Program Content

Problem-based curriculum Modules provide a research and theoretical base for understanding leadership, schools as organizations and the role of the school leader in driving school change to improve student learning. The Modules that make up the Path to Leadership curriculum include:

  • Module 1: Creating an Inclusive Culture and Environment
  • Module 2: Visionary Leadership for Educational Change and Improvement
  • Module 3: Elements and Evaluation of Highly Effective Instruction
  • Module 4: Improving Instructional Programs, Assessments, and Learning for All Students
  • Module 5: Creating a Safe and Orderly Environment for Student Learning
  • Module 6: Principles of Public School Law
  • Module 7: Facilitation of School Improvement
  • Module 8: Human Resources and Finance
  • Field Experience (current administrators may be exempt from internship hours, depending on experience)

The program’s eight Modules are facilitated in an online environment in collaboration with Michigan Virtual. The Field Experience (if applicable) is a maximum of 400 hours that is both face-to-face and school-based. All instructors and mentors are respected members of the education community who hold certification and advanced degrees.

All applications are individually evaluated and an IDP is created for each candidate. Previous graduate-level and above coursework, training and provided portfolio samples are taken into consideration for possible exemption from Modules.

Module Descriptions

Creating an Inclusive Culture and Environment - Sophia Lafayette-Lause
Key objectives of this Module include: reinforcing the candidate‘s understanding of organizational development and the role of school culture and climate in the continuous improvement of schools, teaching, and learning for all students with particular emphasis on strategies for effectively addressing diversity. 

Diversity is explored as the range of groups represented by staff, students, families, and the community, which includes, but is not limited to, race/ethnicity, culture, language, gender, and sexual orientation. Emphasis will be placed on the importance of collaboration with families, community members, and mobilizing community resources. 

Visionary Leadership for Educational Change and Improvement - Anne Thorpe
Key objectives for this Module include: Providing a research and theoretical base for understanding leadership, schools as organizations, and the role of the school leader in driving school change to improve student learning. Emphasis is placed on understanding the principles of organizational theory and development as they apply to schools, particularly focusing on the concepts of organizational change and building a productive school culture and capacity for continuous improvement. Administrator integrity, fairness and ethical behavior in decision-making and communications will also be discussed. 

Elements and Evaluation of Highly Effective Instruction - Patricia Poelke
Key objectives of this Module include: Exploration of state and legal issues related to staff supervision and evaluation, and their implications for the supervisor‘s role and the school leader‘s role as instructional leaders. Within this context, various models for instructional staff supervision and evaluation are investigated, including those for teachers, student support personnel, and co-/extra-curricular staff. The state-approved teacher evaluation documents and effective implementation will be the focus. 

Improving Instructional Programs, Assessments, and Learning for All Students - Anne Thorpe
Key objectives of this module include: A review of current research on effective standards-based methodologies, curriculum, and instructional practices with a particular focus on understanding the expectations of the Common Core and its implications for teaching and learning in the 21st Century. Emphasis is placed on the expectation that all students will achieve state standards regardless of diverse needs. Strategies are investigated for guiding instructional staff to improve programs, instruction, student support services, and student learning. 

Creating a Safe and Orderly Environment for Student Learning - Tammy Jackson
Key objectives of this Module include: Building an understanding of the societal issues that impact student safety and well-being, socio-emotional development and academic learning, and the importance of safe and orderly school environments that are conducive to learning for all students. Emphasis is placed on proactive research-based school-wide approaches and classroom practices for developing a safe, caring, and productive learning community that embraces diversity of staff, students, and community. Topics addressed include: State and federal laws; classroom management and school-wide curriculum approaches; social-emotional learning; staff, family, and community involvement; and human relations and conflict resolution. 

Specific attention is directed at safety/security, bullying/harassment, violence prevention, and crisis planning and intervention. 

Principles of Public School Law - Sue Carnell
Key objectives of this Module include: The principles of basic school law, with a particular emphasis on the legal structure of Michigan public education and statutes related to the administration of school laws. Specific attention is paid to laws related to the educational environment, student rights and responsibilities, school safety/ operations management and management of school finances, personnel, and negotiated agreements. Attention will be given to the importance of policy-making, state/federal regulations and student advocacy. 

Facilitation of School Improvement - Dodie Raycraft and Lisa Asaro
Key objectives of this Module include: The evaluation of strategies, programs and initiatives to accelerate achievement and close student achievement gaps through the school improvement process. This module will provide guidance on required MDE and AdvancedEd school improvement reporting along with practical activities and information to facilitate collaboration with staff and key stakeholders in the SIP process. In addition, the module will explore the efficient use of human, fiscal and technological resources to mange school operations. 

Human Resources and Finance - Dr. Jenny Hammond
This is a newly created Module that will cover budget creation, understanding Title funds, developing master schedules and interpreting employee contracts. More details and information will be available soon. 

School-Based Field Experience 
The School-Based field experience provides significant opportunities to synthesize and apply the knowledge and practice to develop the skills identified in the Michigan Standards for the Preparation of School Principals through substantial, sustained, standards-based work in the school setting.