MCHENRY, Ill., Feb. 27, 2019 – For the first time in the eight-year history of the Follett Challenge, a school from outside the United States has been named one of the contest's three Semifinalists, making it eligible for the Grand Prize. In a video announcement, Follett Challenge organizers today announced Regina Catholic School Division in Saskatchewan is the middle school Semifinalist, joining a New York elementary school and Illinois high school.
One of the three schools will earn the Grand Prize, to be announced April 24.
The Follett Challenge again is awarding $200,000 USD in products and services from Follett to the schools/districts that nominated their innovative educational programs which teach 21st century skills to students and illustrate critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration. Entrants completed an online application and submitted a three- to five-minute video outlining how their program has made a positive impact.
The 2019 Semifinalists are:
- Elementary School Winner: Valley Stream School District 24; Valley Stream, N.Y.; video: "Breaking into the Library"
- Middle School Winner: Regina Catholic School Division; Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; video: "Regina Catholic Schools Tinker Tub Project"
- High School Winner: Lindblom Math and Science Academy, Chicago (Ill.) Public Schools; video: "The Impact of Lindblom's Writing Center Plus"
The overall winner will earn a $60,000 prize in Follett products and services, plus a celebration at their school. The other two schools each will receive $30,000 in products and services.
Kwame Alexander, a New York Times bestselling author and Newbery Medalist, served as a Follett Challenge judge for the first time this year. Alexander, who is partnering with Follett on a literacy campaign ("All Books for All Kids"), will make a personal visit to the Grand Prize-winning school as part of the award celebration.
Today's announcement also revealed the 10 People's Choice winners — those schools whose video submissions received the highest number of online votes from the public. Each of the winning schools will earn $8,000 in Follett products and services. The video winners are:
- Howard Middle School; Macon, Ga.; video
- Gower School District 62; Willowbrook, Ill.; video
- Southwest Middle School; Palm Bay, Fla.; video
- School City of Mishawaka; Mishawaka, Ind.; video
- J. Graham Brown School; Louisville, Ky.; video
- Mineola High School; Garden City Park, N.Y.; video
- Clinton County Middle School; Albany, Ky.; video
- Gov. William Pitkin Elementary School; East Hartford, Conn.; video
- Lemoore Union High School District; Lemoore, Calif.; video
- Lafayette School/Wayne Public Schools; Wayne, N.J.; video
Howard Middle School ("Husky Media Center Making Ideas a Reality") finished first with 3,636 votes; Gower School District 62 ("This Is Gower") was close behind with 3,471 votes.
The scoring for this year's semifinalists were 80 percent based on the judges' rubric and 20 percent based on the number of People's Choice votes received.
"Once again, the entries in the Follett Challenge remind us of the creativity and innovation at work in schools around the world," said Britten Follett, a fifth-generation Follett family and Follett Challenge team member. "This year, a school outside of the United States is one of our semifinalists, reminding us that educators everywhere want the same for their students—unique ways to learn and prepare for the future."
Last year's Grand Prize winner was Tudor Elementary School in Anchorage, Alaska. For a complete look at all the Follett Challenge winners over the years, visit https://follettchallenge.com/winners/pastwinners.cfm.
All public and private K-12 schools/districts in the United States, Canada, and Australia are eligible to apply, and submissions are open to all K-12 educators and Parent Teacher Organizations.
For more information about the Follett Challenge, visit www.FollettChallenge.com. For more on Follett, visit www.follettlearning.com.
[To see Kwame Alexander give his personal take on being involved with the eighth annual Follett Challenge, see this 90-second video: https://bit.ly/2PS0IOM.]
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