principal prep

Principal prep is changing for the better

Some critics worry principal prep programs aren't training principals to meet real challenges

Programs are trying to develop a more coherent curriculum that integrates theory and practice, and offer more hands-on training opportunities and greater collaboration with school districts by asking practitioner-leaders to work as part-time instructors.

As partners in the initiative, states in which the universities are located are exploring how policies could strengthen principal preparation programs statewide.

“Many universities see the need to redesign their principal preparation programs to better reflect today’s realities of that important job,” says Jody Spiro, The Wallace Foundation’s director of education leadership. “These seven programs have accomplished a great deal in the first year. The RAND report shares many lessons from their work that others can use to build a foundation for this complex change process, beginning with forming deep partnerships with the districts that hire their graduates and the state that develops the policies affecting the redesign.”

The universities in the initiative are Albany State University (Georgia), Florida Atlantic University, North Carolina State University, San Diego State University (California), the University of Connecticut, Virginia State University, and Western Kentucky University. Each has the support of a mentor program—in which they are paired with a principal preparation program—that has expertise in one or more areas that the UPPI university program seeks to develop.

The report, Launching a Redesign of University Principal Preparation Programs: Partners Collaborate for Change, is the first of three Wallace Foundation-sponsored RAND reports on the initiative. The two future reports will analyze how state policies can strengthen principal preparation programs, as well as final program redesign and changes in aspiring principals’ experiences.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

Laura Ascione

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