Implementing NGSS: Guide for Principals

Implementing NGSS: guide for principals

About NGSS

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are K–12 science content standards. Standards set the expectations for what students should know and be able to do. Click here for an overview of NGSS.

Principals have a critical role to play in the implementation process and this resource can be a guide for administrators working in states that have recently adopted new K-12 science standards, based on the NGSS.

What are key questions that principals should consider during implementation?

What kind of professional development is available and how do I ensure my teachers and I have access to it? How do I know if it’s high quality?

What NGSS-aligned instructional materials do my teachers and students need and how do I make sure they get them? How do I know if the materials are high quality?

What formative assessments are available to help teachers continually evaluate their students’ learning?

How can we connect the NGSS with work we are doing to improve teaching and learning in English language arts and math?

What can principals do to support implementation?

Focus on what the students are doing first and then think about what the teacher has designed to make that happen

Know the standards enough to identify and provide feedback on aspects of the three dimensions during classroom visits

Engage teachers on how the three dimensions are incorporated into lessons

Additionally, principals can:

  • Build a long-term plan that focuses on the building’s collective vision for science education (20)
  • Elevate teacher leaders and support them as they work to help their colleagues (38-40)
  • Find ways to provide high-quality, intensive professional learning to all teachers (41-46)
  • Seek out professional learning for yourself (49)
  • Connect what is happening with science in your building to other buildings in your district, state, or any NGSS-adopted state (70-73)
  • Be critical consumers of any new curricula (56, 57)
  • Provide leadership to develop or revise a system of assessment for measuring student learning in science (61-66)

What are some common pitfalls that can undermine successful implementation?

  • Expecting instruction to change overnight (35)
  • Expecting teachers to do it alone (35)
  • Asking “Which standard are you teaching today?” (58)
  • Failing to communicate with parents and community about what is changing and why you are changing it (84)

Learn how NGSS can be supported at home