Strategic planning and evaluation

Advancing NOAA's mission through education



The NOAA Education Strategic Plan provides a framework to guide collaboration across the NOAA education community and a structure in which to track and report progress. NOAA's reach goes from the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor. Accordingly, NOAA's education offerings reflect the breadth of our mission. Our activities and audiences are diverse, but the NOAA education community is united under a common vision and mission.

The view from an ozone balloon floating 100,000 feet above the Colorado Front Range. NOAA scientists based in Boulder, Colorado launch weekly balloons from sites all around the globe to monitor stratospheric ozone concentrations. Floating to over twice the altitude of commercial airliners, the curvature of Earth and inky black of space are clearly visible.
The view from an ozone balloon floating 100,000 feet above the Colorado Front Range. (Patrick Cullis, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences)

An informed society that uses ocean, coastal, Great Lakes, weather, and climate science to make the best social, economic, and environmental decisions.


To educate and inspire the Nation to use science toward improving ocean and coastal stewardship, increasing safety and resilience to environmental hazards, and preparing a future workforce to support NOAA’s mission.

  1. Science Informed Society: An informed society has access to, interest in, and understanding of NOAA-related sciences and their implications for current and future events.
  2. Conservation and Stewardship: Individuals and communities are actively involved in stewardship behaviors and decisions that conserve, restore, and protect natural and cultural resources related to NOAA’s mission.
  3. Safety and Preparedness: Individuals and communities are informed and actively involved in decisions and actions that improve preparedness, response, and resilience to challenges and impacts of hazardous weather, changes in threats monitored by NOAA.
  4. Future Workforce: A diverse and highly-skilled future workforce pursues careers in disciplines that support NOAA’s mission.
  5. Organizational Excellence: NOAA functions in a unified manner to support, plan, and deliver effective educational programs and partnerships that advance NOAA’s mission.


Strategic Plan

2015 - 2035 NOAA Education Strategic Plan - Explainer
2015 - 2035 NOAA Education Strategic Plan - Executive Summary

2015 - 2035 NOAA Education Strategic Plan - Full Text

The America COMPETES Act gives NOAA broad authority for educational activities and directs NOAA to develop a 20 year strategic plan. In a truly collaborative fashion, NOAA educators, staff, and leadership combined efforts with the broader education and resource management community, nongovernmental organizations, teachers, and interested citizens to produce this blueprint for NOAA’s future work in education.

Implementation Plan

2018 - 2019 NOAA Education Implementation Plan - Full Text

2016 - 2017 NOAA Education Implementation Plan - Full Text

Developed as companions to the NOAA Education Strategic Plan, the implementation plans highlights priority actions that improve NOAA's ability to support, plan, and deliver high-quality education programs. These two-year documents build upon NOAA's ongoing work in education and describe how NOAA plans to update agency-wide priorities, reach more people from all backgrounds, and maintain relevance in a changing world.

My, what BIG EYES you have! TAS Ellen O'Donnell looks for whales with the 'Big Eyes' binoculars.
Teacher at Sea, Ellen O'Donnell, looks for whales with the 'Big Eyes' binoculars. (Ellen O'Donnell)



The Education Council oversees NOAA-wide efforts to improve the performance measurement and evaluation of education programs. Each year, the Education Council reviews its progress toward the strategic plan based on the best available evidence. To assess progress, the NOAA education community collects and reviews data from across the entire NOAA education portfolio. Through this process we strengthen our evaluation capabilities and use data to improve our programs.  The data we collect are summarized on our accomplishments page.

Related documents

NOAA's Education Program: Review and Critiqueoffsite link, National Research Council (2008)

NOAA's Education Program: Review and Critique provides a summary of the national education context for NOAA's role in education, which is twofold: first is to advance the environmental literacy of the nation, and second is to promote a diverse workforce in ocean, coastal, Great Lakes, atmospheric and climate sciences. The book also describes the strengths and weaknesses of the 2009 - 2029 NOAA Education Strategic Plan, the education evaluation approach of the agency and strategies for improving the evaluation process.

2009 - 2029 NOAA Education Strategic Plan

NOAA Education first revised its strategic plan under the America COMPETES Act with the publication of the NOAA Education Strategic Plan 2009 – 2029: Focusing on Science, Service, and Stewardship. This plan was instrumental in laying the groundwork for NOAA’s strategy in education.

Responses to Reviewer Comments to the 2015-2035 Education Strategic Plan

The 2015-2035 Education Strategic Plan was developed with input from external partners, experts in education, and interested members of the public. We are committed to using this feedback to continually improve our products, programs, and services. Here we share the comments we received during the external review of our strategic plan and our responses. Some reviewers chose to keep their remarks anonymous or private; the rest are included in this document.