Fifth Annual Follett Challenge to Launch Monday

$200,000 Contest to Recognize Leading Examples of

K-12 Programs Teaching 21st-Century Skills to Students


MCHENRY, Ill., Oct. 29, 2015 – The $200,000 Follett Challenge returns for a fifth year and again will highlight and reward the most innovative K-12 programs that teach 21st-century skills to students. The 2016 contest launches Monday (Nov. 2).

All K-12 schools/districts, public and private, in the U.S. and Canada are eligible to apply. Submissions are open to all K-12 educators and Parent Teacher Organizations. It was a librarian whose entry won the 2015 Follett Challenge and she won’t soon forget the moment.

“Hearing our name called was one of those rare moments when you feel like everything you have been working toward has been accomplished, and it is a wonderful feeling,” said Tasha Squires, librarian, O’Neill Middle School in Downers Grove, Ill. “It was the culmination of a year’s worth of work for me from getting the idea to creating it and implementing it, to entering the Challenge and then gaining the support of an entire community.”

With $200,000 available in products and services from Follett, the contest’s three semifinalists each will 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. More than 243,000 votes were cast last year, an 800 percent increase from the Challenge’s inaugural year in 2011.

In past years, the Follett Challenge has seen winning programs in reading, math, service learning, project-based learning, and more.

“The Follett Challenge promotes innovative educators who are engaging learners and promoting deeper learning by creating scalable programs that support critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication,” said Sue Adelmann, vice president of market intelligence for Follett School Solutions who has been a Follett Challenge judge since the contest’s inaugural year. “It is tremendously exciting and brings the school, district and its community together, as we saw most recently in Downers Grove.”

Adelmann added there is a tremendous amount of resources on the Follett Challenge website to help entrants get started when they’re ready to move forward with their entry.

To participate in this year’s contest, entrants must complete an online application and upload a three- to five-minute video describing their program. The judges will be seeking applications that illustrate critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration between students and among teachers and other members of the school staff. Eighty percent of each entrant’s score will be based on the judges’ opinion of the entry, with the remaining 20 percent based on the number of votes generated for the school’s/district’s video.

Key contest dates are:

  • Nov. 2, 2015:      Contest formally launches on, and entries open
  • Jan. 29, 2016:     Entries close
  • Feb. 8, 2016:       Voting begins
  • Feb. 12, 2016:    Voting closes
  • March 7, 2016:   Semifinalists and 10 video winners announced
  • April 29, 2016:    Grand-prize winner announced


For more information on the Follett Challenge, 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.


About Follett Corporation |

For more than 140 years, Follett has been a trusted partner to pre-K and K-12 schools, districts, and college campuses, taking care of the critical details that make it easier for schools to run, teachers to teach and students to learn. Every day, Follett serves over half of the students in the United States, and works with 70,000 schools as a leading provider of education technology, services and print and digital content. Follett is higher education’s largest campus retailer and a hub for school spirit and community, operating more than 1,150 local campus stores and 1,600 virtual stores across the continent. Headquartered in Westchester, Illinois, Follett is a $2.6 billion privately held company.



CEV Multimedia Partners With Elanco on Animal Science Lessons and Certification

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Global animal health company lends expertise to help students master fundamentals of animal science, earn industry-backed certification

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This certification will equip the next generation of animal science professionals with the foundational knowledge they need to advance in the industry.

With an increasing focus on Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, industry collaborations are vital opportunities that offer insight into the training students need to be better prepared for their academic coursework and future career paths. To further expand students’ opportunities, CEV Multimedia is partnering with Elanco to offer the Elanco Fundamentals of Animal Science Certification. Elanco becomes the latest industry leader to join CEV Multimedia’s roster of distinguished partners offering certifications that support CTE programs.

Endorsed by Elanco and delivered through iCEV, the certification covers important topics related to animal health and food safety. Nearly 20 Lessons are included in the online curriculum, including Basic Animal Science, Basic Livestock Nutrition, Common Animal Diseases, Livestock Management Practices and Animal ID Systems, among many others.

“Animal science is a far-reaching industry with countless practical applications and career opportunities,” said Jeff Lansdell, president of CEV Multimedia. “Working with a worldwide leader like Elanco enables us to provide students with unparalleled animal science information and resources.”

Through iCEV, middle and high school students enhance their career training with certifications from industry partners like Elanco. Students earn the certifications by completing regular coursework through a series of pre-built, online CTE lessons.

“This initiative is in keeping with Elanco’s mission to enrich lives and enhance animal health through sound science, innovation and education,” said Todd Armstrong, Beef Business Director for Elanco. “This certification will equip the next generation of animal science professionals with the foundational knowledge they need to advance in the industry.”

In addition to the Elanco Fundamental Animal Science Certification, CEV Multimedia offers a host of other certifications:

  •     Bayer CropScience Plant Science Certification
  •     Benz School of Floral Design Principles of Floral Design Certification
  •     Southwest Airlines Professional Communications Certification
  •     American Meat Science Association Meat Evaluation Certification
  •     National Collegiate Livestock Coaches Association Principles of Livestock Selection & Evaluation Certification

To learn more about CEV Multimedia’s industry certification program, visit

About CEV Multimedia
With 30 years of experience, CEV specializes in providing quality Career & Technical Education (CTE) curriculum and education resources for several major subject areas: Agricultural Science and Technology, Family & Consumer Sciences, Business Education, Marketing Education, Trade and Industrial Education and Career Exploration. CEV received the U.S Chamber of Commerce’s Blue Ribbon Small Business Award in 2012 and has been honored numerous times for its excellence in content creation and exemplary business practices. In 2012, CEV introduced iCEV, an online platform revolutionizing the way CEV produces and delivers educational content. iCEV is the most comprehensive online resource for CTE educators and students. With iCEV’s learning-on-demand capabilities, video clips stream instantly to any device with Internet capabilities. Through iCEV, students can earn industry-backed certifications across multiple areas of CTE that prepare them for college and beyond. For more information, visit

About Elanco
Elanco provides comprehensive products and knowledge services to improve animal health and food-animal production in more than 70 countries around the world. We value innovation, both in scientific research and daily operations, and strive to cultivate a collaborative work environment for nearly 7,000 employees worldwide. Together with our customers, we are committed to raising awareness about global food security, and celebrating and supporting the human-animal bond. Founded in 1954, Elanco is a division of Eli Lilly and Company. Our worldwide headquarters and research facilities are located in Greenfield, Indiana. Visit us at




Texas district’s students achieve strong reading gains after using Scientific Learning products



Oakland, Calif. — Oct. 21, 2015 — After successfully implementing the Fast ForWord® and Reading Assistant™ programs from Scientific Learning Corp. (SCIL: OTC PINK) in 30 schools, Grand Prairie Independent School District (ISD) in Texas is expanding its implementation to 37 schools this fall. During the 2014-15 school year, students who used these neuroscience-based solutions achieved average reading level gains of one year and five months in 75 days of use.


“Across the board, we’ve seen gains in the reading levels of our students who have been using the Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant programs,” said Linda Ellis, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning for Grand Prairie ISD. “It’s really allowed us to accelerate our reading instruction for our students.”


In Grand Prairie ISD, where 72 percent of students are economically disadvantaged, 22 percent are limited English proficient, and 9 percent receive special education services, each school determines which students will use the Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant online interventions. In many schools, the programs are used by struggling readers, English language learners and students receiving special education services. In addition, some schools make the programs available to specific grade levels or other populations, such as students participating in the gifted and talented program.


“When students struggle in reading, it’s often difficult to identify the root cause,” said Ellis. “Fast ForWord starts with cognitive skills such as memory, attention and processing speed, and works from the bottom up to remediate underlying difficulties that keep students from making progress. With Reading Assistant, students receive individualized reading coaching every time they use the software. The schools that weren’t using these programs saw the improvements in other schools and thus made the choice to implement the programs this year. We’re hoping to see the same success in these schools that we’ve seen in our other schools.”


For more information, visit


Pasadena Unified School District Leads the Way in Improving STEM Education to Transition to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for California


Pasadena USD selects STEMscopes California to help students develop and deepen STEM understanding through inquiry-based learning


Pasadena, CA – Oct. 28, 2015 – Pasadena Unified School District (USD) is leading the transition to addressing the rigorous new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for California by providing its K-6 teachers and students with STEMscopes™ California, a comprehensive, hands-on digital STEM curriculum built from the ground up to specifically meet the California NGSS standards.


Developed by Accelerate Learning and Rice University, STEMscopes California places problem-based learning, engineering challenges, scientific investigations, math and literacy connections, and culminating claim-evidence-reasoning assessments at teachers’ fingertips, so they can easily help students understand the NGSS as they were designed.


This fall, Pasadena USD will implement STEMscopes in all 24 of its schools that serve students in grades K-6.


“STEMscopes takes the guesswork out of teaching the Next Generation Science Standards,” said Jodi Marchesso, Pasadena USD’s STEM curriculum coach. “While many resources claim to be NGSS-aligned, they rely heavily on reading and writing about science rather than doing science. STEMscopes is the only resource I’ve seen that’s aligned to meet all of the Next Generation Science Standards. It supports our vision for student-centered learning and follows all the best practices we want to see in our science classrooms.”


According to Marchesso, STEMscopes will also help the district support several priorities in its Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). “STEMscopes will make it easy for teachers to provide students with access to NGSS-aligned instructional materials, and to involve parents, too. The program’s emphasis on inquiry-based instruction will increase student engagement and help students prepare for the new science assessments,” she said.









“In addition, the cross-curricular connections will enable teachers to integrate science into all of the content areas and to support student achievement in subjects such as English language arts and math as well.”


STEMscopes California aligns with Pasadena USD’s mission to drive inquiry-based learning. It fosters student understanding of science through inquiry-based, hands-on investigations and problem-based learning, including engineering solutions in a real-world context.


In addition, STEMscopes offers a Spanish version for grades K-5, which Pasadena USD plans to implement to support its large population of Spanish-speaking students as well as its Dual Language Immersion Program in Spanish. “Instead of having to translate our STEM resources into Spanish, which is very time-consuming, teachers will now have instant access to the resources they need,” said Marchesso.


Designed to work in any classroom — traditional, blended and 1:1 — STEMscopes provides teacher and student digital resources, supplemental print materials, and hands-on exploration kits that build student engagement and excitement for learning. In addition, strong vertical alignment allows teachers to develop student expectations across grade levels with parallel lesson design.



For more information, visit




AASA Launches New Members-Only Website for K-12 School District Leadership

Alexandria, Va. – Oct. 28, 2015 – Today, AASA, The School Superintendents Association, launched, a new online portal that will provide school system leaders with access to exclusive web content, education policy resources and reports, special offers, engagement opportunities and communication tools. Access to the members only portal is available through AASA’s website,

“This online platform will serve as a gathering place for our members, America’s foremost public education thought leaders,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. “The site will provide superintendents with the tools necessary to engage with their colleagues across the nation in an effort to excel on the job for the benefit of the individuals who matter most, our students. We serve as the voice for all superintendents and this site will help them better serve the children in their districts and communities.”

“We’re all about connecting, collaborating and engaging leaders, and creating communities of superintendents as we work to transform public education in this country,” said David R. Schuler, president of AASA and superintendent of High School District 214 in Arlington Heights, Ill. “This site will help us reach these goals and advance the mission of AASA.”

Key features include information about effective superintendent/school board relationships, superintendent evaluations, legal resources, policy and advocacy resources, member blogs, community engagement platforms, and AASA governance and state affiliate directories.

In addition, AASA will have the ability to track readership of School Administrator, the organization’s award-winning, monthly magazine, significantly enhance AASA’s member database by populating it with member demographic information, including social media accounts, and provide members with access to a comprehensive directory, which will allow them to find and connect with one another.

“The heavy demands on today’s superintendents are unprecedented. will serve as an outlet to keep superintendents well-informed and speak with a unified voice,” said CJ Reid, associate executive director, governance, membership and state relations. “We have a myriad of resources that superintendents will be able to utilize that will help them, their colleagues and their communities. Whatever the issue, AASA members will know they have a powerful voice in their corner.”

“In my six years with AASA, there has never been a more critical time for superintendents to engage with their respective peer groups, as well as with the public education community at large, to push the nation’s education agenda forward and increase greater student outcomes,” said Gayane Minasyan, AASA online technologies director. “This site will provide easy access to valuable content that our members need to help them address the critical challenges they face on a daily basis and navigate the opportunities that come their way. We are excited to launch and look forward to receiving member feedback about this online communication resource.”


About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit


Edsby Selected by District School Board of Niagara as Next Generation Parent Communication System

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Commercial system with strong support for Ontario standards wins bid

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Edsby provides powerful communication tools for our educators that enable them to connect with students and parents through the web, smartphones and tablets.

Edsby®, an innovative cloud-based education engagement platform built for K-12 school districts that connects teachers, parents and students using modern technologies, has been chosen to power communications between teachers, students and parents of students in the area around Niagara Falls.

District School Board of Niagara (DSBN), which includes 88 elementary schools and 18 secondary schools in the 12 municipalities that make up the Niagara Region of Ontario, selected Edsby to facilitate and streamline communication district-wide between administrators, teachers, parents and the region’s 36,000 students so parents and other guardians are informed about their children’s daily progress in school.

“Edsby provides powerful communication tools for our educators that enable them to connect with students and parents through the web, smartphones and tablets,” said Dino Miele, Chief Information Officer of District School Board of Niagara. “It was important for us to choose a solution that embraced the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Growing Success” approach to assessment.”

Also important to the district was Edsby’s powerful group collaboration features for professional learning communities, school clubs and teams that can be used to engage teachers, students and even parents at the school level and district-wide. And it was critical to the district that the winning solution be supported and proven commercial off-the-shelf software.

“We’re very excited to have another Ontario school board use Edsby to enhance how their teachers, students and parents communicate, collaborate and engage,” said John Myers, President of Edsby. “Our strong support for the unique Ontario methodology for assessment facilitates this engagement in a way that is aligned with the ministry guidelines.”

DSBN is the third Ontario region to adopt Edsby in recent months. In June, the 60,000-student Halton District School Board announced it was incorporating Edsby to enhance student and parent communication. And in April, Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board announced it had selected Edsby for district-wide deployment to its 34,000 students and their parents.

To learn more about Edsby, please visit

About Edsby
Edsby is a modern, purpose-built learning management system (LMS) for K-12 that enables school districts and private schools to connect their teachers, students and parents using the technologies that have become pervasive in people’s lives. Edsby is developed by CoreFour, a team that has been building scalable, reliable software systems for education organizations around the world for almost 30 years using latest technology and standards. Edsby is a registered trademark of CoreFour Inc.



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