Principal Preparation Programs at the University of Denver
Principal Certificate Programs
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies offers two models for principal preparation. Both models lead to principal licensure, are approved by the Colorado Department of Education and are designed to be completed in one year. Each of the principal preparation programs can either be completed as a certificate or combined with additional coursework for a master's degree. Both models focus not only on developing the skills and abilities necessary for success as a school leader, but also on developing a strong commitment to core values essential for ethical and responsible leadership. We currently offer the following principal preparation options.
Executive Leadership for Successful Schools (ELSS)
ELSS is a 30 credit blended online and in-person cohort model to which individual students may apply. ELSS workshops are held on the DU campus in Denver. ELSS can also be formatted to serve a specific district cohort. Additionally, ELSS currently has a district partnership with Aurora Public School (APS) school district to which only APS employees may apply and the workshops are held on the APS campus. Learning is fostered through a combination of interactive online study, ten in-person weekend workshops; project based learning and highly integrated field experiences. This cohort model is collaboratively taught by faculty who include experienced school administrators. The program is organized in four academic quarters. A cluster of courses are integrated into themed 'modules' with one inquiry project each quarter (detailed below). There are ten workshops over the course of the program. Workshops include cohort building activities, program content overview, support for using online resources and facilitated activities related to that quarter's course Module. Workshop Days will include cohort work with the information and experiences that students gather as part of the project-based internship experiences and sharing of projects and portfolios. Students can expect to work about 20 hours each week in a typical quarter. Each course will incorporate in-person Workshop Days, Inquiry Projects, self-assessments, various online learning activities including discussion boards and a reflection journal, and readings, to guide instruction and learning. Discussion links and open office hours are available for group discussions where students can ask and answer questions about assignments and other needs.
Ritchie Program for School Leaders
The Ritchie program is a 32 credit in-person, district partnership model. The district and university collaborate to prepare educational leaders specifically for the needs of the partner district. Currently, this program is offered exclusively for employees of Denver Public Schools (DPS) and Adams County school districts (anchored in Adams 12 Five Star). The partnership model provides the same rigorous, experiential and project-based learning opportunities used in the ELSS model. Administrators from the partner districts co-teach and participate with the development of learning activities and experiences. Each program participant works with a district principal and program faculty to tailor the four inquiry projects (detailed below) to address personal leadership needs and the school's improvement priorities. Program participants attend weekly classes to share issues, discuss their work in district schools, and learn skills and knowledge about effective school leadership. Classes are held at sites within partner districts. The Ritchie Program begins in the summer quarter with an intensive retreat and continues over the course of four quarters with weekly meeting dates. Students can expect to work about 20 hours each week in a typical quarter.
Principal preparation students who are interested in completing an advanced degree may apply up to 30 credits from any of the certificate programs to the Educational Leadership masters program, or, with advisor approval, up to 10 credits to the PhD. Formal application processes are required for both degrees.
To speak to someone about these programs, please call or email our Admissions Office at 303-871-2509 or 1-800-835-1607, email@example.com.