The internship is possibly the most important aspect of the preparation of school administrators. An increasing body of research shows that it is during the internship that the prospective leaders develop the model of the type of administrator he or she will become. It is through the internship that the intern has the unique opportunity to develop key skills needed for leadership.
The prospective administrator works with one or more site supervisor/mentor(s) to practice the skills, knowledge and attitudes developed through the classroom portion of the leadership preparation program. In addition, the intern is exposed to practical aspects of administration, which cannot be taught in a theoretical setting.
The internship represents a cooperative effort between local school districts and the college.
The internship is a field experience with a practicing administrator that must be the equivalent to a minimum of 15 weeks (600 clock hours) full-time active participation in leadership skills worth six college credits. The site supervisor/mentor plays a key role in the practice of skills by providing a model, selecting and structuring the experience from which the intern can benefit, and allowing the intern to build competence in a “safe” apprenticeship environment.
One purpose of the internship is to provide the candidate with the opportunity to gain experience in applying theories, procedures and skills learned in the classroom to real situations. An equally important second purpose, however, is to provide the candidate with an opportunity to place these in the context of the school, and to add the information and develop the skills which are not included in formal college classroom instruction.
Another purpose of the internship is to be a final screening device for certification. In order to be eligible for a school building leader, school district leader or school district business leader certificate, the candidate must receive a passing grade for the internship.