The mission of the CAGS Graduate Program in Teacher Leadership is to provide accomplished career teachers with the professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions for leadership in the classroom, the school, and the community. This is not a licensure program (although the Commonwealth of Massachusetts offers the supervisor/director license to interested applicants).
Teacher leadership answers pressing concerns for a career ladder for professional teachers. Massachusetts currently offers professional licensure, which must be attained within the first five years of teaching. Beyond this, teachers must renew their certification every five years, but there are no further stages for development.
Teacher leadership is exercised on four levels.
- Teacher leaders are exemplary teachers in their own classroom. They practice action research in combination with quantitative data analysis to improve teaching and learning. Some exemplary teachers may decide to also pursue certification with the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.
- Teacher leaders serve in leadership roles outside the classroom through modeling, mentoring, and coaching. They may lead school data teams or professional learning communities, spearhead parental engagement, or collaborate with community partners. The practice of teacher leadership underscores a democratic approach to education that honors professional expertise and promises shared decision making.
- Teacher leaders are a vital component of whole-school change. In concert with the principal, parents, and other stakeholders, they are important contributors to a culture of achievement. For example, they can lead professional development activities or serve on school site councils. Today, the traditional model of heroic one-person school leadership is being replaced with models of distributed leadership, and teacher leaders are emerging as an important component in school reform, especially in turnaround school policy.
- Finally, some teacher leaders may choose to serve at the district, state, or federal level on policy advising groups or in advocacy work.
This 36-credit graduate program in teacher leadership gives teachers an opportunity to further develop leadership skills and pursue special topics relevant to their career, all in the company of like-minded professionals. The program will require two years to complete, with two courses each summer, fall, and spring. Fall and spring classes are provided on weekdays in the late afternoon or early evening. This schedule allows working professionals to remain in the classroom.
The 12 courses for the CAGS come in sets:
Leadership Set (All four courses required)
Data Set (Choose two courses.)
Practicum and Capstone Porfolio (2 courses)
Students will implement a collaborative action research project, which will be designed in the research courses and implemented in practicum, plus assemble a capstone portfolio. The capstone will include a final report on the action research project, significant papers and projects, and a statement of personal vision for the implementation of teacher leadership in the candidate’s current school.
Content Knowledge (Choose 1.)
Students can choose among courses in math literacy and science literacy offered through COSMIC, graduate courses in social studies/history, graduate courses in English and literature, or other subjects of their choice.
SPED/ELL Advanced Courses (Choose 1)
Electives (Choose 2.)
Beginning in the second semester, students will work with a faculty advisor to select elective courses that will challenge them to enlarge their skill set, while also deepening their areas of strength. To broaden knowledge and skills and to deepen areas of expertise, students can select two courses from broad areas such as instruction, technology, or content knowledge.
This coursework is aligned with the 12-credit teacher leadership certificate program of the Boston Teacher Leadership Resource Center. Students in the BTLRC program may earn graduate credit for each course and use the credits toward the CAGS in Teacher Leadership.
The CAGS Program in Teacher Leadership will recommend admission for those applicants who present evidence of their ability to do graduate work with distinction. Such evidence will normally include the following:
- A master’s degree in a field relevant to education, such as teaching or counseling and school psychology
- A cumulative graduate grade point average of at least 2.75, as evidenced by an official transcript
- Three letters of recommendation from people familiar with the applicant’s leadership ability and/or potential
- Documentation of two or more years of full-time employment as a teacher in a K-12 setting
- Optional submission of scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT)
- An interview with the graduate program director and admissions committee (for applicants who reach the final stages of the selection process)