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MASS Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education Approves MCLA Administrative Leadership Programs

01/10/2014

NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - Mitchell D. Chester, commissioner of elementary and secondary education, last week formally approved Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' (MCLA) administrative leadership programs, developed in response to new state requirements and regulations for the licensing of school and district administrators.

With this approval MCLA is able to endorse for licensure students who complete the program consisting of both field hours and course work.  The approved program will retain the name, MCLA Leadership Academy, continuing an over 15 year tradition of high quality preparation for prospective school and district leaders across the region.   

According to Howard Jacob (Jake) Eberwein III, Ed.D., MCLA's dean of graduate and continuing education, these programs reflect a new set of national standards around educational leadership, and place an added emphasis on the practical and leadership skills that school and district leaders will need to support improved outcomes for their students as well as the communities within which these schools operate.  Eberwein offered, "Our goal is to prepare candidates to serve as highly effective leaders of educational institutions, and active citizens in their communities."

"This was a very large body of work in which we had to build curriculum and write new course syllabi, as well as create new field experiences and a different set of assessments and approaches to help prepare students to step into their roles as principals, superintendents and other school and district leaders," Eberwein said.  An advisory team of experienced educational leaders and program faculty supported this work throughout the development process. 

MCLA completed work on a comprehensive portfolio outlining the programs over the 2012-13 academic year, which was filed with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) last spring. Program approval came following feedback from ESE and a review process conducted by ESE and two outside reviewers.

In addition to an emphasis on instructional practices for teachers, the changes include an increased number of field hours, which went up from 300 to 500 hours.

"We have a very intensive set of expectations in which students are asked to have field experiences in a wide range of standards and indicators," Eberwein said.

Eberwein said that the spirit, values and goals of MCLA's Leadership Academy will remain the same and reflect the MCLA mission. MCLA's Leadership Academy utilizes the arts and cultural resources available in Berkshire County in an environment that promotes discussion on sustainability and social justice, while it provides skills that educational leaders need to run their schools and districts on a day-to-day basis.

 Delivered in a "low-residency" format, where students study at MCLA for two weeks during the summer, the program's instructors include professors from across the nation. During the academic year, between the two summer residencies required by the program, participants take online courses, and a college supervisor visits them at their work site in their school or district. Leadership Academy license programs take between 16 and 18 months to complete, depending on the license sought.

For more information, go to www.mcla.edu/graduate/leadershipacademy.