Chicago Public Schools Selects Open Text’s FirstClass Software for District-Wide Email, Collaboration, Social Networking
“Software as a Service” Approach Speeds Roll Out of New System, Which Delivers Safe, Secure Online Environment for Students and Teachers
Chicago, IL –
Chicago Public School students and teachers will have access to the latest online technologies with Open Text™ Corporation’s (NASDAQ: OTEX, TSX: OTC) FirstClass messaging and collaboration software. The district, the third largest in the United States, is deploying the technology to its more than 400,000 students and teachers.
FirstClass will enable Chicago Public Schools to provide its students and faculty with the benefits of advanced online communication services within a secure, managed environment. The solution will provide the district’s more than 600 schools with advanced email capabilities for every student and teacher, along with a comprehensive set of tools for online collaboration, document sharing and social networking. Chicago Public Schools has received confirmation of funding support for this initiative from the U.S. federal government’s Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund (commonly known as “E-Rate”).
“FirstClass was chosen by a panel of our teachers as the best solution for our schools,” said Maurice Woods, Deputy Chief Information Officer of Chicago Public Schools. “We believe that our teachers can leverage the collaboration tools within FirstClass to help engage students and to drive student achievement in the classroom.”
FirstClass solutions are uniquely designed to enhance communication, collaboration and knowledge sharing by connecting the key stakeholders within the education community – including students, faculty, administration, parents, and alumni – within a managed online environment. School districts and higher education facilities around the world use FirstClass to facilitate online learning communities, professional development, safe social networking, student-teacher collaboration, e-Learning, curriculum development and sharing, ePortfolios, archiving and more. Chicago Public Schools is providing FirstClass to teachers, school-based employees, and students.
“The issues associated with children using loosely managed public collaboration tools and social networking websites are getting more attention these days. As a result, determining how to provide safer online services for students is a pressing concern for many school districts,” said John Myers, Vice President and General Manager with the FirstClass Division of Open Text. “FirstClass offers a more secure environment that enables students to more safely experience the benefits of online communication and collaboration.”
FirstClass is being provided to Chicago Public Schools as a “Software as a Service” (SaaS) solution. This has facilitated a fast service rollout and significantly reduced the burden on district technology contacts, enabling them to focus on other school needs. All back-end aspects are being managed by Open Text in a world-class data center. Deployment of the service is well under way, with thousands of teachers and students already using FirstClass accounts. All Chicago Public School teachers and school-based staff will be fully transitioned to FirstClass in November. Students will be receiving FirstClass on a rolling basis throughout the school year. “Our teachers and students love FirstClass because communication is instant and efficient,” said Ferdinand Wipachit, Principal of Phoenix Military High School, a Chicago Public School. “FirstClass allows dialog and collaboration about any topic — anytime, anywhere.”
FirstClass is currently being used by thousands of schools and school districts around the world – including four of the top ten largest school districts in the United States. This demonstrates the scalability, reliability, feature appeal, and cost-effectiveness FirstClass brings to a wide range of education organizations. Open Text announced the news today in conjunction with the National School Boards Association (NSBA) T+L Conference being held this week in Nashville. For more information on the NSBA’s T+L Conference, go to www.nsba.org/t+l.
About Chicago Public Schools
Chicago Public Schools is the third-largest school system in the United States and second-largest employer in Illinois, with approximately 45,000 employees. It has more than 600 elementary and high schools and more than 415,000 students. The Chicago Public Schools Information & Technology Services manages initiatives for the district that leverage technology to improve teaching, learning and student achievement.
About FirstClass and Open Text
Open TextTM is the largest independent provider of Enterprise Content Management software and solutions. For more information, go to www.opentext.com. The FirstClass Division of Open Text is a leading provider of cost-effective, highly scalable, and feature-rich messaging and collaboration solutions that enable education organizations and businesses to connect people and content within secure online communities. Over 3,000 organizations and 9 million users worldwide are currently using FirstClass. For more information on FirstClass, go to: www.firstclass.com.
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This news release may contain forward-looking statements relating to the success of any of the Company’s strategic initiatives, the Company’s growth and profitability prospects, the benefits of the Company’s products to be realized by customers, the Company’s position in the market and future opportunities therein, the deployment of Livelink and our other products by customers, and future performance of Open Text Corporation. Forward-looking statements may also include, without limitation, any statement relating to future events, conditions or circumstances. Forward-looking statements in this release are not promises or guarantees and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially. The risks and uncertainties that may affect forward-looking statements include, among others, the failure to develop new products, risks involved in fluctuations in currency exchange rates, delays in purchasing decisions of customers, the completion and integration of acquisitions, the possibility of technical, logistical or planning issues in connection with deployments, the continuous commitment of the Company's customers, demand for the Company's products and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including the Form 10-K for the year ended June 30, 2007. You should not place undue reliance upon any such forward-looking statements, which are based on management's beliefs and opinions at the time the statements are made, and the Company does not undertake any obligations to update forward-looking statements should circumstances or management's beliefs or opinions change.
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