“Through our support for the NAF Academies, we’re trying to help schools bring more relevance and rigor to the teaching of math and technology so students get excited about these subjects and so they get the preparation they need to succeed."
-- Carolyn McCullen, Director of Education Initiatives, SAS
About 70,000 students, mostly from low-income households, attend NAF academies in 565 schools across 36 states. Ninety-six percent of NAF seniors graduated in 2013, and more than half of NAF graduates earn bachelor’s degrees in 4-years—compared with less than a third of high school graduates overall. Evaluations show that NAF graduates earn significantly more than similar students who graduate from other high schools. NAF aims to reach 100,000 students by 2020.
The mission of the National Academy Foundation (NAF) is to sustain a national network of career academies to support the development of America's youth. NAF was started in 1982 in response to the need for skilled, entry-level workers in the financial services industry. The results for the original 35 Academy of Finance (AOF) students suggested that a career-based, small learning community model located inside a comprehensive public high school was a powerful strategy to improve high school student performance and results.
Over the years, NAF added four additional industry themes; Hospitality & Tourism (1986), IT (1999), Engineering (2007) and most recently, Health Sciences (2011). Each industry theme addresses a growing national concern over high school graduation rates, particularly in America's urban centers, the country's worldwide position in science and math, and the dearth of qualified entry level workers in STEM fields.
Employees of more than 2,500 companies volunteer in classrooms, act as mentors, engage NAF students in paid internships, and serve on local advisory boards.
The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against CTEq's Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.
Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.
Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.
Ensure work is sustainable.
Demonstrate replicability and scalability.
Create high impact partnerships
Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.
Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience
Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.
Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.
Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.