Some of you may be curious as to what a master’s principal preparation program entails. The general goal of this graduate-level program is to educate and prepare you for an administrative-level position. By the end of this program and after successfully completing state-mandated certification assessments, you will have the opportunity to become an administrator.
What is a Master’s Principal Preparation Program?
There are five specific goals that will be focused on to prepare you to become a school administrator. The first focus is on promoting the success of all students through developing and implementing a shared vision of learning and programs which support this learning. Looking from an administrator’s perspective, you will discover how to develop and support a vision of learning for your school. This vision will support all learners of your community and explain how they will become successful through your school.
The next focus is to develop basic skills in management of the organization, operations, and resources for a safe, efficient, and effective learning environment. There are a lot of details that must be put into place in order to have a safe and efficient school. Protocols for fire drills, lockdowns, and shelter-in-place need to be created, practiced, and updated. Procedures that ensure the safety of every student and staff member on a daily basis need to be implemented and enforced with fidelity. Or another way to put this, make sure a structure is set in place so that each academic day runs smoothly.
The third focus is to collaborate with staff, boards, students, families, and community members in response to diverse educational and community interests and needs while mobilizing community resources. A school will only be successful if all stakeholders are actively part of the learning community. This requires strong leadership by administration to keep all groups unified and supported.
The fourth focus is on demonstrating integrity, fairness, and ethical behavior to help in the development of a caring and moral school community. In the administrative role, there are going to be multiple times everyday that you will need to demonstrate your integrity, fairness, and ethical behavior with the decisions you make. This will not be an easy task and thus why it is a crucial focus during this program.
The final focus is to understand and respond to the larger political, social, economic, legal, and cultural contexts. A different viewpoint occurs when stepping into an administrative role. The viewpoint will require you to constantly evaluate situations regarding these contexts.
What will You Learn in a Master’s Principal Preparation Program?
Throughout the program, you will learn about all of these vital components and will also get the opportunity to implement them. The first part of the program requires you to research, discover, and learn about all of these focuses through eight specific courses. Each course will spend two months focusing on one of the following topics:
- Supervision and improvement of instruction
- School evaluation and change processes
- Curriculum and assessment used as the framework for student learning
- Instructional leadership
- Principal as a resource manager
- Schools, parents, and community partnerships
- School law
- Ethics of school leadership
After completing these courses, you will have the opportunity to implement them with a capstone experience. During this capstone experience, you will take on a leadership role in your own school. You will get the opportunity to complete a hands-on project with the guidance of an on-site mentor and a university supervisor. You will identify an area of need in your school community, create a plan to improve this area, implement your plan of action, gather data, and reflect to see if your plan helped to improve your school community.
This entire experience will be eye-opening and will fully give you an understanding of the requirements it takes to be an effective administrator. Throughout the courses and capstone experience, you will learn how to take on challenges in an administrator role. What steps need to be taken if a child or staff member is injured at school? How can you involve local businesses in your school community? How can you use assessments and data to drive classroom instruction and meet the needs of the students? These are all tough questions, but are only a small portion of what you will discover through this program.
Why Should You Choose a Master’s Principal Preparation Program?
So the last question is, why complete this program? There are several reasons this will help advance you in your career. The first part is how much more deeply you will understand the educational system and even re-evaluate your own career and how you approach it. The next reason is the networking. You get the opportunity to meet educational professionals all over the Chicagoland area and learn about their school communities. You also will move over a tier on the salary scale once finishing your degree for this program. After completion, you have the opportunity to apply not only for administrative roles, but also any educational role that requires leadership. There are many opportunities for new careers upon completion of this program.
Ready to take the leap and become an educational leader? Explore our M.A. Principal Preparation Program and enroll today!