Field Experience and Practicum
master of education (m.ed.) or c.a.e.s.
Programs that lead to state licensure (Superintendent/Assistant Superintendent, Principal/Assistant Principal, Supervisor/Director, and Director of Special Education) require two field experiences. These experiences have two goals: to assist students in reflecting on the interplay between theory and practice and to expose students to the broad range of settings in which educational administration takes place.
Students are encouraged to take the first Practicum Experience in the fall at the same time that they take the course in the area of their administrative license (ED 617 The Principalship, ED 656 Administration of Local School Systems, or an independent study in Special Education).
Students work to complete these requirements in the Practicum by observing successful administrators in the field and talking with them about their work.
Activities may include
* interviews of practicing building level and central office administrators
* attendance at school committee or school site council meetings
* attendance at board of trustees meetings for private elementary or secondary schools
* participation in local school accreditation activities
* work with community-based organizations
* work on school issues, faculty meetings, or parent meetings or conferences
Other experiences in the field are also appropriate depending upon the student's own educational and professional background and the specific license being sought. Each student will participate in a minimum of two Leadership projects, as defined by the administrator and the student, during the Practicum.
Each student must maintain a reflective journal that records the hours, dates, locations, and types of fieldwork activities. For each activity, students are expected to create a statement of reflection on the activity. How did the experience affect the student's understanding of effective leadership? Also, students are expected to place the reflective statement and/or any work product or other evidence of that activity into their portfolios.
At the conclusion of each semester, the student should present the portfolio to the supervisor who will then assign the appropriate grade for the course. The portfolio will also be submitted and reviewed as part of the student's oral comprehensive examination.
The second field experience consists of two courses taken simultaneously during the spring semester. Students register for a second three-credit course for their practicum according to the license they seek: ED 620 Practicum in Supervision; ED 622 Practicum in School Principalship; ED 623 Clinical Experience in School Superintendency; ED 652 Practicum in Special Education Administration.
At the same time, students must take ED 626, a three-credit course entitled Seminar in Educational Administration. Students must have the approval of their faculty advisor and the faculty program coordinator in Educational Administration prior to beginning a practicum.
In ED 620, 622, 623, or 652, students work intensively under the direction of a full-time school administrator. A member of the Lynch School faculty, the University Supervisor, visits the student on site a minimum of three times during the field experience.
Students are expected to complete weekly field-based assignments for the ED 626 seminar and an in-depth field-based leadership project to be determined jointly with the cooperating practitioner and the University Supervisor.
Each student will create a portfolio of materials documenting the practicum experience that will demonstrate a mastery of the standards defined by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The portfolio will be reviewed and a grade submitted by the University Supervisor. This experience will be reviewed as part of the student's oral comprehensive examination, where at least one question will require students to integrate and reflect on their fieldwork experiences and to link theory to practice as it was observed during the field experience.
In ED 626, students meet each week to learn about a current best practice in administration. They then complete a field-based assignment about that practice and share their findings with class members. In this way, each student learns not only from his or her experience, but also from the experiences of colleagues in other settings.