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National Education Foundation Launches Adopt-a-School Grant Program

The National Education Foundation (NEF), in partnership with the State University of New York (SUNY), has launched the Adopt-a-School Program, a grant initiative designed to bring science, technology, education, and math (STEM) learning resources to disadvantaged schools.

The program asks schools to find local businesses to sponsor them at an annual cost of $190 per employee. In return, NEF will set up a virtual adult ed academy to train the sponsor's employees, a STEM+ academy for students, and a parent academy focused on IT and business, all at no cost to the school.

In addition to STEM education, the student academy will also feature tools for English and language arts (ELA), social studies, SAT and ACT preparation, IT, and business education.

NEF will also provide free "interactive, individualized online courses including the Pearson SuccessMaker" for students in grades K-8 and NovaNET for students in grades 9-12, according to information released by the organization, and SUNY will send a team to the school to set up a STEM+ Total System Solution.

Additional features of the program include:

  • Completion certificates from SUNY for both sponsor employees and students;
  • Stipends for the academy director and teachers;
  • A learning management system;
  • Mentoring;
  • Teacher and parent training;
  • Around-the-clock technical support;
  • Teacher awards; and
  • Motivational rewards for students, such as iPods.

"America is ranked 25th out of 35 countries in math and science," NEF Chairman Appu Kuttan said in a prepared statement. "To compete in the global economy, our students need better STEM skills. Our initiative is aimed at preparing our students better for college and STEM-related jobs, while helping to improve worker productivity in our businesses."

To be eligible, at least 35 percent of a school's students must qualify for free or reduced lunches. Schools that cannot find sponsors can still participate at an annual cost of $190 per student.

For more information, visit Go to to apply for an Adopt-a-School grant.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].