Back to School Challenge 2017

Jessica Howell
Posted: September 1, 2017

Welcome, student — ahem — Innovator!

Ms. Jessica here, 

I’m so excited to welcome you to your first official day of our Back to School Challenge! You can consider this your class syllabus for the entire month of September 2017.

Inside this syllabus, you’ll discover…

What inspired us to kick-start this Back to School Challenge

 The details — who can participate and how

 What you can do to earn gold stars

 What’s up for grabs — kudos are nice but gold stars (prizes) are even better!

So, grab your pencils and your notebook and keep in mind — if you have any questions along the way, please raise your hand inside our private classroom (internal Innovators only)!

Our Back to School Challenge

Who Can Participate

This class does have a few prerequisites. Please read these carefully to ensure that you meet the requirements!

  • You must be one of the following:
    • A current full-time or part-time employee of ttcInnovations
    • A vendor who has a current contract to do business with ttcInnovations
  • You must be a member of our private classroom. Here’s where we’ll post pop quizzes, host open houses, and share our weekly leaderboard (Teacher’s Pets) throughout the challenge!
  • You must have updated your availability on our Innovator Portal. Not sure how? Watch our helpful tutorial here!

If you’re new to our Innovator family, or you’ve just come back from summer break — be sure to complete all the requirements before September 5th, 2017 (ahem, especially updating your availability!). We’ll give you a “hall pass” for the first five days of the challenge, but after that time, if you have not completed the above prereqs, you will be automatically expelled (disqualified) from the challenge. Luckily, we know you’re a good student, so we won’t have to worry about that — right?! 

How to Participate 

1. Reach for the Stars

Your teachers (our Senior Leadership team) will be awarding gold stars throughout this challenge to star students. In order to win them, you must complete your “homework.” You, as the student, can choose which type of homework you want to complete. (Where was that option when we were in college??) Each level of homework has its own star value based on the amount of effort we believe it takes to complete.

2. Do Your Homework

The following is a list of all the homework options you can choose from throughout the month of September. You can complete any of these options multiple times to redeem your stars. Each piece of homework has specific instructions. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully — otherwise, you run the risk of forfeiting your stars!

  • It must be industry-specific.
  • Our blog counts!
  • Need more options? Here are some A+ resources…
  • After reading a blog post, you must submit the following proof by the end of each week of the challenge:
    • Blog post title and source
    • The main topics mentioned in the blog post
    • Your favorite takeaway, quote, or concept
    • How you plan to apply this takeaway, quote, or concept in your work moving forward
See “Turn It In” below for details on how to turn your homework in on Innovator Portal.
  • It must be industry-specific.
  • Our CEO, Debbie’s podcast counts!
  • Need more options? Here are some A+ resources.
  • After listening to the complete podcast, you must submit the following proof by the end of each week of the challenge:
    • Podcast title and source
    • The main topics discussed in the podcast
    • Your favorite takeaway, quote, or concept
    • How you plan to apply this takeaway, quote, or concept in your work moving forward
See “Turn It In” below for details on how to turn your homework in on Innovator Portal.
It’s time to get social! You can participate in “Recess” by any of the following : Of course, we'll be supervising “recess,” but to ensure full credit, you must submit a screenshot of your social activity by the end of each week of the challenge.

See “Turn It In” below for details on how to turn your homework in on Innovator Portal.

  • You must be helping an internal Innovator.
  • The person you have helped must send me a note so I can add this homework to your total stars.
See “Turn It In” below for details on how to turn your homework in on Innovator Portal.
  • It must be industry-specific.
  • Can be live or previously recorded
  • Our webinars count!
  • Need more options? Here are some A+ resources.
  • After watching a webinar, you must submit the following proof by the end of each week of the challenge:
    • Webinar title and source
    • The main topics covered in the webinar
    • Your favorite takeaway, quote, or concept
    • How you plan to apply this takeaway, quote, or concept in your work moving forward 
See “Turn It In” below for details on how to turn your homework in on Innovator Portal.
  • Must be industry specific
  • Our CEO's, book counts!
  • Need more options? Here are some A+ resources:
  • After reading the complete book, you must submit the following proof by the end of each week of the challenge:
    • Title and author of the book
    • A synopsis of the book (in your own words)
    • Your favorite takeaways, quotes, or concepts
    • How you plan to apply these takeaways, quotes, or concepts in your work moving forward
See “Turn It In” below for details on how to turn your homework in on Innovator Portal.
  • It must be industry-specific.
  • It must be new as of 2017. (New versions and new-to-you tools also count.)
  • Need options? Here are some A+ tools.
  • After experimenting, you must submit the following proof by the end of each week of the challenge:
    • Name of the tool
    • What the tool is used for
    • How this tool could be a beneficial addition to our company toolbox
    • A screenshot, file, or another form of media visualizing how you used the tool
    • How you plan to utilize this tool moving forward
See “Turn It In” below for details on how to turn your homework in on Innovator Portal.
Throughout the month, we’ll host two Open House events in our private classroom. This will be your opportunity to connect with your fellow students, get bonus lessons from our head teachers, and win extra prizes! All you need to do is tune in live! More details coming soon!
  • It could be a networking event, conference, or meetup.
  • It must be in-person.
  • It must be industry-specific.
  • Need options? Here are some A+ industry events:
  • After attending, you must submit the following proof by the end of each week of the challenge:
    • Name of event and who hosted
    • The purpose of the event
    • A screenshot, image of your ticket, or some other kind of visual proof that you attended
      • Score 3 bonus “recess” stars for sharing with us on social media!
    • Your favorite takeaways, quotes, or concepts
    • How you plan to apply these takeaways, quotes, or concepts in your work moving forward
See “Turn It In” below for details on how to turn your homework in on Innovator Portal.
There may be some extra credit you can earn by completing homework that we haven’t assigned. If you have an idea, feel free to send it our way! Just know, “Student’s Choice” must be approved before we can award you a set number of stars. Email me to get approval. I’ll discuss the idea with my fellow teachers and get back to you on the number of stars we feel best fits the work effort, as well as how we would like you to submit proof of your homework.  

See “Turn It In” below for details on how to turn your homework in on Innovator Portal.

Note: The hours you choose to spend on your homework are not billable. This challenge is for your professional development so you will be responsible for all finances incurred should you decide to pursue certain assignments. ttcInnovations will not be responsible for reimbursing your efforts.

3. Turn It In

You already know that you must turn in your homework to receive gold stars for the work — but you might still be wondering when and how often. See the homework due dates below…

Homework Due Dates

 Week 1: Friday, September 8th by 3 pm PT

 Week 2: Friday, September 15th by 3 pm PT

 Week 3: Friday, September 22nd by 3 pm PT

 Week 4: Friday, September 29th by 3 pm PT

How to Turn It In

Alright, if you’ve dozed off a bit — now’s the time to LISTEN UP!

You must follow the steps below to get full credit for your completed homework. Failure to follow any one of these steps will result in 0 stars:

  1. Download our Homework Tracker Template here.
  2. Fill in your homework details on the template for each given week.
  3. Save the file in this naming convention: FirstName_LastName_9.8 (or 9.15, 9.22, 9.29 – make sure to use the correct week date).
  4. Upload your homework tracker hours here before the due date listed above.

Reminder: Don’t forget about the prereqs listed earlier. These are step 0!

Our head teachers will go in each Monday the following week to tally up your stars. We reserve the right to deny stars if we feel that you did not fully show your work.

Note: We will not accept homework submissions via email!

Teacher’s Pets

To check your weekly standings, head to our private classroom where we will update our Teacher’s Pets ranking board. This leadership board will be posted every Tuesday so you can see where you fall in line to (hopefully) win one of our three prizes! The more stars you have in total, the closer you will be to winning!

Gold Star Prizes

So, what’s up for grabs? You’ll have the chance to win one of these gold star prizes!

  • $200 Toward Wishlist: Wishlist offers experience gifts that come in a variety of unique activities, as well as gift cards. You’ll be able to choose your favorite option!
  • 2 Books from ATD's Library: What a great way to keep the fun going after the challenge! These will also be student's choice!
  • Student Credit: Of course, we'll be celebrating your success with the entire team! You'll get a special shout out from our Senior Leadership on our virtual classroom, our Intranet, and more!
  • Bragging Rights: Being a Teacher's Pet comes with a year's worth of bragging rights until the next challenge! You earned it, you deserve to flaunt it!
Accordion Sample Description
  • $100 Toward Wishlist: Wishlist offers experience gifts that come in a variety of unique activities, as well as gift cards. You’ll be able to choose your favorite option!
  • Student Credit: Of course, we'll be celebrating your success with the entire team! You'll get a special shout out from our Senior Leadership on our virtual classroom, our Intranet, and more!
  • Bragging Rights: Being a Teacher's Pet comes with a year's worth of bragging rights until the next challenge! You earned it, you deserve to flaunt it!
  • $50 Toward Wishlist: Wishlist offers experience gifts that come in a variety of unique activities, as well as gift cards. You’ll be able to choose your favorite option!
  • Student Credit: Of course, we'll be celebrating your success with the entire team! You'll get a special shout out from our Senior Leadership on our virtual classroom, our Intranet, and more!
  • Bragging Rights: Being a Teacher's Pet comes with a year's worth of bragging rights until the next challenge! You earned it, you deserve to flaunt it!

Star Students

Our head teachers will announce the three winners (Top Teacher’s Pets) on October 2nd inside our private classroom! The last day to submit your weekly homework is September 29th by 3 pm PT, which means you have….

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… to earn as many stars as possible!

Ready to take our Back to School Challenge? Raise your hand inside our classroom  

We can’t wait to see you shine all month long!


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