Follett Online Book Fairs a Convenient Option to Keep Kids Reading

Coordinators Offer Praise for Ease of Use, Wide Selection, Generous Rewards

Whether the 2020-21 school year is starting in the classroom or remotely,  Follett is ensuring elementary and middle school students won’t be missing out on one of their favorite back-to-school traditions: the book fair. With  Follett Book eFairs, events can be held 100 percent virtually with schools choosing the dates that work best for them, students are empowered to select the books they wish to read, and families are afforded the opportunity to conveniently purchase books online.

The ease with which Follett’s online fairs are carried out are extremely attractive to school and book fair coordinators. The approximate setup time is 10 minutes, while there is no need for forms, handling cash or finding space in the school.

“I chose a Follett Book eFair because it seemed so easy,” said Shawn Crist, media assistant at James E. Plew Elementary School in Niceville, Fla. “It was almost too good to be true. I didn’t have to worry about rearranging our Media Center or finding volunteers.”

Crist particularly appreciated the ability to customize the eFair offerings by tying in relevant books to what students were currently learning in the classrooms and the library.

Follett has carefully curated the selection of books to include:

  • A focus on diversity and inclusion titles;
  • New releases and popular characters; and
  • Price points to fit every budget.

Librarians, teachers and coordinators also are appreciative of the robust rewards options, which offer 40 percent back on every purchase, that can be redeemed for books and other Follett materials. “The rewards are fantastic,” said Carol Linderman, fifth grade teacher at Glen Flora Elementary School in Waukegan, Ill. “It has really helped me build my classroom library.”

New for the 2020-21 school year is that eFair rewards will also be supported in Titlewave, Follett’s premier platform for school libraries, beginning in late September.

In addition, schools hosting an online book fair between now and Dec. 31 will receive up to $50 in additional rewards. Rewards will be given in the form of a Follett Book Fair gift card and can be redeemed on the Follett Rewards Store or at future book or eFairs.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact schools across the country, Follett also continues to make safety a top concern for all of its book fair experiences. “From our warehouses to our drivers, safety rules are a No. 1 priority and taken very seriously at each step,” said Britten Follett, executive vice president, Follett School Solutions.

While an online book fair may be a good fit for many schools and districts during the pandemic, Follett also is offering two other changes to the traditional physical book fair:

  • Online Companion Book Fairs: In addition to the great selection of books at the on-site fair, families will be able to shop an expanded catalog in an online fair – included with every onsite fair. This new option will help maximize a school’s Follett Book Fair rewards and give everyone an opportunity to shop the event. This is perfect for those unable to visit one’s on-site event or if schools are not allowing visitors.
  • Low-touch Book Fairs: This smaller fair is designed to fit in a small space, hallway or, if needed, can be separated and rolled by grade level into a classroom to reduce traffic. With this low-touch, space- conscious option, schools will also receive an online companion fair to support online shopping. The low-touch fairs receive all benefits of a traditional book fair.

“With our various Follett Book Fair options, we’re trying to make it easier to shop anytime or anywhere, all the while supporting students’ love of reading,” Britten Follett said. “Book fairs have long been a wonderful back-to-school tradition and we are here to support educators as they look for alternatives to keep things as normal as possible for the kids in these unprecedented times.”

For more information about:

To see a list FAQ’s about Follett Book eFairs, visit


About Follett’s PreK-12 Business|

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.

Find Follett on  Facebook, and follow on  Twitter (@FollettLearning).

About Follett Corporation |

Follett Corporation is the world’s largest single source of books, entertainment products, digital content and multi-media for libraries, schools and retailers. Headquartered in Westchester, Illinois, Follett provides education technology, services and physical and digital content to millions of students at 70,000 schools and more than 2,850 physical and virtual campus stores in North America. Through Baker & Taylor, Follett’s reach also extends to the public library and global retail markets.


Pinna launches “Time for Kids Explains”, a timely, informative weekly news podcast for kids

Grants Any Teacher Anywhere Free 6 Months’ Access to Entire Pinna Catalog

Pinna, the only on-demand audio entertainment service developed and curated exclusively for kids 3-12, today announced the availability of the first weekly podcast installment of TIME for Kids Explains, the result of its partnership with TIME for Kids, the publication that has provided quality, trusted journalism to millions of students for 25 years. Concurrently, Pinna is offering any teacher or educator who creates an account via six months’ free access to Pinna’s entire collection of podcasts, audiobooks and music.

Each episode of the TIME for Kids Explains podcast is themed to the content of each week’s TIME for Kids issue, contextualizing the information to bring a broader understanding while allowing kids to process and interpret the news.

“Today’s announcement furthers our commitment to providing teachers with access to resources proven to enhance learning on multiple fronts,” said Maggie McGuire, CEO of Pinna. “By giving teachers access to Pinna’s full library of content, we are doing our part to provide them with flexible resources – regardless if they find themselves in the classroom, teaching remote, or a combination of both!”

The first installment of Pinna Original podcast TIME for Kids Explains tackles the various questions kids have about returning to school during the pandemic and offers answers to questions like how kids can be resilient and how to make memories during this time. A sample of the weekly podcast is available at while full episodes are available exclusively to Pinna subscribers

“We are thrilled to partner with Pinna to bring TIME for Kids to life in a whole new dimension at a time when kids especially need a variety of media to support all learning styles,” said Andrea Delbanco, editor in chief of TIME for Kids. “This podcast will help kids to better understand the world around them, through the age-appropriate, fact-based information that TIME for Kids has provided for 25 years.”

Pinna is available to stream on all iOS and Android devices including tablets and smartphones as well as via desktop browsers. Individual consumer may subscribe for $7.99 per month or an annual plan for $79.99 after a standard 30-day free trial – no credit card required – while teachers receive 6-month free trial, visit for more details.


4 tips for teacher-family communication this school year

It’s more important than ever to have clear lines of communication between educators and families—here are some tips to establish a dialog

It’s been proven that parent engagement in their child’s education creates positive academic and social-emotional effects. When COVID-19 prompted school closures across the world, diligent family involvement became critical to students’ social, emotional, and academic well-being.

At Galena Park Independent School District (ISD) near Houston, we recognize the importance and value of consistent communication between home and school. To ensure that students and their families have the support they need, we encouraged proactive communication and provided guidance for teachers to stay connected when the pandemic struck in March 2020.

Related content: 5 ways COVID-19 made me a better teacher

As the 2020-21 school year approaches, I’d like to offer the following tips to support communication between home and school.

1. Evaluate needs

To create a sustainable communication plan, you’ll need to collaborate with your district community to identify what families need and how you can offer support. School culture should guide how and when you correspond with families, and your communication strategy needs to reflect this.


6 keys to producing effective digital content

Digital content, including digital videos, has important implications for how students learn--here are some tips to integrate it in an engaging manner

Today’s educational environment requires that teachers become not only content and pedagogical experts, but also technology experts. This reality has become even more clear with the COVID-19 pandemic, as local, state and national-level educators and leaders grapple with how to open schools, pivot to online instruction or develop some middle ground.

In the new frontier of education, we now understand how important digital content is to virtual learning. K-12 students live in increasingly digital worlds and their use of video, whether they are following YouTube and Instagram influencers, or communicating with their friends through Snapchat or other video messaging, has become an integral aspect of socializing for children and youth.

Related content: 5 new strategies for digital content

Educators must embrace digital video tools and platforms as one of the many tools in their teacher toolkits to meet their students where they are, engage students in the ways that they learn, and build learning communities in the classroom as well as remotely.

Don’t let this new reality overwhelm or discourage you. Digital content resources have become increasingly user friendly, and many teachers have all of the tools on their smartphone or personal computer that they need to capture, edit and publish professional quality video content for their students.


FSR Extends Symphony Collection with Release of New Pedestal

New multiple-device charger keeps users powered-up and ready

FSR, a leading manufacturer of a wide variety of infrastructure solution products for the audio/video, Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), education, corporate, hospitality, and government markets, has released its new Symphony Pedestal, extending the company’s popular Symphony Collection of power and charging solutions. The new Symphony Pedestal power and charging tower makes waiting areas and workspaces an inviting place to plug in, offering 4 AC outlets for users to remain charged and ready!

The new Symphony Pedestal offers a form factor that allows for customization options to connect a CAT6, 6a or 7 along with AV cables to bulkhead AV connections. This floor standing unit provides AC power and USB charging, along with snap-ins and a cable passthrough. A 9’ AC cord supplies power from a standard 125VAC 15A outlet. Sized to fit under a desk or table, the pedestal can give people peace of mind in waiting areas, at home or at work.

The Symphony Pedestal is available in two height sizes,  24” or 30”.  An attractive aluminum housing adds to its sleek and refined design giving it great appeal for any environment, plus a black or white color option offers the freedom to match any interior. It is both lightweight and easy to relocate wherever access to power is needed.

“With FSR’s new Symphony Pedestal, waiting areas and workspaces can become a convenient place to plug in,” says Jan Sandri, FSR’s president. “We designed it to ensure it was agile enough to accommodate charging multiple devices, and also give users the versatility of power and data.”


FSR’s Symphony Pedestal is intended for use in multiple environments, including lobby areas of hotels and schools, convention centers, classrooms, airports, spas, offices or any areas where devices can potentially lose battery power. Additional features include a dual USB charger that supports full 5V 10W charging capability on each charging port, discreet charging and utility outlets, custom configurations with keystone connectors, with VGA and XLR available.

About FSR

FSR, established in 1981, manufactures a wide variety of signal management and infrastructure solutions for the AV/IT, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), corporate, education, hospitality, government, and religious markets, including floor, wall, table, and ceiling connectivity boxes and wireways, as well as a full line of interfaces, distribution amplifiers, matrix switchers, seamless scaling switchers and HDBaseT signal delivery solutions. FSR offers live 24/7 technical and sales support throughout the country from expertly trained technicians and sales representatives. The Company is also an HDBaseT Alliance Adopter Member.  For more information:


National Network Launches to Connect Students in Crisis

With grant from ECMC Foundation, InsideTrack launches ambitious new initiative to deliver free crisis support for up to 5,000 students

InsideTrack — the national student success nonprofit that established the use of coaching for higher education enrollment, completion and career readiness — today announced the launch of an ambitious new initiative designed to deliver emergency coaching services for students experiencing crisis situations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With $250,000 from ECMC Foundation and a matching grant from Strada Education Network, the Emergency Coaching Network will provide up to 5,000 students at participating institutions with support from InsideTrack coaches specially trained to assess and support across a range of challenging situations.

“From food, income and housing insecurity to feelings of isolation, post-traumatic stress, and anxiety, the pandemic has magnified many of the challenges that students were already facing in growing numbers,” said Dr. G. Brent Wallace, Chancellor of North Central Texas College, a Network member institution. “During this unprecedented time for our students and communities, it’s never been more important for us to help students navigate these challenges and build the skills to thrive. We’re grateful that organizations like ECMC Foundation and InsideTrack are collaborating to support us and other institutions in these efforts.”

In the wake of COVID-19, colleges are seeing surging demand for emergency student support services, including coaching, to help students struggling with mental health challenges, financial distress, the loss of unemployment, and concerns around personal health and safety. According to recent data from InsideTrack’s Crisis Support Services team, students seeking support to help meet basic needs such as housing, food and medicine have increased by 203 percent from 2019. The number of students requesting assistance to navigate mental health crises has also more than doubled during the same period.

Starting in September, students enrolled at participating colleges and universities will be able to access emergency coaching services through a centralized portal connected to InsideTrack’s uCoach engagement platform. Expert coaches will then work one-on-one with students across multiple communication channels, using best practices developed over more than a decade by InsideTrack’s professional Crisis Support Services team. In addition to helping students navigate emergency situations, these short-duration coaching engagements will also help them develop more general skills crucial to long-term student success, such as time management and self-advocacy.

“COVID-19 has exacerbated many of the basic needs, mental health and other issues that often prevent students from completing, particularly among historically underrepresented student populations,” said Kai Drekmeier, founder and chief development officer at InsideTrack. “This initiative is about rapidly expanding the availability of responsive, holistic student support and building the long-term capacity of institutions to meet the evolving needs of their students.”

Institutional capacity building and program evaluation will also be key components of the emergency coaching initiative. InsideTrack will provide all participating colleges and universities with insights into the barriers their students are facing. Up to ten will receive dedicated staff development and training to enhance their ability to assess students’ acute needs, de-escalate potential crisis situations and manage feelings of compassion fatigue among frontline student services professionals. An independent evaluation of the overall program will be conducted by Cicero Group.

“The pandemic has placed new levels of stress and strain on a generation of students who were already facing historic challenges related to college persistence, affordability and completion,” said Peter J. Taylor, president of ECMC Foundation.  “This initiative will deliver urgently-needed support to students and assist the institutions who serve them in building long-term crisis support capacity.”

The Emergency Coaching Network officially launches next month. Institutions who have already joined the network include North Central Texas College, CUNY Kingsborough Community College and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. Colleges and universities interested in joining the Network, as well as foundations and others interested in supporting the initiative can contact InsideTrack directly at

About InsideTrack
InsideTrack is passionate about student success. We partner with institutions and organizations to improve enrollment, persistence, completion and career readiness. Our student support methodology uncovers first hand feedback about student goals and challenges. Through strategic guidance, staff training and student coaching, we help institutions turn this feedback into actionable insights that drive better student outcomes. As a nonprofit member of the Strada Education Network, we offer partners access to a comprehensive range of student success solutions as well as the latest research and insights on student success. We’ve supported more than 2 million students since 2001 and currently serve over 4,000 programs. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @InsideTrack.

About ECMC Foundation
ECMC Foundation is a Los Angeles-based, nationally focused foundation whose mission is to inspire and to facilitate improvements that affect educational outcomes—especially among underserved populations—through evidence-based innovation. It is one of several affiliates under the ECMC Group enterprise based in Minneapolis. ECMC Foundation makes investments in two focus areas: College Success and Career Readiness; and uses a spectrum of funding structures, including strategic grantmaking and program-related investments, to invest in both nonprofit and for-profit ventures. Working with grantees, partners and peers, ECMC Foundation’s vision is for all learners to unlock their fullest potential. Learn more about ECMC Foundation by visiting and ECMC Group by visiting


Making sense out of madness: Protecting students online in a time of crisis

Keeping students safe on the modern internet, managing the massive increase of device time use, and understanding the new teacher/student dynamic

Need another negative for this forced migration to remote learning? Students become even more vulnerable to the dangers of what Advait Shinde calls the “modern Internet”. On this episode, the co-founder and CEO of GoGuardian talks about how his company is adjusting its products and services to these new scenarios and offers some hopeful insights for moving forward.

Related content: Creating online classroom routines

Advait co-founded GoGuardian to provide K-12 schools with new technologies that enable students to engage in a better learning experience. His dedication to help unlock student potential in education is made clear through his mission of using the internet in an open, but safe way. In his role as CEO of GoGuardian, Advait brings his passion for using data and technology to solve problems in education.

Based on his accomplishments in education and technology, Advait was selected for the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Education in 2016, as a finalist for Los Angeles Business Journal’s CTO of the Year in 2017, as a finalist for Ernst & Young’s prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Greater Los Angeles in 2018, and for Los Angeles Business Journal’s 20 in Their 20s in 2019.


Combining mindfulness and equity throughout the new school year

More than ever, equity is in the spotlight thanks to COVID-19—here’s how mindfulness plays an important role in equity

Now that a global pandemic and its multiple impacts on education have coincided with a renewed focus on equity, there’s a lot to be mindful about. And with the new school year about to present even more challenges and uncertainties, staying mindful and staying focused on providing an equitable education are likely to prove more difficult and important than ever.

During a recent edWebinar, the social-emotional learning and mindfulness specialist for the Austin Independent School District, James Butler, explained ways that educators can work with their students improve their mindfulness and the equity of their schools under these unique circumstances.

Related content: How online learning can lead to equity

Referring to a graphic that showed three concentric circles, Butler pointed out that educators’ mindfulness needs to start with themselves but should also be applied to their students, as well as to the school systems that can determine whether or not students receive an equitable education.

Mindful support for educators and students

Butler emphasized that educators need to take good care of themselves if they are going to do the “the long, hard work” of teaching effectively during a pandemic and striving to end inequities that have existed for centuries. He therefore encourages educators to develop a daily practice of checking in with their mind, body, and heart, and then engaging in a variety of activities that promote mindfulness and self-care.


Staying Connected During COVID-19 [Teacher Spotlight]: Dr. Kathryn Sampilo-Wilson

Discover how a middle school teacher tackles online learning in a way to keep students engaged and thriving

In partnership with eSchool News, Illuminate Education is spotlighting teachers in a series recognizing educators, the way they have moved instruction online during COVID-19, and how they have prioritized the needs of their students.

Dr. Kathryn Sampilo-Wilson
6th Grade Teacher
Buena Park School District

“We have to create a program that enables students to thrive and grow, to engage students and make them feel loved.”

What drives your passion for teaching?

My passion for teaching is driven by my students and families. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher for that reason. I teach at a Title 1 elementary school, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is a challenge, but those intrinsic rewards that you get when you help a student and they have that “a-ha” moment makes it all worth it. It’s not only about the academics—it’s about the impact that you have on them and their lives. You never know if you’re the only smile that they see that day or if you are the only hug that they get. That’s why you do it—the kids.

What was the transition to remote learning like for your school?

On March 13th, we had a feeling that the schools would definitely be closing based on what was being spread all over the media. Just in case, I prepped my kids and had them take home their belongings, a novel, and anything else they may need. The closure wasn’t announced to teachers until right before dismissal, so it was a bit chaotic for teachers. We weren’t given the green light to inform our students, therefore we were in limbo.

Related content: A teacher learns that online learning requires flexibility and patience

Over the weekend, we were still unsure of what next steps would include. Emergency staff meetings were held to discuss district directives and then it was go time. We had one day to plan, prepare, and compile three weeks of hard-copy lessons and activities to send home to families. The next day, I spent hours on the phone collaborating with my colleague trying to develop a remote learning program for our 6th graders that would be more than just busy work. A plethora of professional development opportunities for various distance learning platforms was offered by the district TOSAs, and teachers were thrown into an abyss of options and had to make some snap decisions. Anxiety and stress were at very high levels. Our principal and school secretary had to take on a lot of the responsibilities such as photocopying and prepping everything because people were scared–not just of the abrupt change, but also about their own health.


5 ways to create a community of learners

Remote learning makes relationship-building more challenging--here are some ideas that can help

Relationships are the foundation of learning. When students feel connected to their teacher and their peers, they’re more likely to thrive. How can teachers forge these connections within a remote learning environment?

For education consultant Lainie Rowell, that’s the central question facing educators as they’ve moved instruction entirely online amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Cultivating a community of learners is critical,” says Rowell, an author and international speaker who facilitates professional learning for the Orange County, Calif., Department of Education’s Institute for Leadership Development.

Related content: Here’s the biggest mistake educators are making with remote learning

Building community has always been important for educators. In an online learning environment, where teachers and students aren’t face to face every day, it’s even more critical for success. If students don’t feel like a valued and important member of a community of learners, then they aren’t as likely to engage in lessons remotely.

Rowell hosts a podcast called “Lemonade Learning” with fellow educator and consultant Brianna Hodges. Based on ideas they discussed in their podcast and that Rowell shared in an interview, here are five effective strategies for building a community of learners online.

Engage students in norm-setting.

Just like they would in a face-to-face setting, teachers have to establish ground rules for acceptable behavior in learning online. Involving students in this process helps build a sense of community.