Follett Challenge Announces 2015 Winners

Follett Drives Education Innovation with $200,000 Award to K-12 Schools; Recognizes Illinois Middle School with Grand Prize

April 30, 2015 - Chicago, IL — 

Follett Corporation today announced the winners of the fourth annual Follett Challenge, which empowers innovation and rewards ground-breaking educational programs. O’Neill Middle School in Downers Grove School District #58 in Downers Grove, Illinois, has been awarded the Grand Prize for its inventive multimedia program, Conquest of the Realm. The school will receive a $60,000 prize in Follett products and services.

“Participating in the Follett Challenge solidified in my mind the significance of Conquest of the Realm – we’ve seen incredible results among students and it’s evolved me into a better teacher and learner,” said Tasha Squires, librarian/media specialist at O’Neill. “The kids play the game with such enthusiasm and it has notably enhanced our efforts to create a culture of reading and writing.”

Using the idea of gamification and a mythical-inspired theme, Conquest of the Realm divides students into one of four “houses,” which compete against each other in challenges that focus on helping students improve literacy and develop 21st-century skills. Students must work together to create their own works of literature, write reviews of books from Follett’s online catalogue, Destiny Library Manager, and work with new technologies, among other tasks.

“O’Neill has found a way to engage students and inspire a lifelong love of learning, and that is what Follett is all about and was a driving force for implementing the Challenge,” said Tom Schenck, president of Follett School Solutions. “The game encourages new ways of teaching and helps kids develop critical skills for the Digital Age. Its success is supported not only by hard data, but by the passionate response it has garnered from students and teachers alike.”

In addition to the Grand Prize, Follett Challenge recognized two semifinalists – each will receive a $30,000 prize in Follett products and services. The semifinalists include:

  • Bluebonnet Elementary/Park Glen Elementary in Fort Worth, Texas, for the Tech Ninja initiative.

  • The Young Women's Leadership School of Astoria/Queens in Astoria, New York, for the Intensives program.

The winning schools each submitted a written entry and video, and were selected based on a combined score of their written entry and the number of votes their video received. More than 243,000 votes were cast this year, an 800 percent increase from the Challenge’s inaugural year in 2011.

Follett also awarded $8,000 in prizes each to 10 “People’s Choice Winners” – schools whose videos received the most votes.

“It’s inspiring to see the level of involvement and enthusiasm that the Challenge generated this year,” said Sue Adelmann, a Follett Challenge judge and VP of market intelligence at Follett School Solutions. “It’s a real testament to the great work that schools across the country are doing to drive education forward, improve outcomes and engage both students and teachers.”

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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.