Syllabus for EDL-800



The Superintendency provides both the theoretical constructs and the practical applications involved in the responsibilities exclusive to district-level administrative leadership. These include the macro-level applications of budgeting, staff development, community and external stakeholder relations, and advocacy. This course will also guide students in developing the initial components of a district-wide action research project focused on central office functions.  


After completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Explain the roles and functions of the school district superintendent and other senior administrators in the operation of a PreK–12 school district.  
  2. Analyze the organizational structure of a PreK–12 school district and its relationship with federal and state rules and regulations.
  3. Critique current models of school district governance (i.e., school board structure and executive leadership) in operating schools with a view to maximizing student learning and conducting school business efficiently.
  4. Assess the leadership requirements of the role of superintendent and senior administrator and their responsibilities and qualifications.
  5. Differentiate the various responsibilities and approaches used by senior staff to manage finances, human resources, facilities, technology, and other support services in a typical PreK–12 school district.
  6. Develop effective approaches or solutions to issues and challenges that are likely to face the executive leadership of a school district.  
  7. Compose a personal philosophy of leadership that supports the student’s interest in serving as a superintendent or other senior school district administrator.
  8. Explain the professional responsibilities of current administrators serving in key district leadership positions to maximize student learning and professional growth.
  9. Evaluate a current issue or problem in a school district in a manner that reflects the student’s  ability to apply the knowledge and skills learned in this course.
  10. Develop district and personal strategies to promote student achievement that are fair, have integrity, and are ethical.


Required Textbook

The Kowalski text is required to do the work of the course. It is available from the University's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

 ISBN:  978-1452241081


The Superintendency is a three-credit graduate course, consisting of six instructional modules:

Module 1: The Superintendent and Senior Administrators

Module 2: District Organization and Structure

Module 3: District Governance and Policy Development

Module 4: District Leadership

Module 5: District Organization and Structure

Module 6: Challenges and Opportunities

Each module, in turn, comprises topics, learning outcomes, an overview, a reading assignment, and assignments as well as an online discussion.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete all assignments (case studies, written assignments, meeting report, and interview), and submit a final project. See below for more details.

Consult the Course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

Each module in the course has one or more online class discussions.

Online discussions provide an opportunity for you to interact with your classmates. During this aspect of the course, you respond to prompts that assist you in developing your ideas, you share those ideas with your classmates, and you comment on their posts. Online discussions promote development of a community of learners, critical thinking, and exploratory learning.

Please participate in online discussions as you would in constructive face-to-face discussions. You are expected to post well-reasoned and thoughtful reflections for each item, making reference, as appropriate, to your readings. You are also expected to reply to your classmates' posts in a respectful, professional, and courteous manner. You may, of course, post questions asking for clarification or further elucidation on a topic.

Located within the Evaluation Rubrics section of the course Web site is the online discussion forum rubric used to aid in the grading of all online discussions.

Written Assignments

You will complete a written assignment in each module. Answer the written assignment question(s) as completely as possible. These assignments usually require answers of between 250 and 500 words, one to two double-spaced pages in a typical font.

To submit all assignments, go to the Submit Assignments area of the course Web site.

Located within the Evaluation Rubrics section of the course Web site is the written assignment rubric used to aid in the grading of all written assignments.

Case Studies

In modules 2, 4, and 6 you will complete case study assignments. For these assignments you will read a case study from your textbook and respond with a 500-word essay in which you analyze the case, discuss the issues, offer a solution, and test your solution.

Located within the Evaluation Rubrics section of the course Web site is the rubric used to aid in the grading of all case studies.

Meeting and Interview Report Assignments

In Modules 3 and 5 you will submit reports on a meeting you attended and an interview you conducted. Because you need to arrange for attending the school board meeting and conducting the interview ahead of time, be sure to read over these assignments in the first week or so of class so that you can make the necessary arrangements and still have time to write and submit your reports.

Located within the Evaluation Rubrics section of the course Web site are the rubrics used to aid in the grading of your meeting report and interview report.

Final District-Based Project

For your final project, you will use your school district as a laboratory to carry out a decision-making process about an important issue. You will produce a paper of between 1000 and 1500 words that is well organized, clearly written, grammatically correct. You will find detailed information about this project in the Final Project area of course Web site.

Located within the Evaluation Rubrics section of the course Web site is the rubric used to aid in the grading of the final project


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:  

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:


















Below 73

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects, etc.). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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