New Action Group to Focus on Renewing School Leader Preparation
The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
Overwhelming evidence supports that high-quality school leader preparation is essential to school success, and today’s principals must be prepared to support teachers and students in a climate of increased accountability and reform. In light of these changing demands, principal preparation programs are faced with a sense of urgency to reexamine curricula and long-held practices to address the shifting contexts of school leadership.
To address these and other challenges, as well as to identify promising practices that will advance the renewal of principal preparation programs, a new AACTE Topical Action Group (TAG) has been established: the Principal Preparation Program Learning Community (PPPLC). This TAG will provide a forum for faculty and administrators in school leadership preparation to engage in discussion, identify priority areas for action, and share useful information related to principal preparation practice, research, and policy.
The impetus to create the new PPPLC emerged in large part from collaborations during two recent AACTE Annual Meeting preconference sessions sponsored by the Wallace Foundation, which were focused on discussions about the renewal of school leader preparation around the country. As part of these sessions, participants provided input that informed the design of the PPPLC and outlined possible roles and activities for the TAG.
The initiation of the PPPLC comes at a critical time, as school leadership has garnered heightened attention nationwide and faces new standards for both principals and their preparation programs. Following the 2015 approval of the revised Professional Standards for Educational Leadership, related National Educational Leadership Preparation standards were developed and are now being finalized based on review and approval by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. In addition to the important dialogue about the implications of the new standards, action is needed to broadly advance improvements across principal preparation programs. The input and insight from a diverse collaborative of educational leadership experts will help inform these needs by identifying priority areas for impact and the related actions needed to effect changes in policy and practice across a range of institutions and contexts.
Projects undertaken by the PPPLC might include –
- Growing a school leadership professional development network and clearinghouse to provide technical support, resources, and examples of best practice
- Serving as a central communication link among key educational leadership professional organizations involved in school leader preparation
- Advising and participating in leadership-themed conference sessions, focused around the goals of the TAG, to explore best innovations and practice in principal preparation
- Providing input to help prioritize further responsiveness to the needs of school leaders
- Communicating about key challenges and promising practices in the field through TAG-developed webinars and blogs
- Investigating opportunities to support full-year clinical internships impacting change across schools and districts
Kevin J. Walsh is an associate professor at William Paterson University (NJ) and secretary/treasurer of the new PPPLC TAG.