News Releases

APRIL 26, 2017

Small Kansas Elementary School Beats Odds to Win Grand Prize in Sixth Annual Follett Challenge

Learning with Cattle Program Earns School $60,000 in Follett Products, Services

Located 80 miles northeast of Wichita with a proud population of approximately 460 residents, Strong City, Kansas, is renowned for its production of agriculture and cattle, and as annual host of the Flint Hills Rodeo. Now, the rural town’s elementary school will be known as the grand-prize winner of the sixth annual Follett Challenge, a contest sponsored by Follett seeking the most innovative K-12 programs teaching 21st-century skills in today's schools.

For its winning entry, Chase County Elementary School—part of Chase County USD 284 with an enrollment of 180 students—earns a $60,000 prize in Follett products and services plus a celebration at their school.

Judges for the Follett Challenge singled out the school’s program, “Learning with Cattle,” which finds the students learning valuable STEM lessons and 21st-century skills through projects involving the community and the local cattle industry. Fifth grade students purchase, raise, and sell calves to earn a profit, while learning by doing with the help of the community, use of technology, and creative approaches to solving problems.

“It is incredible that a small rural school from Kansas can be the Grand Prize winner!” exclaimed Pam Bevan, Principal, Chase County Elementary School. “I am very proud of our students, staff, and community. This goes to show that no matter how the odds may be stacked against you, when you always give your best effort, good things will happen.”

Rachel Matile’s fifth grade class raises cattle to help teach required standards and foster 21st-century skills.

“This project requires complex decision making, problem solving, and cooperation,” Matile said. “These kids are taking responsibility for purchasing the calves, doing chores during the school days and on weekends, and eventually selling them for a profit at the local sale barn. They're applying math, science, and problem-solving skills along the way as they purchase feed, keep track of expenses, make needed repairs to the barn, and face whatever situation comes along.

“Communication skills are required in everything they do, as they document successes and challenges every day. The kids work with real ranchers, and local feed and hardware stores where they must demonstrate consistent communication skills in person, on the phone, and in written correspondence.”

According to Britten Follett, Vice President of Marketing at Follett School Solutions, the Chase County Elementary program demonstrates true innovation in preparing students for life beyond the classroom. “Written and oral communication skills, real-world math and science, and technology skills are just a few of the specific standards students are meeting as they raise their calves. The way this program involves the community and engages students in complex problem solving thoroughly impressed our judges,” Follett said.

Bevan said winning the Follett Challenge’s top prize will allow Chase County Elementary — challenged by budgetary constraints as many schools are today — to develop a Makerspace (a work space where students create, learn, collaborate, and explore) and stock it with resources from Follett. “We also plan to build up our library with books for reading instruction and Lightbox™ materials to support our science and social studies curriculum,” Bevan said.

“Without the Follett Challenge,” Matile added, “the Makerspace room we envision would never come to fruition.”

Last month, the Follett Challenge announced Chase County Elementary was one of three semifinalists along with Highland Junior High School in Mesa, Ariz., and Booker T. Washington High School in Pensacola, Fla. The other two schools each earn $30,000 in Follett products and services.

Follett Challenge entrants must complete an online application and submit a video describing their program. The contest rewards groundbreaking educational programs by seeking applications illustrating critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration. All K-12 schools/districts, public and private, in the U.S. and Canada are eligible to apply.

Recent News Releases

Follett School Solutions Partners with boclips to Add K-12 Educational Videos to Digital Classroom Library

October 26, 2021

McHENRY, Ill., Oct. 26, 2021 – Follett School Solutions today announced Follett MyDestiny, its one-stop digital classroom library, now features 50,000 safe, vetted K-12 educational videos from leading and trusted content providers. The videos are the result of a new partnership between Follett and boclips, a provider of educationally rich, rights-cleared videos.Follett MyDestiny, launched earlier this year, also provides unlimited 24/7 access to 50,000 diverse, high-quality, multi-user eBooks from a variety of publishers; 100,000 educator-vetted resources; and learning tools. Moreover, MyDestiny leverages personalized recommendations to allow users to easily locate content, all aligned to national and individual state standards.“MyDestiny brings the best of...
Read more

Follett Aspen Student Information System Partners with MyFlexLearning

September 16, 2021

MCHENRY, Ill., Sept. 16, 2021 — Follett School Solutions and Nash Consulting, LLC, today announced a partnership to integrate the Follett Aspen Student Information System with Nash Consulting’s MyFlexLearning, a flexible scheduling platform. Together, the two systems give schools the benefit of the robust Aspen master scheduler and the ability to provide flexible and personalized daily offerings for students via MyFlexLearning.Officials from both companies explained that many schools are finding they need to schedule individual student periods on a just-in-time basis – more granularly, frequently and flexible than typical class schedules. Aspen provides powerful master scheduling capabilities for schools to...
Read more

Follett Literacy Program Giveaway Provides Students Chance to Win Video Conference Visit with Author Who Inspired International Dot Day

September 15, 2021

MCHENRY, Ill., Sept. 15, 2021 — Children’s author Peter H. Reynolds, who is in the spotlight today with the global celebration of International Dot Day, will soon be participating in a live video conference with one lucky classroom, thanks to the Write to Connect program from Follett School Solutions.Reynolds, author of “The Dot” that serves as the inspiration for International Dot Day, will connect with students whose classroom is randomly selected as the winner of a giveaway open now and running through Sept. 30. Write to Connect, which debuted last year, asks students to send questions to an author about his or her book....
Read more

Francisco Partners Acquires Follett School Solutions

September 1, 2021

WESTCHESTER, Ill., Sept. 1, 2021 —Follett Corporation today announced the sale of Follett School Solutions (FSS), the company’s K-12 software and content division, to Francisco Partners, a leading technology-focused global investment firm.Follett School Solutions, based in McHenry, Ill., is a longtime trusted educational partner to K-12 schools and districts that provides software and content products, including Follett Destiny, FSS’ market-leading library management system with installations in more than 75,000 K-12 schools worldwide. FSS will join Francisco Partners’ growing portfolio of K-12 education-focused businesses and technologies, including Renaissance Learning, Discovery Education, Freckle, myON and Mystery Science.“FSS has played a pivotal leadership role...
Read more

Follett Promotes Linda Semmler to VP of Publisher Relations, Content, and Book Fair Merchandising

August 5, 2021

MCHENRY, IL  - Linda Semmler has been promoted to vice president of publisher relations and content & book fair merchandising for Follett School Solutions, the company announced today. With 25 years of experience, Semmler most recently served as vice president of product & merchandising for Book Fairs and eFairs for Follett.Britten Follett, executive vice president of Follett School Solutions, said Semmler’s role with the company is expanding due to the success she has had driving Follett Book Fairs, which have been growing since debuting nearly four years ago. “Our fairs are so popular with our customers due to the great products Linda...
Read more

Start Reading Now Again Partners with Follett to Help Counter ‘Summer Slide,’ Pandemic Learning Loss

May 27, 2021

Almost 3,000 students from predominantly low-income families will be receiving free print books to read over the summer as the result of a continuing charitable effort led by Start Reading Now.
Read more

More articles and releases