NAF College Readiness Partnership

The Pearson Foundation is a proud sponsor of the National Academy Foundation, a national network of career academies that support the development of America’s youth toward personal and professional success in high school, in higher education, and throughout their careers.

NAF Academies are two- to four-year academic and career-oriented programs operating within existing high schools or as autonomous schools. Specialized NAF courses, created by educators and industry specialists, provide context to enrich a rigorous academic curriculum. These courses—together with business/school partnerships that prepare young people for future careers through a combination of school-based curricula and work-based experiences—produce remarkable results:

  • More than 90% of NAF students graduate from high school—compared to 50% in the urban areas where most NAF Academies are located.
  • 80% of NAF students go on to post-secondary education.
  • 52% of NAF students complete 4-year college degrees in 4 years—compared with 32% nationally. Of those, more than half are the first in their families to go to college.

At NAF’s career academies, teachers use a new research-based curriculum developed jointly by NAF and the Pearson Foundation—curriculum which integrates career-themed subject matter with project-based learning. The curriculum also employs cutting-edge methods of increasing literacy and using cross-disciplinary teaching strategies that weave career themes across core subjects such as math, English, and history.

In addition, the Pearson Foundation has committed more than $2 million since 2004 to help NAF establish professional development and training materials that provide NAF the opportunity to articulate, document, and broadcast the exemplary teaching practices that underlie NAF’s students’ success.

The “NAF Collaboration Network” is tailored specifically to NAF’s national network of career academy teachers. The initiative funds regional in-person training sessions as well as online training programs for teachers. It also creates professional development resources, many of which are available on a new, interactive website. For example, across this national communications network, NAF teachers and administrators share information about their professional experiences, and what they have found to be “best practices” inside and outside the classroom—including how to secure student internships and how to form effective Advisory Boards.

Pearson Foundation also helps NAF to identify exemplary teachers among the national network of NAF Career Academies. These education leaders, awarded “Pearson Curriculum Leader Fellowships,” meet regularly to advise NAF. Fellows also augment professional development instruction through regular communications with the larger group of NAF teachers, using message boards, online meetings, and web-based instruction. Similar Fellowships are being awarded to design teams from the Network who will help advise NAF on the development of student internship and Academy Development resources. All share and present best practices among NAF leaders at NAF’s national and regional convocations.