Syllabus for EDL-820



The Field-Based Practicum for Superintendents is the culminating activity for students seeking the School Administrator endorsement. It requires a 150-hour internship experience, at the district level, at a school site, or an alternative site. In the practicum, students can put leadership theory into practice, working with a local school superintendent or other district official.

Students will develop the practical skills and knowledge necessary to become an informed, dynamic professional at the senior administrator level in a comprehensive school district serving children in pre-K–12. The field experience will test the application of theory, challenge the ability to promote the success of all students, and provide opportunities to develop the skills necessary to solve complex organizational issues. The course experience will culminate in a final capstone narrative or executive summary that demonstrates the candidate’s understanding and acceptance of the responsibility of making decisions typical of those made by educational leaders.


After successfully completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Apply leadership behavior in the planning and articulation of school programs, the development and implementation of new instructional activities, and the stewardship of a district's vision supported by community and stakeholders.
  2. Manage the organization and its operation, applying best practice to support and design professional development and staff growth that promote effective instructional progress and a positive school culture.
  3. Develop a collaborative relationship with families, community, and organizations through intra- and inter-communication methods attuned to the cultural, political, legal, and social context.
  4. Demonstrate integrity in leadership behaviors that are ethical and fair and that respond to the needs and interests of a diverse community.
  5. Manage district, school, and community resources, optimizing an efficient, safe, and effective environment conducive to learning.
  6. Accept responsibility for leading, facilitating, and making decisions in the context of working with local, county, and state agencies.
  7. Describe the future of the superintendency based on an examination of the role of women, minorities, and other ethnic groups aspiring to the position.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbooks are available from the University's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbooks

  • Duke, D. L. (2010). The challenges of school district leadership. New York: Routledge.

ISBN-13: 978-0415996235 (paperback) 

  • Lumby, J., & Coleman, M. (2007). Leadership and diversity: Challenging theory and practice in education. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

ISBN-13: 978-1412921831

Recommended Textbook

  • Kowalski, T. J.  (2013).  The School Superintendent: Theory, Practice, and Cases, 3d ed.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

ISBN:  978-1452241081

Electronic Portfolio Registration

As a capstone experience in the Educational Leadership program, you will prepare an electronic portfolio that demonstrates your incremental achievement of the program standards. Each course in the program helps you to identify artifacts to place in your portfolio on completion of the course. To this end, you are required to purchase an electronic portfolio registration code upon your entry into the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program. Basic directions for purchasing access to and using your electronic portfolio are posted within the Educational Leadership Students Organization (online community).


The Field-Based Practicum for Superintendents is a 12-week, three-credit, graduate course that consists of six modules. Modules include learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles and topics are listed below.

Module 1: Governance

Module 2: Political Systems

Module 3: Action Research and Process of Inquiry

Module 4: Gender, Race, and the Superintendency

Module 5: Recruitment, Retention, and Staff Development; Facilities Issues

Module 6: The Superintendent and Public Relations


The assessment strategy for the Field-Based Practicum for Superintendents includes module discussion forums, reflective log entries, and activity reports, each addressing specific module objectives, topics, and field experiences. At the start of the course, you develop and submit a detailed action plan of your internship activities. The course culminates in a final practicum report—a capstone narrative or executive summary that relates theory to practice and wraps up the entire practicum experience. See below for further details about each assessment component.

Consult the Course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

Each module in the course has two online class discussion forums (Module 1 also has an ungraded but required Introductions Forum). All discussion forums take place asynchronously.

Class discussion forums provide daily or weekly opportunities to exchange ideas and thoughts with other students. The course mentor will monitor the board and participate as appropriate. During this aspect of the course, you respond to questions that assist you in developing your ideas, you share those ideas with your classmates, and you comment on their posts. The course texts and external Web sites will serve as reference points for the discussion and will assist you in better understanding the scope of the superintendency as a career.

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.

Click the link below for an evaluation rubric that will aid in the grading of online discussions.

Action Plan

You will develop a 150-hour, 12-week action plan (approximately 12.5 hours per week) that uses a school district as the base of study, all under the mentorship of a certified school administrator. The action plan will comprise six activities (or sets of activities)—one for each module of the course—and address specific module objectives, topics, and field experiences consistent with district-wide objectives and the six ISLLC standards. It will include objectives aligned with standards, proposed activities, timelines, and anticipated outcomes. For further details, see Module 1.

Click the link below for an evaluation rubric that will aid in the grading of the action plan.

Reflective Log

You will maintain a reflective log on the course Web site that will include personal observations, comments, ideas, and other statements that monitor the various steps of the practicum. The log is shared with the course mentor only.

Click the link below for an evaluation rubric that will aid in the grading of reflective logs.

Activity Reports

On completing each module's practicum activity (or set of activities), you will prepare and submit an activity report in which you describe the activity and its relationship to ISLLC standards and the original action plan, list your accomplishments, describe any feedback from the on-site administrator, and provide artifacts.

Click the link below for an evaluation rubric that will aid in the grading of activity reports.

Final Report

You will produce a final report in electronic format. Included will be samples of your work during the practicum.

Click the link below for an evaluation rubric that will aid in the grading of the final report.


You will organize all the products of the practicum into an artifact file for review by the University mentor and yourself. It will serve as both a means to evaluate your work as well as a means to display to others the outcomes of the experience.

On-Site Mentor Report

The on-site mentor or school administrator will provide feedback on your performance relative to the ISLLC standards.

Portfolio Artifacts and Reflective Narrative

The principal artifacts for this course are the documents you create that can support the hours accrued for the practicum. These can include memoranda, meeting agenda, formal presentations, etc. Accompanying each artifact is a reflective narrative that describes the process and how the artifact meets specific standards and prepares you for school leadership.

Upload your artifacts to your electronic portfolio, and be certain to indicate their alignment to the applicable ISLLC standards.


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.


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


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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