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Resource Release: At-A-Glance Document for 2023 NC Public School Science Standards

In 2022, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI) initiated the process of revising our state’s science standards. During the last K-12 Science Standard Course of Study revision in 2010, many elements of environmental literacy were incorporated into the standards, so EENC knew it was essential to engage our community in this process to protect and strengthen that connection. At key points throughout the revision process, EENC hosted collaborative review and working sessions for educators, provided synthesized summaries of the proposed standards, and mobilized our community across the state to provide feedback during public review periods – together, these efforts amplified and centered the importance of environmental education in classroom science.

The updated standards were finalized and approved during the DPI and North Carolina Board of Education’s July Board Meeting, and now, EENC is taking action once again to disseminate information about the standards, and to provide accessible, relevant support and resources to our community of educators preparing to implement the new standards in Fall of 2024.

Now available from EENC is one such resource: our At-A-Glance for Environmental Education and the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, which summarizes and spotlights noteworthy standards in K-12 Science that are potentially aligned with environmental education topics and themes. The EENC team is pleased to report that environmental education is present now more than ever in our public science standards, including an expanded presence across the life science and earth science disciplines at all grade levels.

We encourage both nonformal and formal educators across North Carolina to review the new standards in their entirety, as well as the associated DPI resources, including the Crosswalks and Installation Timeline. Later this fall, expect additional resources from EENC highlighting key changes in differences between the 2010 and 2023 standards, tools for navigating the standards, and suggestions for implementing the standards with environmental education in mind. Find the standards announcement from DPI on their website, and included in full below for reference.


On May 5, 2022, the NC State Board of Education granted permission for NCDPI to move forward with the review and revision of the K-12 Science standards, per SCOS-012. The manual was revised at the April 2023 State Board of Education meeting.

The Office of Academic Standards’ Science team is excited to announce that the 2023 K-12 Science Standards were approved by the State Board of Education at their July 6th, 2023 meeting. The work was completed under the processes and protocols outlined in the NC Standard Course of Study Manual. The process included feedback from focus groups in each State Board region, one-on-one interviews and over 14,000 responses to surveys. Nearly 60 different professional educators from across NC districts, charter schools, and institutions of higher education helped review the response data and revise the standards. Thank you to everyone who participated in the review and revision process.

The adoption of the 2023 K-12 Science Standards is the end of the first stage in the process, with the focus now moving to the “installation” stage. Over the 2023-2024 school year, NCDPI will be working alongside leaders from PSUs to ensure all stakeholders are aware of the new standards, have opportunities to review changes from the 2009 standards, and prepare for the new standards to be implemented beginning with the 2024-2025 school year. Please note, the current 2009 Science standards will remain in place for classroom instruction and assessment for the 2023-2024 school year.


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