Schools around the world will vie to be recognized as the most innovative in the third annual Follett Challenge, which launches today. This year’s contest will reward 15 schools from all levels of education for the best and most effective approaches to 21st century learning. New this year, the Follett Challenge will honor semifinalist winners in four categories: elementary, middle, high school and magnet/parochial/K12 schools.
With a total prize value of $200,000 in products and services from Follett—a global education solutions leader— the overall winner will earn a $60,000 prize, plus a celebration at the school, 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.
Last year’s grand prize winners were Maplewood Richmond Heights School District in St. Louis, Mo., and Henry M. Gunn High School in Palo Alto, Calif. “Winning the Follett Challenge will allow us to make vital improvements,” said Patrice Bryan, who teaches English and social justice courses at Maplewood Richmond Heights. “I’d tell everyone who’s doing something innovative to apply for the Follett Challenge. Winning has made us realize we are going the right direction, and it has been inspiring.”
To participate, 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. The overall 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. Seventy percent of each score will be based on the judges’ opinion of the entry.
Because the remaining 30 percent of the final score is based on the number of votes generated for the school’s video, the winning schools will ultimately be those that aggressively spread the word about their programs.
Key contest dates are:
According to Tom Schenck, president and COO for Follett School Solutions, the Follett Challenge exists to spotlight educators who are doing an exceptional job with the limited resources they have and to give them a platform to share their innovative efforts with their peers. “Once again, we hope to hear and share the incredibly inspiring stories from educators across this country who are preparing their students for the demands of the 21st century,” Schenck said. “It is a great source of pride for Follett to reward these passionate educators with the resources to do even more.”
The other winning schools from last year’s contest were:
For more information on the Follett Challenge, visit www.follettchallenge.com.