A Year in the Life of a School Leader: A Review of Advancement Courses Online Professional Development
This review was written by Courtney Jones, an elementary school teacher.
As I venture into the world of administration, I wanted to find a course that would show me how to plan for a successful school year from a school leader’s perspective. For most educators, time is precious, so I knew that whichever course I chose would have to be high quality, manageable, well designed, and relevant. With those criteria in mind, my search led me to Advancement Courses’ A Year in the Life of a School Leader: A Roadmap to Success.
With my previous experience taking an Advancement Courses class, I knew whatever course I chose would likely meet my needs, so my search for the right course began on their site. Browsing for classes is so easy! You can filter by different subject areas, grade levels, available graduate credit from participating universities, and more.
Choosing My Course
While searching, I focused on courses in the Leadership category with 3 graduate credit hours so I could gain the knowledge I needed for professional advancement while obtaining hours to move me further along on the salary scale. In my district, we receive salary increases based on Master’s +18 graduate hours. Also, when entering into administration, we receive salary increases. Because Advancement Courses offers professional development through accredited university partners that are pre-approved in several states, I had peace of mind knowing that whatever course I chose would help me move up on my district’s pay scale. With this in mind, I found many leadership courses that met my needs!
I decided on the graduate credit option for this course so I could continue to build my grad hours for salary increases in the future. There are many universities to choose from, and under “Approval Information,” it is simple to filter by your state and see the different accreditations and approvals.
Another benefit is the continuing education credits you receive when you complete the course. In Texas, classroom teachers need 150 CPE (continuing professional education) credits to renew their licenses. This graduate course of 3 hours is equal to 45 CPE credits! And did you know that all of the course materials, including books, are included in the price? This is extremely helpful considering the current prices of many college-level textbooks and materials.
If you need to brush up on the professional development requirements in your state, Advancement Courses has them laid out in a simple, easy-to-read format on their State Requirements page. There, you can see what you need to do to renew your license or advance on your district’s salary scale, as well as which credit options to choose when you enroll to ensure the credits count in your state.
After going through the enrollment process, you will be prompted to log in to the course. The home screen of the course overview is well-organized by modules, grades, different topics, many support systems, and the welcome information to help you get started.
This course is broken into five topics. Each topic builds upon prior information learned. The activities presented in the topics help to make sense of the information and give practical ways to implement teaching strategies with your students.
I worked with a facilitator who provided consistent and constant feedback on the work I submitted, which allowed me to create a final artifact that was relevant not only to the course, but most importantly for the administrator position I am fulfilling. She was extremely thorough and provided excellent feedback that allowed me to adapt her suggestions into tangible results!
Oftentimes in graduate courses, there is a large focus on theory or research without providing real, tangible ways to apply the research or ideas into practice for students. This course is the opposite! It provides many templates that can be adapted for immediate use in your school.
Advancement Courses has been such an enriching company to take professional development courses from compared to other companies I have gone through. They provide a rich experience with applicable information and the latest tips and tricks and resources to use in the classroom today! I love that it is so in-depth and thorough, and I believe its comprehensiveness is what sets it apart from other courses! It is a graduate course, after all!
So What Did I Learn?
Overall, I learned that there are simple ways to break down information throughout the school year to make it more obtainable for teachers and take a lot of stress off the school’s day-to-day operations. For example, one very simple idea to help teachers involves creating an informational hub that links to all of the important information about the school, including calendars, supply lists, curriculum, and more! This will allow teachers to go to a one-stop shop to access their frequently used resources and get answers to frequently asked questions.
I also learned that as an administrator, it is important to have routines and schedules for myself and my staff to keep us accountable, make operations run smoothly, and take a lot of the guesswork out of running the school so that we can all focus on the important part of our job — teaching students!
By breaking the year into manageable chunks — this course does so by the seasons — it can make each quarter more manageable with the seemingly never-ending to-do lists for administrators and teachers!
For example, in December, the focus can be on winding down the first semester and treating teachers in multiple ways (e.g., canceling meetings). By doing this, we can all focus on the students and be ready for a great spring semester after the holidays.
In the spring, administrators can assist teachers by automating as much of the testing environment as possible. Creating schedules, routines, and procedures helps teachers find confidence in the testing requirements and also helps to alleviate stress. This in turn allows teachers to focus on educating students and eliminating anxieties by reassuring students that the structures in place and their education are all they need to succeed in state testing.
In conclusion, I found A Year in the Life of a School Leader to be enlightening. I see how I can help take the load off of teachers in easy and efficient ways. I am looking forward to a successful school year as an administrator, and I cannot wait to see how I can help educate the minds of young people and eliminate stress for teachers.
Overall, I am so thankful that I was able to take the course. I want to say thank you again to Advancement Courses for allowing me the opportunity to take the course and write this review. If you want to understand what administrators go through on a daily and yearly basis, I recommend this course. I will be taking more Advancement Courses in the future to grow my educator toolbox, increase my graduate-level hours, and continue to earn CPE credits for my teaching license renewal.
To anyone wanting to grow as an educator, check out Advancement Courses. They offer 280+ online, self-paced PD courses covering both foundational topics and emerging trends in education. Courses are available for both graduate and continuing education credit for your salary advancement or recertification needs.
Courtney Jones is an elementary school teacher.