The Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility enables the holder, when requested by a district’s board of education, to be commissioned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to serve in the following positions: district superintendent, assistant district superintendent, intermediate unit executive director, intermediate unit assistant executive director. Other positions are also authorized under the Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility. Students should consult the Pennsylvania Department of Education for further information.
The program of studies completely satisfies all standards of the Commonwealth and provides the student with the knowledge, competencies, and skills needed to function in roles requiring this certification.
Individuals desiring to pursue this certification will, in all probability, have had considerable graduate coursework in Educational Leadership and/or related fields and more than likely hold certification as a principal or supervisor. Such graduate coursework and credit hours shall be considered and credited if applicable toward the requirements for this certification.
The Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility can be obtained at Shippensburg University by enrolling in a field-based program of study, the Leadership Residency Program.
Leadership Residency Program (Superintendent’s Letter)
The Leadership Residency Program at Shippensburg University is a nationally recognized program (CAEP) and includes a series of six field residencies leading to the Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility, or in the case of alternative pathway students, eligibility for a commission as a superintendent/assistant superintendent. Each residency is 4 credits. These residencies are spread over an eighteen-month field based program in the candidate’s school district of origin or in a district that has agreed to accept a residency candidate. Residencies are organized around six critical leadership content areas spread over six semesters.
- Strategic Leadership in District Governance and Community Relations (ELP 721R )
- Ethical and Legal Decision-Making at the District Level (ELP 724R )
- Negotiations and Personnel Strategic Decision Making (ELP 723R )
- Optimizing Financial Resources to Support District Level Achievement (ELP 726R )
- Instructional and Technology Leadership at the Executive Level (ELP 727R )
- The Impact of Facilities and Plant Management Decisions on School Effectiveness (ELP 725R )
As part of each residency a series of intensive seminars are included. These seminars are conducted by Leadership Fellows (invited experts currently practicing in the field), university faculty, and invited experts in the field.
The Residency Program is designed to meet the needs of school leaders who want a field-based experience as they pursue a study of district leadership. This program, approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, is based on twenty-first century leadership that will enable students to work with regional district leaders and content experts as they are guided and supported by university supervisors.
Requirements for Admission to the Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility Program
- File an application with the Dean of Graduate Admissions for admission to the Residency Program.
- Attend the Leadership Residency Program orientation.
- Hold a Master of Education degree.
- Currently hold a Pennsylvania administrative and/or supervisory certificate.
- Currently serve in a certified administrative/supervisory position.
- Complete the Leadership Residency Application and Practicum Memorandum of Understanding between their school district and the Educational Leadership program.
- Have an official transcript sent to the Dean of Graduate Admissions from any institution at which the applicant has taken undergraduate and graduate work.
- Take a minimum of fifteen (15) credit hours within the Department of Educational Leadership and Special Education at Shippensburg University.
- Submit two references: One completed by a chief school officer (district superintendent or intermediate unit executive director) in the school district in which the candidate is currently employed or has been most recently employed; and one by another school administrator. Obtain forms at the department web site http://www.ship.edu/ELSE/Educational_Leadership/Forms/.
- Possess a GPA of at least a 3.0 in all graduate work taken prior to application to this program.
Applicants who have satisfied their Master’s degree and certification requirements at another college or university or earned their advanced degree outside the field of Educational Leadership at Shippensburg University may be required to successfully complete an oral review conducted by the faculty of the Department of Educational Leadership and Special Education. This review will be conducted after the applicant has taken six (6) hours of graduate work within the department.
Final recommendation for admission to this certification program will be determined by the faculty of the Department of Educational Leadership and Special Education.
Policies for Completing the Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility Program
- Maintain at least a B average in all coursework, with not more than one C grade included in this average. Obtaining a second grade of C will cause the students to be dismissed from the university.
- Enroll for a minimum of six graduate credit hours per year.
- Work closely with advisor.
- Each student, in addition to completing the course requirements specified on his or her individual program of studies, must demonstrate, through appropriate practicum activities, field experiences, and a written/oral competency exam (Exit Defense), that he/she has acquired the knowledge, skills, and competencies to render effective leadership in schools and educational institutions. The student’s leadership, scholarship, and interpersonal skills shall be monitored most carefully throughout his/her program of studies and during his/her practicum and field experiences.
- Satisfy all final evaluation policies and procedures established by the Department of Educational Leadership and Special Education for students in the Letter of Eligibility program.
Student Advisement for the Leadership Residency Program
- The Department of Educational Leadership and Special Education assigns a faculty advisor for each applicant.
- The faculty advisor is responsible for reviewing the applicant’s academic records, degrees, and certification held along with past and present professional experiences. After consulting with the applicant, the advisor shall construct an individualized program of study for each applicant designed to meet the professional needs of the applicant as well as satisfying the requirements for certification by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Department of Educational Leadership and Special Education.
- It shall be the joint responsibility of the student and the advisor to consult with one another on a regular basis while the student is enrolled in the Residency Leadership Program.
- The student should seek the advice and counsel of his/her faculty advisor when the need arises. The faculty advisor is the contact person for any questions or concerns the student may have relating to his/her graduate program at Shippensburg University.
- Faculty members shall be invited to participate in an Exit Defense panel at the completion of the program.
- The faculty advisor shall continually review his/her advisee’s progress, academic work, and general overall standing and report any concerns to both the student and the Educational Leadership and Special Education Department.
- The faculty of the Department of Educational Leadership and Special Education shall review all students’ academic records prior to recommending a student to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for the Superintendent’s Certification.