What people say about NEF’s STEM+ Academies

shana_wydraShana Wydra, STEM Director, Steubenville City Schools, OH

“Our NEF-SUNY STEM Academy helped to take our students from the bottom 50% to the top 30% in Ohio state test scores, while improving the attendance rates and enthusiasm levels of our students. In addition, our students can now earn college credits inexpensively from SUNY (State University of New York).”

With no out-of-pocket expenses, we were able to provide an improved learning environment, and a world-class STEM Academy, while improving the attendance rates and enthusiasm levels of our students.”

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rick_ranalloRick Ranallo, Superindentent, Steubenville, OH:
“NEF provided us 50% match donation and helped us get $3 million in funds with no out-of-pocket cost. NEF provides us a top-rated STEM Academy that fully “prepares our students better for college and workforce.”  NEF helped us to find an energy company and financing at true zero-interest (no supplemental interest). NEF provides us funds for teacher stipends, student rewards, hands-on STEM etc. NEF Chairman and Philanthropist Dr. Kuttan is my hero for helping me to bring to fruition my vision and legacy.”

 

 


wayne_brookhartWayne Brookhart, Superindentent, Berwick, PA

“Our partnership with NEF has created enhanced learning opportunities for our students and it has also helped us in our community. It has saved us about $300,000.”

 

 


dirk_fitchDirk Fitch, Superintendent, Martins Ferry, OH

“If you want to offer a better product for your students and their families this is definitely the way to go. We were able to add science, math and engineering curriculum that we would have never been able to afford before.”


carl_mcbreenCarl McBreen, Superindentent, Minersville, PA

“We have seen a great improvement. We have seen our students closing gaps, we have seen them improving tremendously in those areas (Math/Reading) which has allowed our students to be more successful in the Pennsylvania state assessments and in working with the common core standards.”


Testimonials By States (Alphabetically)

Alaska


Annette Island
Eugene Avery, Superintendent, Academy Director
“On behalf of the Annette Island School District, I would like to commend the National Education Foundation for their 10% match.  Without the NEF-SUNY STEM Academy and  NEF’s exemplary assistance, we would not have been able to maintain our STEM vision for the native American students in Metlakatla, Alaska. I never would have been able to do it without NEF’s dedicated help.””

Florida


Collier Countyhool District
Arthur Kobel, Academy Director
At the Collier Academy, a DJJ facility for youths in Immokalee Florida, students are assigned to one of the Business Skills, Technical Microsoft Package, IT or Web Development packages through the NEF- SUNY STEM Academy. These packages afford the students the opportunity to enhance their skills in computer use. This opportunity is beyond what the normal path would be in high school, affording them enhanced computer literacy skills.
Illinois


Central School District Illinois
Lesley Grady, Academy Director
I have been profoundly impressed not only with the level of quality and professionalism, but also with the personal care and commitment shown by the NEF staff and Dr. Kuttan in making our NEF- SUNY STEM Academy a great success.
Louisiana


St. Landry Parish School District
Camella Mouton, Academy Director

camella_1“Through the NEF STEM Academy program, our students achieved a 40% improvement in math using the CyberLearning courses and rewards such as iPods . In all my years, I have never come across a visionary education leader as Dr. Kuttan, who cares deeply about the education of students, and provides all the resources needed.”

Through the NEF- SUNY STEM Academy program, our students achieved a 40% improvement in math using the personoalized learning courses and rewards such as iPods . In all my years, I have never come across a visionary education leader as Dr. Kuttan, who cares deeply about the education of students, and provides all the resources needed.

Nebraska


Sidney School District
Jay Ehler, Superintendent
NEF VP Art Stellar walked me right through the entire process and continues to answer questions as do others from NEF. We are excited about the software used for matching funds. We plan on using the software for interventions, credit recovery, homework practice and enhancement of core curriculums. We have over $1.7 million in our allocation that will be used for building improvements and energy savings ideas that are much needed in our district.

Rick Meyer, Academy Director, Sidney, NE

“Just using our leaderboards – everyday students see me in the building are asking if the leaderboards are updated, when they are going to be updated … The program is solid and the students most definitely benefit from it.”

 

Sheri Ehler, Principal & Curriculum Director
I am excited for the student gains in the NEF- SUNY STEM Academy program from consistent use.

 

 

Melissa Roelle, Teacher
I like how NEF- SUNY STEM Academy course system review information for the students, and doesn’t just move them on until the program knows they have mastered modules.

Ami Jaggars, Parent
The NEF- SUNY STEM Academy incentives really motivate my daughter to do her best and set goals for her progress.

New Jersey


New Jersey Department of Education
Diane Koye, Manager, Office of School Facilities and Financing
“We want to thank NEF for providing a generous $4.4 million matching grant, enabling us to offer STEM Academy STEM education for 70,080 students and teachers of New Jersey’s disadvantaged Abbott school districts.”

Newark School District
Dr. Chonita Spencer, Guidance Chairperson, Arts High School, Newark, NJ
“Based on the positive feedback, the holistic student-focused nature of the program, and NEF’s unwavering commitment to make a difference in the lives of challenged and underserved students, I recommend that NEF-SUNY STEM Academy in-school and afterschool programs be provided to all eligible students of the Newark Public Schools and school districts throughout our state.”

New York


Jamestown School District
Richard C. Walters, Academy Director
I cannot overstate my satisfaction with your willingness to coordinate our most utilized courses with New York State Standards. NEF- SUNY STEM Academy is one of the most cost-effective K-12 programs. Thank you for your dedicated commitment to our children and your innovative integrated practical approach to enhancing K-12 education.

Liberty School District
Judy Brink, Academy Director
Our students have been very successful in increasing their scores on the SAT tests as a direct result of using the SAT review program in the NEF- SUNY STEM Academy.

Port Chester School District
Gaylene Gasparani, High School Computer Lab Teacher
I took the QuickBooks course from NEF- SUNY STEM Academy, and quickly learned the software. The result was amazing, not only was I able to perform these tasks easily but efficiently as well. … the course program has proven to be a very useful tool here at Port Chester High School. There are approximately 230 student accounts and 30 teacher accounts. The students saw a definite upswing in their SAT scores from previous testing; especially those who attended the workshop regularly and continued the course at home on their own.

Watervliet School District
Kirsten DeMento, Academy Director
NEF- SUNY STEM Academy offers a full educational solution for districts including customized learning, stipends for academy director, teacher training, motivational rewards to help increase student success and extra help with reading, math, science and social studies.

Ohio


Bellaire School District
Ben Doyle, Academy Director
The NEF- SUNY STEM Academy incentive program rewards student improvement, not just the highest scores, but the highest gains. It fits nicely with the values and traditions of hard work and perseverance for which Bellaire is known. The most important relationship in education is between teacher and student. We have great students and committed teachers. We will remain focused on nurturing the natural talents and curiosity that exist in all children. Students need an environment where they want to learn. The STEM Academy helps students find and pursue interests that may not have been available to them before.

Derrick McAfee, Middle School Principal
The NEF- SUNY STEM Academy has been an effective motivational tool for our students. It reaches beyond the STEM subjects and enriches their entire educational day.

Dorothy Vannest, Administrator
The amazing incentives offered through the NEF- SUNY STEM Academy’s program have not only helped the student’s growth in Math and Reading during the daytime school hours but also in our After School Program. Thank you NEF!

Brooke Peters, Teacher
I really enjoy using NEF- SUNY STEM Academy courses in my third grade classroom.  I like that it is individualized, and offers my students a chance to excel at their highest potential.  It also gives students positive reinforcement based on the material that they are individually working on in a particular subject.  I will definitely continue to use this program going forward.

Kellie Cusick, Teacher
NEF- SUNY STEM Academy is great– to have so much to offer the students that will allow them to grow without boundaries. The self-confidence and pride that they are showing in their academic performances and projects, have truly sparked excitement and interest that they are actually carrying home
Allie Ault, Student
I think it is great that there are prizes that we can earn by working hard to do better in school, thanks to the NEF- SUNY STEM Academy.

Gallia School District

scot_westScot West, Academy Director
We have issued about 60 credits so far in about a 10 week time period. A lot of that is attributed to 1) the students are thankful for the NEF- SUNY STEM Academy program 2) the incentives that we’ve been providing them to complete the courses on time have really pushed them through. We couldn’t be more happy with what’s been going on with the District. Other successes for the district have been the fact that as a rural district we don’t have the opportunity or the luxury to offer a lot of electives. But GradPoint has allowed us to offer electives such as forensic science, anatomy, or anthropology. Courses our kids typically wouldn’t have been exposed to. Our kids are doing well with that as well. We are very pleased with the outcome and our participation with this program.

Leslie Henry, Principal
NEF- SUNY STEM Academy’s SuccessMaker is being used with our 4th grade classes and they are focusing on both the math and the reading. We have had a lot of success with the program. The students really seem to like it. They are motivated by the interactive components of the program as well as just their success. They can see their growth, they experience that. With their growth reports the teachers are using quite frequently to gauge the amount of time that students are spending on the program as well as to track their growth and to help students set growth goals for their improvements.

Ed Moore, Principal
We saw that NEF- SUNY STEM Academy’s SuccessMaker provided a lot of differentiation for students for students in reading. Then we started utilizing it for Math. We liked the idea that it allowed students to differentiate, work at their own pace, it helped fill in gaps in their reading. We used it initially with intervention classes, then we saw that we could also utilize it for some of our lower readers help supplement that in the classroom.

Chris Hill, Teacher
NEF- SUNY STEM Academy program has helped so many students be successful that would not of had that chance. I see students advancing grades and moving very quickly through the program. This program is what we needed.

Martins Ferry School District
Dirk Fitch, Former Superintendent
If you want to offer a better product for your students and their families, this is definitely the way to go– NEF- SUNY STEM Academy. We were able to add science, math and engineering curriculum that we would have never been able to afford before.

Jim Fogle, Superintendent
I feel we are building up the STEM activities in the school district, with the help and guidance of NEF. I have seen attitudes  in both staff and students changing toward STEM activities. NEF has helped us every step of way on our path toward a STEM based curriculum with incentives and ideas on how to implement this in a way that will last.

Nick Stankovich, Board of Education Member, former Superintendent
Our partnership with NEF has been very productive and enlightening. It is amazing how much progress our students are making with the use of friendly competition by classrooms combined with our student incentive programs. We are glad to get the interest-free loan to provide our students with chrome books, ebooks, and buses.

Bruce Hotlosz, Academy Director
We have implemented NEF-SUNY STEM Academy in grades three through eight, and have met much gain. Also we are doing robotics with middle school and some of the high school, and also are STEM activity including an hour of coding. Working with the NEF on this project has been a pleasure. Dr. Kuttan was invaluable to us through all the paperwork for the loan. Marshall Hughes is in constant contact with me, making sure our Academy is operating at peak performance. Dr. Betrus’ input on STEM activities has been very beneficial to our staff and students.

Robert Dalton, Assistant Principal
I get to see NEF-SUNY STEM Academy from two sides, both as an administrator and as a parent with two daughters that are currently in the district and using Successmaker. As an administrator it is very useful for us because it allows us to track the kids and it helps us to identify the students who are underachieving or struggling in class but it also allows us to recognize the students who are excelling. It works well because it allows the teachers in the classroom the ability to work with both groups of students at the same time. Those students who are struggling as well as those who are achieving at a higher level.

As a parent SuccessMaker has been great. My daughters love to geton SuccessMaker, they do it here in school, and then they get home from school and when they get their homework done they fight over who gets on the chromebook to do their SM first. It’s something they want to do almost every day when they come home because they get really excited about seeing their gains and doing better, and trying to do better than their classmates. As an administrator and as a parent, the program has been really great!

Christine Lewis, Parent
As a parent, I was very excited to hear that Martins Ferry was going to have a STEM program.  I, myself, am a very science and math minded person.  I knew that my son would enjoy the program too.  He has always said that he would like to be an engineer.  He loves legos and games like minecraft.  In his STEM program he gets to do programs like coding and working with robotics.  But his real passion is in the discovery learning.  With this he is able to use k’nex to build working projects.  He and his peers have built a “roller coaster maze” for a ball.  It was taller than he is when they were finished.  He came home each day talking about what they had added that was knew.  He was also very excited to show me the cross bow he had made from k’nex.  It shot his “arrow” across the room.  This year his only disappointment with the program was realizing too late that some kids had signed up for a minecraft competition (which they won).  That taught him to pay more attention to the announcements.  He is really enjoying the program and I am thrilled to see him challenged.

Steubenville School District

melinda_youngMelinda Young, Superintendent

 The NEF- SUNY  STEM Academy really helps us meet the new needs of students with technology and also at looking at different career paths.

Rick Ranallo, Retired Superintendent
I looked at all the STEM programs available, and found the NEF- SUNY STEM Academy’s Total Solution system to be incredibly cost-effective– providing world-class STEM+ education at a fraction of the market cost.  NEF is also funding at no cost professional development academies for our teachers and parents, and certificates from NEF’s Academy partner, the acclaimed State University of New York (SUNY). Delighted with the $3 million savings over 5 years, our board unanimously approved the project. NEF Chairman and philanthropist Dr. Appu Kuttan is my hero, since he helped me to bring to fruition my vision and legacy.

Shana Wydra, Academy Director

“Our NEF-SUNY STEM Academy helped to take our students from the bottom 50% to the top 30% in Ohio state test scores, while improving the attendance rates and enthusiasm levels of our students. In addition, our students can now earn college credits inexpensively from SUNY (State University of New York).”

Using funds, with no out-of-pocket expenses, we were able to provide an improved learning environment, and a world-class STEM Academy, while improving the attendance rates and enthusiasm levels of our students.”

Oklahoma


Balko School District
Larry Mills, Former Superintendent
NEF and NEF VP Dr. Stellar have been instrumental in guiding our Board through the initial information stage. Their knowledge and total support allowed us to complete the process very quickly and efficiently to secure funds. Students in our NEF- SUNY STEM Academy have been performing very well!

Kinta School District
Patricia DeVille, Superintendent
Without the help of the National Education Foundation’s assistance with the 10% match, Kinta Public Schools would not have received funds.  NEF Chairman Dr. Kuttan’s and NEF VP Dr. Stellar’s knowledge of the rules and process to obtain funding was far beyond any resource in our state.

Pennsylvania


Berwick School District
Wayne Brookhart, Superintendent
NEF- SUNY STEM Academy has created enhanced learning opportunities for our students and it has also helped us in our community. It has saved us about $300,000. The Berwick Area School District has made tremendous strides academically and fiscally due to our partnership with the National Education Foundation. The courses offered to our students through NEF are rigorous, and consistent with the curriculum in our district. The price of NEF services is significantly lower than any private vendor we’ve researched and the savings we’ve realized have allowed us to re-invest funds in extended learning opportunities for students in ways we had not previously envisioned.
We would highly recommend NEF as a partner for any school district who is looking to enhance its’ on-line learning opportunities for students in a cost efficient manner.

Wendy Lupashunski, Academy Director
It has been a genuine pleasure working with Dr. Kuttan and his staff at NEF over the past three years. They are so helpful and their passion for students and education is a constant. The NEF- SUNY STEM Academy has provided a robust curriculum to many Berwick students in a variety of delivery systems. Our full-time cyber students are provided with a rigorous curriculum that mirrors that of our brick-and-mortar school curriculum. In addition to our full-time cyber students, many students are able to accelerate by taking GradPoint online courses along with their traditional course selections. The credit recovery courses have also provided a great opportunity for students to stay in school and reach graduation requirements.

Lehighton School District
Melissa Volcskai, Academy Director
NEF- SUNY STEM Academy has been a huge benefit to our school district. This is our third year participating in the STEM Academy program and through this program we have had the opportunity to track how much our students are growing in math and reading through the use of SuccessMaker. Based on student growth we give away rewards for students such as iPads, Sphero robots, Ozobot robots, and Bee-Bot robots, as well as a classroom prize for growth in SuccessMaker which is a traveling STEM Lab/MakerSpace. We have also been able to reward our classes in each grade level   K-6 who show the most growth over the course of the school year with field trips to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. This program has afforded our district the opportunity to learn and grow in academics, while at the same time expanding STEM opportunities for our students.

Aaron Seblin, Principal
I like that the enrichment students are able to work at their own pace and level at the NEF- SUNY STEM Academy . It is encouraging to see those children gaining information while being assessed with subject matter that is above their current grade level.

Minersville School District
Carl McBreen, Superintendent
At our NEF- SUNY STEM Academy, we have seen a great improvement. We have seen our students closing gaps, we have seen them improving tremendously in those areas (Math/Reading) which has allowed our students to be more successful in the Pennsylvania state assessments and in working with the common core standards.

Joel Motuk, Academy Director
NEF- SUNY STEM Academy for us in Minersville has been a huge improvement to school morale and students wanting to be here.

Warren County School District
Misty Weber, Virtual Academy Principal & Academy Director
Students have embraced the opportunity to take virtual classes.  It provides them the ability to have flexibility in their schedule, numerous course offerings otherwise not available, and the chance to learn independently utilizing technology to meet with teachers.  The course content is rigorous and standards-based.  As students make successful progress in their courses they have had the ability to earn incentives like gift cards, laptops, and most recently scholarships.  This rewards students as they work diligently through these courses.  We have seen many students that would not have otherwise graduated be successful in this environment, since we offer full-time, part-time, credit recovery and custom programming opportunities.

Neal Kent, Teacher
Utilizing the virtual courses with the Virtual Academy in the Warren County School District has enabled a wide variety of students with varying ability levels to take courses to best fit their individual needs.  These students are enabled to find courses that better suit their interests and learning styles.  Thanks to NEF these students are rewarded for taking and excelling in virtual courses.  These virtual courses have allowed students to overcome a variety of issues, such as social anxiety, depression, pregnancy, or medical issues and receive a high school diploma and set them up for a much more successful future.

R.K., Student
I was able to graduate by finishing courses all of my courses through the WCSD Virtual Academy.  This has allowed me to work from home which I really like.  I also received gift cards once I completed my course work which was exciting.

Puerto Rico


Puerto Rico Department of Education
Dr. Cesar A. Rey Hernandez, Secretary of Education
NEF and Dr. Kuttan, thank you for your Match contribution of $4,794,000 to provide online course access and high quality education that students of Puerto Rico deserve via your NEF-SUNY STEM Academy program.”

Texas


DeSoto ISD
Dr. David Harris, Superintendent
DeSoto ISD, like many other school districts, is still recovering from state budget cuts. NEF Chairman Dr. Appu Kuttan and NEF VP Dr. Art Stellar have been more helpful than I could have ever imagined. Their Academy and academic expertise have given the students of DeSoto an opportunity to receive a first class learning environment and world-class NEF- SUNY STEM Academy program.

Kura Neloms, Student
I like success maker because it helped me slow down and it taught me how to not to go so fast and for me to read the paragraph first and read over it then it helped me by sounding out the words and click on them to see what it say or what is the meaning and you have to listen to what they saying also I like success maker because it’s interesting to do.
Pedro Rangel, Student
What I like about success maker is that it helped me read faster and it’s better than work but success maker help a lot and I’m learning new things.
Devondria Russell, Student
I like success maker because it has improved my reading skills by not rushing through the question, actually slowing down and reading what the question is asking me.  It helped me learn new vocabulary and their meanings.  Also, I like how success maker has a lot of different stories that are all exciting and adventurous to read.  I also like how if you find something important you can highlight it and save it to your notes.  That’s really helpful when you need to remember some important details in the story.  Success make helped me to comprehend what I read and it has helped me with my reading skills over all.
Lewis Robinson, Student
I like success maker because it’s getting into more technology.  Success Maker is also great because it has helped me extend my vocabulary.  It also helped me learn old facts about people I didn’t know.  I don’t know why people wouldn’t love success maker.

Virginia


Franklin School District
Kathleen Miller
NEF- SUNY STEM Academy’s Success Maker gives the students good exposure to new math topics that I teach throughout the year. Usually when I get to a new topic, the students will say “I have seen this on Success Maker before.” The fact that they are exposed to these topics before I teach them gives the students an advantage in the classroom and their mathematics.

Washington


Aki Kurose Middle School, Seattle School District
Erin Rasmussen, Principal
Our school has been using SuccessMaker provided by NEF as a foundational math class to help those students that need extra support in math.  The students enjoy using the program to increase their math skills and have fun while learning.  The students really love the incentives and they are very excited about the end of the year Seattle Mariners game.  What a great experience for our students!
Donna Gilligan-Miller, Academy Director
As an academy director for 4 years now, I have enjoyed watching my students grow every time they are connected with the SuccessMaker math program.  They enjoy the interactions and the videos.  It allows them to work at their own pace and at their levels.  Since most of my students are special education students, they can work hard and watch their gains in math.  It is always an amazing moment when they are so proud of what they have learned.
Stuart Chernis, Technology Administrator
Our students have shown growth in their math skills.  The students enjoy using the program.  It is an asset to our school.
A. Torres, Teacher
Our students have significantly benefitted. The program allows students to work at their level and their own pace, which helps boost the confidence of our students as mathematicians, and helps them understand math in an individualized way.
Anna McCartney, Parent
My daughter has been using Successmaker for two years.  She has had amazing growth in her mathematics.  My husband works for a large technology company in the Seattle area.  We believe that the NEF-SUNY STEM program is a great opportunity for her.  The program has definitely bridged a divide that my daughter had between her math foundations and the learning of math standards.
L. Jones, Student
I have learned a lot from using the math program Successmaker.  I know that it is going to help me when I go to high school.  I like writing down the problems and reinforcing what I learn.  I have included copies of some of the problems that I have done.  I am so happy that I have had the chance to use technology in my learning.

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clintonPresident Bill Clinton to NEF Chairman Dr. Kuttan:
“You are helping to empower tomorrow’s leaders. I salute you for your ongoing commitment for creating a better and stronger America.”


Former Congressman Tom Davis (R-VA) to NEF Chairman Dr. Kuttan

“Congratulations on a wonderful program.”

Dr. Appu Kuttan, Tennis star Monica Seles (Dr. Kuttan’s Mentee) and Republican Congressional Leader Tom Davis (R-VA)

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Rev. Robert J.Duncan, Jr., President, Bacone College, OK: “We are excited about the opportunity to build the bridge that will span the vast digital divide among Native American students by utilizing the NEF grant of $500,000.”


kathy-johnson

Kathy Johnson, Advisor to the Governor of Alabama: “Dr. Kuttan, your generosity never ceases to amaze me. You are a blessing to so many, and your friendship is a blessing to me. I truly value our working relationship and friendship.”

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Pete Hayes, Microsoft Federal Systems General Manager

“Microsoft is pleased to play a part…NEF makes a positive difference in the lives of a great number of individuals in the U.S, especially in the Washington Metro area.”

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Ed Lewis, Lockheed Martin

“NEF worked very closely with Lockheed Martin to ensure that the course was meeting all our needs. In addition NEF was very responsive to requested updates and changes to the course. This was truly a ‘client comes first’ environment with a significant amount of flexibility and customization. The development stayed on schedule and implemented high quality.”

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Jason Peak, Editor, WashingtonJobs.com

NEF’s award of 2,000 STEM Training scholarships to Washington area residents…an awesome opportunity.”

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