Practical Principal Preparation
School Leadership Program announces new, more practical internship structure
After many years of research and collaborative efforts with the BYU-Public School Partnership, the McKay School’s School Leadership Program recently announced a new approach to its administrative internship requirement.
The administrative internship requirements are primarily based on the book School Leader Internship: Developing, Monitoring, and Evaluating your Leadership Experience by Martin, Danzig, Wright, Flanary, and Brown. The book suggests a structure which provides a more practical internship experience than the past checklist structure, allowing the school leadership students to more accurately experience the role of a principal. The internship requirements are also better aligned with the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) Standards.
Pam Hallam, a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations (EdLF), said after many years of collaboration and discussion, the change is a step forward. “It’s been evolving for a very long time,” she said. “We had looked at all of the different types of programs, and we knew that we wanted one that was more practical and not just a checklist.”
The school leadership committee found the old checklist of leadership tasks and assignments done throughout the internship was not effective in helping students fully understand the principal’s role. With the new, more meaningful structure, students will complete a number of activities under each of the 38 sections in the internship book and then reflect on their progress. The 38 sections are organized according to a leadership presurvey, so students can identify their weaknesses and select activities that will provide the best opportunities for their growth, reflection, and improvement.
Hallam also said the internship requirements are more focused than the previous program on helping the students understand the role of an administrator. “We want to help them realize that principals don’t just check tasks off a list and never do them again. Principals perform tasks over and over and over again,” she said. “Every time they are reflecting on how they can make things more meaningful for the students, how they can help the students meet their goals, and how they can facilitate the teachers. . . . It’s always about making things better and focusing on student learning.”
Shannon Dulaney, another professor in EdLF and the internship coordinator, said the new internship book and procedure will also benefit the students’ mentors. “The biggest change is making the internship more logical and relevant to our interns as well as to their mentors,” she said. “The mentors see the direction for the activities and the standards [the intern] is working to meet, and they can provide relevant experiences for them at the schools.”
The first year of the new internship book and requirements are funded in part by an internship grant, written by Hallam, from the Brigham Young University Internship Office. The grant money will be used to buy books and course materials for the first group of students, as well as to develop online and offline measurement tools.
Hallam said the Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations is grateful for the university resources supporting this change. “We’re appreciative [that] the university has this resource available to us,” she said. “We hope we can report back that [the internship] is making a meaningful difference.”
October 16, 2012