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 toward personal and professional success--in high school, in higher education, and throughout their careers. NAF Academies represent business/school partnerships that prepare young people for future careers through a combination of school-based curricula and work-based experiences.
What is a NAF Academy?
NAF operates Academies in three career themes: finance, travel & tourism, and information technology. Each NAF Academy operates as a "school within a school" in high schools across the country. Students apply to participate in a cadre of 30 to 60 Academy students per school per year. These students share two to three common Academy classes each semester. The Academy can be a two-, three-, or four-year program to supplement and enrich the traditional curriculum. NAF Academies are targeted to schools in the nation's urban centers, but are appropriate for-and thrive in-urban, suburban, and rural areas where businesses exist alongside the schools.
How is a NAF Academy different from other career academies?
The NAF Academy model consists of three critical components:
- A career-themed small learning community comprises the resources, leadership, and supports needed to sustain the Academy and features NAF's curriculum--designed, reviewed, and updated regularly by a team of educators and industry experts;
- Community partnerships includes the collaboration between the school and the larger community, toward the development of local advisory boards and paid student internships--a critical factor in connecting the "real world" to classroom study;
- Professional development ensures that all stakeholders have regular opportunities to enhance their academy related skills and competencies through NAF conferences, technical assistance materials, and other local activities
These three components form NAF's "Academy Frameworks," a system of quality assessments and guidelines designed to help set expectations for new programs and developing Academies, to provide benchmarks for all Academies to assess program progress, and to encourage innovation among all Academies over time.
Who are NAF Academy students?
NAF Academies are appropriate for all high school students performing at grade level, but they are particularly targeted toward students who are not achieving their potential. These are students for whom the program makes a significant difference. With a new context for learning, NAF students often become more engaged in their studies, resulting in improved performance and higher expectations of what they can achieve for themselves.
How many NAF Academies are there?
NAF currently sustains a network of 575 Academy programs in 40 states and the District of Columbia.
How is NAF supported?
NAF operates through major support from its board member companies, including: Citigroup, American Express, Merrill Lynch, The Nasdaq Stock Market, Sallie Mae, The McGraw-Hill Companies, and United Technologies. Other national funders include: Compaq, Marriott International, Lucent Technologies, Computer Associates, Verizon, Oracle, and AT&T. Thousands more large and small companies support local Academies by providing internships, service on Advisory Boards, teacher externships, curriculum guidance, and more.