National Green Schools Society (NGSS)

We have four different sections of NGSS, and it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with all of them because (hopefully) they will be like stepping stones in a school system.

NGSS is for high school students in grades 9-12. A high school chapter is focused on individual and team environmental service projects. Students are inducted into the chapter based on a minimum number of service hours already achieved. The school selects a Level that it wants to establish, which includes a minimum number of hours for induction and graduation. Every member must commit to 20 hours of service per year in order to qualify for awards and recognitions. NGSS members must earn service hours in environmental service, environmental education, project-based learning (such as a senior project) and through an internship or work with a community partner. Chapters have elected officers and conduct fundraising activities.

NGSS – Junior is for students in grades 6-8. It is common for NGSS – Junior chapters to work as a team on projects, yet many members at this age take on individual projects. Members pledge 20 hours of environmental service to their school and community, and are encouraged to do more hours if they work on multiple projects. The chapter elects two junior officers and fundraising activities are coordinated with the chapter advisor. There is an induction ceremony, but students do not need to meet a minimum number of service hours to join. Chapter members will receive certificates for service with special recognition for members in 8th grade.

NGSS – Elementary is for students in grades 2-5. Grades 2-4 are encouraged to work together as a group on environmental service projects, such as recycling or composting or planning and planting a school garden. These easy-to-implement programs are fun and educational. There is not induction for this level or minimum hour requirements to join the chapter. Grades 2-4 chapter members receive individual certificates and the elementary school receives recognition for its contributions. Grade 5 students are often old enough to start individual projects, help with the younger students, or work as a team to begin a more complex project together. NGSS has specific Grade 5 recognition awards and recognitions.

NGSS – Virtual is for independent, home-schooled, or non-traditional students in grades 5-12. Students who do not attend a public or private school or are a student that does not have an NGSS chapter at its school can join NGSS – Virtual. Members work independently on projects in their communities or schools and are guided in their work by an advisor from NGSS national. Members attend monthly meetings via conference call or webinar and have access to the same resources as any other chapter. Virtual members receive individual recognition for their work.

National Green Schools Society provides a structured chapter-based program for high-achieving, environmentally focused students to create extraordinary impact in schools, organizations, and communities while getting the recognition they deserve on a state and national level. The NGSS program develops bright, civic-minded, environmentally literate citizens. By establishing a NGSS chapter in your school, students in grades 2 through 12 will advance their passion for preserving the environment through environmental service projects, leadership, and activism. Essentially, this is the formula:

  • Your school or organization starts a NGSS chapter.
  • Students are inducted as members and leaders are elected.
  • Each student or the group selects an environmental service project or multiple projects for the year.
  • Your chapter submits project ideas and monthly chapter updates on progress to NGSS national.
  • Your chapter and students apply for student recognition and awards on the local, state, and national level through NGSS national.

While your chapter should be largely student-led and self-sufficient, our job at the national organization is to funnel information, ideas, and opportunities to keep momentum high and connect you to our network for resources, partnerships, and successful projects. To get a chapter started, ask a teacher or other school mentor to sign on, pull together at least six students to join, and complete an application. Make sure to follow procedures to get the chapter recognized with your administration or principal.

Each Chapter receives a detailed NGSS Handbook that includes a sample charter, calendar, scripts for an induction and end of the year ceremony, documents, and sample promotional material. Chapters will also receive members-only access on the website to the NGSS Handbook, documents, promotional material, a student project database, and a profile page to record student stories and project details. Once you sign up, an email will be sent to you with detailed instructions.

Quick facts

  • School chapter fee is $85/year
  • Student member dues are $15/year
  • Virtual student dues are $35/year
  • Students at the high school level who are considered for induction must meet the service hour requirements set by the school by its Level. Level 1 is 20 hours; Level 2 is 30 hours; Level 3 is 40 hours.
  • Six student minimum to start a chapter
  • Graduates can qualify for NGSS honor stoles and certificates with the appropriate documentation and completion of service hours identified by the school: Level 1 is 100 hours; Level 2 is 150 hours; Level 3 is 200 hours.

NGSS and STEM

At NGSS we are well aware that we share the same acronym as the Next Generation Science Standards. While we are in no way affiliated with the standards, we are proponents of them and hope that schools and students use them to formulate projects for NGSS. We solidly supports STEM, eSTEM, and STEAM projects. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, all of which are an essential part of environmental science, innovation in renewable energy resources, as well as other components of green and sustainable fields of study. The “A” in STEAM refers to ART.

NGSS has been recognized for its inclusion and development of eSTEM projects in schools. NGSS encourages student members to design their projects around 21st Century Skills, innovation, and the development of skills to align with green careers and sustainability and environmental majors at the university level. NGSS student members who are interested in STEM-related projects should focus on these areas:

  • Agriculture
  • Architecture
  • Biological and bio-medical sciences
  • Computer and information sciences
  • Conservation
  • Engineering and engineering technology/technicians
  • Environmental health
  • Health professionals and clinical sciences
  • Mathematics and statistics
  • Natural resources management
  • Physical sciences
  • Renewable energy
  • Sustainability
  • Waste management

NGSS and Green Careers

At the high school level, in particular, we want to make sure that our NGSS student members aware of green careers and fields of study for college majors. We have several partners that we work closely with to provide students with detailed information about how they can find out more about green and sustainability careers. Our internship and community partner service hour requirement is intended to help students engage with a business, agency, organization, or mentor that has experience in green and sustainable business processes, products, or services.

Career and college readiness programs in high schools can use the NGSS Green Careers resources to guide students and support them in making green career choices.

For more information about NGSS, contact:
Maureen Aylward
Director of Students and Schools
contact Maureen
978-290-1507