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OnCUE Archive - 2002, April

The Principal Training Program

by Rowland Baker

Overbooked, overwhelmed? With all they
have to juggle, administrators are also facing comprehensive
training requirements in new legislation.

AB75. What will it mean to you as a site
administrator? Will this training be a part of tier II credential
requirements, or is it a new tier III? Is the training mandatory?
Does it contain technology components? Will it help you be more
effective in your job?

One thing we do know: AB75 establishes the most
extensive training program ever developed for school principals.

Here is some history of the legislation,
including major components of the bill and its implementation plan.

Summary of Legislation

AB75 was crafted by Assemblyman Steinberg and
established the Principal Training Program. The governor signed this
legislation, based on successful training models, into law on
October 10, 2001. According to the bill, funds appropriated from
this legislation will be awarded by the Superintendent of Public
Instruction to each Local Education Agency (LEA), which are defined
as a school district, county office of education or charter school,
to provide school site administrators with instruction and training.
The program will include 80 hours of initial training in six defined
areas, plus 80 hours of intensive individualized professional
development, coaching and support.

The intent of the legislation is to train all
school site administrators over the next three years. The LEA, alone
or in partnership, must develop a proposal on how they intend to
train and support their administrators. This proposal must also
include an expenditure plan identifying which state-approved service
provider they will be using. All proposals will need to be approved
by the State Board of Education.


The bill will allow for each LEA to receive up
to $3,000 per school site administrator once a training plan has
been approved. The participating district shall provide $1,000 in
matching funds used for costs associated with training. Any
combination of local, federal, or private resources or contributions
may be used for the LEA's match.

Because this program has a strong instructional
technology component, California has received funding to support
AB75 from the Gates Foundation. It is expected that the $1,000 match
will come from this funding, helping districts facing budget cuts.
The County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA)
will be the fiscal agent for the foundation grant.


Training, according to the legislation, must
include the following areas: 1.) School financial and personnel
management. 2.) Core academic standards. 3.) Curriculum frameworks
and instructional materials aligned to the state academic standards.
4.) The use of pupil-assessment instruments, specific ways of
mastering the use of assessment data from the Standardized Testing
and Reporting Program, and school management technology to improve
pupil performance. 5.) The provision of instructional leadership and
management strategies regarding the use of instructional technology
to improve pupil performance. 6.) Extension of the knowledge,
skills, and abilities acquired in the preliminary administrative
preparation program that is designed to strengthen the ability of
administrators to serve all pupils in the school to which they are

The actual content for the above areas will be
developed by organizations that apply to the state board of
Education to become Approved Service Providers that may be
professional organizations, private and public universities, county
offices of education, and even school districts. A local education
agency may choose training from any state board approved Service
Provider to address specific needs they wish to see included in
their training.


There will be an application process requiring
proof and assurances that an organization can meet the criteria to
become an Approved Service Provider. The requirements will cover the
six areas and coordinate with other legislation. The State Board of
Education felt there needed to be a strong link between AB75 and
AB466, the bill that provides for training on the new adoption of
instructional materials. At the time of publication, criteria for
service providers were in draft form.

The proposed draft will collapse the six areas
covered in the bill into three training modules:

Module 1: Core academic standards, curriculum
frameworks and instructional materials aligned to the state academic
standards, and the use of pupil assessment instruments

Module 2: School financial and personnel

Module 3: Instructional Technology

These modules will vary in length and content,
based upon the unique needs of the individual districts and
principals being trained.

Finding Time

An area of major concern to most site
administrators is the amount of time involved with the training. The
160-hour program will likely be broken down to 80 hours of
professional-development class time with another 80 hours of
intensive individualized support and professional development,
follow-up or coaching. The 160 hours of training must be completed
within a two-year period. It appears the Principal Training Program
will not fulfill all current tier II requirements, as required by
the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, but that many
colleges will be open to working with service providers to allow for
credit towards tier II fulfillment.

How all of this will fit into an already full
schedule for most site administrators is a question many are asking.

"On one level, I?m excited about the new
opportunities for training that AB75 has the potential to bring to
administrators," says Virginia Glen, grant coordinator for South
Lake Tahoe School District, and former site principal. "On the
other hand, I know how overwhelmed most administrators are and fear
that any requirement well-intentioned that it might be - that
they take the 80 hours of training will push them right over the
edge. I hope the service providers make the training very
time-effective, as well as holding true to the curriculum

Chris York, director of technology for the Del
Norte County Office of Education has concerns about how the training
may be implemented in some rural areas.

Clearly, there has been a need to increase or
update the skills of administrators in our state for some time.
Having the fiscal resources being made available to begin addressing
this area is an important first step,? he says. ?[However] the
amount of time required from an administrator is tremendous. If
administrators are trained during the school year, there will be an
impact on the ability of the administrator to perform his/her
primary job.

Another concern is the legislation doesn't
recognize that the cost of the training may vary considerably by the
location of the training. This may make the training effectively
unavailable to many remote locations,? says York.

Is AB75 mandatory? It depends. If your school is
participating in the High Priority Schools Grant Program (AB961) and
you are receiving a planning or implementation grant, participation
is mandatory.

AB75 paves the way for powerful administrative
training. We know that the governor and the State Board of Education
are very supportive of the Principal Training Program and feel it
has great potential. The program can tie together many of the
leadership components needed to assist in the complexity of running
our schools.

Rowland Baker was site level principal and
currently directs a statewide program for training administrators in
technology leadership <www.portical.org>.
Baker served on the advisory committee for AB75. He can be reached
at 831/479-5391.