Follett Challenge launches seventh annual contest; $200,000 to be awarded to schools with innovative educational programs

Just in from Follett:

Following a year when schools from 13 different states were singled out as winners, the Follett Challenge is launching its seventh annual contest.

The 2018 Follett Challenge, open for entries through Dec. 15, will reward $200,000 in products and services from Follett to schools/districts with innovative educational programs that teach 21st-century skills to students. All public and private K-12 schools/districts in the United States, Canada, and Australia are eligible to apply.

The contest’s first six years has recognized schools of all sizes and demographics from coast to coast. In the 2017 Follett Challenge, Chase County Elementary School in Strong City, Kan. – with an enrollment of 180 students – was named the Grand Prize Winner. The school was honored for its unique “Learning with Cattle” program, where students learn valuable STEM lessons and 21st-century skills through projects involving the community and the local cattle industry.

“Being named the Grand Prize winner of the Follett Challenge has opened doors for our students,” said Pam Bevan, Principal, Chase County Elementary School. “Students already have had opportunities to create, collaborate, problem solve, and explore with all of the wonderful books and materials from Follett. Plus, later this fall we will be dedicating our new ‘Follett Challenge MakerSpace Room’.  Thanks to the Follett Challenge, all dreams are possible!”

Two semifinalists and 10 “People’s Choice” winners also were honored by the 2017 Follett Challenge, including schools in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, and Texas. For a complete look at all the Follett Challenge winners since the contest’s inception, visit https://follettchallenge.com/winners/pastwinners.cfm.

Entrants must complete an online application and upload a three- to five-minute video describing their program preparing students for the demands of the 21st century. Judges will be seeking applications best illustrating critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration between students and among teachers and other members of the school staff. Submissions are open to all K-12 educators and Parent Teacher Organizations.

This year’s three semifinalists will again each earn a $30,000 prize. The Grand Prize winner, to be selected from the three semifinalists, will earn an additional $30,000, for a total of $60,000, plus a celebration at their school. Ten $8,000 prizes will be awarded to People’s Choice winners – those schools that receive the highest number of online votes from the public for their submitted videos.

Eighty percent of each entrant’s score will be based on the judges’ evaluation of the entry, with the remaining 20 percent based on the number of votes generated for the video.

“Each year, our dedicated panel of judges has the enviable, albeit challenging, task of delving into all these entries,” said Nader Qaimari, President, Follett School Solutions. “During our first six years, we have recognized noteworthy public and private programs spanning more than half of the U.S. If your school has an innovative program teaching 21st-century skills to students, we want to hear about it!”

Qaimari added there are vast resources on the Follett Challenge website to help entrants get started when they’re ready to move forward with their submission.

Key 2018 Follett Challenge dates are:

  • Oct. 23, 2017:       Contest formally launches
  • Dec. 15, 2017:       Entries close
  • Jan. 22, 2018:        Voting begins
  • Jan. 26, 2018:        Voting closes
  • Feb. 28, 2018:        Semifinalists announced
  • April 27, 2018:      Grand-prize winner announced

For more information about the Follett Challenge, visit www.FollettChallenge.com; for more on Follett, visit www.follettlearning.com.

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