Principals Need to Be Inducted Too!
I was given a set of keys and told to take over the school. There
was no induction program for principals-not even a mentor.
- Name Withheld Upon Request
- More than half of the nation's 92,000 principals are
expected to retire or quit in the next five years.18
- The average age of principals in the United States
is close to 50 and 40 percent of all principals will probably
retire within the next decade.
- Among principals in Iowa who are eligible to retire
by 2003, an astounding 93 percent plan to do so.19
This is my first year in a new job. I am a principal of a building
and I am the curriculum director of the corporation. I am finding
that I am in need of an induction program for myself. I hired two
new teachers this year. They need help, yet I am not able to help
them as much as I would like because I am trying to figure out my
own job. To further complicate the matter, we have a new superintendent.
Guess what? He can't help me because he is trying to figure out
his new role. The domino effect is endless and unnecessary (to a
degree) in my opinion. If we had an induction program, it would
solve a lot of problems.
Principal and Curriculum Director
LaFontaine Elementary School, Indiana
Induction Course for Principals
New first time principals are taking part in the first principals'
induction course being held in Auckland this year (2002).
Education Minister Trevor Mallard says,
"The principal is the critical factor in the success of a
school. From an education standards perspective, if we can help
principals do their job better, we will make a huge difference in
the quality of education across all our schools. Many experienced
principals think back and say, 'If I had known then what I know
now, it would have been a lot easier.' I believe that if principals
are better prepared, we will have better schools and better learning."
Other aspects of the initiative include these:
- Laptops for principals (starting with the new principals)
- A dedicated portal for principals and administrators providing
essential information and services
- A private online network for principals
Trevor Mallard says that the four day residential
course is designed to support new principals in understanding their
role as educational leaders, clarify how they should monitor school
culture, and build strong internal and external relationships.20
Leaders for a New Millennium
All companies have management training classes.
Some school districts have seen the light and are now training their
own principals to combat a shortage. It's training,
not mentoring. If mentoring is the answer to all of education's
teacher woes, then who will be the new principal's mentor and what
and how will this person mentor when the district does not even
have a plan for training administrators?
The National Association of Elementary School Principals estimates
that 40 percent of the 93,000 principal positions in the U.S. could
be vacant by 2006.21 School systems nationwide have instituted training
programs to groom aspiring principals. For example, North Carolina's
Wake County reimburses teachers who participate in its Leaders
for a New Millennium program for 50 percent of their costs
to take required school leadership classes.
Principal Internship Program
Effective principals are not born-they are trained.
Though successful classroom experiences and a thorough understanding
of curriculum and instruction are vital to becoming an effective
administrator, they are not enough. Being an administrator requires
certain skills that are not acquired even from the most successful
teaching experiences. This premise is the underlying thrust of the
Louisiana Principal Internship Program, an induction program
for principals. The mandatory program, which is a collaborative
effort between the state's Department of Education and Southeastern
Louisiana University's Colleges of Education and Business, provides
new principals with two years of ongoing training and support in
the areas of leadership and management.
The Louisiana Principal Internship Program is structured to align
current state mandates and initiatives, research on leadership development,
and the "Standards for School Principals in Louisiana."
The major components of the program focus on school improvement
processes and school accountability. The goal is to link leadership
more closely to productive schools and enhanced student achievement.
The program is designed to do this:
Nurture, guide, and develop the leadership skills of beginning
- Lead the interns through best practices and research related
to student and school improvement
- Assist in connecting networks and communities of administrators
- Understand the relationship between leadership and learning
- Assist administrators in the development of the school's improvement
- Assist new school leaders in the development of a personal
During the two-year program for new principals and assistant principals,
the main component is participation in a yearlong online professional
development course powered by Blackboard, a national e Education
The Year-1 course is seven modules based on the
"Standards for Principals in Louisiana" and the "Interstate
School Leaders Licensure Commission's Standards for School Leaders."
A professor of Educational Leadership from a different state university
facilitates each module. Their function is to monitor the Blackboard
assignments and discussion board replies and monitor and provide
insight to the participants. In addition, each intern is a member
of a team, consisting of other new principals and mentored by a
practicing experienced principal. The function of the mentor principal
of support and encouragement and establishing a virtual network
through Blackboard that will be useful long after the internship
is over. Each of the modules is designed with guiding questions,
readings from texts and web sites, and scenarios common to
Year-2 modules address issues of the principal
as the instructional leader. Through the Louisiana Principal
Internship Program, a virtual network has been created for all principals
in Louisiana that allows them direct contact with their peers throughout
the state. One of the strong points of this program is
the number of contact hours between new principals and experienced
principals, yet principals are not required to leave their schools
as often due to the virtual component. As interns complete the online
modules, they also begin preparing a professional portfolio, which
is presented at the end of the program. The fact that all modules
are based on state and national standards for principals has provided
interns with core knowledge of the workings of the principalship
and a better understanding of the day-to-day duties expected of
them. Interns completing the program have given it a 93 percent
excellence rating, citing it as a valuable and high quality professional
Louisiana Department of Education
Helpful Web Sites Helpful
Induction programs show new teachers that you
care about their success. There is a shortage
of teachers around the world. Wouldn't you want
to provide some type of support to keep that
Many organizations are addressing the national
teacher supply crisis. The following websites
provide information on this crisis:
Education Resource Information Clearinghouse
National Association for Alternative
National Center for Alternative Teacher
Certification Information (NCATCI)
National Center for Education Information
National Council on Teacher Quality
Recruiting New Teachers, Inc. (RNT)
Teach for America (TFA)
Troops to Teachers (TTT)
Leaders for New Schools New
New Leaders for New Schools (NLNS)
is a national nonprofit organization devoted
to improving education for all children by attracting
and preparing the next generation of outstanding
leaders for urban public schools. NLNS aggressively
recruits and provides rigorous hands-on training
(including course work and a yearlong internship
with an exceptional mentor principal) for extremely
talented people to become urban school principals.
NLNS has three central goals:
- To recruit and develop talented, dedicated
individuals who will become successful principals
in urban public schools and who will provide
a strong commitment to the success of each
- To create a pathway for principal recruitment,
preparation, and ongoing support that will
serve as a model for school districts, universities,
and nonprofit organizations.
- To provide school districts and charter
schools with the effective school leaders
they urgently need, to accomplish the mission
of educating all students at high levels.
The components of the induction process
include the following:
- Recruitment: NLNS rigorously
screens and selects extremely talented individuals
with diverse, proven skills and successes
to become New Leaders Fellows. Each fellow
receives a fully funded fellowship and living
stipend to participate in the program.
- Training: Drawing on the
best practices from the country's finest education
andbusiness schools, NLNS training begins
with intensive preparatory summer course work
in the foundations of leadership. These courses
are taught and developed by leading practitioners
and academics. Fellows then use these skills
during a yearlong residency, under the guidance
of an experienced mentor principal, during
which they participate in the daily leadership
responsibilities of a school.
- Support: NLNS graduates
receive intensive support and professional
development for two years after graduation.
Graduates become lifelong members of an active
support network of peers, mentors, academics,
and other educational and business leaders.
is devoted to making the American dream possible
for every child. It is dedicated to
providing leaders with the necessary skills
to create and lead schools that will prepare
all students for the challenges of the future.
New Leaders for New Schools
18 West Twenty-Seventh Street, Suite 7C
New York, NY 10001