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About NAF & FAQs

About NAF & FAQs


The Academy of Engineering & Automation (AOEA) is a four-year career academy affiliated with the National Academy Foundation (NAF). It is a smaller learning community in which a cohort of students have core and CTE classes together. Academy teachers share the cohort students and work together to integrate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math into their curricula as well as develop interdisciplinary projects.


About NAF

The National Academy Foundation (NAF) is a non-profit organization established in 1989. The mission of the National Academy Foundation (NAF) is to sustain a national network of career academies to support the development of America's youth toward personal and professional success in high school, in higher education, and throughout their careers. NAF Academies function as dynamic partnerships and collaborations between schools, teachers, administrators, business volunteers, and an active Advisory Board led by industry professionals.


  • Any rising Freshmen living within the Cabarrus County Schools attendance zone.

  • No. While many AOEA students are interested in STEM careers, the skills students will learn in AOEA are transferable to almost any career choice.

  • A lottery is used to fill the spots with a maximum of 75 students. If more students apply, the lottery is used to determine the order of the wait-list. Students on the waitlist will be contacted if a space becomes available. 

  • A career academy should be homogeneous in the student population. A lottery is the most equitable method to achieve this. Interest and grades are NOT a factor in admittance.

  • Yes. Students will have the opportunity to take Honors and AP courses as their schedule permits.

  • Yes. Students still have the opportunity to take other elective courses.

  • No. All courses follow the NC standard course of study. What will be different is the integration into core classes, interdisciplinary approach/teaching, and project-based learning. Work-based learning and 21st-century skills are also included in AOEA courses. AOEA students will have projects that involve working in teams and giving presentations.

  • No. AOEA students may participate in athletics and/or clubs that are after the school day.  Students will be given the opportunity to participate in technical student organizations as well.

  • The Academy is free of charge. Students may have the option to purchase an Academy shirt. Most expenses for field trips will be paid for by the CTE (Career & Technical Education) Department. The inability to pay any expenses will not have an impact on student participation in AOEA. Funding is available for these situations.

  • Students and their parents/guardians should seriously consider their decision to enroll in this four-year program commitment. If there is a reason why your child needs to drop out of the program, please have them consult the counselor. The decision to drop will be made on a case-by-case basis.