Sacred Heart University’s nationally recognized Education Leadership Program provides aspiring public school administrators with the tools, support and opportunities needed not only to achieve Connecticut Intermediate Administrative Certification but, once on the job, to position their schools to respond to local and global needs, provide their teachers with the tools needed to educate more effectively, and inspire their students to achieve at their highest potential. In addition, the Education Leadership program fosters the lifelong love of learning that is the mark of a liberal arts education and the foundational value of a great educator.
“It’s an extremely comprehensive program where students learn as much from each other as from our instructors,” said Dr. Ann Clark, clinical associate professor, who in 2013 will succeed Dr. Steve Rubin as director of Sacred Heart Education Leadership, Administration and Management programs. “Our students are dedicated to learning and passionate about education. There’s also a lot of collaboration between students, which is an important ability for administrators to have.”
Like Clark and Rubin—she is a former Fairfield, CT, schools superintendent, and he a former New Canaan, CT, assistant superintendent—all Education Leadership program instructors are former or current school administrators with practical experience developing curriculum, engaging and inspiring staff, motivating students and assessing their achievement, as well as building productive relationships with boards of education, superintendents, parents and other stakeholders.
Students who complete the 18-credit program not only receive the benefits one would expect from a liberal arts education, but also meet all Connecticut requirements for administrative certification—also called 092 certification—making them eligible to serve as a department chair, school principal, or assistant school superintendent, among other school and district-wide leadership positions. The Connecticut Department of Education requires that school administrators also pass a four-part Connecticut Administrator Test. Rubin is Sacred Heart’s 092 state certification officer.
Rubin cites Connecticut Department of Education statistics that show "Sacred Heart's Educational Leadership students scored over 90 percent for the past five years taking the exam for first time test takers." He also cites State Department of Education figures that show Sacred Heart University has recommended more than 1,000 administrative certifications during the past ten years, the most of any university in the state.
“This shows that the content of our Education Leadership program is appropriate and meets both students’ and the state’s requirements,” Clark said. But the value of this and Sacred Heart’s other Education graduate programs go beyond pass-fail rates and numbers. “To have a school or district that prizes learning,” Clark continued, “you need to have administrators and teachers who prize learning and model it; to show that they are committed to their own continual learning and growing."
To make attending Intermediate Administrative Certification classes and gaining the benefits of a liberal arts education as convenient as possible, Sacred Heart offers students two options:
- A traditional part-time evening program that accepts students on a rolling basis throughout the year. Classes are scheduled on weekday evenings, starting at 4:30 p.m., with students generally taking one to two classes a semester.
- A weekend, 25-person cohort program that admits new students in the fall only. Classes meet every other Saturday and occasional Friday nights, and students complete the program in 10 months.
Required courses for both paths include:
- Advanced Curriculum
- Assessment & Evaluation of Learning: Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis
- Teacher Supervision, Evaluation and Staff Development
- Educational Law and Finance
- Leadership: Contemporary Educational Problems or Distinguished Lectures In Education
- Technology and Information Management for Administration
Students who also want to earn a 6th-Year degree in administration must complete all 092 certification requirements, as well as an additional 15 credits that includes an education research seminar, thesis and 240-hour administrative internship supervised by both a practicing administrative mentor and Sacred Heart faculty.
The programs are demanding, but the result is that Sacred Heart has an extraordinary first-time Connecticut Administrator Test pass rate. This excellent record on the state exam is just one aspect of what puts graduates of the educational leadership programs in such high demand.
James "Jim" Carl, the new dean of the Farrington College of Education, stresses that what makes the Sacred Heart graduates so well respected in the education community is "their ability to think strategically in a changing school environment." According to Carl, the Farrington College faculty prepares educational leaders who "maintain visions of educational excellence. It is this, along with their ability to inspire their constituents and manage the fast-paced daily routines of the schools, that makes a Sacred Heart degree so valuable."