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Program Description Overview

The K–12 Alliance’s leadership development and inspiration totally affected my career. During the lean years in California science education, I informally did whatever I could to keep our district in contact with the K–12 Alliance and the cutting edge of science education. I would have never been a science program manager in my district, or probably never would have stepped out of the classroom or become a principal, if it wasn’t for the influence of them continuing to support my learning and saying “Hey, go for it . . . Don.” I know they did that with a lot of other people, too, that they’ve worked with. That’s the legacy. I think they developed science leaders up and down the state.

Don Whisman, Principal, SDUSD

We are a full-service professional learning organization strategically positioned to assist school districts, institutes of higher education, businesses, and state and federal departments of education and other partners such as the CA NGSS Collaborative to improve science and mathematics education in California and the nation. Our team has deep expertise in the Next Generation Science Standards and in launching, implementing, and scaling initiatives across school systems statewide (find out more here).

We develop and implement quality custom designed science or math professional learning programs. Our goal is to create professional learning communities where educators, professional learning providers, and scientists and/or mathematicians come together to support teaching and learning. The programs are designed to:

  • Increase teachers' content knowledge
  • Increase teachers' pedagogical content knowledge
  • Increase student academic achievement in science or mathematics
  • Increase student agency where students make meaningful change in their communities
  • Build teacher and administrator leadership
  • Assist districts in long term strategic planning for the implementation of the CA NGSS

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Want to know more information about the suite of programs offered by the K-12 Alliance?

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Rivet Education Certified Professional Learning Partner Guide Provider
Find out more here.

OpenSciEd-Certified Organization

Awarded: Jul 19, 2021

Awarded To:  K-12 Alliance



Aside from our work and our commitment to excellence, what makes us the K-12 Alliance is our culture!

What do others say about us?


  • California OpenSciEd Network

    K-12 Alliance is the official California partner for the teacher field test of OpenSciEd units.

    With the completion of the OpenSciEd middle school units for the 2021-2022 academic year, we are thrilled to bring together scientists and teacher leaders with expertise in the Next Generation Science Standards and OpenSciEd to launch an exclusive network of support statewide for implementation of OpenSciEd in grades 6-8.

    For more information, contact us at

  • Instructional Materials Review (National Version/CA Version)

    •NextGen Toolkit for Instructional Materials Evaluation (TIME), face-to-face/virtual
    •CA NGSS TIME, face-to-face/virtual

    TIME helps adoption committees analyze, evaluate, select and plan for implementation of science instructional materials. The evidence-based process works for all grade levels: K-5; 6-8; 9-12. Committee members participate in a prescreen to winnow potential materials; paperscreen for an in-depth analysis of the materials; pilot the materials (that make it through the paperscreen) in classrooms; analyze, interpret and select recommended materials for adoption with a report of findings. The process also includes preliminary planning for implementation. TIME is generally 15 days, but it is dependent on the number of programs for review and the number of reviewers.

  • Professional Learning Opportunities

    The K-12 Alliance provides the following NGSS professional learning opportunities that can be requested as designed or can be adapted to meet district needs, including virtual options:

    Building District Leadership Capacity

    This program is 10 days and is designed to build a district leadership team that: understands phenomenon-based, three-dimensional teaching required by the NGSS, and can design a 3-5 year strategic plan to guide the district’s implementation of the NGSS.
    This professional learning program interweaves approximately 6 days of experiences to build understanding of the shifts required by NGSS (e.g., NGSS architecture, phenomenon, practices, crosscutting concepts, engineering, student-to student discourse and student sense making) with 4 days of planning that includes developing a shared vision, creating mission and core values statements, and constructing a Program Elements Matrix (PEM) to guide the work over time. This program is best scheduled for five 2-day meetings
    The leadership team should consist of teachers representing elementary, middle, and high schools and 3-5 administrators, including at least 2 site principals (elementary and secondary) and district administrators (e.g., TOSA, Director of Curriculum).

    TLC Lesson Study

    The Teaching Learning Collaborative (TLC) lesson study program is designed to help teachers develop a NGSS aligned lesson using the 5Es Instructional model. In teams of 4 teachers at a grade level with facilitation from the K-12 Alliance, the teachers spend one day planning the lesson and the second day teaching in two classrooms. In the first classroom, the lesson is taught as designed. Using the facilitator notes, and student work, teachers debriefed the lesson and adjusted to increase student understanding. Then teachers use the revised lesson in another classroom and debrief to see how changes in the teacher prompts/student work impacted student learning.
    The TLC is a 4-day program, with a plan and teach session in the fall and another plan and teach day in the spring. More information can be found here.

    Administrator Academy

    This is a 3-day program designed to help site principals experience an NGSS aligned lesson and debrief the lesson in terms of what teachers need to be supported in this type of instruction. The sessions also include observation protocols that can be used at site; discussing barriers to implementation at elementary, and middle school; ensuring equity for all students; begin to develop a site-plan for NGSS.

    NGSS Overview Awareness

    This 3-day program is to enlighten teachers as to the shifts required by the NGSS (e.g., NGSS architecture, phenomenon, practices, crosscutting concepts, engineering, student-to student discourse and student sense making). This program is generic (not grade specific) and serves as a foundation for further professional learning.

    Grade Level Specific NGSS Learning Sequences

    This is a 2- day grade level specific program using the Physical Science Learning Sequences developed by the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. The program is designed for a teacher to experience an NGSS-aligned lesson at their grade level and then debrief how the teaching and learning are different from many teacher’s current practices. Participants learn about the shifts required in NGSS, how to use science notebooks as a student thinking tool, and the architecture of the NGSS. Participants receive the entire learning sequence (about 3-6 weeks of instruction depending on grade level) to use in their classroom.

  • Technical Assistance

    The K-12 Alliance offers technical assistance to districts in the following ways: to help districts develop a systemic approach to the implementation of CA NGSS; targeted assistance for professional learning needs; and targeted assistance for identified needs while implementation is underway.

  • Examples of Past Professional Learning Full Service Programs

  • Examples of Past Technical Assistance Programs

    The K-12 Alliance has a long history of offering technical assistance to districts to help develop a systemic approach to the implementation of CA NGSS; targeted assistance for professional learning needs; and targeted assistance for identified needs while implementation is underway.

    Click here  for examples of past Technical Assistance Programs.

Read more about our research-based professional learning design