The Center for Educational Leadership

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1 The Center for Educational Leadership The University of Tennessee College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies The of Educational Leadership Office: 302 Bailey Education Complex Phone: XXXX Website: elps.utk.edu/cel Knoxville, TN Introduction High quality public education is a critical component in ensuring the successful future of our community and economy in the greater Knoxville region. Maintaining and enhancing the quality of public education that the residents of our region have long enjoyed will be dependent upon our ability to identify, develop and support talented leadership in our schools. Leadership matters in any organization, but with incredibly high stakes and many constraints, leadership matters enormously in public schools. Research has shown that strong effective instructional leadership has a direct and positive impact on student academic success. Great school principals create great schools. They build a strong team, focus relentlessly on student learning, facilitate continuous improvement in instructional practice, engage parents and the school community, and make sure that all adults are focusing on outcomes for children. Schools are simply better at educating young people when they have strong, effective leadership. In the current educational environment, there is no question that expectations and accountability are intense for schools and school leaders, and today s leaders must recognize they no longer can rely on intuition, tradition, or convenience in making decisions about the best practices and strategies to improve student academic performance. The significant needs and challenges associated with a 21 st century education require a significant shift in the way we prepare school leaders and equip them with the knowledge, skills, and disposition to effectively and efficiently run America s schools. This shift calls for a multidisciplinary approach involving not only colleges of education, but also school districts, and faculty from the areas of business, law, social work, communication, information technology, and others.

2 The Center for Educational Leadership It is in this context that we propose The Center for Education Leadership. The Center will be the centerpiece of an educational leadership development system that will purposefully and aggressively grow the next generation of outstanding leadership for our schools. The Center will take an innovative multi-disciplinary approach to school leadership development, which will seek to integrate research-tested education leadership theory with proven, effective practice. A unique partnership between the University of Tennessee and local school districts will define a new era of university-school district collaboration in the formal preparation and career-long professional development of educational leaders. Coursework, sitebased immersion learning experiences, and consultation with effective practicing principals will be complemented by continuous learning opportunities and a leadership resource center. We believe this comprehensive approach to principal preparation will set a new standard in the field of public education leadership development. The Center for Education Leadership will certainly have a substantial positive impact regionally, but more broadly this innovative model has the potential be replicated not only here in the state of Tennessee, but also across the nation. Affirming a commitment to a multidisciplinary approach to leadership preparation and continual development, The Center for Educational Leadership at The University of Tennessee is based on four pillars of leadership preparation and continuous development, including: Recruiting potential school leaders Preparing aspiring leaders Developing essential skill sets for practicing leaders Increasing leadership capacity of an organization To accomplish this task The Center for Educational Leadership includes the following components: The Leadership Academy The Educational Leadership Institute The Executive Leadership Institute The Leadership Resource Center Job-embedded Leadership Support (Principal-in-Residence) The Leadership Academy focuses on the first two pillars recruitment and preparation of aspiring school leaders. The Educational Leadership Institute and the Executive Leadership Institute targets pillar three: developing the necessary skill sets for effectively leading schools and improving student academic performance. Finally, the Leadership Resource Center and Jobembedded Leadership Support is directed at both the third and fourth pillars of skill development and building leadership capacity.

3 The Leadership Academy Components The Leadership Academy is the preparation program for aspiring leaders. The program is includes, but is not limited to: Partnering with local school districts to tap aspiring leaders; Coursework (leading to a masters or education specialist degree) taught by university professors in partnership with practicing professionals from surrounding school districts; Innovative scheduling which allows for an immersed, extended internship experience; and The Capstone Project which includes presentation to university faculty and members of the school system central office. Partnership with local school districts The University of Tennessee has entered into partnerships with 24 local school districts, formalized through Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed by both the Dean of the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences at the University of Tennessee as well as the Superintendents/Directors of Schools from the local education agencies. These MOU spell out the responsibilities of the university and the school districts. A special MOU has been signed with Knox County Schools and, as part of that agreement, the school district will initiate a process of tapping aspiring leaders through a rigorous and comprehensive selection process. This pathway, leading to administrative licensure, will be a full-time cohort program designed to provide a deep and intensive 18-month principal preparation experience. The program will be designed with and primarily for the Knox County Schools, but other interested school districts may participate on a more limited basis. The program will combine graduate-level coursework (taught jointly by university faculty and practicing education professionals) with a full-time four day per week leadership residency in a public school, working with an outstanding mentor principal. Candidates selected for the program will be removed from the classroom to work full-time as a principal-in-training and are paid their regular teacher salary while working as an administrative intern. This commitment from the Knox County School System is an integral component to the success of the program. The Tennessee State Board of Education is implementing an aspiring leader s license in support of universities and school districts that are able to fund such an internship. This is a temporary principal s license issued to graduate students in a leadership preparation program who are under the guidance and mentorship of a practicing licensed principal. The Knox County Schools and other participating school districts will provide the opportunity for the interns to hold these administrative positions in schools, and will identify and support the sites where a proven, excellent instructional leader can provide supervision, support and mentorship to the candidates. Coursework The Leadership Academy offers a 33-hour program taught in a continuous 18-month program. Students will participate in their administrative internship experience Monday Thursday and will attend class on Fridays. Courses are taught in a module format with some modules taught by university faculty from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Communication, Law, Social Work, and Teacher Education.

4 In addition to faculty from colleges beyond the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, Educational Leadership faculty will be assisted by practitioner partners. A primary focus of the principal preparation program in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies involves strong collaborative relationships with school-based personnel. A cornerstone of this collaboration is the integration of practitioners who will function as coinstructors with university-based professors. These partners are district level administrators or building level principals who hold an expertise in the major content area of the course. The essential elements of this practitioner partnership: (1) The school-based practitioner will clearly be considered an expert in the content of the course in which he/she co-teaches. Experiential knowledge is to be primarily considered when establishing someone as an expert. (2) The school-based practitioner will work with the university professor in ongoing syllabus development and revision. This involves, among other activities, a careful review of the course syllabus focusing especially on content being taught, assignments being required, and evaluations be made of student performance. (3) The school-based practitioner functions in the role of a co-teacher, not a guest lecturer. The expectation is that this practitioner will co-teach 3-4 classes during a given semester. It is likely that this practitioner will also meet with the faculty member on a regular basis to plan classes and review syllabi, assignments, and other course-related materials. (4) The school-based practitioner will work on the development of meaningful course assignments that are based in real-world school contexts. Pedagogy that consistently provides powerful learning experiences Instructional strategies for The Leadership Academy will be founded on o the cohort model; o collaborative learning; o interdisciplinary teaching; o problem based learning; o integration of theory and practice; and o teaming with practitioner partners for instruction. Well-structured and supervised internship experiences that are connected to the preparation curriculum The four day administrative internship is a key element in The Leadership Academy. Thus, coursework is built to ensure that graduate students in the program will be able to fully immerse in the life of the school, both during the day and in after school and night activities. School leaders are also often called upon to attend Saturday activities, such as athletic events, speech and debate tournaments, and parent/family activities. In consideration of this, courses are offered only on Fridays throughout the 18-month program. Cognizant of university requirements for contact time, each course offered during the academic year meets for 12 three hour sessions, rotating every three months to a new course. Two courses are offered every Friday. Every other Friday, faculty meet with the Leadership Academy students for an additional hour in the Aspiring Leaders Seminar. Course content in the seminar

5 will work toward the final Capstone Project and will include the online Personal Learning Portfolio, an action research project to be completed by each graduate student, and preparation for the School Leader Licensure Assessment, a requirement for completion of the program. Summer sessions include 18 three hour sessions during June and July during the first summer for three courses and 12 four hour sessions during June of the second summer for one course. A culminating meeting during the second summer will find the participants presenting their Capstone Project, reporting on the findings from their action research and the Personal Learning Portfolio. The Educational Leadership Institute This intensive professional development experience will take the form of a summer institute for practicing school leaders which would combine faculty expertise from the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences and the College of Business Administration, as well as from the larger university community, to offer knowledge acquisition and skill building in areas such as: Financial leadership Ethical leadership Data-driven leadership Curricular reform and development leadership Cultural change/innovation leadership Capacity building for improved academic performance Human resources leadership The Executive Leadership Institute This summer institute would offer the same opportunities as the Educational Leadership Institute but would be geared to those leaders (e.g., directors, superintendents, coordinators) who manage school systems from a district level. The Leadership Resource Center The Leadership Resource Center would offer support to leaders in many ways. These resources may include: Roundtable discussions, professional collaboration sessions and symposia with key local and regional experts in the fields of personnel management, budgeting, policy implementation, employee motivation, educational law, collaboration, reform and change, and efficient constituent communications Technology resources such as web discussions, listserves, training sessions, and databases

6 Library resources including journals, books, DVDs, and other relevant materials. Problem solving and collaboration sessions with practicing principals and district level administrators Horizontal and vertical articulation sessions between elementary, middle, and high school leaders Job-Embedded Support (Principal-in-Residence) Initial professional development is insufficient for sustaining quality practice over time. Professional development also must be job-embedded with follow-up. The Center for Educational Leadership would offer in-school support to assist leaders with embedding learning as part of their professional day. In addition, follow-up professional development would be offered at the center to provide continuous learning for the practicing leader. A principal-inresidence, a retired principal who had demonstrated skills in bringing about school improvement, will serve as a mentor, consultant, speaker, and/or professional development expert to those schools and principals identified by districts for additional support. Summary Through its various initiatives and programs, The Center for Educational Leadership will: Provide training for current and future principals focused on yielding heightened student learning and success as well as recruitment, development, and retention of outstanding administrators in an era of accountability and school diversity. Raise individual school performance levels through leadership training and collaborative programming aimed at enhancing partnerships among stakeholders including teachers, parents, school board members, and school and district administrators. Improve student achievement and principal and teacher effectiveness. Approach the preparation of aspiring leaders from an innovative and hands-on approach. Immersion in the daily work, challenges, and problem solving of building level leaders will provide aspiring leaders with a real world experiences, prior to their own appointment to an administrator position.

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