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University of Iowa News Release

March 15, 2004

Mentoring Program To Pair Experienced, New School Administrators

These days, a principal has to be many things to many people: a leader to her students, a manager and motivator to her teachers and staff, a sounding board for parents and -- in this age of greater school accountability -- a liaison to the state and federal governments.

But college courses only go so far toward preparing new school administrators for these sometimes daunting tasks. That's why the University of Iowa College of Educational Administration Program has designed a new program to train
experienced school administrators as mentors to up-and-coming school leaders.

The first class of 27 mentors, all principals or district administrators nominated by their peers as outstanding educational leaders, will be trained over four two-hour sessions beginning at the end of March.

After completing the four sessions, the mentors will be paired with one to four students working on their master of arts degree in educational administration at the UI. The mentors will help design model clinical experiences in the areas of elementary, secondary and special education, and will oversee the progress of the students assigned them throughout internships, completion of degree work and their application for state licensure.

The mentor program, a cooperative effort involving the UI College of Education and education agencies and local school districts throughout Iowa, corresponds to new requirements for preK-12 licensure experiences recently adopted by the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners under the Iowa Standards for School Leaders. In the College of Education, the program leaders are Professor Larry Bartlett, Associate Professor Carolyn Wanat and Clinical Associate Professors Susan Lagos and Marcus Haack.

"We know a truly meaningful clinical experience would require an aspiring administrator to spend quality time with teams of mentoring administrators," said Lagos. "We believe our innovative, comprehensive program will provide for this. The clinical experience, as designed and outlined, will provide both a rich, culminating component of a candidate's educational program and a beginning experience in meeting the challenge of a new position in educational leadership."

To help mentors and students track their progress toward meeting state licensure requirements, participants in the program will use the ePortfolio web environment developed by the UI College of Education. The environment provides templates and checklists for students relevant to the state's licensure requirements, as well as web space for uploading documents, graphics and even interactive media to demonstrate their proficiency in a range of tasks.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007, stephen-pradarelli@uiowa.edu.Program: Susan Lagos, susan-lagos@uiowa.edu, 319-335-5302.