This guest post is written by Britten Follett, marketing manager at Follett International, based in River Grove, Illinois, with offices in McHenry, Illinois, Hingham, Massachusetts, and Canada. Follett is a fifth-generation family business devoted to selling books, library automation and textbook tracking software, and other educational materials worldwide. Britten, an Emmy-winning investigative television reporter, is the author of “Who Killed Kelsey?”, the true story about an abused child and the failure of our child welfare system. Please note that Follett has compensated me for spreading the word about this incredible opportunity. Good luck to everyone who enters this contest–it’s a great way to bring your school into the 21st century!
Are you innovative? That’s the tag line for this year’s Follett Challenge, a contest awarding the most innovative schools in the world their share of $200,000 in Follett products and services. And it is truly a challenge. If you studied Marketing 101, professors would say the “barrier to entry” is too high. Contest entrants have to produce a written entry, a video, and share their innovation with the world to garner votes. We believe that barrier to entry is nothing compared to the challenges educators in our world face daily. Due to funding challenges and budget cuts, educators are more motivated than ever to seek their share of money. For us at Follett, we want to reward innovation, but more importantly, give educators a platform to show off the unique ways they are improving student outcomes and preparing students for the 21st century. We want educators to share their stories with their parents, school boards, local media, politicians, and the world.
When my dad, Chuck Follett, the former President and CEO of Follett, issued the Follett Challenge to librarians in 2011, his goal was to spark the school library industry to be better advocates for their roles in schools and education. Over the years, we’ve learned librarians by nature don’t like to “toot their own horns”. But as funding challenges grow and access to digital content becomes more commonplace, the general population and even our politicians question the role of librarians and libraries. Why do we need a librarian when we can “Google” it? Why do we need a library when we can download books? The librarians who entered the 2011 Follett Challenge proved they are not only integral players in a child’s access to literacy skills but also vital in the curriculum development in their schools. By viewing the 127 inaugural Follett Challenge entries, we at Follett learned the library is quite often the center of innovation in a school. And an innovative library yields an innovative education space.
Which is why, this year, we expanded the contest to include the whole school and doubled the prize value to $200,000. True innovation is weaved throughout the education process. 2011 Follett Challenge winner, Isabel Chipungu, illustrated this through her arts integration program entry. As a librarian at Ocoee Elementary, outside of Orlando, Florida, Chipungu worked with teachers in different areas throughout her school, to build an arts integration curriculum driven by the library into the classroom, ultimately improving literacy. Ocoee achieved this not through large grants or technology funding but through true collaboration and innovation. Hear Ocoee’s story through the words of the educators who won the 2011 Follett Challenge in this video:
This year’s grand prize is $60,000 of Follett products and services.
Submit your entry before the deadline of January 4, 2013!