The curriculum for the university and non-university components of the Clear Administrative Services Credential program builds upon the foundation of the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential program, and applies conceptual knowledge to administrative practice in ways that engage candidates in important issues of theory and practice.
The candidate’s preliminary level program was designed to acquaint candidates with the broad range of administrative and leadership responsibilities in schools. The prior coursework and field experiences have prepared persons to begin administrative service. The curriculum at the clear level should extend those learnings, and allow for in-depth study of defined areas of interest for the new administrator.
Factors to Consider
The following factors serve as a guide for initial program design and ongoing program evaluation:
• Curriculum content is characterized by a depth of experience that challenges candidates, fosters critical reflection, extends understanding, and allows for meaningful integration of theory and practice.
• Coursework systematically extends the depth of content offered at the preliminary level, and is geared to the needs of beginning administrators.
• Candidates have opportunities to select and pursue specific areas of interest within university and non-university curricular offerings.
• Coursework and other professional development activities are designed to thoughtfully engage candidates in challenging learning activities and reflect on their own practice as beginning administrators.
• The program meets other factors related to this standard of quality brought to the attention of the team by the program sponsor.
The curricular content for each of the activities and coursework in the Clear Administrative Services Credential Program is guided by the CPSELs, by the needs of each candidate as identified in the initial assessment and induction plan, and by the ongoing coaching and mentoring that is taking place.
The Preliminary Administrative Services Credential Program of California State University, Fresno, is designed to prepare the candidate to become an instructional leader. As such, there is a heavy emphasis on the curricular and instructional elements including particular attention to equity issues within the overall realm of educational leadership. The Clear Administrative Services Credential Program has been designed to take the new leader to deeper understandings and knowledge of leadership within the context of her/his new position and responsibilities. We have found that the new administrator, although armed with a rich knowledge of the tools and techniques to be a strong instructional leader, has a newfound hunger for many of the necessary managerial aspects, including educational legal issues, personnel relations, and business functions, among others. Thus, courses with specific knowledge in these areas are offered in the Clear Administrative Services Credential Program taught by recognized local practitioners.
Due to the flexible nature of the program design, candidates may select and pursue areas of professional growth within the specific offerings of the university or from other acceptable sources. Candidates are challenged to move out of their own patterns or zone of comfort and examine second-order change. Candidates are offered multiple opportunities to share their current experience as new leaders, to reflect upon their learnings, and are challenged to examine new lenses with which to approach issues.
Beginning with the initial assessment of candidate competency, an inquiry process is utilized as a vehicle to challenge candidates to see and think about their work differently. The coaching model that we use is built upon first helping candidates learn to “dream” about what schools could and should be, and then to develop concrete plans that lead to that previously perceived as impossible future.
As mentioned earlier, coursework in the program is geared to the new administrator, who typically faces a range of issues that demand a new and deeper level of thought than the student would experience in the Preliminary Credential Program. Thus, ideas and concepts presented in the Preliminary Credential Program are expanded upon in a deeper and more challenging manner in the Clear Credential Program. Candidates are asked to participate in meaningful work and activities that are relevant to the everyday work of our schools, not to maintain the status quo, but to move the schools to new levels of effectiveness.
Candidates have great flexibility to choose activities for their professional growth from within the university or non-university activities. Any activity that meets a need determined in the initial assessment, or during a revision of the induction plan, that meets the criteria of quality and relevancy by the district mentor will be accepted. Such activities may include conferences, professional development, coursework from other institutions, activities within the district, or other activities deemed by the candidate and district mentor to be instrumental in meeting the needs of the candidate.
Also, while there is required coursework in the program, the candidate has the opportunity to substitute alternative activities, provided that they meet the approval of the district mentor and program coordinator. As above, a wide range of alternative activities may be considered. The only difference with required coursework is that the program coordinator must be involved in the decision to substitute another activity. The explanation under Standard 5 has further details as well as the individual course syllabi which are found in Section Two.
As in all program activities, ongoing evaluation, as well as an annual review, serves to ensure that the program not only meets the standards as required by the CCTC, but by the local school districts that depend on our program to prepare their educational leaders. Recent reviews have lead to modifications in both course and fieldwork components to better meet the needs of our candidates and the schools they serve.