School Leadership

Initial License

The School Leadership Preparation Program (SLPP) is designed for candidates who are preparing for roles in one of the following tracks:  Principal/Assistant Principal PreK-8 or 5-12, Administrator of Special Education (all levels), and Superintendent/Assistant Superintendent (all levels). Outcomes are based on the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders 2015.

Program Goals
  • SLPP Candidates will learn to analyze and justify data to make informed decisions (data-driven decision-making).
  • SLPP Candidates will create and investigate field experiences including shadowing and interviewing administrators in multiple aspects of job performance, reviewing and reflecting on multiple School Improvement Plans and school initiatives, and Teacher Evaluation procedures and documents.
  • SLPP Candidates will assemble and demonstrate multiple dimensions in instructional leadership involving curriculum development, instruction, assessment, and in the collection, analysis, and use of data in the decision-making process.
  • SLPP Candidates will distinguish and compare a variety of formal and informal assessments to measure student learning, growth, and understanding, ensuring teachers will maintain high expectations for student achievement.
  • SLPP Candidates will support, exhibit, and critique the Professional Standards for Administrative Leadership and be able to practice skills learned throughout the program to demonstrate effective leadership and operational management.

Learning Outcomes
  • The candidate will be able to defend the needed characteristics that will promote the learning and growth of all students and the success of all staff.
  • The candidate will appraise best practices and current research to cultivate a shared vision that has a positive impact on teaching, learning, and student learning outcomes.
  • The candidate will analyze data, justify effective leadership strategies and construct action plans that are appropriate to facilitate the learning and growth of all students and the success of all staff by ensuring a safe, efficient, and effective learning environment.
  • The candidate will be able to analyze school programs, appraise needs and select needed resources to implement appropriate curricula, staffing, and scheduling.
  • The candidate will be able to identify characteristics and best practices that are needed to create and maintain successful and sustained partnerships with families, community organizations, and education stakeholders that support the mission of the school, district and having a positive outcome on PK-12 learning.
  • The candidate will be able to formulate, produce and assess school and district level programs to facilitate and sustain success for all students by creating a nurturing and positive school culture of reflective practice, high expectations, and continuous learning for staff.

In the classroom. In the workforce.

What You'll Learn

Learn to demonstrate, articulate and create effective learning environments, partnerships with communities, appropriate curriculum, staffing schedules, and a school culture of best teaching practices.

Future Studies

Upon completing the MA-PALs assessment successful candidates are endorsed for licensure. Recommended candidates can be pursue licensure by the State and become employed as school administrators.


Career Opportunities

A degree in School Leadership prepares you for a role as school principal, assistant principal, administrator of special education, superintendent, or assistant superintendent.

For admission into the School Leadership Program, applicants must hold an Initial License and have a minimum of three years of teaching experience. Candidates will also be required to complete field-based experiences throughout the coursework in addition to the final practicum experience.

All Benchmark Assignments must be passed with a 3 or 4 on a 4-point scale in order to pass the respective course.

Applicants must pass the Communication and Literacy MTEL for admission as a licensure candidate (no teachers are grandfathered).
Introductory Seminar – required before program admission


* (includes field-based experiences)

**(includes 20 hours fieldwork towards practicum)

  • EDU5601*: Introduction/Foundation to School Admin & Leadership – 25 pre-practicum hours
  • EDU5602*: Seminar in Educational Administration and Leadership – 50 pre-practicum hours
  • EDU5612**: Educational Organizations, Leadership and Institutional Change – 20 embedded hours
  • EDU5618**: Leadership for Professional Development – 20 embedded hours
  • EDU5624**: Curriculum Design, Development and Evaluation – 20 embedded hours
  • EDU6630**: Supervision and Evaluation of Instruction – 20 embedded hours
  • Choose one
    • School Personnel Administration
      • EDU6635**: School Personnel Administration (for Principal candidates only)- 20 embedded hours
      • EDU6753; School Personnel in Special Education Administration (for SPED Administration candidates only) 20 embedded hours
    • Administration of Special Education
      • EDU6765**: Administration of Special Education for (SPED Administration candidates only)
    • Legal Issues
      • EDU6745: Legal Issues for School Leaders (for Principal candidates only)
      • EDU6751: Legal Issues for Special Education Administrators (for SPED Administration candidates only)
  • EDU6755: Financial and Asset Management for School Leaders
  • EDU6890: Seminar: Contemporary Issues in the Superintendency (Supt candidates only)
  • Choose one
    • EDU6801-6804: The Practicum Experience – Principals, SPED Admin – 500 hours
    • EDU6901-6904: The Practicum Experience – Superintendent/Assistant Superintendent – 500 hours
  • EDU6979/6980: Field-based Research (non-licensure)


Additional Program Notes

Candidates seeking licensure as Principal/Vice Principal must, in addition to successfully completing the program, successfully complete the external state MA-PAL assessment in order to be eligible for licensure by the State.

Master of Education degree or CAGS awarded

Total Credits: 38-48 (depending upon which administrative track candidate is enrolled in and dependent upon the need to complete the Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) course)

Course Descriptions

The course is designed to provide the student with an introduction to the perspectives of elementary/middle/secondary school and central office administration and management, as well as historical and current theories and practices in the field. Readings, case studies, on-site visitations, analysis of current legislative reform and situational discourse are part of the course activities. State Curriculum Frameworks will be reviewed in light of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment in a Learning Community. Coursework will reflect upon the Professional Standards for Administrators which are embedded in the course expectations and will be demonstrated in the pre-practicum/practicum experiences. The school administrator has many roles within the school community and the community at large. The person holding this position is expected to be knowledgeable about curriculum, instruction, and assessment, to be a leader with vision and the skills to work collaboratively with many different constituencies. In addition to those rigorous expectations, the administrator must successfully manage the day-to day operations of the building. School administrators must be knowledgeable about current legislative changes including the Education Reform Act of 1993 (MA); the federal ESEA / No Child Left Behind Law, 2001; Closing the Achievement Gap, (MA) 2010; Race To The Top Initiative. Significant elements of the pre-practicum experience will be infused throughout the course. Students will use readings, review of research, data collected from the field, case studies, class discussions, and personal reflections to analyze the work of the school administrator. The final project for the course will integrate the knowledge and skills acquired through EDC 601, Introduction to School Administration and Management for the 21st Century. This course requires 25 hours of Field Based/Pre-Practicum Experience through Observing and Assisting an administrator in his/her daily tasks up through the development of the Data Analysis Project.

This course will expand upon the learning and applications that took place in EDC 601 – Introduction to School Administration and Management. The candidates will be able to utilize research skills and technology to gather data, analyze data and draw conclusions using the data to understand and solve educational issues. This will be the first phase of the seminar. The students will then apply the knowledge gained in the collection of data from EDC 601 to the work in this course for the development of an Entry Plan. The candidates will present their work to a target audience role played by the classmates. In this seminar fifty hours are embedded during which the candidates will be able to utilize their skills as a developing administrator to write an Entry Plan.

The essential question to be answered in this course is: What are the qualities and skills needed to become effective leaders? This course is for prospective administrators. Students will gain knowledge that will prepare them for the important role of change agents in a school or district. A critical examination is made of the typical organizational structures found in organizations today, especially in regards to leadership and ways in which the educational leader can facilitate meaningful change. This course specifically addresses Standard 1. Instructional Leadership and Standard 4. Professional Culture.

This course emphasizes the knowledge, skills, techniques and approaches needed by administrators to promote the growth of staff in ways leading to the establishment or continued development of a professional learning community. Leadership practices and strategies consistent with research on successful professional learning communities will be examined. Staff and student safety and well-being will be reviewed as one major component of a legally and ethically comprehensive professional development program. Laws, regulations, policies, practices and research will be examined with respect to enhancing school, family, and community relations, with a particular emphasis on practices leading to greater participation of all constituencies regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or disability. Field experiences will include the collection and review of data applicable to administrative leadership that is expected to lead to recommendations for modifications of teaching techniques and strategies to improve student achievement. The provision of appropriate programs for more fully addressing the educational experiences of English Language Learners and Special Education students will be reviewed and analyzed. Enrollment in graduate program in school leadership EDU5601

In an era of standards-based instruction, administrators must have a sound working knowledge of the principles of curriculum design, development, and implementation. Administrators must make important decisions regarding the content of curriculum, the selection of appropriate instructional materials, and the modification of teaching strategies to accommodate the needs of ALL learners. Educational Leaders must also be skilled in the ability to disseminate that information to the stakeholders in the educational community. This course will examine curriculum content, models of design, development, and implementation. Students will critically evaluate existing curricula and develop recommendations that respond to contemporary educational needs, new developments in knowledge and information, and new trends in teaching and learning. Significant elements of the Practicum experience will be infused throughout the course.

Principles and practices utilized in the supervision of educational personnel and programs as defined by both traditional and current supervisory practices will be examined in this course. The impact of the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Standards and Indicators for the Evaluation of Teachers and Administrators will be studied as part of institutional reform. Multiple approaches to classroom observations and evaluations that are both informative and instructive will be central to the course. Model supervision and evaluation district programs, consistent with state guidelines, will be reviewed. Attention will also focus on action plans developed by schools and school districts to address the achievement gap existing between and among high need student groups in the schools particularly gaps affecting SEI/ELL students, and other student subgroups. Educator improvement plans to address the effectiveness of teachers whose performance is less than satisfactory according to state and contractual guidelines will also be considered in depth. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s five step continuous learning process will also be studied by class members. Enrollment in graduate program in School Leadership EDU5601

The course will prepare for the planning and operation of the personnel functions in a school district. Emphasis will be placed on practices and issues, system operations and effectiveness, and knowledge of the different aspects of the human resource system. This course will focus for individual and group functions in the administration of school personnel and provide theory and content of practices and issues applicable to personnel administration. Enrollment in graduate program in School Leadership EDU5601

The essential question to be answered in this course is: What are the skills and knowledge required to be an effective Administrator of Special Education? This course is for prospective administrators of Special Education. Students will gain knowledge of state and federal legislation, budget development, programs and services, and technology related to special education. Parents and family involvement, educational leadership, special education program management, professional development, and equity in special education will be highlighted.

The study and analysis of school law will be undertaken from both historical and current perspectives. Constitutional amendments will be studied as they relate to administrative practice. Federal, state and local laws and regulations will be analyzed with respect to their importance and impact on schools and districts. Emphasis will be placed on Massachusetts State Law. Local policy development and implementation will also be reviewed. Precedent-setting federal and state court cases will be studied including their philosophical underpinnings and their implications for a framework for administrative decision making. Technology will be used to research a variety of case law.

The economics of education with regard to budget and finance at all levels of a school district will be studied. The focus will include revenue sources, state and federal school aid, budget preparation, use of technology in the budget process, school building construction and alternative funding. Use of data to support budgets and budget requests will be examined. This course is designed for future superintendents/assistant superintendents and principals/assistant principals. It provides administrators with the tools they need to carry out fiscal policy in the public school system.

This course will provide in-depth learning in a seminar format utilizing presentations, videos and experts in the field to enhance and advance the learning that has taken place through the coursework. This seminar will drill down into those issues that face the Superintendent in his or her daily work. The candidate will be able to undertake the position of Superintendent of Schools with a realistic idea of the expectations before them. This course will cover the myriad of legal, ethical and mandated regulations and will include: Facilities and Planning (working with the MSBA), The Politics of the Superintendency (Local, State and Federal Issues), Effective Communication with a variety of groups, Public Relations, Media Relations, Collective Bargaining, Strategic Thinking and Planning and Balancing a Professional and Personal Life. All topics will look at the range of conditions that can be dealt with in a variety of settings such as Urban, Suburban and Rural School districts.

This activity is the culminating requirement for candidates seeking licensure as a School Administrator or Director. Students engage in a 300-hour activity in the schools, working with a principal or director in the level and role appropriate for their specialization area. Supervision is provided by college faculty during this activity.

Students majoring in one of the above specialty areas may opt for the appropriate field experience which will satisfy the degree requirement for a culminating experience. Candidates will have the opportunity to delve into data collection and analysis, designing program for diverse populations, technology, developing 21st century skills, as examples, and/or other principles learned in their coursework to the end of increasing student achievement in the classroom. An action based research project is the central activity for this course. Employed teachers may utilize their own classrooms for this culminating experience [40 clock hours per credit]. Students who complete their degree with this culminating project are not eligible for licensure as a teacher or administrator in Massachusetts nor will they receive the NASDTEC stamp for reciprocity with other states.

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