I am not sure how many individuals come into the field of education with the goal of becoming a principal. I know that I never saw myself in that role when I started my career. As a matter of fact, when I first started teaching, I thought that becoming a principal was something that I wanted to avoid at all costs. There was too much pressure, too many responsibilities; in short it was simply too much for me to consider. After all, when I became an educator, it was with the hope and promise of making a difference in the lives of students.
In my mind that meant that I needed to be with my students in the classroom. However, as I established my craft as a teacher and saw that my students were successful, I wanted to help other students become successful too. Eventually, I knew that I wanted to make a positive impact that reached beyond my classroom. I wanted to assist in making educational decisions that would positively impact a building or district rather than just a classroom. That was when I put aside my self-doubts and insecurities and started looking for a school principal certificate program.
Skills Gained in a School Principal Certification Program
Educators who have only been in a classroom can have a narrow view of the broad requirements and perspectives that are essential for a successful educational leader. Fortunately, Point Park’s School Principal Certificate program provides a variety of classes to prepare new school administrators.
The common theme within each of the classes is to provide multiple opportunities to problem-solve real district situations. Problem-solving skills are essential for school leaders. This program worked on developing these skills through the use of a variety of models. Students are provided with the foundational knowledge on laws and best practices while also guided through the processes of when and how to involve different stakeholder groups to assist in decision-making.
In addition, this program establishes a site supervisor. This is the individual that you work with throughout the program. They become a mentor and provide insight into the everyday life of being a principal. These individuals provide guidance and explanation for specific decisions made within their district. It is under their direction and leadership that prospective principal candidates can gain a more thorough understanding of the job.
Students are also required to gain experience by completing their practicum. The practicum requires students to experience and reflect on all of the leadership standards. This is where students truly develop a deeper comprehension of the innerworkings of a school. As a result of completing this program, students better understand the type of leader they wish to become and gain the knowledge to make the best decisions possible for their future school.
The goal for many who go through the school principal certificate program is to become a principal of an elementary, middle, or high school at some point in their career. A transformational leader that can encourage teachers to step out of their comfort zone, develop instructional leaders, and create a safe environment for all children is irreplaceable. In reality, schools need more leaders who can be successful in this endeavor.
While, this certificate will put candidates in the running for such positions, it can also open doors to other important positions within a district. Perhaps one of the unsung heroes of the school is the Assistant Principal. They often work along side the principal. They cultivate parent and student relationships. They also frequently create or lead programs within the building. They take on many of the building responsibilities, including teacher evaluations, but still have someone higher up within the building with whom they can consult.
Another position that may require a School Principal Certificate is a Dean of Students. This is often the individual in the school who has strength in dealing with discipline and behavior issues. They also need to have a strong understanding of school law to ensure that students’ rights are being granted.
Students who have found a love of organizing and creating engaging curriculum may be able to use their certification to become a Curriculum Director or Coordinator. While Point Park does have an excellent Curriculum and Supervision Program, some districts and Intermediate Units accept Principal Certifications for such positions.
For those who are not seeking a complete job change, this program can provide opportunities to enhance your current position. With the skills gained, individuals are better prepared to be teacher leaders. They have the ability to mentor new teachers and provide a more global approach on how to address school concerns.
This program may also afford educators the opportunity to lead professional development sessions, both during their practicum and beyond. Many schools have grade level or department chairs, which is another opportunity for those that are looking to implement their leadership skills. In each of these positions, individuals have the opportunity to positively impact students and teachers on a broad scale.
Education is such a powerful occupation. It has the ability to change lives. When you begin to realize that you want to support beyond your classroom, you may be ready for Point Park University’s School Principal Certificate program. It can open your eyes to understanding the intricacies of successfully working within a building and even a district. However you choose to use your certificate, you will undoubtedly be a better educational leader.