We are proud to financially support many programs/partnerships through the Tuscaloosa City Schools and Tuscaloosa County School System, including:

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Research indicates that summer learning loss happens to all students but has greater effects on students living in poverty. The participation in summer learning programs dramatically slows summer learning loss and these programs work better when students are given the opportunity for choice. Tuscaloosa City Schools are committed to changing the landscape of schooling to make summer learning a priority by significantly expanding summer offerings, increasing program effectiveness and outcomes, improving efficiency, prioritizing K-2 programing, and facilitating the development of a community-wide commitment to summer learning. In 2018, TCS students who attended summer learning programs experienced 9 times less summer learning loss in reading and 20 times less summer learning loss in math than their peers who did not attend. The Tuscaloosa Education Foundation is so excited to partner in this work and are committed to making summer central to learning.

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Neighborhood Bridges is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that was launched in January 2017. The model for Neighborhood Bridges is to create a Gateway for Kindness utilizing technology and social media to advocate for children and families in need... and then engaging the community in filling those needs. Neighborhood Bridges is about kindness, speed, efficiency, and bridging all community resources to drive direct support in care to our neighbors.

Tuscaloosa Bridges will engage the community in driving direct support and care to students and families in need! We are a member community of the charitable organization, neighborhood bridges.

Our mission is  To Provide a Gateway for Kindness

The Tuscaloosa Education Foundation has partnered with Tuscaloosa City Schools and the Neighborhood Bridges Organization in facilitating the startup of Neighborhood Bridges Tuscaloosa. The TEF Board is intricately involved with this wonderful program and provides streamlined support in many ways. We are working for a community that values kindness and responsibility by being of service to our students in public education that are in need. Please show your kindness by joining Tuscaloosa Neighborhood Bridges by clicking the button below.

Alabama’s award winning First Class: Pre – Kindergarten Program is part of the Office of School Readiness and provides effective, high-quality early childhood experiences that prepare Alabama’s children for school success and lifelong learning. 

The Office of School Readiness defines school readiness as a condition whereby children enter school with the following:  an enthusiasm for learning, an ability to function in a social setting, age-appropriate communication and problem-solving skills, age-appropriate physical and emotional skills and optimal health.

Numerous studies have shown that students who have participated in high-quality pre-kindergarten program are less likely to repeat a grade, require remedial education, or be placed in special education; score higher on achievement tests; are more likely to graduate from high-school and go on to college; get higher paying salaries as adults; and are more likely to stay out of prison and off welfare.

The Tuscaloosa Education Foundation, with the leadership of the late Mr. Tom Joiner, was instrumental in bringing Pre-K to Tuscaloosa in an intentional way. 


In addition to teaching the mastery of string instruments, the Strings in Schools program teaches students valuable personal lessons, including being on time for rehearsals, being dressed in uniform, being responsible for home practice and learning to respect everyone in the group. Special needs students and students with disciplinary problems have shown improved attitudes and motivation. Families have been enriched through having a young string player at home.


Book Buddies is a partnership between the City and County School Systems, Rotary, Junior League and the Honors College at the University. The goal is to teach children to read by the third grade and blend a generous donation of material resources and community volunteers to change the face of effective mentoring and personalized instruction. Community volunteers work one on one, for one hour, two days a week, in an after-school program. This exemplifies the “buddy” element of the program that builds lasting positive relationships and connects positive experiences to student literacy.


Currently, the program is serving Martin Luther King Elementary, a Tuscaloosa City School, and Holt Elementary, a Tuscaloosa County School. The program is expanding next year to impact more students and host more volunteers. The program is experiencing positive results with increased library circulation, increased student reading proficiency, and increased student efficacy as reported by parents.


If you would like more information on Book Buddies, please contact Jeanne Burkhalter at

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Tuscaloosa City and County Schools have 25 schools that are interested or participating in Hope Institute. Housed at Samford University, Hope Institute is the brainchild of Drayton Nabers, a former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice, and Liz Huntley, a lawyer and child advocate whose memoir, “More than a Bird” recounts overcoming a harrowing childhood to become a successful attorney and a member of Auburn University’s board of trustees. The Hope Institute Academy provides a place for teachers and administrators to connect with each other, learn how schools can contribute to student’s character development, and understand why good character is essential to their success in life. has been certifying schools for 20+ years based on their implementation of The 11 Principles of Effective Character. In that time, more than 800 National Schools of Character, State Schools of Character, Districts of Character, Mexico Schools of Character and China Schools of Character have been certified. 


The initial fee to participate in Hope Institute Academy is $1,500. The Tuscaloosa Education Foundation will be sponsoring schools as they progress through this process in the future. TEF will also provide sponsorship to schools from Tuscaloosa County or Tuscaloosa City advancing to become a State or National School of Character through


“Leaders are Readers” is a community-wide initiative to encourage students to make time for reading. Tuscaloosa City Schools, in partnership with Tuscaloosa Education Foundation, Cadence Bank, United Way, Rotary, and Reading Allies, will allow our children daily access to our civic, education, and community leaders through daily videos to be aired at 12 noon every day beginning July 6th through August 14th on the Leaders are Readers webpage, YouTube, and social media channels! Click to learn more.