Each course is organized to facilitate easy navigation and a clear outline of required tasks and their deadlines. Each week’s work is organized within a module and each module includes to do’s and lecture, discussion topics, and a written assignment. Each course includes a major project, final exam, and practicum. Detailed information of what you can expect from courses in the online Superintendent Certification plan can be found below.

Each course is organized to facilitate easy navigation and a clear outline of required tasks and their deadlines. Each week’s work is organized within a module and each module includes: 

  • To Do’s and Lecture – consisting of the week’s task list, lecture notes and any additional sources or readings required for the week’s work. The readings focus on practical material such as recent news or professional articles highlighting an issue being considered in the course, best practices documents from organizations like the Texas Association of School Boards including legal briefs, and other professional guides and plans. 
  • Discussion Topics – are tied into the week’s content. Candidates must post a comprehensive response to the discussion prompt that shows a strong command of the material with specificity, synthesizing assigned content and clearly connecting to professional practice. Additionally, the candidate must post two responses to the postings of other individuals where responses are consistently meaningful in that they raise questions, motivate further discussion, and/or offer creative or alternative approaches to the matter at hand. Discussion responses are further evaluated for their writing quality, professionalism and etiquette. 
  • Written assignment – this may be in the form of a test or a specific written task. The purpose behind these tests is to give candidates the opportunity to reflect on some of the key content components of the course and to ensure a practical knowledge base from which to draw on as a practicing Superintendent/CEO. Tests take place in the 3rd and 5th weeks of each course. The assignments aim to provide opportunities for candidates to explore practical issues in greater depth. 

Each course includes a major project that involves research, planning, and the practical development of a solution for a proposed problem at hand. 

The Final Exam for each course is largely scenario based so that the candidate may apply what they have learned directly to potential problems of practice. There is also often a reflection item based on the course as a whole. 

Each course in this program empowers students to build relationships with district leaders through a 40-hour practicum component that includes a 35-minute video submission serving as demonstrated evidence of the candidate engaging in district level leadership. Candidates will complete a pre-conference reflection in the 5th week of each course. Pre and post conferences are conducted for each candidate via 30-45-minute synchronous Teams meetings in the 6th week of each course. 

This opportunity allows students to work closely with a mentor over a longer period of time and experience a broader set of cyclical, constant, planned, and unplanned responsibilities. This valuable experience enables our students to reflect and analyze their preparation and performance as they work to transition into a district-level administration role. 

All candidates attend a synchronous 1 1/2-hour Teams seminar on a topic or issue germane to the course at hand in the 6th week. This requires significant preparatory work and will consist of a range of activities including: 

  • individual presentations 
  • a panel discussion concerning the major project for the course 
  • a small group role playing activity based on a problem of practice 
  • a debrief that will result in a written reflection completed at a later time 
  • an online budgetary simulation 

There are two discussions per week in each course. The first discussion focuses on a practical application of one or some of the introductory concepts for the course. The second discussion offers candidates an opportunity to help drive the direction of the course discussions by providing input concerning problems of practice. A breakdown of at least eight additional topics that could be part of the remaining discussions is listed for class consideration. Candidates are encouraged to identify which topics they prefer and why. In addition, candidates will also offer alternative topics with justification. At the end of the week, the instructor takes into account the discussion responses and fashions the remaining discussions accordingly. 

An example of the impact of student input on our discussions in the UTPB Superintendent Certification Preparation Program and the way we address problems of practice in our program can be seen in the 2022 offering of EDLD 6473 – The Superintendency and the School Board. 

The tragic incident at Uvalde took place during this course and candidates wanted an opportunity to discuss both their experiences of the impact and how that applied to challenges for district level leadership across Texas and the nation. Below is the discussion prompt for this issue: 

This week’s school shooting in Texas has had a strong impact across schools far beyond Texas, with school boards and their superintendents looking for ways to improve safety and security for everyone who is part of a school community. In this week’s discussion, please answer the following questions: 

  • What actions have been taken at the board level in your district as a result of the recent school shooting? 
  • How do you believe crisis level issues with trauma test the board and superintendent relationship? What are the major challenges? 
  • What are potential major sources of conflict between the board and the superintendent as they deal with this matter? (For example, the decision by some to close schools with a few official days remaining.) 
  • What pressures from a concerned public in their community will the board have to deal with? 
  • What are the potential pitfalls that can affect the board-superintendent relationship arising from responses to media questions?