North Central College - Naperville, IL

North Central exceeds new requirements for graduate degrees in education

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Contact: Ted Slowik, Director of PR and Media Relations, 630-637-5307,

March 17, 2010—North Central College exceeds new, more strict state requirements for teachers and administrators pursuing master’s degrees and certification in educational leadership, College officials say.

Illinois will require tougher standards for school leadership programs offered by colleges and universities beginning in 2011. Illinois will phase out the Type 75 general administrative certification process by 2013 and adopt a new performance-based certification test for principal endorsement. By July 2013, all programs seeking to prepare school principals must be approved by the state.

Already a leader in graduate education for teachers and administrators, North Central College is well-prepared to implement changes to its program beginning in fall 2010, says Wendy Kulpinski, director of graduate and continuing education admission.

North Central College graduate students pursuing a master’s degree in educational leadership and administration will engage in rigorous coursework and 200-hour internships to comply with the new state standards.

In 2007, the Illinois General Assembly, Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Board of Higher Education and the office of the governor appointed the Illinois School Leader Task Force to implement improvements in school leadership preparation. The task force in 2008 recommended three primary instruments for improving leadership quality:

·Formal partnerships between school districts, institutions of higher education and other qualified partners to support principal preparation and development; · State policies that set high standards for school leadership certification and align principal preparation, early career development and distinguished principal recognition; · Refocused principal preparation programs committed to developing and rigorously assessing in aspiring principals the capacities that are most likely to improve student learning in PreK-12 schools.

North Central has many well-established partnerships with Chicago-area public school districts to offer school leadership candidates the opportunity to gain practical internship experience at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Residency and internship experience with all levels of teachers are among the state’s new requirements.

“The connections we have with other schools put our program at an advantage,” Kulpinski says.

Many Illinois institutions are expected to discontinue their graduate programs in education rather than comply with the new Illinois School Leadership Standards. The state will require institutions to maintain minimum numbers of full-time faculty in graduate programs in education, for example. As early as fall 2011, programs must meet state approval under the new guidelines to admit new students.

“The state is making programs raise the bar, and we agree with the need for high-quality preparation for principals. We are ready,” says Kristine Servais, associate professor of education and coordinator of master of education programs at North Central.

Additionally, North Central’s blended cohort program exceeds new state requirements through its highly personalized nature. Students in North Central’s graduate programs in education tailor their studies for a specific leadership position: principal, assistant principal, dean or department head. North Central’s partnerships mean graduate students will be able to obtain field experience necessary to meet new state requirements.

“The state task force has said it is not favorable for a principal candidate to get all of their training in a home school,” which is how some programs currently operate, Servais says. In other words, under the old guidelines someone seeking certification to become a principal could complete a graduate program without gaining any experience outside the school where he or she works.

The new state internship and residency requirements will require school leadership candidates to obtain experience working at schools with cultural and economic diversity, and include mandatory experience ini special education, school improvement and impact on student achievement.

Students may complete North Central’s graduate programs in education in as little as 18 months, or up to five years. The blended cohort approach means candidates may take courses with many of the same students for the duration of the program, but they may also opt out at any time and resume their studies during another term. Students set up a schedule using a five-year calendar of courses offered for leadership administration, teacher leadership in curriculum and instruction, and a reading endorsement.

Visit to learn more about graduate studies in education at North Central College, or contact Wendy Kulpinski at 630-636-5840 or Learn about North Central’s master’s degree in education programs during an open house at 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 5, in the Cardinal Room at Merner Field House, 450 S. Brainard St., Naperville.

To learn more about the new state requirements, visit The Illinois School Leader Task Force report to the General Assembly from February 2008 may be viewed at the Web sites of the Illinois Board of Higher Education or the Illinois State Board of Education.