Follett Urges Schools to Share Their Stories of Unique Learning for 6th Annual Follett Challenge

$200,000 Contest to Recognize Leading Examples of K-12 Programs Teaching 21st-Century Skills to Students


MCHENRY, Ill., Oct. 25, 2016 – Does your school have a cool, unique program it would like share with the world? If so, the $200,000 Follett Challenge – an advocacy program that rewards groundbreaking educational programs – launched its sixth annual contest this week.

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. Entrants must complete an online application and upload a three- to five-minute video describing their program that teaches 21st century skills to students. Judges are looking for applications best illustrating critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration between students and among teachers and other members of the school staff.

In the 2015-16 contest, a school located on the Eielson Air Force Base in the very far north city of Fairbanks, Alaska, was confident it had a unique program to share. Educators there, however, worried they might not be able to compete with some of the bigger, more technologically advanced schools in larger cities. The Follett Challenge judges thought otherwise after the school entered its innovative STEM and CTE program for students in grades 7-12.

“Sometimes it seems like little schools in Alaska don’t stand a chance,” said Mariko Kinikin, Digital Learning Coach at Ben Eielson Junior/Senior High School Library, part of the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. “Being named as a Follett Challenge semifinalist, and finally the grand prize winner, was a huge validation of the good work we are doing here in Interior Alaska.”

“Few events have rallied the school and community as completely as the process of assembling, completing – and winning! – the Follett Challenge,” Kinikin continued. “As budgets become more streamlined, and access to timely quality materials rises in importance, the Follett Challenge couldn’t have come at a better time. We thank them for allowing us to share our story.”

With $200,000 available in products and services from Follett, this year’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.

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 school’s/district’s video.

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

“The Follett Challenge advocates for and promotes innovative educators who are looking beyond traditional means of teaching and learning,” said Nader Qaimari, President, Follett School Solutions. “As our past winners have discovered, it is well worth the time and effort to enter. Year after year, we see how diverse winning programs can be, and school size doesn’t matter. We’ve had rural, small schools, larger schools, as well as public and private schools. Each year is a pleasant surprise, and it is exciting to see the innovation at work in schools everywhere.”

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. Moreover, he said Follett has scheduled an event for 7 p.m. CDT on Tuesday, Nov. 15 on the Follett Challenge Facebook page that will provide tips on what the judges are seeking and how to make one’s entry shine.

Other key 2016-17 contest dates are:

  • Oct. 24, 2016:        Contest formally launches on website, and entries open
  • Dec. 23, 2016:        Entries close
  • Jan. 23, 2017:        Voting begins
  • Jan. 27, 2017:        Voting closes
  • Feb. 28, 2017:        Semifinalists and 10 video winners announced
  • April 28, 2017:        Grand-prize winner announced


For more information about the Follett Challenge, visit; for more on Follett, 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 preK-12 schools, colleges and campus bookstores, taking care of the critical details that make it easier for schools to run, teachers to teach, students to learn and fans to celebrate. A leading provider of education technology, services and physical and digital content, Follett currently works with 70,000 schools and operates more than 1,250 local campus stores and 1,600 virtual stores. With the 2016 acquisition of Baker & Taylor, LLC, Follett’s reach also extends into the public library and global retail markets. Today Follett Corporation is the world’s largest single source of books, entertainment products, digital content and multi-media for libraries, schools and retailers. Follett is a $3.6 billion privately held company headquartered in Westchester, Illinois.




–National Initiative for Preteens, Teens, Educators and Parents Offers Standards-Aligned Resources to Address the Science of Addiction and Kick Start Lifesaving Conversations on Prescription Opioid Misuse and Heroin Use; Initiative Announced During Live Virtual Town Hall Event–


SILVER SPRING, Md. [October 25, 2016] – To combat America’s rapidly growing opioid and heroin epidemic, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, today announced a new joint nationwide education initiative called “Operation Prevention.” This announcement was made as part of a live town hall event that was broadcasted from Virginia’s McLean High School and streamed into classrooms nationwide.


Designed for middle and high school students, educators and parents nationwide, Operation Prevention is an important effort to educate students about the science behind drug addiction and its impact, with resources that help initiate lifesaving conversations in the home and classroom.  The no-cost initiative offers standards-aligned classroom resources including digital lesson plans, and a parent toolkit that offers information on the warning signs of substance misuse disorder and a guide to prevention and intervention. In December, a student video challenge will also launch.


Every day in America, 44 people die as a result of prescription opioid overdose, and heroin use has more than doubled among young adults ages 18-25 in the past decade (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). The epidemic cuts across lines of age, race, gender and wealth, afflicting cities as well as suburbs, rural towns as well as tribal communities. Now, Operation Prevention will provide students with the tools they need to make smart, informed choices when they are prescribed or presented with the opportunity to experiment with opioids. Materials include:


Educator Lesson Plans – Standards-aligned digital lesson plans bring powerful real-world context to science and health classrooms by equipping teachers with dynamic curricula on the science behind opioids’ physical and neurological effects. Companion instructor guides are also available to support educators as they integrate these lessons into classroom instruction.


Interactive Student Resources – A self-paced e-learning module combines video, animation and interactive elements to offer students an engaging learning experience that encourages them to investigate the impacts of opioids on the brain and body. Accompanying this module are pre-and-post-assessments as well as companion guides for educators and parents to utilize to best support students’ experience.


Parent Toolkit – Designed to empower parents with knowledge and resources to begin lifesaving conversations, detect warning signs and take action, the Operation Prevention Parent Toolkit includes family discussion starters, a detailed guide of warning signs and what they mean, and prevention and intervention tools that allows parents to proactively take action through research-based strategies.


“Operation Prevention is a free science-based education tool for students, teachers, and parents,” said DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg. “In partnership with Discovery Education, we will illuminate the opioid epidemic by teaching kids the science behind it.”


“Discovery Education is proud to partner with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration on this important and potentially life-saving initiative,” said Bill Goodwyn, president and CEO, Discovery Education. “Operation Prevention will provide teachers, students, and families the engaging digital resources they need to combat the national opioid addiction epidemic.”


Today’s launch announcement was broadcasted from Fairfax County Public School’s McLean High School in Virginia. It connected students with a panel of experts including Louis J. Milione, DEA Assistant Administrator, Office of Diversion Control; Melvin Patterson, DEA special agent; Peggy Compton, Associate Dean at Georgetown University’s School of Nursing and Health Studies; Jamie Lane, Assistant Principal, McLean High School; and a former teen user, who discussed how prescription opioids and heroin affect the brain and behavior, and answered questions submitted in real time by participating students nationwide. An archive of the event is available for year-round use at:


“Substance abuse touches everyone and too often it is unrecognized as families are left to deal with the consequences on their own,” said McLean High School Principal Ellen Reilly. “By bringing this issue to the McLean school community during today’s town hall and to school communities worldwide, this is a unique opportunity to acknowledge and understand a very real crisis. Operation Prevention will increase awareness of this crisis which is key to developing solutions for those struggling with this issue.”


More information on Operation Prevention and access to the program’s free resources are available at For other Discovery Education initiatives,


About the Drug Enforcement Administration

The mission of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States and bring to the criminal and civil justice system of the United States, or any other competent jurisdiction, those organizations and principal members of organizations, involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the United States; and to recommend and support non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing the availability of illicit controlled substances on the domestic and international markets.

About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content and professional development for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content that supports the implementation of Common Core, professional development, assessment tools, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 4.5 million educators and over 50 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at


Colleges and Universities Improve Access for Adult Learners

Through Online Learning Partnerships With Pearson


Online programs meet student desire for flexible schedules in higher education, help learners acquire skills in in-demand career fields


NEW YORK – Oct. 25, 2016 – Nearly 80 percent of adults say the availability of classes to fit their schedules and the length of time needed to complete an education are barriers to completing their college degrees, according to the Adult Learners Survey 2016, conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, on behalf of Pearson. Today, Pearson announced the results of newly released success stories demonstrating how colleges and universities around the country are implementing and sustaining successful online programs that provide adult learners with increased, flexible access to high-quality higher education opportunities.


A growing number of four-year colleges and universities are implementing managed online programs to help learners complete their higher education goals and increase their employability. The University of Cincinnati’s College of Allied Health Scienceslaunched an online bachelor of science in respiratory therapy in spring of 2013 and now has more than 1,000 students enrolled.


Shane Keene, associate dean of e-learning, College of Allied Health Sciences, credits Pearson’s Online Program Management (OPM) solution with helping the college increase enrollment and also with helping retain students.


“I’m very proud of our retention,” said Keene. “Our students are working professionals who realize the importance of the degree. We’re able to figure out ways to make our program work for students despite life issues that can happen.”


Pearson provides comprehensive OPM services, and partners with more than 40 higher education institutions across the country to implement and sustain nearly 300 undergraduate and graduate programs, which have produced more than 30,000 graduates.Some of Pearson’s other OPM partners include: University of Nevada, Reno; Maryville University;  Regis College; Adventist University of Health Sciences; Arizona State University; Ohio University; Abilene Christian University; Washington State University; Hofstra University School of Law; University of California at Riverside; Bradley University; and Villanova University. In 2015, a total of 6,672 students graduated from programs powered by Pearson’s student support and retention services, a component of many OPM partner solutions.



“With 72 percent of adult learners believing education is critical to keep up with advancements in their field, online learning continues to provide valuable opportunities for working adults and career professionals seeking to advance their skills,” said Todd Hitchcock, chief operating officer, Pearson Online Learning Services. “We are proud to partner with these colleges and universities around the country to help them provide educational opportunities to adult learners who might not otherwise have been able to access programs in the fastest growing career fields.”


About Pearson

Pearson is the world’s learning company, with expertise in educational courseware and assessment, and a range of teaching and learning services powered by technology. Our mission is to help people make progress through access to better learning. We believe that learning opens up opportunities, creating fulfilling careers and better lives. For more, visit