Here are some responses to questions we didn't have time to get to during the webinar from Mary Bearden Martin, Associate Professor at Winthrop University.
How are you defining well-prepared, and through what data is that characteristic being measured?
At Winthrop, we have developed NCATE assessments for each of the courses in the Educational Leadership Curriculum. These assessments must be completed at a 80% proficiency before students can move into their Field Experiences. Internship work samples are also graded based on competencies established by ELCC, NCATE, South Carolina Principal Standards and North Carolina Principal standards. Each student must maintain a 3.0 average in the internships in order to qualify for graduation.
The final, oral comprehensive requires interns to take data and information from a local school and determine how they plan to lead the school forward. Using real schools, real data, and real situations, interns show their preparedness for the job.
Another way to find out if the graduates are well-prepared is through surveys. After our students have been in a principal or assistant principal role for one year, we send their supervisor and the intern a survey and ask them how prepared they felt for the position. The results from surveys contain rich data.
In evaluating graduates of the program in principal positions what data do the districts and universities collect? Is there up front discussion and agreement? I am hoping the data are both quantitative and qualitative and that there is consideration for "value-added" or gains as opposed to the flat standards of the state for each grade/school.
The district provides the university data on the performance levels of our alumni during their first two years. We have asked for value-added gains as well. Hopefully the district will continue to work with us evaluating our students. While proving our program results in academic growth is difficult, but we are open to any new data points.
How would this work between a college and a collection of small rural districts?
We work to combine the smaller, rural districts together into learning communities. We meet with their Superintendents to make final arrangements for a cohort before conducting recruitment activities. In one current cohort we have three districts participating. We have had as many as six small districts combined into a single cohort.
We have an advisory board that also supports our program, meeting twice a year. During this meeting, we collaborate with superintendents from the different rural districts to work with us on understanding their needs and challenges. School District Leadership is also used as a valuable resource for guest speakers, lecturers, and panel discussion members for the EDLD courses.
Speak a bit about how these initiatives are funded.
Our on-campus cohort consists of self-selecting participants. This cohort pays the university cost. The University has provided tuition reductions for our on-campus cohorts. Thus, this support provides financial incentives for our local educators to participate in the EDLD program.
Our cohorts in CMS pay a small portion of the tuition, but are primarily supported through the Wallace Foundation Pipeline Initiative. Before this funding was available, local business partners invested in this project.
NetLEAD is a five-year grant-funded program (2010-2015) sponsored through the Federal Department of Education's Office of Innovation and Improvement. Currently this grant is supporting 8 small school districts in South Carolina. Two cohorts of Educational Leadership students serve these areas, all of which are high-poverty districts in South Carolina.
How are you defining "good instructional base?"
At Winthrop, three of our courses focus directly on instructional leadership: Curriculum Leadership, Supervision, and Leadership for Special Needs. Our focus is always on best practices. Each course has experiential activities that require students to practice the skills they have acquired in class
In Florida, universities are required to adhere to DOE certification criteria for education leadership if we have programs that lead to certification; this doesn't always lend itself to the flexibility mentioned as important in meeting the needs of the district. Does the university program described here lead to state certification for leadership? If so, how do you meet DOE requirements and still retain the flexibility needed to meet the needs of the district?
Our program does lead to certification in both North and South Carolina. Each of our courses is aligned to the NCATE, ELCC, North & South Carolina Administrator Standards. We modify our courses to address the specific needs of our students depending on the demographics of each cohort.
I have a question about the internships at Winthrop and CMS. Are the candidates full time interns? If so, how is the internship year funded. If not, how do candidates balance regular work with the demands of the internship.
Our interns are not full-time. That would be the ideal. The internship is funded just like the regular coursework. Students register for a summer, fall, and spring internship. They have to balance their workload carefully and creatively! Luckily the district is very supportive and encourages principals to work with the students to get the principalship opportunities that are needed.
Do you require the GRE?
One of the admission requirements into the program reads like this:
Applicants must have an undergraduate grade point average of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale in the last 60 hours of the graduate candidate's undergraduate course work; OR submit an official GRE score of 150 on the verbal reasoning section and 141 on the quantitative reasoning section (post August 2011 exam) or a combined score of 900 (pre August 2011 exam), or an official score of 392 or above on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT).
Do all of your candidates come from CMS?
Presently, we support six EDLD cohorts. These cohorts are in CMS (2), On-Campus (1), and Out-State South Carolina (3).
Our CMS partnership consists of only CMS employees. Their cohorts are in the program called Leaders for Tomorrow. We start one cohort each year. If they leave the district, they have the option of completing the Educational Leadership program on-campus.
The other cohorts in our program are part of USDOE Grants and self –selecting on-campus students.
How do you utilize technology to link both the participants and presenters in your program together?
We have done very little with technology and presenters. These connections are most often done in person where interaction is open and honest. Often we video the presentations in case we need them for future courses.
When we do connect students and/or professors together for meetings, we find that a program called “Zoom.us” serves us well.
How do your candidates work and complete the internship?
Teaching and interning at the same time is not easy. The summer internship does not have this conflict and students can totally focus on their internship. During the school year, the principals or supervisors work with the interns to provide them time to work on their internship. These principals nominated the interns for the program and are willing to be flexible with the interns. To be honest, the principals have been very creative in their approaches to support the interns. Likewise, the deputy superintendent has been willing to provide a few substitute days to interns that really need to step away from the classroom for a day or two. By the time the internship is completed, our interns have become masters of time management!
Are all of your candidates who have been selected for the pipeline been classroom teachers?
Most all candidates are serving in the classroom. However, in different cohorts, we have included a social worker, two or three counselors, and a good number of central office staff (from departments serving Exceptional Children, English as Second Language, Curriculum and Instruction, Accountability). We also have graduate students that come from alternative entry programs such as Teach for America. All either have or are actively serving in school settings. All are licensed in their own field and they go through the same selection process as the classroom teachers.
What are the outcome measures after graduation?
Quality measures provided the opportunity for our alumni to score/rate our program and its effectiveness.We use surveys with alumni and supervisors to gain information about performance.We monitor the number of candidates that are placed in principal and assistant principal positions.However, several of our outcome measures are anecdotal. At the Advisory Board meetings we ask for feedback from our alumni. We visit with Superintendents about our graduates and how well they are performing. And we frequently talk with our graduates and hear their successes and struggles. This area is one that we continuously try to improve.