Skip to navigation menu

Skip to main content

Summer Principals Academy NYC
Teachers College, Columbia University
teachers college logo columbia univertsity logo

in New York City

Program > Administrative Internship

Administrative Internship

Participants in SPA are required to complete a 450-hour Administrative Internship during the intervening academic year. The specific details of the Administrative Internship are developed during the initial summer term through advisement with the intern’s program faculty, internship coach, and cooperating administrator and are documented in an official Internship Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). 

Prior to the start of the program, students have pre-advising sessions explaining the purpose of the Administrative Internship. At the conclusion of the first five weeks of the program, each student submits an initial draft Memorandum of Agreement detailing the structure of the internship, outlining how he/she proposes to complete the field work and related internship requirements (as outlined in the course description) over the intervening school year. This memorandum is revised after consultation with the internship coach, cooperating administrator and Teachers College Internship Faculty. The final version of the MOA is signed and dated by the intern, internship coach, and cooperating administrator for commencing the internship in August.  

The completed Memorandum of Agreement describes the internship project deliverables that are to be completed during the Administrative Internship.  The intern carefully details how each project deliverable enables him/her to demonstrate competence with the various ELCC Standards that align with the project.  In addition to the Memorandum of Agreement, students provide documentation of their internship experiences with appropriate endorsements from their Internship Coaches and Teachers College program faculty. 

Components of Internship

1. Data Driven Audit

Instructional leaders must possess the knowledge and understanding of how to activate and manage the school’s human, fiscal, and material resources.  Candidates will conduct a Data Driven Audit in order to gain critical insight into the factors that contribute to a successful school.  The Data Driven Audit facilitates an inquiry process, encouraging candidates to develop specific recommendations, rooted in the ELCC Standards, which promote positive growth within the school community.

2. Memorandum of Agreement

The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) is a living document that provides the vision for the Administrative Internship. In the MOA, the intern, cooperating administrator, and coach outline the content and timeline for the major Internship deliverables. The MOA ensures that the internship projects are aligned with the SPA Curriculum, ELCC Standards and appropriate hours are allocated to each project. A final copy of the MOA must be signed and dated by the intern, cooperating administrator, and internship coach and submitted to the Internship Instructors. Additionally, a copy of the MOA must be uploaded to the intern’s Google portfolio.

3. Principal Shadowing Project

The Principal Shadowing Project enables interns to experience various leadership styles that exist within a school setting.  The project provides an environmental context for understanding the challenges and opportunities that a principal is likely to face as a leader.  Engaging in the observation of three school building leaders helps interns develop a sense of their own leadership style and the kind of school environment most likely to fit well with their approaches to leadership. 

Each intern is responsible for shadowing three different building principals during the fall semester. Interns will begin by shadowing their school building leader, if feasible. In consultation with their coaches, interns will select two additional principals to shadow for the assignment. During the shadowing, interns record their observations, which will later enable them to develop an overall analysis of all three principals’ decision-making processes and leadership styles.

4. Teacher Evaluation Project

The Teacher Evaluation Project provides interns with an opportunity to practice the supervision of instruction with a specific emphasis on developing and applying classroom observation skills.  This project enables interns to provide constructive feedback to teachers about student learning, teaching, and learner-centered classrooms.

Drawing from their experiences in ORLA 5018: School Leadership & Adult Development and ORLA 5029: Instruction of Supervision, interns conduct three clinical observation cycles on a single tenured teacher.  The Teacher Evaluation Project is designed to support interns’ acquisition of the skills needed to provide meaningful recommendations and commendations that will promotes student achievement.

5. Curriculum Case Study

Based on information and experiences provided through ORLA 5532 Teaching, Learning and Assessment, candidates are required to conduct a curriculum audit at the chosen site which includes a detailed description of case study site, thorough analysis of written and taught curricula and student learning assessment, evidence-based diagnosis of the curriculum situation, and a focus question/dilemma based on the conducted audit. After discussions and feedback received from the instructor and classmates, candidates prepare a proposed action plan identifying the steps needed to address the issues noted including professional development opportunities for instructional personnel, expected outcomes, and ways to evaluate the plan’s effectiveness and ensure compliance. Engaging in this practice enables interns to develop the capacity for instructional leadership, while simultaneously fortifying observation, research, analysis, synthesis, and presentation skills.

6. Resource Allocation Project

Strategically allocating resources is a skill that enables school leaders to make decisions that support student achievement.  Using three years of successive data to analyze the budget of an existing school is an effective way for candidates to uncover the various ways that the budget impacts the operation of schools.  Additionally, utilizing information related to fiscal policies from the local, state, and national level enables candidates to become effective and ethical budget planners.  

The Resource Allocation Project prepares candidates to develop the skills needed to exercise control of the budgeting processes as they step into leadership positions.  After conducting an audit of the top ten line items in the school budget for three successive years, candidates are expected to determine the percentages for each line item and evaluate the shift in the share of each item.  Based on their calculations, derived from three successive years of data, candidates make an allocation projection for the next fiscal year, including a five percent budget cut, and recommend strategies for improving resource allocations in order to leverage student achievement.

7. Leadership Initiative Project

Principals play a vital role in establishing the practices of successful schools.  Therefore, it is critical for candidates to understand and develop the essential elements of good leadership.  School leaders need to be educational visionaries and possess an intimate understanding of the relationship between instruction, curriculum and assessment.  Furthermore, school leaders are expected to align the school’s mission with discipline, organization and allocation of resources, and legal nuances associated with schools and policy mandates.  While facilitating and managing the aforementioned elements, school leaders also must be sensitive to students’ needs and possess the ability to communicate effectively with all stakeholders.  The Leadership Initiative Project takes into account the multiple components of educational leadership, and asks candidates to design and implement an initiative that calls upon them to exercise the skills possessed by outstanding school leaders. 

Candidates will examine various aspects of schools that influence teaching and learning.  The role of a successful school leader is to consistently assess practices and their impact on student achievement.  Additionally, school leaders are charged with working collaboratively with all stakeholders to facilitate support for various initiatives that are aimed at increasing student achievement.  The Leadership Initiative Project will provide opportunities for interns to create a dynamic school culture, modify current organizational practices, and build capacity through collaborative processes. 

8. Final Reflection

At the conclusion of the Administrative Internship, interns are expected to submit a 20-25 page reflection paper that details their experiences. This analytic paper requires interns to stand back from the internship experience, and think about the various ways that leadership impacts a school community. In order to extract the greatest meaning from this assignment, it is critical that interns reflect upon their progress, challenges, approaches to leadership, decision-making models, adult learning theory, and negotiating skills used in the exercise of leadership.

9. Time Logs

SPA requires regular progress reports, which must be submitted in the form of time logs.  The time logs are the official record of the required 450 Administrative Internship hours, and must detail the intern’s progress on identified deliverables and leadership activities.