Ritchie Program for School Leaders
Is educational leadership in your future? The Ritchie Program for School Leaders responds to the changing expectations of the role of the school principal and to the learning needs of the candidates aspiring to that role. In light of the increasing pressure for instructional improvement and to increase rates of achievement of students with diverse backgrounds and needs, the Ritchie Program provides a framework for immersing students in reflective, experiential, project-based learning that will prepare them to meet the challenges within complex systems.
The Morgridge College of Education's Ritchie Program, in partnership with Denver and Adams 12 Five Star Public Schools, has been established to design an alternative for principal certification for selected students. This cohort-based program makes a departure from other certification programs that require a given number of credit hours of traditional coursework by offering a unique, highly experiential curriculum. Students who successfully complete the Ritchie Program will receive academic credit from the University of Denver and a recommendation for the Initial Colorado Principal License.
The vision of the Ritchie Program for School Leaders is to develop relentless, courageous, and effective instructional leaders who are knowledgeable, highly skilled and committed to building learning communities designed to accelerate the achievement and success of each and every student. The program will 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 in urban settings. A specific set of value statements form a framework for the program and shape the curriculum and internship experiences of students, and the program's methods reflect a set of basic principles of learning theory actualized through action research-based projects and seminars connected to the real work in a school.
A unique feature of the Ritchie Program for School Leaders is the internship component.
The experiential project-based design of the curriculum is possible because all Ritchie
Fellows work with a mentor principal in a school. While the Ritchie Program establishes
certain expectations for the scope and components of these projects, the Ritchie Fellow
and the principal of the school collaborate to design the projects to meet the needs
of the school as well. These projects become the basis of assessing the student's
readiness for principal licensure. Thus the relationship between the Ritchie Fellow
and the school's principal is a key determinant of the program's success. Principals
who host Ritchie Fellows will be recognized and supported in the work they do to prepare
future principal candidates.
The program will starts with a multi-day institute before the academic school year begins. During the institute, fellows have the opportunity to participate in an intensive set of learning experiences that will build a community of learners, ground them in the program's theoretical framework, and develop their instructional leadership skills with a focus on building organizational capacity for increasing student achievement for all students. Detailed information about the institute will be given to candidates at the time of their selection into the program.
The Ritchie Program requires completion of 32 quarter credit hours and is designed so that fellows will complete all program requirements in one calendar year. School-based, non-classroom teaching positions provide Ritchie Fellows with the optimal learning experience, but central administration and teachers are eligible as long as they are given release time to attend class one day each week and to complete the school-based leadership projects the program requires. Individuals who are not already Denver Public School or Adams 12 employees are encourage to apply simultaneously for an open non-classroom teaching position and the Ritchie Program.
To be selected for the Ritchie Program, potential candidates must be nominated by three (3) school district administrators. At least one nomination must be from an administrator in the district who is the applicant's direct supervisor and can attest to the applicant's potential for school leadership. Candidates can self-initiate the selection process by completing application materials and then requesting nominations from individuals meeting the above criteria.