The National Academic League (NAL) is a competitive scholastic extracurricular program designed to increase middle school achievement, and sponsored by the Abell Foundation since 1993. Nearly 600 sixth-through eighth grade students on 28 Baltimore City public school teams compete bi-weekly in an October through March season, answering a battery of questions in a variety of subjects. The after-school games also require team members to research and present findings on designated topics. The two Baltimore City champions advance to a final NAL competition at the national level.
Over 9,500 middle school students have participated in NAL in its twenty-year plus history. This program aims to increase the number of students attending Baltimore high schools with academic criteria. With nearly 600 middle-school students participating as team members, and 80 City Schools teachers and staff members acting as coaches, mentors, and officials, the National Academic League is one of the most significant academic extracurricular programs in Baltimore public schools.