Franklin City Schools receive NEF CyberLearning STEM+ grant

Published 10:45 am Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Franklin City Public Schools is the recipient of NEF Cyber Learning’s first STEM+ (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, English, Social Studies, SAT/ACT, IT, Business, Desktop) grant in Virginia. NEF launched the STEM+ academy in January for 300 students. They will participate in NEF’s Total System Solution program and receive personalized learning and motivational rewards, such as iPods and gift certificates, along with certificates from the State University of New York, NEF’s academy partner.

“The National Education Foundation (NEF) CyberLearning STEM+ Academy offers a diverse means of providing 21st Century methodology in the deliverance of a quality education to its participants,” said Superintendent Willie Bell Jr. “Franklin City Public Schools is proud to add the services provided by NEF CyberLearning STEM+ Academy to its core curriculum. As Franklin City Public Schools increases technology opportunities, this initiative will broaden our basis. We look to have students engaged in online interactive learning while they attain skills that will be advantageous to them beyond K-12 education.”

NEF CyberLearning STEM+ Academy’s vision is to help Franklin students meet and exceed Virginia’s state standards, and to prepare them better for college and the 21st century workforce.

“Implementing the NEF CyberLearning STEM+ Academy brings many benefits to Franklin City Public Schools and the Franklin Community,” said Franklin’s Academy Director Kelley Conaway. “Our students will have the opportunity to receive online, differentiated instruction that will help increase their success rate on the required state assessments. In turn, the division will see improvements in its graduation rate, as well as its state and federal accreditation status. Improving our schools will improve our community. I am excited about working with the National Education Foundation for the betterment of our school division.”

NEF, a national nonprofit that provides STEM education solutions, hopes to expand its STEM+ initiative significantly in Virginia and other states in the coming years.

Through its national $100 million matching grant initiative, NEF provides 50 percent matching grant, and actively assists the applicants to gain the other 50 percent from Federal sources, such as Qualified Zone Academy Bonds. For example, NEF helped Franklin City Public Schools receive $1.8 million in QZAB funds.

NEF-supported STEM+ academies, students advanced a grade level in a subject like math in 27 learning hours, at a fraction of typical Title I cost, during the 2013-14 school year, according to SUNY’s evaluation. Based on the success of the 2013-14 results, NEF plans to guarantee student performance in the chosen school districts.

NEF also recognizes the importance of involving the community, thus the NEF grant also provides training for teachers and parents in personal and professional development.

“The U.S. is falling behind globally in STEM education,” said NEF Chairman Dr. Appu Kuttan. “We have 4 million jobs looking for STEM-skilled workers. To solve our serious STEM worker shortage problem and help the U.S. maintain its global economic and technology leadership, we need to set up world-class STEM programs in our schools. Our initiative aims to do exactly that!”

For additional information about NEF’s grants and programs please contact NEF at 703-823-9999 or or visit