Educational Leadership FAQs

Where can I find information on administrative certification in New Jersey?

The Educational Leadership programs at Thomas Edison State University will prepare you for one of three forms of administrative certification: Supervisor, Principal, and/or School Administrator (Superintendent). Students in the Educational Leadership Certificate Program are preparing for the Supervisor endorsement; students in the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership – School Building Leadership program are preparing for the Supervisor and Principal endorsements; and students in the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership – School District Leadership are preparing for the Supervisor, Principal, and School Administrator (Superintendent) endorsements.

The programs provide the curricular content necessary for certification, though there are other requirements that are ultimately your responsibility. These requirements may include possession of a valid teaching or educational services license, possession of a defined number of years of teaching experience, and for students in the certificate program, prior possession of an earned graduate degree. It is your responsibility to verify and meet these requirements.

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Is there a test required for the endorsement as a principal?

Yes, you must pass the School Leader Licensure Assessment (SLLA) administered by ETS in order to be eligible for New Jersey certification as a principal. More information about this examination.

The current passing score for New Jersey certification purposes as of September 2011 is 163, and is subject to change without notice. You are advised to verify the current requirement at the time you apply for certification. Note that students completing the Educational Leadership Certificate program, and who seek certification solely as a Supervisor, need not take a certification examination.

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Is there a test required for the endorsement as a school administrator (superintendent)?

Yes, you must pass the School Superintendents Assessment (SSA) administered by ETS in order to be eligible for New Jersey certification as a school administrator - superintendent. More information about this examination.

The current passing score for New Jersey certification purposes is 163, and is subject to change without notice. You are advised to verify the current requirement at the time you apply for certification.

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When should I take the certification exam(s)?

We recommend that you take the SLLA and/or SSA near the beginning of your final term in the program. You may take this examination earlier if you wish, but please note that you will be subject to the current examination requirement and passing score in place at the time you apply for certification; these are subject to change by the New Jersey Department of Education. The examination is generally offered three times per year, typically in January, June, and September; we recommend that you plan ahead.

Please be certain to list Thomas Edison State University as a designated score recipient; our code is 2825.

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How do I apply for certification?

If you have completed the Educational Leadership Certificate program and are seeking endorsement as a Supervisor, you will apply directly to the New Jersey Department of Education.

Likewise, if you have completed the MA in Educational Leadership degree and are seeking endorsement as a Supervisor, School Business Administrator, Principal, and/or School Administrator (Superintendent) you will also apply directly through the New Jersey Department of Education.

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How will I use an electronic portfolio to complete course requirements?

You will need to purchase a subscription to an electronic portfolio as part of the EDL-500 course, one of your first courses in the program. Students entering the program on or after the October 2010 term will be required to use Foliotek. You will use the electronic portfolio to store all the artifacts you produce and collect in each course in the program in support of both program requirements and the internship requirements.

As you proceed through the courses and accumulate hours towards your Practicum requirement, we highly recommend that you store your work as well as records of your hours spent in the Practicum in the electronic portfolio. Completing this as you go along in the program will ensure that you have stored all the information you need for your final courses.

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Is there a Practicum requirement?

Yes, there is a practicum requirement for all students in the MAEdL program, even if you do not intend to apply for Principal and/or School Administrator (Superintendent) certification. Students are required to complete a minimum of 300 hours of school building leadership activities for the Principal endorsement, and a minimum of 150 hours of school district leadership activities for the School Administrator (Superintendent) endorsement. Completion of these required hours are verified through both the Practicum course(s) and at the time of application for certification and endorsement. Students are assigned a Mentor Coach to guide candidates through their clinical practicum and assist with designing a clinical practicum plan to follow during the field-based activities.

As most students are employed full time as educators, and often have other responsibilities in addition to their employment and coursework, we very strongly recommend that you do not wait until your formal enrollment in the Practicum course (EDL-700 for those seeking the Principal endorsement and EDL-810 for those seeking the School Administrator – Superintendent endorsement) in your final term to begin accruing Practicum hours. Therefore, midway through a student’s program (18 hours of coursework), they will be assigned a mentor coach who will begin working with the candidate and site supervisor with the development of the clinical practicum plan. Students will provide the draft of the plan created by the candidate and site supervisor to the mentor coach for review. Once approved, the student will begin the field-based activities supervised by the site supervisor.  We provide for your use and reference, a spreadsheet to record your Practicum hours they are accrued. Students in the School District Leadership program should first work on accruing the 300 hours needed for the Principal endorsement and later in the program work on accruing the 150 hours needed for the School Administrator (Superintendent) endorsement.

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What types of activities ‘count’ towards the Practicum requirement?

Generally, such activities will be under the sole discretion and leadership of your cooperating/supervising administrator.

These may include, but are not limited to, planning and leading professional staff development, working on public relations activities, developing school budgets, conducting curricular gap analyses, working with community groups, supervising student discipline, conducting teacher observations (with the explicit consent of the administrator and teacher being observed), etc.

Activities that count towards the Practicum requirement would be activities that fall outside the job description of most teachers, and do not include the types of work in which teachers routinely engage. When you enroll in the required Practicum course(s) in your program, you will also have assigned activities related to your Practicum. In addition, your cooperating/supervising administrator and coach mentor will complete formal evaluations of your progress. You will begin accruing practicum hours midway through your program over an expected three terms of enrollment in the program. You should plan to accrue at least one hour of Practicum activity per school day. Most students accomplish this either before the school day begins, after the school day ends, or during any free periods during the school day.

The summer and other school breaks also present excellent opportunities to accrue hours. With proper planning from the outset of your clinical practicum program, you will find the Practicum to be a meaningful and worthwhile hands-on learning experience.

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What Library Resources do students have access to?

All students have access to VALE. The New Jersey Virtual Academic Library Environment (VALE) is a consortium of New Jersey colleges and universities formed to help member institutions meet the demands of students and faculty for access to scholarly materials. More information

What else should I know?

  1. Occasionally, students have a problem receiving messages from the University or mentors because their internet provider blocks messages as spam. Please check your spam filters if you appear to be having a problem getting messages.
  2. Please be sure to check with your Mentor regarding the format in which word processed documents are to be submitted.
  3. Be sure to check the “announcements” tab in each course. There are usually general announcements in each course, but there are sometimes specific announcements about where to find resources needed for the course or obligations that must be met.
  4. Remember, you must apply for graduation and certification (if desired) when the time comes! Information on graduation and further information regarding graduation and certification is provided to all students during their final term in the program.

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