Implementing NAF Curriculum

NAF is committed to providing high school students with a high-quality education that prepares them for college and career in a field of study where there are substantial career opportunities.

I. Pedagogy

NAF courses are learner-centric, using a variety of instructional methods to engage students as much as possible with the subject matter. Students are actively doing something other than simply listening and notetaking for some portion of every class.

  • Learning activities are designed to be rigorous with complexity, emotionality, provocativeness, and ambiguity, thus challenging students in a deep and direct way.
  • An emphasis on succeeding at real-world tasks is achieved through hands-on activities, College and Career Readiness Index, Project Based Learning/Performance Based Assessment, and a required summer internship.
  • Project work requires students to utilize communication, time management, and other career skills that they will need to succeed in the workplace.
  • A literacy component is included in each lesson to ensure students build reading and writing skills in parallel with subject matter skills.
  • Cross-curricular activities help students make connections and construct a broad knowledge and skill base.
  • Most lessons include extension activities for STEM and Technology Integration, which provide opportunities for learning science, technology, engineering, and/or math skills within course content.
  • Content Enrichment activities provide ideas to support students who could benefit from either remediation or extensions of the lesson skills and content.

II. Curriculum Development Process

To develop each course in this curriculum, NAF teams up with strategic partners, including:

  • Industry leaders
  • Subject matter experts
  • Classroom teachers
  • Instructional design specialists
  • Post-Secondary leaders

NAF courses are not static; they are living documents that are continually improved and updated to ensure that the curriculum remains accurate and as effective as possible. Each NAF course goes through the following process:

  • The NAF Knowledge Management team maintains the NAF Curriculum.
  • A select group of NAF teachers are selected for the NAF Curriculum refresh cycle, courses are refreshed on a three year cycle.
  • Subject matter experts review each course regularly to make sure all course content is accurate and current.
  • Industry experts review each course to ensure the competencies are aligned with their employment needs.
  • Post-Secondary leaders review each course to ensure content alignment.

III. Partnerships

The contribution of curriculum partners and underwriters has enabled NAF to consistently maintain high standards for its curriculum.

  • PBLWorks is recognized worldwide as the expert organization for rigorous project-based learning. Every NAF course includes a project that has the imprint of PBLWorks.
  • Project Lead the Way, an organization dedicated to teaching and learning experiences that serve as a portal into industry, provides curriculum options in engineering, computer science, and health science programs.
  • ConnectEd, the California Center for College and Career organization dedicated to identifying, supporting, and expanding linked learning that prepare students for college and career, wrote the integrated units for the Engineering course.
  • The STEM Academy works to improve STEM literacy for all students and provides NAF engineering academies with nationally recognized curriculum.
  • Paxton/Patterson offers a comprehensive line of learning systems, tools, equipment, and supplies for engineering and health science programs.

1. How should I get started teaching a NAF course?

Before you start teaching any NAF course, please familiarize yourself with NAF Learning Handbook, which explains how courses are structured and how to use key instructional strategies. You should also read through the Guide for Teaching a NAF Course, which can be found in the Implementation Tools section on the Downloads page for each course. A good place to start for the content of an individual course is the Overview page, where you can become familiar with the course Scope & Sequence and Culminating Project Overview. After that, you will want to download and review all of the course materials from the Downloads page.

2. What if I have questions about a course?

If you have questions about a course, please send an email directly to kenglish@naf.org. A member of the NAF Knowledge Management team will get back to you as soon as possible.

3. What are the technology requirements for NAF courses?

Regardless of the particular requirements for any NAF course, all students will benefit from regular access to computers. They can use word processing software to type assignments, create PowerPoint presentations, conduct online research, and merge individual pieces of work into group assignments.

All AOIT courses require the consistent use of computer hardware and software. Please see the Course Equipment Requirements document in Course Planning Tools for a detailed list of requirements that are specific to a particular course.

Courses in AOF, AOHS, and AOHT don't require the use of computers in every class period. The lessons are flexible and are designed to accommodate those schools with limited access to technology. All courses do require some online research, but the teacher can arrange for students to use the school computer lab when necessary. The one AOF course that requires the most regular computer usage is Principles of Accounting because most of the financial statements and reports are done in Excel.

Implementation of NAFTrack assessment has particular requirements for computer and Internet access. For further information, please email Kevin English at kenglish@naf.org.

4. Which courses pair well together to create a complete year of curriculum?

Each NAF course is one semester long; you can pair courses to create a year-long curriculum. We recommend the following course pairings, based on skills and knowledge they require and the opportunity to build on knowledge from the first-semester course during the second semester.

Academy of Information Technology

  • Principles of IT with Digital Video Production
  • Principles of IT with Web Design
  • Principles of IT with Computer Systems
  • Digital Video Production with Web Design
  • Computer Systems with Computer Networking
  • Web Design with Database Design
  • Computer Networking with Database Design
  • Web Design with Intro to Programming
  • Intro to Programming with Database Design

Academy of Finance

  • Principles of Finance with Financial Services
  • Principles of Finance with Financial Planning
  • Principles of Finance with Professional Ethics
  • Financial Services with Professional Ethics
  • Financial Planning with Insurance
  • Financial Services with Insurance
  • Principles of Accounting with Managerial Accounting
  • Professional Ethics with Applied Finance
  • Entrepreneurship with Managerial Accounting
  • Entrepreneurship with Applied Finance
  • Applied Finance with Business Economics
  • Applied Finance with Business in a Global Economy

Academy of Hospitality & Tourism

  • Principles of Hospitality and Tourism with Geography for Tourism
  • Principles of Hospitality and Tourism with Delivering Great Customer Service
  • Principles of Hospitality and Tourism with Hospitality Marketing
  • Geography for Tourism with Sustainable Tourism
  • Delivering Great Customer Service with Hospitality Marketing
  • Hospitality Marketing with Sustainable Tourism
  • Hospitality Marketing with Sports, Entertainment, and Event Planning
  • Sports, Entertainment, and Event Planning with Sustainable Tourism

Academy of Health Sciences

  • Health Careers Exploration with Principles of IT
  • Foundations of Anatomy and Physiology I with Foundations of Anatomy and Physiology II
  • Global Health with Biotechnology

There is no one sequence that works for every theme in every district. NAF has provided suggestions for course sequencing and course pairings as guidance to help you develop appropriate NAF course sequences for students at your academy. In addition to NAF’s courses, other curricular options exist to enhance your offerings and enable students to become eligible for NAFTrack Certification. NAF-approved career-thematic Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Dual Enrollment courses can also be integrated into your academy’s course sequencing. For further information, please email the NAF Instructional Managers at .

Academy of Finance

Course Prerequisite(s) Grade Level comments
Principles of Finance none This should be every student’s first academy course
Financial Services Principles of Finance Best in the first year or two of an academy
Financial Planning Principles of Finance Any year
Principles of Accounting Principles of Finance Best in the first year or two of an academy
Insurance Principles of Finance; Financial Planning Best in the second or third year of an academy
Managerial Accounting Principles of Finance; Principles of Accounting Best in the second or third year of an academy
Professional Ethics Principles of Finance Junior or senior level course
Business Economics Principles of Finance Junior or senior level course
Business in a Global Economy Principles of Finance; Business Economics (suggested) Junior or senior level course
Entrepreneurship Principles of Finance Senior level course
Applied Finance Principles of Finance Senior level course

Academy of Health Sciences

Course Prerequisite(s) Grade Level comments
Health Careers Exploration None This should be every student’s first academy course
Foundations of Anatomy & Physiology I Biology, Chemistry Designed for 10th grade; suitable as a prerequisite for upper level or post-secondary Anatomy & Physiology
Foundations of Anatomy & Physiology II Foundations of Anatomy & Physiology I Designed for 10th grade; suitable as a prerequisite for upper level or post-secondary Anatomy & Physiology
Global Health Health Careers Exploration Junior or senior level course
Biotechnology Biology, Chemistry Junior or senior level course

Academy of Hospitality & Tourism

Course Prerequisite(s) Grade Level comments
Principles of Hospitality and Tourism none This should be every student’s first academy course
Geography for Tourism Principles of Hospitality and Tourism Best in the first year or two of an academy
Delivering Great Customer Service Principles of Hospitality and Tourism Best in sophomore or junior year
Event Planning Principles of Hospitality and Tourism Sophomore at the earliest; best as a junior or senior level course
Hospitality Marketing Principles of Hospitality and Tourism Junior or senior level course
Sustainable Tourism Principles of Hospitality and Tourism Senior level course

Academy of Information Technology

Course Prerequisite(s) Grade Level comments
Principles of IT none This should be every student’s first academy course
Computer Systems Principles of IT Best in the first year or two of an academy
Digital Video Production Principles of IT Any year
Graphic Design Principles of IT Any year
Web Design Principles of IT Sophomore year at the earliest
Introduction to Programming Principles of IT Sophomore year at the earliest
Computer Networking Principles of IT; Computer Systems Sophomore year at the earliest
Database Design Principles of IT Junior or senior level course

Courses from California high schools used to satisfy the "A-G" subject requirements must be approved by the University of California. These courses are academically challenging, involving substantial reading, writing, problems, and laboratory work (as appropriate), and they give serious attention to analytical thinking, factual content, and developing students' oral and listening skills.

NAF as a program is recognized by the University of California.

The following NAF course has been approved under the Lab Science designation ("D").

  • AOHS Foundations of Anatomy & Physiology I
  • AOHS Foundations of Anatomy & Physiology II

The following NAF courses have been approved under the College-Preparatory Elective designation ("G").

  • AOF Business in a Global Economy
  • AOF Business Economics
  • AOF Entrepreneurship
  • AOF Financial Planning
  • AOF Financial Services
  • AOF Managerial Accounting
  • AOF Principles of Accounting
  • AOF Principles of Finance
  • AOHS Global Health
  • AOHS Health Careers Exploration
  • AOHT Delivering Great Customer Service
  • AOHT Geography for Tourism
  • AOHT Hospitality Marketing
  • AOHT Principles of Hospitality and Tourism
  • AOIT Computer Systems
  • AOIT Digital Video Production
  • AOIT Introduction to Programming
  • AOIT Web Design
  • NAF Graphic Design
  • NAF Principles of Information Technology
  • NAF Professional Ethics

NAF realizes that it is expensive and resource intensive to print out the curriculum materials. We have developed a presentation to explain the ways in which schools are moving away from paper and toward electronic delivery of NAF Curriculum. If you have any questions about the approaches suggested in this presentation, please contact the .

Note: The multimedia presentation below is in Adobe Flash format. Flash Player must be installed on your computer to view it. In addition, this presentation doesn’t play in every version of every browser — if you have problems viewing it, please try a different browser.

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