VIP Tone Eliminates Economic Barriers to Adopting Technology in Small School Districts

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The "No School Left Behind" program grants free software licenses to U.S. school districts with less than 1,000 students.

VIP Tone, Inc. today announced that it will grant FREE, perpetual licenses of its School MATRIX® 2.0 web-based data management platform to small K-12 public school districts in the United States. By offering the software licenses at NO COST to districts with less than 1,000 students, VIP Tone is eliminating the traditional economical barriers that prevent many of these districts from automating their student data management and reporting. Based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 8,700 US districts, representing more than half of all US school districts, are eligible to receive this free software grant. The thrust behind this philanthropic program is to accelerate the adoption of technology and data-driven decision support tools that enable US schools to meet State and Federal (e.g. No Child Left Behind) reporting requirements and improve student achievement.

No School Left Behind (NSLB) is a 3-year Software Grant Program, for which qualified school districts are encouraged to apply before January 15 each year, starting in 2008. School MATRIX 2.0 will start shipping in January 2008 to qualified districts that apply for the software grant and that intend to deploy it at the onset of the 2008/09 academic school year. Grant application materials as well as full documentation of the NSLB Software Grant Program are available at http://www.viptone.com/NSLB.

VIP Tone's web-based School MATRIX Platform is a full suite of integrated data and content management tools. The Suite includes a Student Information System (SIS) that is tightly integrated with a comprehensive standards-based Instructional Management System (IMS), consisting of various modules to manage the curriculum, lesson plans, formative and summative assessments, staff professional development and Individualized Education Plans (IEP's). In addition to being pre-integrated with the EduTone™ Portal, School MATRIX 2.0 has unique role-based access rights for all stakeholders, including teachers, counselors, curriculum administrators, principals, district administrators, students and parents. The EduTone Portal aggregates free and fee-based content and applications from various sources and can be easily integrated with any data management system and data directory already in use in adopting districts.

Serving more than 3.6 million students within 7,000 districts, VIP Tone's global reach positions it to extend this initiative across international boundaries to build an unparalleled network of educator collaboration and learning. Having established a strong base of users in Australia, where its SIS product is the market share leader, VIP Tone has access to a rich set of empirical data as well as educator resources. VIP Tone's sites in the United States, including LEAs and IEAs, will be able to serve as initial contributors to and partners within the Software Grant Program sharing both expertise and resources with those districts availing of this opportunity. These Districts, selecting from the myriad of functions and features available within School MATRIX 2.0, are using the software to achieve various District-specific outcomes -- some representative examples, as well as results, follow:

"School MATRIX has allowed us to totally rethink the connection between assessment data and curriculum," said Chief Information Officer, Paul Hamann of Jessamine County Schools in Kentucky. "The vision of the Data Driven Decision Making (D3M) model has been altered and extended through the potential of this application. We are now considering data connections in ways that we had not previously envisioned."

"We have implemented all of the School MATRIX modules," said Brad McCauley, curriculum director, Sergeant Bluff-Luton Community School District in Iowa. "In addition to an online student registration system, parents are now able to access all of the information about each of their children's attendance, behavior, lessons and performance, including state test results, all through the Web."

"We have started with the implementation of the School MATRIX instructional and assessment modules first," said Kathy Coley, superintendent, Glenpool School District in Oklahoma. "However, we eventually decided to replace our old SIS with it and we now have a single integrated student-centric data management system for both school administration and instruction."

"School MATRIX is very flexible and has been serving us very well," said Jeff Bottorff, director of technology, Madera County Office of Education in California. "It is a very comprehensive and easy to use system that allows us to capture, manage and report administrative data with ease and flexibility."

In addition to a free license of School MATRIX 2.0, under this grant program, VIP Tone is offering school districts the ability to purchase highly discounted deployment options, including: (a) centralized ASP hosting, administration and support; (b) a self-installing locally-hosted server appliance; or (c) a software-based virtual appliance. Alternatively, any small district will be able to self-host, self-install and self-support the FREE version of the product. Phone-based customer support and Web-based training is available for $99 per hour. An average school district will be able to deploy School MATRIX 2.0 for a small fraction of the monthly cost of a single headcount, while reducing operational costs as various labor-intensive administrative tasks including attendance tracking, scheduling, assessing, grading, reporting and communications are automated.

"The No School Left Behind Program will help level the playing field and allow small school districts to apply their limited funding towards more teaching resources in their classrooms, powered by innovative decision support tools, while complying with mandatory reporting requirements," said Robert Iskander, founder and CEO of VIP Tone, "School MATRIX 2.0 will also be available and localized beyond the US in the near future. We plan to announce new initiatives that will foster collaboration and communication across our global end-user community to facilitate the creation and sharing of self-developed educational content, tools, resources, applications as well as the identification and promotion of best practices."

About VIP Tone, Inc.:
VIP Tone helps educators create world-class school environments with one integrated solution for their learning, communication and collaboration needs. Our product set consists of VIP PBX™, an IP telephony communication and messaging system; School MATRIX®, an education resource planning (ERP) solution; and the EduTone Appliance™, a pre-integrated K-20 educational software and content services delivery infrastructure that features an enterprise portal with ID management and automated provisioning technology. We serve over 3,600,000 students and over 100,000 teachers in over 7,000 schools around the globe. VIP Tone is a privately held company headquartered in Alameda, California. For more information, visit the VIP Tone web site at http://www.viptone.com.

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TRICIA MCWILLIAMS