WA State Adopts Next Generation Science Standards


SEATTLE, Oct. 3, 2013 – After a two-year process, Washington State will officially adopt the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). It is the eighth state in the country to make the commitment. Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) has been one of the leaders in the process of developing the standards and preparing local school districts for the implementation of NGSS.

“It is unusual for a nonprofit scientific research organization to play such an integral role in the development and implementation of educational standards,” said Dana Riley Black, Director of Education at ISB. “At ISB, supporting science education is not a box that we check. Our authentic participation in raising the standards and equitability of science education is a core value held by all our staff, especially our president, Dr. Lee Hood.”

Over the past 18 months, ISB’s education staff joined state committees to learn about the components of the NGSS and review process. ISB then hosted review sessions for local teachers, STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) professionals, and the statewide science education community. Riley Black also testified to the State Board of Education regarding the NGSS.

To prepare school districts for implementing the NGSS, ISB has been instrumental in launching a Partnership for Science and Engineering Practices project funded by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). This three-year project, which kicked off in June 2013, partners ISB with University of Washington’s Colleges of Engineering and Education and the Seattle and Renton school districts. The goal of the project is to develop NGSS curriculum enhancements that are aligned with each district’s respective adopted science instructional materials. The enhancements will allow districts a cost-effective strategy for aligning to NGSS by adapting existing instructional materials to reflect the new standards.

Seventy elementary and middle school teachers from Seattle and Renton public schools convened at ISB for a one-day overview of the project, and to begin learning about science and engineering practices by meeting with ISB scientists. Subsequently, the teachers met for a one-week summer institute in August to develop NGSS curriculum enhancements. The teachers worked with scientists and engineers who were recruited by UW Engineering and trained by ISB staff. Over the current school year, teachers will pilot their NGSS curriculum enhancements, and project staff, including ISB staff will be available to support the teachers.

At the conclusion of the partnership, not only will the NGSS curriculum enhancements be made available for schools and districts across the state, but also the protocols and templates for development of NGSS curriculum enhancements.

Marian Wagner, 4th and 5th grade teacher at Salmon Bay School, shares her experience at an ISB workshop on the Next Generation Science Standards:

Development of the NGSS ( was driven at the state level and the Carnegie Corporation of New York served as the primary funding source. The standards are cross-disciplinary and cumulative across four domains: physical science; life science; earth and space science; and engineering, technology and science application. Starting with the class of 2015, passing science will be a graduation requirement.


  • 2010 – The National Research Council, National Science Teachers Association and American Association for the Advancement of Science collaborated to develop the Framework for K-12 Science Standards. The framework was published in July 2011.
  • July 2011 – Framework for K-12 Science Standards published.
  • 2011-2013 – Achieve Inc. collaborates with 26 “lead states” to review the framework and develop NGSS. Washington is among the lead states.
  • April 2013 – NGSS released.
  • Summer 2013 – California, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Rhode Island and Vermont adopt NGSS.
  • June-September 2013 – Washington community partners (including ISB) review standards and help prepare for implementation.
  • October 2013 – Washington adopts NGSS.

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ISB’s Vision: We exist to make profound breakthroughs in human health, leveraging the revolutionary potential of systems biology. About ISB: The Institute for Systems Biology is a premier, nonprofit research organization based in Seattle, Washington. It was founded in 2000 by Leroy Hood, a world-renowned systems biologist; Alan Aderem, a leading immunologist; and Ruedi Aebersold, a cutting-edge protein chemist. At ISB, scientific collaboration takes place across disciplines and integrates the respective insights of biologists, geneticists, computer scientists, chemists, engineers, mathematicians, immunologists and others to answer some of society’s most challenging questions related to health and the environment. Since 2000, ISB has grown to more than 230 staffers, which includes 10 faculty members and laboratory groups.

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