McHENRY, Ill., April 5, 2013 — Educators and students across the country gathered in front of their computer monitors for the announcement of the winners of the Follett Challenge. Seven months and 452,776 votes later, in a live webcast this afternoon, Follett crowned six schools as the most innovative in the world!
This second Follett Challenge contest awarded $200,000 in Follett products and services to innovative K-12 schools that are expertly aligning their curriculum to teach 21st century learning skills. The advocacy contest challenged entrants to incorporate four skills – critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration – into their video and written entries and then promote their entry in their communities to earn votes.
In today's live webcast, Tom Schenck, president and COO of Follett School Solutions Group (FSSG), announced, out of 115 entries, the dual grand-prize honors went to Maplewood Richmond Heights School District in St. Louis, Mo., and Henry M. Gunn High School in Palo Alto, Calif. Follett, a global education solutions provider, will not only award $60,000 in products and services to each school but also will throw a party for the two grand-prize winners at their respective schools.
The six Follett Challenge winners are (school, district, location, entry name, contest prize):
- Grand Prize #1: Maplewood Richmond Heights School District; St. Louis, Mo.; "Cornerstone Transforms the Library into the R&D"; $60,000.
- Grand Prize #2: Henry M. Gunn High School; Palo Alto Unified School District; Palo Alto, Calif.; "Voices from the Idea Lab"; $60,000.
- Third Place: Berwick Academy; South Berwick, Maine; "Jackson Library - Berwick Innovation Center"; $35,000.
- Fourth Place: Goochland High School; Goochland County Public Schools; Goochland, Va.; "Not Grandma's Library"; $25,000.
- Fifth Place: Seneca High School; Lenape Regional High School District; Tabernacle, N.J.; "How One Book Caught Fire: Seneca's One Book/One School Experience"; $15,000.
- Sixth Place (People's Choice Video 26,369 votes): Mary E. Griswold Elementary School; Berlin Public Schools Kensington, Conn.; Berlin Public Schools; Mary E. Griswold Elementary School Library; $5,000.
In today's webcast Schenck explained, "Maplewood Richmond Heights was one of the grand-prize winners because 10 years ago it ranked among the St. Louis area's lowest performing schools. Last year, the school was named an International Center for Leadership in Education Model School and an Apple Distinguished School. This one-to-one laptop school has an innovative, student-mentored technology integration program. It has transformed its dated library model into the Research & Design Center, where kids can meet their resource needs and engage in activities that help them network with mentors and social entrepreneurs in the community, preparing them for the job world."
Henry M. Gunn High School, Schenck said, was selected as the other grand-prize winner because, "In Gunn High School's innovative Library Idea Lab, students and teachers use a green screen media lab, moveable furnishings, portable whiteboards, and technology tools that inspire creativity through unique library programs. These programs challenge students to take their learning outside of the library and into the community. With a focus on student production, the program has hatched services and programs to get students to think critically about their surroundings and become active producers within their environments."
Britten Follett, Follett Challenge team member, told webcast viewers the Follett Challenge was originally created as a platform to give librarians an opportunity to share the innovative programs in their libraries. "This year," Follett said, "we expanded the program to include the entire school because we believe true innovation is woven through every educator and student in a building."
She also highlighted the contest's "Get out and vote" campaign to determine the winner of the "People's Choice Award." Many of the entries, including the eventual winner – Mary E. Griswold Elementary School in Kensington, Conn. – "were not afraid to tell their story," Follett emphasized. Griswold Elementary earned 26,369 votes.
"We encouraged each entrant to use the tool kit we put together with sample news releases, social media posts, and web banners to encourage their school communities to vote," she said. "And it worked. When we closed voting last month, the Follett Challenge videos generated 452,776 votes!"
The final scores for the top five submissions were based on the final rubric score from the panel of judges plus the number of votes the submitted video receives. Those scores were weighted 70 percent from the judges' final rubric scoring and 30 percent from the video voting.
The judging panel was comprised of Isabel Chipungu, who manages the Ocoee (Fla.) Elementary School's Media Center and whose entry on behalf of her school earned first place in the inaugural Follett Challenge; Michael Gorman, 1:1 coordinator at Southwest Allen County Schools in Fort Wayne, Ind.; Andrew Miller, who serves on the National Faculty for the Buck Institute for Education and ASCD; Paul Sanfrancesco, director of IT for the Garnet Valley School District in Glen Mills, Pa.; and Susan Adelmann, FSSG's vice president of strategic partnerships.
For more information on the Follett Challenge, visit www.follettchallenge.com.
About Follett School Solutions Group
Follett (www.follett.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.
The Follett Challenge was founded in 2010 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.