2013-14 Follett Challenge invites entries, announces judges

Lauren Williams's picture
Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The 2013-14 Follett Challenge is underway, offering a total prize of $200,000 in Follett products and services to schools best demonstrating innovative approaches to 21st century learning.

Fifteen schools from all levels of education will be honored in this year's contest, and semifinalists will be named in four categories: elementary, middle, high school and magnet/parochial/preK-12 schools. The Follett Challenge website (www.FollettChallenge.com) is currently accepting entries for the 2013-14 contest with the deadline closing on Feb. 28, 2014.

Serving as the 2013-14 judging panel:

  • Meg Omainsky, a librarian at Henry M. Gunn High School in Palo Alto, Calif. Omainsky’s school was one of last year’s two $60,000 grand prize winners. Omainsky has been an innovative educator for more than 12 years, during which time she served as English, ELD and reading teacher as well as teacher librarian at the secondary level.
  • Patrice Bryan, who teaches social justice and Semester of Service at Maplewood Richmond Heights High School in St. Louis. Bryan’s school joined Henry M. Gunn High School as the 2012-13’s other grand prize winner. Bryan taught English for 20 years before moving into the Service Learning area.
  • Michael Gorman, 1:1 coordinator at Southwest Allen County Schools in Fort Wayne, Ind. He consults for Discovery Ed, November Learning, PBS, and BIE.
  • Andrew Miller, an education blogger who has taught both in the brick-and-mortar classroom and online. He currently serves on the National Faculty for the Buck Institute for Education and ASCD.
  • Paul R. Sanfrancesco, who is director of IT for the Garnet Valley School District (Glen Mills, Pa.). Prior to his current position, he was director of technology for the more than 200 schools of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
  • Susan Adelmann, vice president of strategic partnerships for Follett School Solutions. Her work at Follett has centered on digital and personalized learning platforms, data measurement and interoperability and other emerging technologies that support 21st century learning in K-12 schools.

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. The final score for the semifinalists will be based on the final rubric score from the panel of judges plus the number of votes the submitted video receives. That score will be weighted 70 percent from the judges’ final rubric scoring and 30 percent from the video voting. With a total prize value of $200,000 in products and services from Follett, the overall winner will earn a $60,000 prize, while each of the other three semifinalists will earn $30,000 prizes. Ten $5,000 prizes will be awarded to the “People’s Choice” winners — those schools that receive the highest number of online votes from the public. Judges will select the grand-prize winner from among the four semifinalists.

To participate, entrants must complete an online application and upload a three- to five-minute video describing their program at www.follettchallenge.com. Key contest dates are:

  • Feb. 28, 2014: Entries close.
  • March 7, 2014: Video voting begins.
  • April 4, 2014: Video voting ends.
  • April 14, 2014: Four semifinalists and 10 video winners announced.
  • May 16, 2014: Grand prize winner announced.

For more information on the Follett Challenge, visit www.follettchallenge.com.