MCHENRY, Ill., Oct. 2, 2014 – The fourth annual Follett Challenge, which will highlight and reward the most innovative K-12 programs that teach 21st century skills to students, launches its 2014-15 contest Monday, Oct. 6.
"Our contest's new tagline, ‘Follett Challenge – Empowering Innovation' speaks to the idea that we're not just rewarding innovative educators, but empowering them to share their stories and do more," said Tom Schenck, president, Follett School Solutions. "Doing more with less is another theme we consistently see from the schools, and it is an ongoing source of pride for Follett to reward these passionate educators with resources to do even more."
With $200,000 available in products and services from Follett — a leading education solutions provider — the contest's three semifinalists each will earn a $30,000 prize. The grand-prize winner, to be selected from the three semifinalists, will earn an additional $30,000, plus a celebration at their school. Ten $8,000 prizes will be awarded to "People's Choice" winners — those schools that receive the highest number of online votes from the public for their submitted videos.
Since its debut, the Follett Challenge has evolved from focusing on libraries to include the entire school. The 2014-15 Follett Challenge is open to submissions from the full spectrum of classroom teachers, technology specialists, administrators, PTAs, and, of course, librarians.
Last year's grand-prize winner was Belleville West High School in southern Illinois. The school won for its cutting-edge "Community of Readers" program, which challenges students in each grade level to become avid and engaged pleasure readers. The other semifinalists were Albert P. Terhune Elementary School in Wayne, N.J.; Memorial and Thomas Jefferson middle schools in Fair Lawn, N.J.; and Wayland Union Schools in Wayland, Mich.
"One of the greatest things about being grand-prize winner in the Follett Challenge is it has allowed us to share this incredible ‘Community of Readers' program with other schools across the country," said John Lodle, English department chair, Belleville West High. "Knowing that teachers in other districts have learned about what we're doing through the Follett Challenge is very gratifying."
Lodle, one of five judges for the 2014-15 Follett Challenge, said his school with its grand prize winnings is "adding a lot of new books, ebooks, and subscriptions from the Follett catalog to our school's library." Belleville West formally celebrated its win two weeks ago with a special student assembly at its school, which featured the presentation of the Follett Challenge trophy by top Follett executives.
To participate in this year's contest, entrants must complete an online application and upload a three- to five-minute video describing their program. The judges will be seeking applications that illustrate critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration between students and among teachers and other members of the school staff. Eighty percent of each entrant's score will be based on the judges' opinion of the entry, with the remaining 20 percent based on the number of votes generated for the school's video.
Key 2014-15 contest dates are:
- Oct. 6, 2014: Contest formally launches on www.follettchallenge.com, and entries open
- Jan. 9, 2015: Entries close
- Jan. 19, 2015: Video voting begins
- Jan. 30, 2015: Video voting closes
- Feb. 13, 2015: Semifinalists and 10 video winners announced
- April 30, 2015: Grand-prize winner announced
For more information on the Follett Challenge, visit www.follettchallenge.com.
About Follett's PreK-12 Business
Follett (follettlearning.com) is the largest provider of educational materials and technology solutions to PreK-12 libraries, classrooms, learning centers and school districts in the United States, and a major supplier to educational institutions worldwide. Follett distributes books, reference materials, digital resources, ebooks and audiovisual materials, as well as pre-owned textbooks. Follett also is one of the leading providers of integrated educational technology for the management of physical and digital assets, the tracking, storing and analyzing of academic data, and digital learning environment tools for the classroom focusing on student achievement.
About Follett Corporation
Since 1873, Follett(follett.com) has served as the trusted partner in education for students and educators at all levels of learning. Today Follett delivers physical and digital learning materials, retail services, school content and management systems to more than 70,000 early childhood, primary and secondary schools, and on more than 1,000 college campuses. Headquartered in Westchester, Illinois, Follett is a $2.7 billion privately held company.