Start a NGSS Chapter

Each NGSS chapter needs students, an advisor, and support from school or organization administration. More than likely you already have the internal structure in place to add NGSS as a student club. Schools often will add a NGSS chapter as a new club to kick off an environmental club or add NGSS to compliment an existing program. Students, educators, and administrators work together to complete the paper work to get the program up and running. Here are some tips to help you get started.

For students:

  • Make sure that you have researched NGSS and have material with you when you speak with teachers or school administrators. See the list of benefits.
  • Ask a teacher or school mentor to be the advisor and support your efforts to get a chapter started.
  • Meet with the principal, superintendent, or other important administrators to explain NGSS, its benefits, and what your plans are to start a chapter.
  • Have sample project ideas that will improve the school’s sustainability and how those projects will involve students. See the NGSS student project database on the website.
  • Explain NGSS student recognition and awards, and how you think the chapter will fit into the overall culture of the school.
  • Complete the paper work necessary to establish the chapter as a school club and work with administration to secure NGSS chapter fees.
  • Work out a system to collect and pay NGSS student dues and the chapter’s fundraising activities.

For educators:

  • Speak with administrators to discuss the process of getting the NGSS chapter recognized as a school club.
  • Explain how NGSS projects and programs can benefit students and be included as curriculum enrichment.
  • Engage students who are excited about starting a NGSS chapter. You need at least six students to start and maintain a chapter.
  • Review and develop bylaws, charter, member guidelines, student leadership requirements, and student recognition and awards with student leaders and hold officer elections.
  • Understand NGSS fees, student dues, and chapter fundraising activities.
  • Recruit students and begin the induction process.
  • Work with leaders to add NGSS student recognition and awards to underclassmen awards, senior awards night, and graduation.

STEP 1   Determine the kind of chapter you are

  • National Green Schools Society (Grades 9‐12)
  • National Green Schools Society – Junior (Grades 6‐8)
  • National Green Schools Society – Elementary (Grades 2-5)
  • NGSS-Virtual (Grades 5-12)

STEP 2  Select the NGSS Achievement Level for your school

We have found that schools differ on the level of environmental sustainability they have implemented. For example, some schools are just starting out whereas others have a rigorous and advanced environmental, eSTEM, or STEM projects. To account for this range in program levels, we have provided a service hour scale, both as a standard for induction as well as requirements for graduation. While a student can achieve the minimum service hour requirements over the course of four years, our program is designed for high-achieving students to complete service hour requirements in one year if necessary, usually to graduate from NGSS with distinction.

The advisor should select the appropriate Achievement Level based on the program in the school.

Level 1. For new NGSS chapters and teams that are growing.
Induction.
To be inducted into the NGSS chapter, students must have completed a minimum of 20 hours of service hours to join.
Graduation. To graduate with distinction from NGSS, members must meet 100 hours of service in the stated categories.

  • 30 hours: Environmental service
  • 30 hours: Environmental education as part of the school or in conjunction with another program
  • 20 hours: Project-based learning from hands-on projects connected to environmental education or STEM
  • 20 hours: Internship or work with a partner in the community

Level 2. For established NGSS chapters and teams that want more of a challenge.
Induction.
To be inducted into the NGSS chapter, students must have completed a minimum of 30 hours of service hours to join.
Graduation. To graduate with distinction from NGSS, members must meet 150 hours of service in the stated categories.

  • 45 hours: Environmental service
  • 45 hours: Environmental education as part of the school or in conjunction with another program
  • 30 hours: Project-based learning from hands-on projects connected to environmental education or STEM
  • 30 hours: Internship or work with a partner in the community

Level 3. For established NGSS chapters that have advanced environmental programs in place.
Induction.
To be inducted into the NGSS chapter, students must have completed a minimum of 40 hours of service hours to join.
Graduation. To graduate with distinction from NGSS, members must meet 200 hours of service in the stated categories.

  • 60 hours: Environmental service
  • 60 hours: Environmental education as part of the school or in conjunction with another program
  • 40 hours: Project-based learning from hands-on projects connected to environmental education or STEM
  • 40 hours: Internship or work with a partner in the community

STEP 3  Complete an online application and send in your chapter fee.

STEP 4  Recruit students
When your NGSS chapter is established, begin the recruitment process of engaging students. Induction to a NGSS chapter is based on environmental stewardship and service, not on academic grade point average. Induction usually takes place in September, but can happen at any time throughout the year once you establish a chapter. While there is an element of scholarship associated with NGSS, the real motivator for students who join is their commitment to environmental and sustainability issues.

NGSS – Virtual chapter members have online requirements for meetings and programs and will include students from different regions of the country.

Once you sign up and establish a chapter you will receive more information in our Handbook about how to continue your work. 

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.

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