Developing an Inter-agency Partnership to Support Candidates in a Clear Administrative Services Credential (CASC) Induction Program
In this example from the field, a university partners with a school district, engaging in a formal process to develop and implement a new Clear Administrative Services Credential induction program. Notice:
- Both parties had to be willing to change some long-held assumptions and practices to make the collaboration a success.
- How the district expanded their concept of "leadership" beyond the formal administrator role.
For over a decade, the University School of Education and the School District had established a positive and ongoing relationship in support of several educational initiatives and programs relating to teaching and leadership. Following the adoption of the new CASC Program Standards, the university's School of Education faculty members approached the district deputy superintendent with a proposal to collaborate on the design and implementation of a new CASC program based upon the CPSEL and framed around the development of Individual Induction Plans (IIPs), candidate coaching, and related professional learning activities.
The deputy superintendent expressed enthusiasm for the university's proposal, as long as it included a comprehensive approach to leadership development in the district. To this end, they established a Planning and Operations Team to be charged with the tasks of developing a CASC induction program design and a mutual contract/agreement that delineated the roles and responsibilities of both partners. With the assistance of an external evaluator, the partners created a program "logic model" that outlined the goals, objectives, outcomes, assessment protocols, timelines, and stakeholder responsibilities for the program. The model provided a "roadmap" that was easy to follow and helped to focus the work of both partners.
The external evaluator also helped the partners develop a set of evaluation questions to further guide program activities and assessment protocols. These two documents essentially became the contract/agreement that formalized the broad parameters of the partnership. More detailed "agreements" emerged as the partners engaged the various tasks of implementing the CASC program (e.g., IIP criteria, coaching selection and training, coaching models, and assessment tools.)
To successfully accomplish the task of designing a new CASC induction program, both partners had to change some longstanding assumptions about administrator credentialing. First, the university faculty realized that they needed to "climb down from the ivory tower" with open minds and a willingness to configure their work around the real-world needs and contexts of the district while simultaneously anchoring program elements to the CPSEL. They had to replace the old "Tier II" curriculum with a coaching-based program supplemented by professional learning activities designed to support and reinforce each candidate's job-embedded requirements and contexts. Importantly, professors had to accept that under the new credential standards, the workplace had become the primary venue for professional learning, rather than the university classroom.
Second, the district committed itself to two new ideas that had either been ignored in the past or considered beyond the scope of district responsibility:
- Building the organizational capacity to identify, cultivate, and support leadership talent from within the district.
- Accepting partial "ownership" over the credentialing requirements established by the state (e.g., embracing the idea that CASC induction should be a shared enterprise between the program sponsor and employing educational agency).
A New Theory of Action
The Team proposed a theory of action that "leadership should become the dominant metaphor for the workplace in the district." They posed the question: "What would a school look like if each employee did his/her job as if he/she was a leader in the field?" The assumption was that adopting a leadership orientation to the workplace would foster professional mastery, individual initiative, creativity, and a culture of constructivism, self-reflection, and life-long learning. The team initiated a series of professional learning activities that both oriented and trained all school principals in the foundations and methods of professional coaching, not only for CASC candidates, but also for veteran assistant principals who already possessed a clear credential and selected teacher leaders who were being groomed for future school-site administrative positions. Essentially, the district re-imagined the work of school principals from operations managers and instructional leaders to include professional learning facilitators. The district began the process of designing an integrated system that both supported CASC candidates and the broader professional learning needs of all employees.
- Does each employee in your district have opportunities to demonstrate leadership in their work? How does the district recognize and encourage leadership potential?
- What are some ways that professional learning for induction candidates can be integrated with other professional learning in the district?
- What partnerships or collaborations would facilitate an integrated professional learning system that addresses needs of both induction candidates and other staff? How might those collaborations be cultivated and encouraged?
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