AU launches Alternative Principal Endorsement program for aspiring school leaders

October 16, 2023

Education Student in Classroom

In an effort to help address the school leader shortage in Illinois, Aurora University launched the Alternative Principal Endorsement program in fall 2023. The program allows educators with a master’s degree to earn their principal endorsement in just one year through a unique combination of internship activities and microcredentials.

“As a former school and district administrator, and now in my role working with administrators, I recognize the need to develop strong leaders to fill key positions in our schools and districts,” said Ed Howerton, associate dean of AU’s College of Education and Social Work and associate professor. “With this in mind, AU worked with the Illinois Principals Association and its Ed Leaders Network (ELN) to develop the Alternative Principal Endorsement program.”

What are the benefits of AU’s Alternative Principal Endorsement program?

The Alternative Principal Endorsement costs less than a master’s degree and can be completed in one year. Traditionally, educators wishing to become a school leader have to complete a master’s degree program in an area such as educational leadership while pursuing their principal endorsement.

What is the Alternative Principal Endorsement program at AU?

The Alternative Principal Endorsement is an Illinois State Board of Education-approved program. It allows educators throughout Illinois to complete a year-long internship within their district to develop the skills and dispositions to be a school leader.

Throughout the internship activities, students complete corresponding microcredentials, which were developed by the ELN and vetted by outside organizations. Not only will earned microcredentials count toward completion of the Principal Endorsement at AU, but they will also be displayed in students’ Educator Licensure Information System (ELIS) accounts.

As part of the Alternative Principal Endorsement program, students also complete the state's educator performance evaluation training and the content exams, which allow them to be eligible for the principal endorsement upon successful completion of the program.

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