Get Schooled Scores a Spot on Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in Gaming List

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

The lighting-thumbed gamer diehards will nod in knowing agreement as they glance at Fast Company’s roll call of the 10 most innovative companies in gaming – streamer Twitch, gamemakers 2K and Activision Blizzard, founding father of modern gaming Nintendo. But the name at number nine might teach even the most seasoned gamer something brand new: Get Schooled, the non-profit organization whose primary mission is inspiring students to finish high school and succeed in college.

How exactly does an organization founded via a partnership between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Viacom crash a who’s who of modern gaming giants? By adopting the fearless attitude and experimental dynamic of a Silicon Valley start-up driven to solve an complex problem.

“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.

Those improvements have hinged upon a bold and vast adventure into gamification, a realm that many high school students know well and require no primer to engage with. The pivot began just two years after Get Schooled launched in 2010, transforming www.getschooled.com into an immersive gamified universe, where competition, point scoring and rules have engaged millions of young people, who can cash out their points for stuff like autographed gear from NBA and NFL stars, calculators or backpacks in a rewards store sponsored by the organization.

Students can also earn scholarships, or celebrity appearances by the likes of DJ Khaled, Nicki Minaj, James Harden, KeKe Palmer, Nick Cannon, Ne-Yo, Chance the Rapper and Ludacris. Check out Kendrick Lamar’s visit to Bethel High School in Alaska, a former “drop-out factory” that earned the visit by winning one of Get Schooled’s national points-based competitions:

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Viacom, Tacos, and Times Square: How 300 Young Adults Celebrated the Importance of Education

Marie_Groark_2009 by Marie Groark, Executive Director, Get Schooled

Viacom, Get Schooled, and the Taco Bell Foundation teamed up once again this spring for a project called Times Square Yearbook. We asked young people to tell us how education has helped them pursue their passions. The kids with the best answers earned a spot on a Times Square billboard and a $1,000 scholarship.

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The winners of this year's Get Schooled initiative celebrated on June 8 in Times Square. Read More

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The winners of this year's Get Schooled initiative celebrated on June 8 in Times Square. Read More

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The winners of this year's Get Schooled initiative celebrated on June 8 in Times Square. Read More

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The winners of this year's Get Schooled initiative celebrated on June 8 in Times Square. Read More

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The winners of this year's Get Schooled initiative celebrated on June 8 in Times Square. Read More

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The winners of this year's Get Schooled initiative celebrated on June 8 in Times Square. Read More

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The winners of this year's Get Schooled initiative celebrated on June 8 in Times Square. Read More

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The winners of this year's Get Schooled initiative celebrated on June 8 in Times Square. Read More

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The winners of this year's Get Schooled initiative celebrated on June 8 in Times Square. Read More

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The winners of this year's Get Schooled initiative celebrated on June 8 in Times Square. Read More

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The winners of this year's Get Schooled initiative celebrated on June 8 in Times Square. Read More

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The winners of this year's Get Schooled initiative celebrated on June 8 in Times Square. Read More

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The winners of this year's Get Schooled initiative celebrated on June 8 in Times Square. Read More

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The winners of this year's Get Schooled initiative celebrated on June 8 in Times Square. Read More

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The winners of this year's Get Schooled initiative celebrated on June 8 in Times Square. Read More

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The Taco Train to Times Square: a Delicious Start to Paying for College

Marie_Groark_2009 by Marie Groark, Executive Director, Get Schooled

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Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman and others ringing the bell at the NASDAQ exchange. Read More

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They call Times Square the Crossroads of the World. It is the hub of media, arts, and business in New York City.  Tens of thousands of New Yorkers work in Times Square and millions of tourists flock to it every year. So what better place to recognize some of America’s greatest high school students.

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GET SCHOOLED, Comcast’s Internet Essentials Team Up to Inspire Thousands of Chicago Students

Marie_Groark_2009 by Marie Groark, Executive Director, Get Schooled

This fall, Get Schooled partnered with Comcast’s Internet Essentials to create the Get Schooled Get Connected Challenge.   The Challenge engaged thousands of students in more than 48 community based organizations and high schools across Chicago with a goal of connecting students with digital content aimed at preparing them for college.  The most active students across the city earned a ticket to a star-studded celebrity event at Malcolm X College on Martin Luther King Day. Read More

The First Lady, Viacom and Get Schooled Move FAFSA-Forward

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First Lady Michelle Obama takes a selfie with Baltimore student Lawrence Lawson’s phone following a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) workshop at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., Feb. 5, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

What do you get when you bring the First Lady, a high school valedictorian and Viacom’s most creative minds together? A true Viacommunity effort!

Teamwork, wit and humor were in the air two weeks ago as employee volunteers gathered to brainstorm. The assignment: a public service announcement (PSA) with First Lady Michelle Obama encouraging students to complete the FASFA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), as part of the “FAFSA-Forward” campaign from the Get Schooled Foundation and its founding partner Viacom. The campaign encourages students to get the money they need for their college education. Read More

TRANSFORM-ing Detroit

Chanel J Cathey 1 by Chanel Cathey, Viacom

 Allegra Clegg

More businesses, artists, activists and entrepreneurs are focusing on Detroit as a hotbed for innovation and inspiration. In 2010, Paramount Pictures filmed Transformers: Dark of the Moon in Detroit and this year marked the production return of the 4th installment of the franchise, Transformers: Age of Extinction. Filming in the Motor City brings a pleasant boost to the economy, and last week the franchise also lifted the spirits of hundreds of young people at Durfee Elementary-Middle School, when throngs of excited students welcomed Transformer co-producer and Hollywood all-star Allegra Clegg to their school.

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1 Million Students Can’t Be Wrong…

Marie_Groark_2009 by Marie Groark, Executive Director, Get Schooled

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Thank you to all our partners at Viacom for a most incredible year.  In 2013, Get Schooled grew its audience an impressive 48%, and in the process, we were able to identify significant best practices in engaging and inspiring young people around their education.  We could not have affected the lives of so many students without your partnership and support.  Our year-end infographic above shares our most valuable insights. Read More