The University of Indianapolis School of Education’s iLEAD program recently received national recognition through its specialized professional accrediting body, the ELCC (Educational Leadership Constituent Council).
iLEAD is a School of Education graduate program offering a Master’s of Arts in Educational Leadership, leading to a principal’s license. The goal is to prepare transformative instructional leaders with 21st century skills.
The national recognition is significant for graduates like Barton Lewis, who is now principal at Sunny Heights Elementary School in Warren Township.
“National accreditation means that the degree I received is a validation of the effort and hard work put into the program. The true value of the iLEAD program is evident in the good work that graduates have done. National accreditation supports the strength and legitimacy of the program,” Lewis said.
“Achieving national recognition is a ‘seal of approval’ that our principal preparation program is excellent in content and pedagogy. In some states, Departments of Education participate in program review. However, that is not occurring in the State of Indiana at the present time,” said Lynn Wheeler, assistant professor of teacher education.
In order to receive the ELCC recognition, UIndy’s iLEAD program went through an extensive quality assurance process that was managed by external peer reviewers. The program was assessed for content and performance along with student grade data. Student scores on the state licensing exam average nearly 100 percent.
The national recognition adds value to an already robust program. Future school leaders participating in iLEAD are taught by current superintendents and principals “who bring authentic, state-of-the-art experiences to their classes. Our two full-time professors are former school leaders,” Wheeler said.
“The iLEAD program provided a great foundation for my development as a leader. The program did a great job of bringing in teachers with real experience and knowledge to teach beyond the curriculum,” Lewis said.
Principals, assistant principals and district leaders provide mentoring to iLEAD students during leadership projects in their schools or districts. External reviewers who are already working as school leaders review those projects at the end of each semester.
Students participate in both face-to-face and online sessions, an aspect of the program that has proven popular.
“The hybrid instructional delivery system has been very positively regarded by our students and their mentors,” Wheeler said.
“The iLEAD program keeps graduates involved by bringing them back to share their experiences and knowledge with the next wave of future administrators. I enjoy returning to the University of Indianapolis to evaluate cohort projects and taking part in panel discussions. Through these experiences, I have developed quite a network of educational professionals that continues to influence my work as a school leader,” said Lewis.