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December 12, 2017
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JP O'Hare

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Board of Regents Adopts New Professional Standards for Educational Leaders

New Standards Will Improve Principal Preparation in NY

The Board of Regents took action today to improve principal preparation and practice in New York by adopting the 2015 Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSELs). The 2015 PSELs are the most current national standards for educational leaders and will replace New York’s current standards, the 2008 Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium Standards. Adoption of the 2015 PSELs is part of the State Education Department’s larger effort to improve principal development and support as part of the Principal Preparation Project.

"The responsibilities of principals have become increasingly complex over the last decade as a result of changing student demographics, technological advancements and new accountability requirements," Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. "In this context, principal preparation must shift as well to ensure our principals are prepared to improve outcomes for all students, no matter their racial, ethnic, cultural or economic backgrounds. With their focus on equity and culturally responsive practices, these new standards will allow us to make sure that happens in New York."

“Successful schools start with successful principals,” State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said. “By adopting the new national standards, we will prepare our future principals and support our current ones with standards that align to the day-to-day responsibilities of the modern-day principal. While the new standards are only a first step to improving principal preparation, they are a signal of our commitment to making sure all students in all schools are led by educators who are prepared for the rigors of the job on day one.”

In September 2017, the Board discussed adopting the 2015 PSELs, which requires changes to regulations pertaining to school building leader preparation and principal evaluation, and posted the proposed amendments for a 45-day public comment period. The Department plans to implement the 2015 PSELs over the next several years: school building leader preparation programs in New York must be based on the 2015 PSELs by 2020 and, in 2022, the new standards will become the basis for principal evaluation.

The Principal Preparation Project began in 2016 to support state-led efforts to review the quality of school building leadership in New York State. The Project, which has been funded through the USNY Regent Research Fund by a grant to the Fund from The Wallace Foundation, has involved extensive stakeholder input on issues related to principal preparation. A 37-member Principal Project Advisory Team, made up of parents, teachers, principals, superintendents, district superintendents, local school board members, representatives of civil rights organizations, and representatives from higher education institutions, was convened to review the current principal preparation standards and programs, identify necessary changes and develop recommendations for the Board of Regents.

The work of the Advisory Team culminated in a consensus document that was presented to the Board this summer. The document included 11 recommendations for the Board, the first of which was the adoption of the 2015 PSELs. In making its recommendations, the Advisory Team considered the following:

  • More than 50 stakeholder interviews;
  • Six large meetings of stakeholder groups;
  • Survey input from 1,684 educators and higher education representatives;
  • Feedback from 437 stakeholders who participated in 43 focus groups; and
  • Research, other state policies, and opinions from national experts.