NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fast Company today announced its annual ranking of the world’s 50 Most Innovative Companies for 2017, honoring leading enterprises and rising newcomers that exemplify the best in nimble business and impactful innovation. Get Schooled, a national non-profit focused on improving educational outcomes for low-income students, earned a top spot in the “Gaming Category” recognizing the unprecedented reach and impact its platform is having on young people most in need of an educational boost.
Most Innovative Companies is one of Fast Company’s most significant and highly anticipated editorial efforts of the year. To produce the 2017 list, Fast Company reporters surveyed thousands of enterprises across the globe to identify the most notable innovations of the year and trace the impact of those initiatives on business, industry, and the larger culture.
Founded in 2010 through a collaboration between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Viacom, Get Schooled has empowered millions of young people to access the education they need for the future they want. Using digital channels, gamification and a mix of “sizzle and substance”, Get Schooled gives students a voice to advocate for themselves along with access to the tools, resources and community that allows them to fulfill their dreams.
“Get Schooled was founded to help young people reach their educational goals through creative applications of media, entertainment and technology,” said Alexandra Jannello Tuck, Vice President of Viacom Corporate Social Responsibility. “Viacom is proud of Get Schooled’s continued success and the impact it has had on millions of young people’s lives.”
Since its launch www.getschooled.com has become the nation’s largest digital education community aimed at students. While thousands of middle and high schools use Get Schooled to complement its guidance and college advising resources, any young person can access the content and tools available on the site at no cost. In a survey of Get Schooled alumni, two-thirds cite Get Schooled as being a key support in helping them reach their goals.
Recognizing gamification as a critical strategy in building its community, beginning in 2012 Get Schooled applied gaming elements across its digital platform, including competition, point scoring and rules. The strategy has enabled Get Schooled to reach millions of young people and drive improvement of student outcomes in schools and communities in need of the greatest boost:
- Get Schooled’s digital platform has had more than 8M visits since launch including 1.7m visits in 2016 (a 54% increase from the previous year). The community boasts more than 750,000 members. The average age of its membership is 16 and its most active members are low-income (73%), Latino (52%), and African American (30%) students.
- As community members complete content on Get Schooled’s digital platform, they earn points. The maximum number of points can be earned when students complete one of over 50 badges on the site. Topics range from soft skills to college guidance essentials. More than 110,000 badges were completed in 2016 and students cashed in their hard earned points for close to 10,000 items in the Get Schooled reward store.
- More than 2,000 middle and high schools have participated in a Get Schooled Challenge – a school-wide game designed to transform school culture and boost student outcomes. Of schools where 10% or more of students were members of the Get Schooled community, more than 2/3 posted improved attendance rates or FAFSA completion rates.
Integral to Get Schooled’s gamification strategy are powerful rewards students and schools find compelling. The organization has distributed more than $1 million in scholarships and grants; additionally, twenty middle and high schools have earned celebrity principals for extraordinary accomplishments measured through the site. Celebrity principals have included: DJ Khaled, Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar, James Harden, KeKe Palmer, Nick Cannon, Ne-Yo, Chance the Rapper, and Ludacris.
“Get Schooled has a track record of success in part because we have adopted the principles of a high performing tech start up: we value partnerships, use data to continuously improve and have learned how to fail fast,” said Marie Groark, Executive Director of Get Schooled. “We are honored to receive Fast Company’s recognition and will continue to innovate on behalf of low income young people who are most in need of assistance.”
Get Schooled funders have included: AT&T Aspire, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Capital One Bank, Comcast Internet Essentials, the Kresge Foundation, Google.org, the Schultz Family Foundation, the Taco Bell Foundation, and Viacom.
Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies issue (March 2017) is now available online at www.fastcompany.com/MIC as well as in app form via iTunes, and on newsstands beginning February 21.
ABOUT GET SCHOOLED
Get Schooled is a non-profit organization that directly engages and motivates students to graduate from high school and succeed in college. Get Schooled offers low income students a range of supports including college advisor text help and digital content. Get Schooled has developed a track record of success because it engages with young Americans using the media, technology, and popular culture that is an integral part of their lives. Get Schooled’s work is boosted by partners like Viacom, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For more information visit www.getschooled.com.
ABOUT FAST COMPANY
Fast Company is the world’s leading progressive business media brand, with a unique editorial focus on innovation in technology, ethical economics, leadership, and design. Headquartered in New York City, Fast Company is published by Mansueto Ventures LLC, one of the U.S.’s leading media companies.
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