2012-13 Contest Offers $200K; Seeks Top 21st Century Teaching, Learning Programs

MCHENRY, Ill., Sept. 17, 2012 – The Follett Challenge, which awarded $100,000 worth of Follett products and services to six K-12 schools a year ago, is returning with the prize money doubled and a new focus looking to reward top-notch educators who are aligning their curriculum to teach 21st century learning skills.

The entry period for the 2012-13 Follett Challenge begins today and runs through Jan. 4, 2013. While the inaugural contest sought entries from solely school libraries, the second Follett Challenge has evolved and expanded to seek entries from educators throughout all departments in schools that are designing programs that develop critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration between students and among educators.

“Our goal for the Follett Challenge moving forward is to promote and advocate for the educators who are innovative in the way they approach 21st century education and discover how they are preparing students for life-long learning,” said Tom Schenck, president and COO, Follett School and Library Group. “By focusing the Follett Challenge on programs that encourage students to become more efficient and effective learners using today’s technology tools, we will be able to recognize educators for doing a great job regardless of the resources available in their district. And for the winners, we will be able to reward them to do even more.”

Six winners again will be selected, with this year’s total prize value increased to $200,000. The two grand-prize winners each will earn $60,000 in products and services from Follett, while the remaining prizes will run in value from $35,000 to $5,000. The top five winners will be selected by a judges’ panel, with sixth place – the “People’s Choice” honor – to be awarded to the school whose video receives the most online votes from the public. The “People’s Choice” voting will begin Feb. 6, 2013.

All winners will be announced on April 3, 2013, with celebrations to be scheduled the following month at the two grand prize winning schools.

The Follett Challenge is open to all public and private K-12 schools in the United States and Canada. International schools that meet the criteria for participation are invited to apply as well. Applicants will be asked to submit a three- to five-minute video, as well as provide an overview of the program and how it has impacted student advancement with 21st century skills.

The Follett Challenge was founded in 2011 by Chuck Follett, then president and CEO of Follett Corporation, to find the most innovative K-12 school libraries. The six winners were unveiled and honored by Chuck Follett, who has since retired, and colleagues in a ceremony at the 2011 American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Conference in Minneapolis.

In order, the 2011 Follett Challenge winners were:
1. Ocoee Elementary School, Ocoee, Fla.
2. Eisenhower Middle School, San Antonio, Texas
3. Flat Rock Middle School; East Flat Rock, N.C.
4. Swan Valley High School, Saginaw, Mich.
5. Bennett School Library, Bennett, Colo.
6. Randall Carter Elementary School, Wayne, N.J.

Isabel Chipungu, media specialist at Ocoee Elementary, said that winning the inaugural Follett Challenge has enabled her school “to take learning in a completely new direction.”

“We purchased new and rigorous non-fiction titles as well as databases and a beginning collection of electronic books,” said Chipungu, who will be one of the judges for the 2012-13 Follett Challenge. “We are looking forward to preparing our students for future success and our library is ready to meet the new Common Core state standards.”

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

About Follett School and Library Group | www.follett.com
Follett 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.

The Follett Challenge was founded in 2011 as a program to encourage educators to be their own best advocates and reward those who are excelling in their roles of preparing students for the skills they need for life.

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