School Principal K-12 Certification

Educators who wish to explore the possibilities of school building leadership will find PSU’s School Principal K-12 Certification programs rich in opportunities for collaboration, research, and practical experience. From curriculum development and assessment to school law, school budgets, and community partnerships, students will master the knowledge, skills, and understandings they need to successfully practice effective leadership in their learning organizations.

Admissions Note: Students must have at least five years of K-12 teaching experience to complete this concentration.

Graduates of this program are eligible for certification as a school principal in New Hampshire. Reciprocity through interstate compacts extends this certification to many additional states. Requirements for certification may change, subject to changes made by the New Hampshire Department of Education (NHDOE). Teacher candidates can find the latest NHDOE standards at

Certification-only Option: Students would take 30 credits with only ED 5060 and SE 5770 of the Master’s Core Component.

Use the Course Planning Matrix to see when Educational Leadership courses will be offered.

Curriculum Requirements

  • Master’s Core Component – 15 credits
  • 3
    This course is designed for students in the Educational Leadership and Counseling programs. Students will gain knowledge of statistical concepts, including reliability and validity, scales of measurement, measures of central tendency, indices of variability, shapes and types of distributions, and correlations. Each student will develop a complete proposal for a program in their profession, including a needs assessment, data collection design, review of related literature, and plans for implementation and evaluation.
  • 3
    Recognizing that social behavior occurs within an intercultural context, that include ethical components, students will develop the basic knowledge and foundations necessary to understand and influence social behavior in a diverse society. Texts, readings, and learning modules have been chosen and/or designed to facilitate the student?s ability to understand the nature of social behavior cross culturally.
  • – OR –
  • 3
  • 3
    A study of the historical, philosophical, and social-philosophic foundations of education. Emphasis is placed upon the ideas of the classical, medieval, Enlightenment, and post-Enlightenment periods that have influenced types of American educational systems relative to their mission and purpose. Analysis of how these systems have defined ethics and the characteristics of the virtuous person.
  • 3
    An overview of current theories concerning the brain, development, and learning. Analysis of developmental concepts from birth through adolescence and adulthood. Discussion of language acquisition, thinking and learning styles, multiple intelligence, and creativity. Topics include teaching, learning, and assessment issues related to cultural diversity, technology, and learning differences.
  • 3
    This course is designed to provide teachers with increased understanding of the needs of children who display maladaptive behaviors associated with conduct disorders in school settings. Students will investigate specific causes, diagnosis, assessment methods, interventions, etiology, co-morbidity, subtypes, pharmacotherapy, the role of the classroom teacher, and possible resources.
  • Principal Certification Component – 18 credits
  • 3
    Students in the educational leadership program are strongly encouraged to take this course first in the educational leadership course sequence. Roles and functions of administrators in elementary and secondary schools will be addressed. A variety of theories will be analyzed and applied in the context of the dynamic milieu, personal and group biases, and the multivariate issues facing organizational life in schools.
  • 3
    Major functions concerning the supervision of staff in a school setting including the selection, orientation, and development of staff members will be covered. Theories and techniques for promoting a positive school climate will be explored and applied. Alternative approaches to assessing and enhancing a staff's instructional competence will be examined. Prerequisites: AD 5010 or EP 7020, and AD 5830 or EP 7040.
  • 3
    The development of school budgets that support the planning processes within a school setting will be covered. Other relevant topics will include cost effectiveness, revenue sources, communication with the public, capital projects, state and federal programs, using the budget to promote excellence in the schools, and principles and practices in collective bargaining.
  • 3
    Leading the participatory process for developing curricula in schools will be addressed. The relationship of philosophy, a school's identity, and mission to curricula is emphasized. Included are strategies for developing, assessing, and revising curricula as well as a review of recent research and trends. The course is intended for experienced educators who currently fill or aspire to the roles of school principal, team leader, or department chair.
  • 3
    AD 5700 School Law
    Federal and state laws that apply to school systems, educational programs, and personnel will be discussed. Also covered will be the legal prerogatives available to the administrator and local boards of education. Consideration of constitutional, statutory, and case-law foundations of education systems, and the school administrator's role will be discussed.
  • 3
    An overview of sound planning and evaluation models as applied to specific educational problems. Discussion will include collaborative strategies to implement effective change within the school setting. Pre-requisite: AD 5010.

*Prerequisite for other Principal Certification Component

  • Capstone Experience – 6 credits
  • 6
    The purpose of the practicum is to provide students with meaningful field-based experiences that focus on the role of a school administrator. This is a collaborative, 300-hour supervised experience intended to support students in applying the knowledge, skills, and understandings they have gained throughout their principal certification program. Supervision of the practicum is the responsibility of two individuals: the university instructor, a Plymouth State University faculty member; and the site supervisor (or mentor), a school administrator currently holding principal certification. Attendance at three seminar sessions is required during the practicum. The seminars, combined with the field experience, focus on current issues in the students' practicum sites and specifically on issues of the principalship. Pre-requisites: admission to the Principal certification program and AD 5010 or EP 7020, AD 5020, AD 5700 or EP 7060, AD 5300, AD 5330 or EP 7210, AD 5830 or EP 7040.
  • Total for MEd in Educational Leadership, K–12 School Principal Certification Concentration – 39 credits

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