California NGSS K–8 Early Implementation Initiative

The California NGSS K–8 Early Implementation Initiative* supports eight school districts and two charter management organizations in California in building capacity to implement the NGSS in grades K–8 and make science a core subject.

Launched as a partnership among the K–12 Alliance at WestEd, Achieve, the California Department of Education, and the California State Board of Education, NGSS Early Implementers is a large-scale demonstration initiative running through 2018.

The S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation is supporting the participation of the school districts: Galt Joint Union Elementary, Kings Canyon Unified, Lakeside Union, Oakland Unified, Palm Springs Unified, San Diego Unified, Tracy Unified, and Vista Unified. The Hastings/Quillin Fund is supporting the participation of the charter management organizations, Aspire Public Schools and High Tech High.

The K–12 Alliance provides professional learning and technical assistance to the participating districts and charter management organizations to help them implement the NGSS in K–8 classrooms. The K–12 Alliance collaborates with members of the entire district and charter management organizations, including superintendents, other district and school administrators, teachers, parents, and the community.

Evaluation of the NGSS Early Implementers Initiative

The S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation commissioned WestEd’s STEM evaluation unit — independently of the K–12 Alliance — to evaluate the NGSS Early Implementers project in the eight public school districts. The evaluation encompasses these areas of focus:

  • Implement changes in local education agency policies and practices for science education
  • Build administrator leadership
  • Build teacher leadership
  • Change teacher practice
  • Increase opportunities for student learning
  • Build community of learners to share best practices within the state and nationally

Over the course of the initiative, WestEd evaluators will document the activities and progress of the Early Implementers initiative and share findings of interest and potential value to districts following in the footsteps of the early NGSS implementers.

*Kathy DiRanna is Program Director, and Burr Tyler is Evaluation Director.