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Next Generation Science Standards Group Publishes Guide for Districts

To successfully implement the Next Generation Science Standards, districts should establish a science leadership team, ensure that teachers and school leaders get high-quality professional learning, and collaborate with other districts, according to new guidelines from Achieve.

The group, which led the development of the standards, recently released a document outlining 13 "implementation indicators" districts can aim for as they bring the new standards to classrooms. The guide is based on feedback from educators in 10 California districts that served as early implementers

As of now, nearly 20 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards, and many individual districts are using them as well. Implementation has been slow in some places—many educators say they're struggling with a lack of resources aligned to the standards.

The new guide acknowledges this and some of the other challenges educators are facing, and offers concrete actions districts can take to make implementation go more smoothly.

A few of those include:

  • Developing a plan for giving teachers ongoing professional learning—about 100 hours per teacher per year
  • Making an inventory of existing science instructional materials and coming up with a strategy and funding plan for procuring new materials 
  • Collaborating with other districts to share resources, including professional development workshops and communications materials
  • Sharing timelines and transition plans with schools, students, and the community as they move to the new standards
  • Giving teachers time to collaborate within and across grade levels 
  • Working with science centers, museums, and local businesses on community science events 
  • Using metrics such as enrollment in Advanced Placement sciences and numbers of science capstone projects to measure outcomes. 

You can find the full NGSS District Implementation Indicators document here. 

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