly when you need to send the message again. Here are instructions on how to create your new category:
Big picture

Once your category is created, simply:

  1. Create your message
  2. Click on Advanced Options
  3. Scroll down to Message Category, click on the word Miscellaneous
  4. Locate the new Category and click on it
  5. Click Save

Robin Bertin - Client Success Specialist

(cell) 330-207-8574

robin.bertin@blackboard.com

Support

Behind the Blackboard: Behind the Blackboard

Web Community Manager: 855-742-5952 | wcmsupport@blackboard.com

Connect 5: 888-599-2720 | connectsupport@blackboard.com

Mass Notifications & Mobile App: 800-829-8107 bbcommssupport@blackboard.com

Collaborate: 888-788-5264 (Customer # or Case # required)

Learn: 888-788-5264 | Behind the Blackboard

Additional Resources: Community Engagement Resource Center | help.blackboard.com

Do you want to be featured in our next NC newsletter?

Send us an email and let us know! We'd love to feature your best practices, your new site or some good news you want to share!