Education Specialist Degree
The Education Specialist degree is designed for individuals preparing for leadership roles at the district levels of the education system. The specific emphasis of the Education Specialist is the superintendency. Completion of the program includes eligibility for the highest level of administrative certification with an endorsement for the superintendency as well as an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree. This program of study, learning activities, and demonstrations will result in the capacity to provide leadership in school districts that include the fundamental knowledge and skills of a “specialist” in the operation and leading of schools at the district level. In addition, the Ed.S. program includes the knowledge, skills, and dispositions required to not only administer a school district, but to provide leadership for the entire school-community in matters of PreK-12 education.
The Ed.S. program is a natural extension of the Masters level Educational Leadership program that prepares professionals for building-level leadership. The features of the EDL program that will be continued in the Ed.S. program include 1) a cadre approach, 2) demonstration of capacity to apply knowledge, skills and dispositions as leaders, 3) learning through reflective practice, and 4) documentation of leadership capacity through a professional portfolio and demonstrations.
Participants will begin the program at the same time and remain as a cadre for the three years of the program (36 credit hours). Days and times for class meetings will be determined jointly by the instructor and the cadre members with day-long classes scheduled for the summer and day-long, weekend classes at least once each month during the academic year.
Leadership Demonstration Expectations
Ed.S. graduates will be expected to demonstrate the following:
- The capacity for leadership at the district level that aligns leadership at the school and program-levels to the mission, vision, and values of the district. In addition, the leaders will demonstrate capacity for building strategic plans that include goals, priorities, and implementation plans at both the system and school-program levels designed to achieve the district vision.
- The capacity for leading continuous improvement planning at the district and school-program levels using data to inform decision making, the capacity for engaging relevant stakeholders in the creation of the plans and adapting the plans to various school units and programs, and in evaluating the effectiveness of implementation including the outcomes achieved.
- The capacity to apply the knowledge and skills of organizational development and systems approaches and systems thinking to the complex operations of the district and schools that support the core work of classrooms and the core activities of teaching and learning.
- The capacity for engagement of the school-community in addressing current issues, problems, and trends in the development of policy to address the priorities determined to be of greatest impact and the capacity to apply the principles of adaptive work to the identification and problem-solving/planning for critical school-community issues.
The Education Specialist program of leadership development is designed around five major themes:
- Strategic Leadership
- Curriculum Leadership
- Organizational Leadership
- School-Community Leadership
- Policy and Political Leadership
The leader has a clear and working philosophy of education and leadership that reflects the many dimensions in which both education and leadership are connected. The leader demonstrates the ability to build visions by engaging the school-community in defining vision, mission, and core values for the system and critical priorities for the schools, programs, and district. The leader demonstrates the ability to align programs and practices to the district/school/program missions, vision, values, and priority goals. The leader demonstrates the ability to act ethically, making decisions based on data and engagement of stakeholders, and continuously works to evaluate programs and practices on their contribution to the mission, vision, values, and priorities of the programs, schools, and district. The leader
- articulates and consistently demonstrates a philosophy of education that considers sociological, cultural, and historical foundations,
- develops vision and purpose with others,
- designs/adapts and utilizes leadership processes to achieve common goals,
- values ethical action in the educational community,
- supports innovations, including technology, within the school community,
- engages in problem-solving techniques and decision making skills,
- uses data to make informed decisions,
- provides ongoing assessment of resources, programs, plans, processes, and products, and
- addresses competing priorities and values.
The leader demonstrates understanding of the practices of curriculum design, instructional planning, and assessment as they relate to continuous improvement of teaching and learning and how they each fit into a systems approach to teaching and learning. The leader demonstrates the capacity to develop professional learning communities within the schools and district and the capacity to infuse data and information into the collaborative process of developing better practices in teaching and learning. The leader demonstrates how to plan for curriculum, instruction, and assessment that honor diversity and cultural competence. The leader provides assessment of student learning in ways that promote student self-assessment, provide information needed by teachers to adjust instruction, and frame the information needed for public reporting of student learning. The leader provides for the continuous professional development of all instructional staff to continuously improve practice and to ensure the capacity to teach all students advancing equity in opportunities to learn and the equitable distribution of learning outcomes. The leader
- demonstrates the ability to engage others collaboratively to create an inclusive community of learners;
- demonstrates leadership in the design and implementation of processes for the development, revision, and renewal of district-wide planning for curriculum, instruction, and assessment utilizing research-based, best practices including the development, revision, and renewal of building-level planning;
- demonstrates an understanding of the “instructional core” of schools and the impact of the core in promoting effective teaching and learning;
- honors diversity in gender, ethnicity, culture, language, socio-economic status, language, and exceptionalities that impact learning through the organization, direction, and facilitation of planning and implementing appropriate curriculum, instruction, and assessment;
- ensures that the district has a plan and process in place to assess student learning and progress including the capacity to use data for making instructional decisions, planning, and implementation of efforts at continuous improvement, and for public reporting of critical learning outcomes for all students;
- creates a system of teacher supervision and evaluation reflecting alignment of the work of teachers to the mission, vision, and goals of the district and schools and to reflect the priority for improving the core work of teaching and learning;
- creates collaborative plans and strategies for evaluation, supervision, and development of the building principal as “leader of learning”; and
- creates collaborative plans and strategies to address the capacity building needs of a district and schools and to address the continuous professional development needs of all educators.
The leader understands the district organization as a system and demonstrates leadership at the system level that ensures, supports, and plans for leadership at the school and program levels. The leader aligns the work of the organization at all levels to be supportive of the core of the organization, i.e., the classroom and school; the core “actors” of the organization, i.e., the teachers and students; and the core work of the organization, i.e., teaching and learning. The leader provides for the alignment of district resources to support the mission, vision, and values of the organization, the district and school-level priorities, the core workers (teachers and students), and the work of the classrooms (teaching and learning). The leader
- demonstrates an understanding of the importance and values of school activities and athletics and the role they play in establishing positive, collaborative, and student-centered cultures in the school-community; demonstrates the ability to ensure that student activity programs are planned and aligned to the mission, vision, and goals of the district and the schools and that they provide opportunities for all students to participate in learning activities designed to teach participation, democratic principles, cooperation, collaboration, teamwork, respect for one another, and sportsmanship;
- provides leadership to the design, planning, implementation, and evaluation of district and school level policies and practices that provide for the safety, health, and welfare of those engaged in the work of the educational community;
- demonstrates a systems perspective, viewing schools as the operational core of the system where core work of the classroom is carried out; demonstrates understanding that schools are “open” structures interacting with external environments;
- demonstrates understanding of how to design, plan for, implement, and evaluate processes at the district and school levels for the recruitment, selection, and induction of personnel with attention to equity and diversity;
- demonstrates the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of developing a budget for the district that aligns to mission, vision, and values of the district and allocates fiscal and other resources to district/school goals and priorities; demonstrates the capacity to develop the budget as a policy document addressing key purposes to be achieved identifying the critical fiscal and non-fiscal resources to be allocated; demonstrates the capacity to create plans and processes for maximizing district investment in non-fiscal resources such as buildings and grounds, transportation systems, food service programs, and other non-instructional programs and services effectively using such enterprise budget strategies as depreciation funds, building funds, special funds, adjunct funds, and other such enterprise budgetary funding categories; demonstrates an understanding of the tools and processes for maximizing fiscal resources through establishing foundations, school-business partnerships, and grant writing; and
- demonstrates the ability to design, plan for, implement, and evaluate systems of performance appraisal for all staff; demonstrates the ability to design, plan for, implement, and evaluate systems of support for all staff at the district and school levels to support the appraisal process and to build capacity within the personnel resources of the district and schools.
The leader understands the role of the district in collaborating and developing the relationships required to provide for the educational, health, social, and other support services that may be needed by families in order for the students they enroll in the schools and to have maximum support for success in learning and in achieving the educational goals we hold for all students. The leader understands the role of the school-community in supporting the students and families of the district and schools and understands the strategies for identifying and accessing the resources needed by children, families, and the educational system. The leader understands and facilitates understanding within the school-community of the challenges of diversity, the need for culturally competent policies and practices, and the depth and breadth of the principle of equity of opportunity to learn. The leader
- demonstrates understanding of the conditions affecting learning by collaborating and developing relationships with community agencies to integrate educational supports including health, mental health, social, and other support services for families;
- demonstrates leadership for the district, schools and school-community in promoting multicultural competences, gender equity and sensitivity, socio-economic, racial, and ethnic understanding; demonstrates leadership to ensure policies and practices are competent to meet the challenges of diversity in providing all students equitable opportunities to learn and ensure the equitable distribution of learning outcomes;
- demonstrates leadership role in forming collaborative relationships and building of support for district/school personnel;
- demonstrates leadership in the development, implementation, and evaluation of communication plans that are designed to enhance two-way communication and to be competent in addressing diversity needs and challenges including language; and
- demonstrates leadership that models sensitivity, respect, and empathy for multiple perspectives.
Policy and Political Leadership:
The leader understands the intricate relationship of policy at all levels–local, state, and federal. The leader uses the principle of “right” practice supported by evidence/research to determine advocacy for various policy strategies and positions. The leader engages in the state and federal policy formulation appropriate to the role and needs of the district of their employment. The leader develops connections and collaborations with key policy and political leadership within the school-community and with those policy leaders that impact the work of the district from the state and federal levels. The leader works collaboratively with the policy and program level representatives from the regional, state, and federal agencies. The leader understands the critical difference between advocacy for a cause or on behalf of groups such as students and lobbying for a specific position or for the specific benefit/welfare of a secondary group. The leader understands and can apply the principles and prescriptions of law to provide equity of opportunity; to promote the democratic principles of public education; to promote and protect the health, safety and security of the school-community; and to protect the individual and collective rights of all members of the school-community. The leader
- leads the district and school personnel in policies and practices that reflect consistency with legal provisions and statutory requirements;
- leads the decision making of the district and schools based on the moral and ethical implications of policy options and political strategies;
- leads the district and the schools personnel in applying the legal guide lines and prescriptions of law-state and federal and statutory and case law;
- leads the development of positive, collaborative working relationships with the Board of Education;
- provides leadership to the Board in the selection and participation in activities designed to develop board member knowledge and skills of policy leadership; and
- provides leadership to the policy level engagement of the Board in the development of policy at the local level and in the influence of policy at the state and federal levels.
Categories of Graduate Students
The Education Specialist program recognizes only degree-seeking students pursuing the Education Specialist degree.
All candidates must have completed an approved MA/MS program and hold a leadership position within their institution. Endorsement as a superintendent in Nebraska is available for only those candidates who already hold a building-level principal endorsement. Candidates must show successful completion of at least six hours of graduate-level coursework in the past five years or documentation of the completion of the equivalent in continuing-education units. Candidates must complete a disclosure statement of criminal history and any history of violations of the Code of Ethics of the Professional Practices Commission.
The application process is a three-step process:
- The candidate completes the Application for Admission to Graduate Studies in Education form at www.doane.edu.
- The admission process requires submission of the following:
- a copy of the candidate’s current teaching certificate when applicable,
- a resume or vita that includes all professional teaching and administrative experiences or leadership positions,
- a written statement by the candidate of the reasons for interest in the Ed.S. degree program including professional goals for leadership and the candidate’s philosophy of education and leadership (250 - 500 words),
- an official transcript showing the candidate’s undergraduate degree mailed directly from the institution to Graduate Studies in Education, Doane University, 303 N 52nd Street, Lincoln, NE 68504,
- official transcripts of all graduate hours completed and graduate degrees received mailed directly from the graduate institutions to Graduate Studies in Education, Doane University, 303 N. 52nd Street, Lincoln, NE 68504, and
- three letters of recommendation.
- Selected candidates will participate in an interview that will include a review of a leadership demonstration portfolio. To be selected for an interview, the application and admission portfolio documents will be reviewed by graduate faculty of the College of Educatoin at Doane University. The portfolio should include, at a minimum,
- a personal philosophy of education;
- a personal philosophy of leadership; and
- evidence of leadership capacity and potential to
- engage others collaboratively,
- use of reflection for self-learning and discovery,
- demonstrate the ability to design and implement a plan of continuous school improvement or institutional improvement, and
- provide other evidence of capacity related to the program outcomes listed above.
Doane Educational Leadership graduates applying for the Education Specialist program may use their EDL portfolio.
Full Graduate Standing
Full Graduate Standing will be granted to students upon the successful completion of 9 hours of the specified coursework with a 3.00 or higher cumulative grade point average. A student receiving any grade below a B for any graduate course will have his/her file reviewed even though the student’s cumulative GPA may be 3.00 or higher.
Decisions are communicated to the student in writing as soon as practical after the student completes the first nine hours of program.
No credit hours are accepted as transfer credit for the Education Specialist degree.
In the Education Specialist Program, a student is expected to complete the degree with their cadre or within a maximum of five years of beginning graduate study at Doane University. If a student withdraws from the cadre experience, it is necessary to wait one year and resume classes with the next cadre. The Dean will determine if a student can resume participation in the program if the time away from the program extends beyond one year. If the course material is no longer relevant, the student must then retake appropriate graduate courses as part of the program of study. If a student stays out three years or more, the coursework must be repeated.