Public universities create new principal preparation degree

Author: BHSU Communications/Thursday, December 4, 2014/Categories: 2014

Collaboration among four public universities in South Dakota will create a new master of education degree in principal preparation. Approved Thursday by the South Dakota Board of Regents, the new degree program incorporates nationally recognized best practices for training future principals and administrators in South Dakota K-12 schools.

The degree will be jointly offered by Black Hills State University, Northern State University, University of South Dakota, and South Dakota State University. The program will be available to students starting next summer.

"An emphasis will be placed on specific challenges faced by principals who work in rural settings across our state," said Jack Warner, the regents' executive director and CEO. Instructors will work with students to learn theory and practice in independent settings. Then those students will apply that learning in field exercises at partner school districts.

The program will be delivered through a mix of face-to-face coursework, online instruction, and field-based learning experiences. Participating universities expect an initial enrollment of 20 to 25 students.

Work on this concept commenced after a system-wide review of teacher preparation programs offered at the public universities. After meetings with university administrators, legislators, and school district leaders, the focus turned to improving the instruction and preparation of school principals. With grant support from the Bush Foundation of St. Paul, Minn., a statewide working group of PK-12 and university educators developed a collaborative principal preparation program to be shared among four universities.

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