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The faculty at Widener University’s School of Human Service Professions Center for Education (CfE) has committed itself to meeting the challenges of preparing education professionals who can lead schools and school districts to higher student achievement. Consequently, we have entered the initial phase of transforming our school leadership certification programs. The purpose of this paper is to describe our initial steps to redesign our educational administration leadership programs to be more responsive to the leadership demands of the 21st century. This paper will focus on five components of that transition and discuss the details and challenges involved with implementing the changes.
This manuscript has been peer-reviewed, accepted, and sanctioned by the National Council of Professors of Educational Administration (NCPEA) as a significant contribution to the scholarship and practice of education administration. This Volume 10, Number 1 is also archived in the International Journal of Educational Leadership Preparation (Supplemental Link). Authors: Brenda O'Hern, Susan Schaming McNiff, Bernard R. Brogan, and Antonia D’Onofrio-De Geus, Widener University

Introduction

In Leading to Learn, a recent report funded by the Wallace Foundation, Olson calls attention to the need for traditional leadership training programs to “focus less on creating efficient managers” and more on “preparing individuals who can lead a school to higher student achievement” (2007, p.6). This observation comes at a time when school leadership training programs have been under increased scrutiny (Harchar, 2006). In perhaps the most notable of criticisms, Levin (2005) claimed that the quality of most leadership preparation programs ranges from “inadequate to appalling” (p. 24). Setting aside the argument of whether these criticisms are fair, it is certain that university leadership preparation programs must rethink their purpose and mission. Standards and accountability, a dominant force in the PK-12 environment where most students in educational administration programs work, is quickly becoming the expectation in higher education preparations as well. Designing, implementing, and evaluating a standards-based school leadership program raises important questions and presents special challenges to traditional leadership training programs.

The Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC), formed in 1994, is comprised of many of the players who have a stake in educational leadership including many states, professional organizations, and universities. This consortium has developed a common set of standards that are having significant influence in school leadership training programs, licensure, and candidate assessment (Hessel&Holloway, 2002). The six ISLLC standards focus on the following: (a) developing a shared vision within schools; (b) creating cultures that support learning; (c) ensuring safe, efficient, and effective learning; (d) collaborating with the broad community; (e) acting in a fair and ethical fashion; (f) understanding the socioeconomic, legal, political and cultural contexts of schools. These standards are useful in assessing the capacity of current and prospective administrators to integrate formal knowledge with performance and reflective practice (Hoyle, 2004).

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Source:  OpenStax, Ncpea education leadership review, volume 10, number 1; february 2009. OpenStax CNX. Jun 05, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10630/1.9
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