As part of the requirement for completion of the Master’s Degree with Principal Licensure  students will enroll in each of the four clinical courses (early childhood, elementary, secondary, and special education). Enrollment in the clinical courses should take place after a student has completed at least four core academic courses. Exceptions need to be cleared in consultation with the student’s advisor and the clinical instructor. NOTE: Students may take no more than two clinical courses in any given semester.

Clinical courses are field-based experiences that take place in a local school or educational agency setting. They are designed to bridge the gap, and provide balance, between theory and practice, and between academic courses and the practical application of material contained in the academic courses. The clinical experiences are supervised on-site by a practicing school administrator in an intern-like relationship with the student, as well as by university faculty who have overall responsibility for the clinical courses.

Clinical work is developed on an individual basis in consultation with the student, the on-site school administrator, and the educational leadership faculty. Unlike academic courses, clinical courses do not meet weekly. Instead, three or four clinical online seminars are conducted throughout the course of the semester during which clinical students come together to discuss their clinical work, to share ideas, to problem-solve, and clarify any questions or concerns that may arise during their clinical experience.

Over the course of four separate clinical enrollments students are expected to engage in a total of 400 clock hours of clinical related activities, including contact time, working on projects and programs as approved by the supervising on-site school administrator, and the faculty supervisor, preparing reflective journals, maintaining a log of clinical experiences, participating in large group seminar meetings, and in individual meetings with the faculty supervisor.

When enrolled in a clinical course, students will submit a documentation form to the faculty supervisor that includes the name and contact information for the on-site supervising school administrator. Once the student has had an opportunity to visit with the on-site administrator and come to some agreement regarding the nature of the clinical work proposed during the semester, the student will submit a brief proposal outlining the various projects and activities in which they plan to engage during the semester. Modifications may be made during the semester upon consultation with the on-site school administrator and the faculty supervisor.

Students are also required to maintain an on-going log of all their clinical activities and projects that includes a brief description of each activity, the number of clock hours devoted to that activity, the ISSL standard with which it most closely aligns, and the date on which it was performed. In addition students are required to include weekly reflections on their clinical work. This reflective journal should include what was learned as a result of that week’s experiences, as well as the relevancy of the experiences to future administrative practice.

Most of the clinical work will be done in conjunction and consultation with the on-site school administrator. The faculty supervisor will meet with each student on-site twice during the semester. In cases where travel is prohibitive (inclement weather conditions, distance—international or out-of-state students) video conferences will be held between the student and the faculty supervisor.

Examples of Clinical Activities (include, but are not limited to)

Standard 1: Vision of Learning

  • Review the vision or mission statement from the school and make appropriate recommendations for change/improvement
  • Review the school’s strategic plan; serve on strategic plan development, monitoring, or evaluation team for the school; make recommendations for change/improvement
  • Review ways in which data are used in the school; suggest improvements
  • Review the school’s communication policies
  • Assist in conducting faculty meeting(s) or faculty professional development sessions
  • Assist in collecting information from various constituent groups for the school administrator
  • Review and critique processes in place for on-going two-way communication
  • Work with groups (faculty, parents, students, etc.) regarding an on-going issue in the school and apply consensus building procedures to resolve the issue

Standard 2: Instruction and Learning

  • Take an active part in a curriculum review or textbook adoption process
  • Participate in or observe the teacher evaluation process
  • Assist with the school’s assessment program, including data collection and analysis, professional development of faculty in preparation for required assessments and use of data after results are complete
  • Lead a teacher team to study and develop a plan for improving test scores in a given content area
  • Assist in the planning, supervision, and evaluation of an extracurricular activity
  • Plan and participate in professional development program
  • Review school discipline policies; observe/participate in disciplinary meetings/procedures
  • Review student service programs

Standard 3: Management and Operations

  • Review policies/budgeting for administrative purposes, especially technology
  • Review procedures used for opening the new school year and/or ending the school year
  • Participate in meetings regarding building improvements, physical plant planning, etc.
  • Review incident and discipline referrals occurring on buses.
  • Observe and participate in food service operations
  • Participate in interview process for new personnel; participate in personnel planning meetings; participate in meetings regarding contract negotiations with licensed and non-licensed personnel
  • Participate in school budget planning and allocation; review requisition process
  • Participate in building program schedule for the school

Standard 4: Community

  • Review public relations policies and procedures; assist in the development of an analysis of community’s power structure and levels of influence by various constituent groups
  • Participate in parent/community advisory team meetings
  • Review polices on cultural diversity
  • Participate in community/business/school related meetings

Standard 5: Ethics

  • Review job descriptions in any given category of employment and relate descriptions to actual practice; make recommendations as needed
  • Review philosophical base underlying curriculum in a given content area and review the extent to which it is being incorporated in current curricular materials and instructional pedagogy
  • Review existing policies for inclusion of ethical practices
  • Observe interpersonal relationships at any given level in the school and make recommendations for improvement

Standard 6: Political, Social, Legal, Economic, and Cultural Context

  • Review/Observe/Participate in meetings involving special programs (e.g., special education, English Language Learners, vocational education, title/chapter programs, grants, etc.)
  • Participate in meetings in which the focus is on conflict resolution
  • Analyze the formal and informal processes used in the school when planning for change and dealing with change, as well as stake-holder response and reaction to change