• On Target September 2021

  • Partnership Corner 9.21

  • Active and Personalized Communications Can Make an Essential Difference


    The COVID-19 pandemic introduced millions of Superintendents, teachers, students, parents and other K-12 organizations to the advantages and challenges of communicating in a virtual and remote environment. Remote learning enabled continuity of education and even introduced new techniques for interaction and engagement. However, educators and students alike, experienced the challenges and limitations of communicating and online learning—content of varying quality and accessibility, limited options for different learning modalities, and fewer supports for students with special needs. Unfortunately, these limitations may have caused unintended issues of equity and access, contributing to the potential for learning loss. 

    Blackboard, in tandem with our many districts and industry partners has observed this tension between advantages and challenges. From our core design principles to our professional development, we constantly seek opportunities to mitigate these limitations while furthering the benefits of remote learning and communications. Every interaction with learners and community members offers new opportunities to improve access, ease navigation, and enhance usability. We rely on strong networks of administrators, teachers, and specialists to provide active feedback and suggestions for how to continually improve these interactions.

    The New Jersey Association of School Administrators (NJASA) has been a wonderful longstanding partner to Blackboard. Sharing many of the same values and vision, both organizations understand that active and personalized communications can empower families and make an essential difference in the lives of children and their communities. We are mutually committed to providing the resources and professional development to districts and schools to support this mission of strengthening the engagement with students and parents—in and out of the classroom. We know keeping parents and community members involved in the educational process is key to student success. 

    In the spirit of improving access to information, NJASA, in partnership with Blackboard, is proud to announce our new website design. The new website makes it easier to share information with our members and stakeholders across NJ ensuring equitable access to content on the NJASA website. The new site is modern, intuitive, and easier to use on both desktop and mobile for those on the go with a beautiful new responsive web design! 

    Blackboard has also redesigned the site to make information easier to find from the homepage. The new site also promotes and highlights important information by featuring upcoming events as large calendar icons, using global icons to draw attention to key systems and programs, and making social media feeds more prominent. Also, NJASA is able to highlight videos on their homepage and makes it very easy for our members to join and renew their NJASA memberships!

    NJASA is using Blackboard’s Web Community Manager, part of Blackboard’s Community Engagement suite for K-12 schools, districts, and organizations. The pandemic proves importance of providing accurate, timely, and relevant information to your community. Parents expect information to be delivered to them when and where they need it on the devices and platforms of their choosing. Administrators and teachers need simple, easy-to-use solutions that fit into their daily workflow.

    The Blackboard Community Engagement Suite is designed to meet these demands, allowing you to create an integrated communications strategy that covers all modalities and devices your stakeholders are using. This solution helps you share information, relevant news, emergency and school related updates with families and community members so you can create a positive and supportive learning environment for every student. 

    Thank you to NJASA for your partnership and to all our school administrators! We know how hard you are working to ensure students continue to successfully learn while trying to effectively communicate to your families, students, staff, and communities during not-so-easy circumstances. We appreciate you!