Proposed Amendments to Part 30 (Programs for the Preparation of Principals in Illinois)

Part 30, promulgated in 2011, sets forth the requirements for principal preparation programs that include admission, curricular and staffing criteria, as well as the standards for program approval and the competencies which candidates should master in order to qualify for receipt of the principal endorsement.  The principal preparation programs and resulting endorsement replace programs established for the receipt of the general administrative endorsement, which no longer will be issued after August 31, 2014.  No new candidates have been admitted to general administrative preparation programs since September 2012.

Currently, 26 principal preparation programs are approved.  As these programs have been implemented, several challenges specific to their operation have been identified by the institutions of higher education offering the programs.  In particular, the institutions suggested that restrictions placed on the individual who could serve as a mentor to a candidate during the internship, as well as on the faculty member who supervises the candidate during this portion of the program, fails to account for the various types of work for which principals have responsibility.  In both situations, the proposed amendment expands the credentials for these positions from those of principal only to other professionals who hold valid administrative endorsements, thus allowing for their expertise to inform the leadership skill development and capacity of candidates to serve as principals.  (See Sections 30.10 and 30.40(b)(1)(A) and (c)(1).)

Additionally, a related change in Sections 30.40(b)(2) and 30.40(c)(1) is being proposed to allow the principal of a school under consideration to serve as an internship site or individuals who will serve as faculty supervisors to show successful school leadership experience in ways other than student growth.  "Student growth" typically is understood to mean improvement in academic achievement that results in, or moves towards, a school's meeting annual yearly progress.  If interpreted strictly, the requirement to present evidence of student growth may prevent preparation programs from choosing schools with high needs and low performance as appropriate internship sites.  Principals in these schools may be implementing effective and positive changes that build toward academic success but those changes may not immediately result in significant increases in academic growth.  Preparation programs should be able to consider evidence of successful leadership that is not limited to student growth, such as meeting the goals of school improvement plans, improving the school climate, decreasing behavior problems and instances of disciplinary sanctions (suspensions or expulsions), increasing attendance rates, reducing truancy and the like.  The proposed change, therefore, suggests the use of student growth as acceptable evidence, but it does not mandate its use as the sole indicator.

Section 30.40(d) is being amended in response to P.A. 98-581, effective August 27, 2013, which eliminated a requirement for candidates to pass the content-area test before entering into the second semester of an internship.  Finally, the proposed change in Section 30.60(e) provides additional flexibility for programs to more effectively use an internship site by increasing from two to five the number of candidates assigned to a mentor.

Initial Review by State Board of Education: December 2013

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