The purpose of the Cohort Meetings, the Saturday Workshop series, and the daily in-school conversations between principal interns and their mentors are all a piece of: helping interns develop, practice and demonstrate their competencies as beginning school leaders. The 26 program competencies are listed below. Each of the 26 will be documented via an electronic portfolio.
In addition to these 26 UVEI school leadership competencies, interns are expected to meet the state requirements specific to special education administrators, if that endorsement is being pursued.
THE PROGRAM COMPETENCIES
UVEI's mission, to prepare people with strong ideals and diverse experience for careers as inspiring and transformational school leaders, is based on mastery of a core set of leadership competencies. These 26 UVEI competencies encompass the standards and competencies for principals required by Vermont and New Hampshire. They call for school leaders to promote a plan of success for all students, to understand the impact of school culture on the teaching/learning climate, to be familiar with the tenets of child, adolescent and adult development, to employ effective communication to the whole school community, to practice effective interpersonal, oral, written and non-verbal communication skills, and to maintain a safe and healthy learning climate for all. While we have grouped these competencies in clusters, they are interdependent and part of a complex process that is the art of leadership.
CLUSTER I: Creating and Communicating a Shared Vision for the School Community
A School Leader:
1. Develops, with the greater school community, a vision for learning that promotes a plan for success for all students with specific recognition of their diverse needs and backgrounds.
2. Gathers and analyzes data on school effectiveness, teacher performance, and student learning, and uses it to develop, plan for, and refine the school's vision.
3. Effectively communicates to the school, to parents, and to the community how school policies and programs support a vision of excellence that benefits the diversity of learners.
4. Understands the importance of effective management skills to identify goals, objectives, and standards that ensure the successful implementation of the school vision. Addresses obstacles with resourcefulness and commitment.
5. Participates in the preparation and dissemination of clear, jargon-free reports to the public on the school's vision and its impact on student learning.
6. Seeks regular and ongoing input from all constituent groups and facilitates trust and openness in communication among and between diverse members of the school community, reducing factionalism. Interacts with others in a positive way that demonstrates sensitivity to individual and cultural differences and respect for others' viewpoints.
7. Establishes and monitors partnerships with parents, business, civic, religious and service groups, inviting skilled resource people to coordinate services and contribute to student's learning.
8. Understands importance of maintaining good relations with School Board, unions and other professional groups, and is able to play appropriate role in labor negotiations and contract management.
9. Practices effective interpersonal, oral, written, and non-verbal comunication skills, giving clear direction and presenting ideas in a logical and responsive manner. Uses appropriate vocal quality, oral expression and body language when communicating with all school constituencies.
CLUSTER II: Building a Safe, Democratic and Productive Culture for Learning
A School Leader:
10. Understands the impact of a school's culture on the teaching/learning climate and becomes actively involved in enhancing the life of the school.
11. Creates and facilitates reflective, theory-based learning venues for self and staff that engage them in their own academic and social growth on behalf of all students. Solicits feedback and responds with an attitude of learning and action toward self-improvement.
12. Helps the school community recognize and takes action in response to bullying or to discrimination based on race, ethnicity, social class, gender or disability. Confronts and educates others who display disrespect and/or insensitivity.
13. Understands and assumes the role of a change agent in promoting responsible power-sharing among staff and students, providing a setting in which democratic and consensus-based decision-making can thriive.
CLUSTER III: Instructional Leadership for a Diverse Learning Community
A School Leader:
14. Draws from knowledge of child, adolescent, and adult development when planning curriculum and implementing and disseminating standards-based instructional strategies.
15. Collects and uses data about student learning in a thoughtful and consistent manner to create an action plan to enhance achievement of core skills while promoting a zest for learning among all students.
16. Uses and promotes technology and information systems for research, to enrich curriculum and instruction, and to help teachers and students utilize networks for knowledge sharing and planning.
17. Displays keen judgment, observation, and interviewing skills to select, support, develop, and evaluate teachers and other school personnel, and understands the role of State Standards in licensure and relicensure.
18. Researches, identifies and advocates for teaching methods, materials, techniques and technologies for learners, based upon on-going professional development in best practices, and is able to seek new resources to facilitate learning.
CLUSTER IV: Management and Planning of Finances, Facilities, and TIme
A School Leader:
19. Participates in creating a budget process, in accordance with applicable accounting principles that a) reflects the needs of the school community; b) allows for change to reflect changing priorities; c) coordinates student services; and d) advances the school's vision.
20. Promotes accountability through objective and authentic assessment strategies that link instruction to school, district, and state standards of achievement.
21. Displays effective organizational and time management skills to help guide the development and maintenance of adequate school facilities and to respond to planned and unplanned events within the building. Demonstrates both initiative and follow-through in attending to duties and tasks.
CLUSTER V: Professional Ethics and Transformational Values
A School Leader:
22. Promotes and maintains a safe and healthy learning climate that allows students and staff to grow in self-discipline, self-motivation, health and wellness, and ability to make sound personal and ethical judgments.
23. Understands the legal, educational, financial, ethical and administrative implications for students with disabilities and those with unique talents.
24. Understands the need to operate within federal and state law and district policy, and uses such laws and policies to promote success for all students.
25 Demonstrates the highest ethical standards of honesty, sensitivity, and impartiality within the school community, and shows by example how most problems can be solved amicably. Demonstrates reliability, consistency and commitment that inspires trust and confidence in others.
26. Takes whatever ethical and lawful actions are necessary to advocate for children regardless of real or perceived risks.