Do You Lack Administrative Certification?

wendyz@michiganprincipals.org's picture

You may have noticed that many postings for Building Administrators require a master’s degree in Educational Leadership or “related field in education." The posting may also state, “Administrative Certification or the ability to gain certification required.” For those of you who entered your Administrative position without an Administrative Certificate prior to Jan.5, 2010, you are grandfathered in. This means that as long as you do not move positions, you do not need an Administrative certificate to continue working in the role for which you were hired. If you happened to have been hired prior to Jan.5, 2010, as an Assistant Principal - be advised that you will need your Administrative Certificate if you move districts or into the Principalship or another position in your current district. Those of you who were hired after Jan. 5, 2010, have the clock ticking. You have a three-year window to complete the necessary course work to earn your Administrative Certification. Currently the only available option is to enter into a full masters program in ed leadership requiring about 18 credits at a cost of at least $15,000.  How can you accomplish this when as an Administrator you are working from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on most days as well as juggling your own family and personal life?  Not to mention the fact that when you consider your hourly pay rate your salary increase wasn’t that significant when you moved from the classroom to the office. That is a valid question and concern.

There has been a push in the State to provide alternate routes for Administrative Certification. This is not to say that it is not important or arguably essential to get the information contained in traditional ed leadership masters programs however, there are other ways to gain this knowledge. The MASSP has submitted an application to the Michigan Department of Education to gain approval for an alternate administrative certification program. Our program curriculum is based on the successful and highly acclaimed New Jersey Administrative certification model called NJExcel. We will be recruiting administrators with proven track records to serve as instructors for each module. Our proposal includes a one-year program at an estimated cost below $8,000 with the majority of work to be completed on line through MVU’s Learn Port platform. Each participant will be assigned a mentor administrator who lives or works in the same geographic area to assist with assignments and to support your work in the field. Throughout the program participants will complete projects, as part of a portfolio and upon completion will need to pass the School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA) required by a number states. Monthly test prep sessions will be held to ensure successful completion of the program requirements. 

One of the most essential modules contained in our program will be based on Teacher Evaluation. Due to the heightened level of importance of evaluation practices for the success of any Administrator we see this module as having application beyond just this program. The module will contain best practice strategies for the classroom, sample rubrics for evaluation of staff and practice scoring activities. Districts may find this module to be a good way to ensure that all building administrators have adequate training and practice in observation and evaluation techniques. Each module within the program will be available for individual purchase and potentially for SB-CEUs.

The MASSP met with members from MDE last week to get the ball rolling on this process. Our next step is to attend a training session hosted by the Department in September and to update our application if the training session suggests we are missing any of the required components. Our target month to begin enrollment is October, however there are a number of hoops we will have to jump through to make this ambitious project a reality - so stay tuned and know that we are doing everything within our power to make this an available option.