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Six Schools Crowned Follett Challenge Winners

MCHENRY, Ill., April 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Educators and students across the country gathered in front of their computer monitors for the announcement of the winners of the Follett Challenge. Seven months and 452,776 votes later, in a live webcast this afternoon, Follett crowned six schools as the most innovative in the world! 

This second Follett Challenge contest awarded $200,000 in Follett products and services to innovative K-12 schools that are expertly aligning their curriculum to teach 21st century learning skills. The advocacy contest challenged entrants to incorporate four skills – critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration – into their video and written entries and then promote their entry in their communities to earn votes.

In today's live webcast, Tom Schenck, president and COO of Follett School Solutions Group (FSSG), announced, out of 115 entries, the dual grand-prize honors went to Maplewood Richmond Heights School District in St. Louis, Mo., and Henry M. Gunn High School in Palo Alto, Calif. Follett, a global education solutions provider, will not only award $60,000 in products and services to each school but also will throw a party for the two grand-prize winners at their respective schools.

The six Follett Challenge winners are (school, district, location, entry name, contest prize):

Grand Prize #1: Maplewood Richmond Heights School District; St. Louis, Mo.; " Cornerstone Transforms the Library into the R&D"; $60,000.

Grand Prize #2: Henry M. Gunn High School ; Palo Alto Unified School District; Palo Alto, Calif.; " Voices from the Idea Lab"; $60,000.

Third Place: Berwick Academy; South Berwick, Maine; " Jackson Library - Berwick Innovation Center"; $35,000.

Fourth Place: Goochland High School; Goochland County Public Schools; Goochland, Va.; " Not Grandma's Library"; $25,000.

Fifth Place: Seneca High School ; Lenape Regional High School District; Tabernacle, N.J.; " How One Book Caught Fire: Seneca's One Book/One School Experience"; $15,000.

Sixth Place (People's Choice Video 26,369 votes ): Mary E. Griswold Elementary School; Berlin Public Schools Kensington, Conn.; Berlin Public Schools; Mary E. Griswold Elementary School Library; $5,000.

In today's webcast Schenck explained, "Maplewood Richmond Heights was one of the grand-prize winners because 10 years ago it ranked among the St. Louis area's lowest performing schools. Last year, the school was named an International Center for Leadership in Education Model School and an Apple Distinguished School. This one-to-one laptop school has an innovative, student-mentored technology integration program. It has transformed its dated library model into the Research & Design Center, where kids can meet their resource needs and engage in activities that help them network with mentors and social entrepreneurs in the community, preparing them for the job world."

Henry M. Gunn High School, Schenck said, was selected as the other grand-prize winner because, "In Gunn High School's innovative Library Idea Lab, students and teachers use a green screen media lab, moveable furnishings, portable whiteboards, and technology tools that inspire creativity through unique library programs. These programs challenge students to take their learning outside of the library and into the community. With a focus on student production, the program has hatched services and programs to get students to think critically about their surroundings and become active producers within their environments."

Britten Follett, Follett Challenge team member, told webcast viewers the Follett Challenge was originally created as a platform to give librarians an opportunity to share the innovative programs in their libraries. "This year," Follett said, "we expanded the program to include the entire school because we believe true innovation is woven through every educator and student in a building."

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