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Standard 1: Program Design and Rationale

The professional leadership preparation program includes a purposeful, developmental, interrelated sequence of learning experiences – some that are carried out in the field and some that occur in non-field settings – that effectively prepare candidates as instructional leaders in a variety of public schools and school districts. The design of the program is based on a sound rationale informed by theory and research aligned with (a) the principles articulated in the Candidate Competence and Performance Standards in Category III, and (b) the principles of various learning theories. The program is designed to provide extensive opportunities for candidates to learn and apply, and includes both formative and summative assessments based on the Candidate Competence and Performance Standards in Category III.

For internship programs:
The design makes allowance for the fact that interns do not have all of the theoretical background desirable for successful service at the beginning of the program. The program shall ensure that interns have a basic understanding of the foundations of administrative practice and an understanding of their specific job responsibilities. Interns are given multiple, systematic opportunities to combine theory with practice. The program design clearly recognizes the particular needs of interns and provides an array of support systems designed to meet the needs of interns enrolled in the program.

Program Planning Prompts:
The program design and its delivery form a cohesive set of learning experiences that are informed by adult learning theories and are designed to address the needs of prospective administrators enrolled in the program.

The mission of the Educational Leadership and Administration Program of California State University, Fresno, is to prepare credible and relevant leaders in education. With that mission clearly in mind, the program strives to prepare candidates with the skills and experiences necessary for the Central Valley of California and for educational leadership position anywhere in the world. That is, the skills and experiences taught in the program are those acknowledged in the literature of the field of educational leadership, but also tailored to meet the needs of the cultural and linguistic diversity of the Central Valley. Our mission embodies what we believe our work to be; that of preparing candidates to be leaders of teaching and learning that is relevant to the dynamic and diverse needs of our schools today. High expectations for our preparation program and for our candidates leads to credibility for the program and for our graduates.

Theoretical Foundations
The design of the Educational Leadership and Administration Program of CSU Fresno is based on current research in the arena of educational administration and leadership. Research in the field, from the recent Wallace Foundation study on leadership, Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning (Louis, Leithwood, Wahlstrom, & Anderson, 2010), the work of McRel (Balanced Leadership: What 30 Years of Research Tells Us About the Effect of Leadership on Student Achievement by Waters, Marzano, & McNulty, 2003, as well as Marzano, Waters, and McNulty’s School Leadership that Works, 2006, which explains first and second order change characteristics in education and how to influence them; other research by Leithwood and colleagues (2003, 2004, 2008), the well-known Stanford study (School Leadership Study: Developing Successful Principals, by Davis, Darling-Hammond, LaPointe, & Meyerson, 2005) informs our work, as do theorists (Michael Fullan’s Leading in a Culture of Change, 2001 and Turnaround Leadership, 2006, among others <1993, 1999, 2003>; Douglas Reeves’ Leading Change in your School, 2009; Rick DuFour and colleagues many works, <2004, 2006, 2008, 2009>; Ubben & Hughes, 1997; and others) who point to the need for educational leaders to be prepared not only to manage, but to be leaders of the process of teaching and learning. Upon this basic foundation, of managing and leading the teaching and learning process, the Preliminary Administrative Credential Program has been designed and recently refined.

Much of the core foundation was constructed several years ago. In a previous iteration of our program, we took part in the Danforth funding grant to provide a program focusing on instructional leadership. That program design was based largely on the report of the National Policy Board for Educational Administration (1989), which recommended “that a common core of knowledge and skills in preservice programs be defined to include the following: societal and cultural influences on schooling, teaching and learning processes and school improvement, organization theory, methodologies of organizational studies and policy analysis, leadership and management processes and functions, policy studies and politics of education, and moral and ethical dimensions of schooling. The content of these areas is to be grounded in the “problems of practice” and supported by an increased emphasis on clinical experiences” (National Policy Board for Educational Administration, 1989, p. 32).

The previous design and the present program design also recognize that leading and managing are both important in school administration and the two are actually interrelated. “While leadership may describe dynamic efforts, such as translating into action a vision for the organization, creating change, and developing new policies, management emphasizes a supportive status quo to provide people stability and balance in the workplace so they can work in relative comfort” (Achilles, Keedy, & High, 1994, p. 32). Despite the importance of both the leadership and management functions, the program design has deliberately chosen to emphasize the role of instructional leadership, which literally means, “a leader of the instructional process”, implying specific and practical knowledge of how to improve instruction in each classroom with each teacher. Instructional leadership also implies that the school leader can no longer manage the school from the office. The leader must spend considerable time in classrooms helping teachers to continually improve their instructional skills (Creighton, 1999).

The works of Murphy (1992, 1999, 2007) and Leithwood and colleagues (1995, 1999, 2008, 2009, 2010) reporting the need for change in preparation programs have had a strong influence on the way the Educational Leadership and Administration Program faculty at California State University, Fresno see their work. Lunenberg and Ornstein’s (1999) essays in Educational Administration: Concepts and Practices is another work that has influenced our program design. Yet other influences include Murphy and Datnow’s (2003) Leadership Lessons from Comprehensive School Reforms (2003) and Starrat’s (2003) Centering Educational Administration: Cultivating Meaning, Community, Responsibility (2003). Additional resources used in the program design include the membership and attendance by faculty members at the conferences and sessions of the University Council for Education Administration (UCEA), the National Council of Professors of Educational Administration (NCPEA), the California Association of Professors of Education Administration (CAPEA), the California Association for Latino Superintendents and Leaders (CALSA), the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA), and the Association for California School Administrators (ACSA). One of our faculty members serves as the current president of CAPEA, another serves as director of CALSA’s statewide mentoring program (and also designed the mentoring program currently in use) and almost all faculty members are active members or in leadership positions in two or more of these scholar/practitioner organizations. Many faculty members present and/or publish at the annual conferences and in the journals of these organizations.

Perhaps most importantly, our faculty members consider themselves as “engaged academia” in which they are actively involved in working with local school districts. The Central Valley Educational Leadership Institute (CVELI) is the prime example in which the director and co-director are both faculty members and over three fourths of our program faculty serve as consultants, coaches, and presenters to the over 30 local school districts affiliated with CVELI.

Other writings have contributed to the design and elements of our preparation program. While there are many authors and writings that continually inform our work, there are some whose influence has been seminal in guiding us. For example, Covey’s (1991) tenets of principle-centered leadership provide one anchor for our preparation work. Kouzes and Posner (The Leadership Challenge, 2002, 2008) built upon that conceptual base stating that credibility is the foundation of principled leadership. Another is Robert Greenleaf (1996) who first proposed the philosophy of servant leadership in his first book in 1977 and also in his later writings through 2003. Greenleaf speaks authoritatively of servant leadership being moral leadership in which leaders continuously model and engage in ethical professional practices. Fullan (2003) in his book, The Moral Imperative of Leadership, wrote eloquently of the need for moral purpose in leaders. Bennis (On Becoming a Leader and others, 1989, 1994, 2008), Sergiovanni (1992, 2007), and Hodgkinson (1991) are yet others lending voice to the need for moral and ethical leadership.

Glickman (2010) writes of the need to move to a “cause beyond oneself” to bind a school culture to its basic underlying foundations, while Senge (1994) noted that “enrolling” people in the institution’s basic purpose goes far beyond having them “buy-in”. Deal and Peterson (Shaping School Culture, 1999, 2009) have written of the need to form strong school cultures around common beliefs, traditions, ideals, and support systems. Collins (2001), in his popular book, Good to Great, makes a case for a strong yet simple belief system. DuFour’s On Common Ground (2005) helps us understand the need for all students learning and all teachers working together.

Gardner’s (1993, 2006) multiple theories of intelligence helps us to understand that all of us have diverse learning strengths and that educational leaders must seek means to effectively meet ALL students needs. Darling-Hammond (1997) helps us to understand that learners have different capabilities and learning modes. The National Staff Development Council provides standards for professional development which utilize adult learning principles to maximize the learning of educators.

Bennis (2009) guides us to the basics of sound, principled leadership, while Sergiovanni (1996) calls for visionary leadership which is more democratic than past models and involves a greater breadth of stakeholders. Glickman has been a veritable spokesperson across the nation in countless presentations and writings about democratic schools and school leadership. Goodlad (1984 and 2004), in his famous book, A Place Called School has consistently been a major voice in insisting in renewed leadership.

Leadership coaching has taken on a major role in leadership preparation and the voices of experts such as Reeves and Ellison (Renewal Coaching, 2009), Knight (Coaching: Approaches and Perspectives, 2009), Lindsey and colleagues (Culturally Proficient Coaching, 2007), Robertson (Coaching Educational Leadership, 2008), and Hargrove (Masterful Coaching, 2008) are woven throughout the courses and embedded fieldwork.

The voices and research of those above and many more have strong influences on our program design and underlying foundations. However, the strongest force in program transformation is and will always be the local school superintendents, principals, and other educational leaders who provide input to our faculty through formal and informal means about the needs of the schools which we ultimately serve.

In order to be credible and relevant to the school districts which we serve, the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential program has been structured to provide a logical sequence of learning to prepare instructional leaders for our schools. The program is designed around the Standards for Preliminary Administrative Services Credentials and the California Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (CPSELs) with the following six major areas of focus:

1. Shared Vision of Learning – A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by facilitating the development, articulation, implementation, and stewardship of a vision of leaning that is shared and supported by the school community.

2. Culture of Teaching and Learning – A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by advocating, nurturing, and sustaining a school culture and instructional program conducive to student learning and staff professional growth.

3. Management of the School in the Service of Teaching and Learning – A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by ensuring management of the organization, operations, and resources for a safe, efficient, and effective learning environment.

4. Working With Diverse Families and Communities – A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by collaborating with families and community members, responding to diverse community interests and needs, and mobilizing community resources.

5. Personal Ethics and Leadership Capacity – A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by modeling a personal code of ethics and developing professional leadership capacity.

6. Political, Social, Economic, Legal and Cultural Understanding – A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by understanding, responding to, and influencing the larger political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context.

The CPSELs are distributed among the courses and fieldwork components of the program. The requirements for the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential are 24 semester units distributed between coursework, fieldwork, and related activities. It is important to mention that all candidates who do not have a Master of Arts Degree are strongly encouraged to complete the additional seven units of research in order to obtain the master’s degree in Education with the option of Supervision and Administration. Indeed, over 98% of candidates who do not hold a Master’s Degree that complete the credential also complete the requirement for the Master’s Degree. For this reason, mention is made throughout this document of the research course and ensuing master’s degree thesis or project that complete the requirements for the master’s degree. While these two elements of the degree program are above and beyond the requirements for the credential, they are seen by faculty members as vital for the most complete preparation of our school leaders. The skills needed to understand and carry out educational research in our profession are too important to be left aside. Therefore, they are mentioned here as a complement to the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential requirements.

Appendix 1 provides a visual representation of the coursework (including embedded fieldwork required to complete the Educational Leadership and Administration Program. Coursework has been designed around a number of key activities, found in the signature assignments and in embedded fieldwork. Each activity has been designed to “fit” the real world of school leadership and incorporate a number of standards into a broad activity, as opposed to narrow activities specifically aimed at one specific standard. The real world of leadership exists in a dynamic and linked world, thus the activities have been designed to be relevant and realistic, and are based for the most part on best practices research into successful school leadership.

The program is designed to provide an introduction to administration and a deep understanding of curriculum and instruction in the first semester. In the second semester, the candidate takes the research course, which begins the candidate’s thinking about a research topic. The candidate also takes the leadership course to refine her/his educational vision and understanding of leading change. In the third semester, the candidate is immersed in coursework and fieldwork regarding instructional systems, leadership for equity, program evaluation, and instructional supervision. The candidate then completes the program with a broad overview of the management and leadership responsibilities to lead a school along with the culminating project.

Coursework required to complete the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential

EAD 261 Introduction to Educational Administration (3 units)
EAD 262 Educational Leadership (3)

EAD 263 Seminar in Instructional Supervision (4)

EAD 272 Seminar in Advanced Curriculum Development and Evaluation(4)

EAD 269 Site-Based Leadership (4)

EAD 274 Instructional Systems and Leadership for Equity (3)

ERA 288 Measurement and Program Evaluation (3)


ERA 220 Educational Research (3)*
EAD 298 Culminating Project (4)* .

*Required only for the Master’s Degree in Education, but incorporated in the overall program design.

Note: Fieldwork activities are embedded in each course

The program incorporates multi-media technologies to ensure that candidates develop an understanding of the importance, role and uses of technology for instructional support and improvement, administrative decision-making and the management of data in schools.

The program design incorporates the use of multi-media technologies in order to effectively prepare candidates as instructional leaders in a variety of public schools and public districts.

The use of technology is infused throughout the credential program. All candidates are required to set up a university email for all university communications and are required to register for all courses using the university’s online registration system. All instructors communicate with candidates using email and the Blackboard system.

All instructors use the Blackboard online course system to provide course information and documents for credential candidates. For example, candidates are required to review and/or download and work with PowerPoint presentations as well as examples of candidate work and school and classroom data in the EAD 261 Introduction to Education Administration, EAD 262 Educational Leadership, EAD 263 Supervision of Instruction, EAD 274 Instructional Systems and Leadership for Equity, ERA 288 Measurement and Program Evaluation, as well as the research and Master’s Degree project and theses courses. Some courses also incorporate synchronous and asynchronous online discussion threads to supplement class instruction.

Most of the courses require candidates to access data using the internet and select websites. The California Department of Education’s (CDE) website is used in many courses and the Educational Results ( website is used to analyze and discuss state, district, and school data.

In the EAD 262 Educational Leadership and the EAD 263 Supervision of Instruction courses, candidates are required to use either PowerPoint or other presentation software in a formal presentation to the class. The syllabi for all the courses in the program reflect the use of technology. In ERA 288 Measurement and Program Evaluation, the candidate must find and compare data from two similar school districts with her/his own district’s data (288 Signature Assignment 1).

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