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About the Program

The University of Mississippi’s Division of Outreach and Continuing Education’s Office of Professional Development and Lifelong Learning, through the Insittute for Education and Workforce Development, is partnering with the Community College Foundation to offer candidates an Instructional Leadership Institute as their Orientation to School Leadership (OSL) credit, (approved by (MDE) Mississippi Department of Education) and six (6) hours of Educational Leadership coursework during the candidates’ one-year internship. Upon successful completion of the coursework each candidate will satisfy the MDE requirements to apply to receive their Career-Level Administrator License.

This is an all–inclusive program. Once you are accepted to The University of Mississippi and enrolled in the PTSL Program, you MUST satisfy all the coursework in order to obtain any credit.*

*If an individual has already begun OSL with the MDE, the six hours can be taken once OSL is completed.

*Instructional Leadership Institute (ILI) or OSL must be taken as a part of the program, or completed before the six hours can be attempted.

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Locations & Dates

Instructional Coaching for School Administrators

Dates: May 18-19, and 26, 2018
Location: UM Depot

Instructional Leadership for School Administators

Dates: June 26-29, 2018
Location: UM Depot

Who can apply to the program?

Candidates who have completed the one-year MAPQSL internship can apply to the program. They may apply for a five (5) year Entry-Level Administrator License. This is a non-renewable license.

Licensure guidelines require that these candidates complete SEMI Entry-Level (OSL) training and six (6) hours of Educational Leadership coursework to be eligible for Career-Level Administrator License.

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Program Registration

Registration is a two-stage process that may be undertaken simultaneously: (1) Admission to the University of Mississippi as a graduate student (Non-Degree Seeking), and (2) Enrollment in the program. The Division of Outreach and Continuing Education must enroll you in the program, but the Division cannot do this officially until you have been admitted to the University as a student (this is your responsibility).

Admission to the University of Mississippi

In order to enroll in the program, you MUST first apply to The University of Mississippi. You may do so by applying online at You will need to select graduate admission (non–degree seeking). The online registration process is self–explanatory, and, with the exception of the required transcripts, may be accomplished over the internet.

Enrollment into the Program

You may choose one of these two ways to enroll in the Pathways to School Leadership (PTSL) Program:

Mail: Download the registration form and mail the completed form to:
The University of Mississippi
Outreach and Continuing Education
Office of Professional Development
P. O. Box 1848,
University, MS 38677-1848.

Fax: Download the registration form and fax the completed form to (662) 915-5138.

Tuition Charges

Tuition for the PTSL program will be based on 3 hours of graduate credit. As a general practice, we do not process tuition partial payments for our programs. However, we will accept personal checks for payment of tuition. If you wish to pay with a personal check, you may mail your check to the Division of Outreach and Continuing Education (payable to "The University of Mississippi") along with your enrollment form, and we will deliver it to the Bursar’s Office where they will process your payment and credit your account.

If you do not choose to pay by check in this way, a "hold" will be placed on your account until your Bursar bill is paid in full. If you fail to pay your Bursar bill, you will not be able to secure a copy of your transcript from the University.

Cost of Program Materials

Each candidate will be responsible for the cost of the program materials. These materials will be used throughout the program.


No scholarships are available at this time for the PTSL Program.

OSL Credit

Through The University of Mississippi’s Division of Outreach and Continuing Education, The Pathways to School Leadership (PTSL) Program will provide each candidate with the OSL training in addition to the six (6) hours of educational coursework needed to satisfy the guidelines; making the candidate eligible to receive a Career-Level Administrator License.

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Course Descriptions

Instructional Leadership for Administrators

The Instructional Leadership Institute is designed to increase the capacity of school leaders to improve instructional practices. The work focuses on what school leaders need to know and be able to do in order to provide the guidance and direction of sustained instructional improvement.

The Institute pays particular attention to the vision for and the beliefs about students’ capabilities; distributed leadership; analysis and use of data to drive improved instructional practice, effective practices in literacy and mathematics instruction; promoting knowledge through learning communities; and sustaining improvements through leadership and systems thinking.

The Institute includes five days of classroom activities, supplemented by several hours of independent reading and online work in preparation for class and time for journaling personal thoughts and reflections.

The application activities, complementing the core knowledge gained in the Institute, include diagnostic tools, a case study, a close textual reading, small and large group discussions, gap analyses and assessments, and follow-up actions designed to improve instruction in the classrooms.

Participants will be provided with a National Institute for School Leadership (NISL) handbook on Instructional Leadership, several texts (including Building Professional Learning Communities by DuFour), and a CD of relevant materials to prepare for each day of the institute.

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Instructional Coaching for Administrators

The Instructional Coaching course is designed to help principals and school leaders learn to coach faculty members to embed standards-based education deeply into the systems and practices of their schools. As part of a state’s or a district’s reform strategy and professional development plan, coaching on instruction is one of the most effective means of fostering improvements and realizing results. Participants practice how to coach others in "learning how to learn" through relationships, collaboration, and commitment, with a focus on increasing the quality and effectiveness of classroom teaching.

Beginning with a research foundation on the principles of teaching, learning, curriculum, and good instructional practice, the first day of the Institute explores how to become an effective instructional coach and introduces a five-step process adopted by the National Institute for School Leadership (NISL).

As a result of the course, participants will understand the effects of instructional coaching on teaching and learning, implement the five steps of instructional coaching in a variety of coaching situations, practice using effective coaching skills and tools, and generate ideas and action steps for incorporating a coaching culture in their schools.

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Leadership for Excellence in CCSS Literacy

This course is designed to help principals and school leaders to be effective instructional leaders in this crucial area of literacy. The aim is not to turn the principal into an expert, but rather to enable the principal to recognize the key elements of best practice in the field of literacy. The course will discuss how principals play a major leadership role in ensuring that literacy is highly valued in the entire school community.

As instructional leaders, principals must become more conversant with the essentials of teaching literacy, learn to recognize best practices including an understanding of their own reading delivery system, and assess the quality of instruction by engaging in conversations with students and looking at their work.

Also included in this course is instruction to enable the participant to recognize the key features of effective safety net programs in literacy, so that he or she can exercise leadership, if necessary, in the development of effective safety nets to ensure that all students are literate, no matter what level of literacy they had when they entered that principal’s school.

Students will be engaged in learning about the latest research-based literacy approaches for young children with application to struggling readers in middle and high schools. They will also be engaged in discussions of several major reading assessments to strengthen their understanding about the range of literacy expectations of students.

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Leadership for Excellence in CCSS Mathematics

The Excellence in Leadership for CCSS Mathematics Institute is designed to address the issue of improving math outcomes through attention to the focus and quality of math teaching and learning.  The leadership team’s role is to assist others to identify characteristic of good math programs as well as effective classroom practice.  The role is key in setting up processes within the school for ensuring and sustaining improvement in the quality of math teaching and learning as we transition to CCSS. 

The institute is both conceptual and practical in its approaches to math learning.  Participants will engage in discussions with the main tenets and elements of the so called “math wars” in which some proponents focus exclusively on the need for “basic skills” while others concentrated on “problem solving”.  Basic skills and problem solving approaches are both important: they directly relate to one another; and they find their fulfillment in “conceptual understanding”. 

Some key questions we will address in this institute are:

  • What is the status of math performance in the U.S. compared to that or other nations?  Across states?
  • What are the challenges to improving math instruction in the U.S?
  • What are the standards that students are expected to know?
  • What does effective math instruction look like?
  • What process does your staff use to select materials and lessons for math instruction?
  • What can instructional leaders do to improve math instruction in their schools?

Participants will be provided with a NISL handbook on mathematics, several readings, and two texts, The Teaching Gap and Focus.  There will be some pre-work assigned.

Educational Leadership for Students with Disabilities

This course is designed to prepare principals for a leadership role in mobilizing staff to address the learning needs of students with disabilities. It will also prepare principals to design and manage continuous professional development systems for all school staff in support of all students, including students with disabilities.

Participants will be provided with resources for further investigation on each topic. Each principal will also have the opportunity to meet with program facilitators about specific resources or strategies for their particular situations. Participants with formal training in NISL will recognize several broader themes, such as: instructional leadership, formative assessment, standards-based instructional systems, and professional development.

This course will acknowledge the importance and impact of legislation such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; however, this program is not a course on Special Education law and regulations (resources will be provided to participants for further study).

The course is divided into 5 main topics:
  • Designing Assessments for Progress Monitoring
  • Developing Sound Instructional Goals
  • School-Wide Behavioral Interventions
  • Instructional and Assessment Accommodations
  • Organizing the School to Support and Sustain High-Quality Learning Experience for Students with Disabilities

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If you are unable to attend the PTSL for which you have enrolled, it is important to notify our office of this at least five (5) business days prior to the first day of class. Participants who withdraw from the program in this way may be able to receive a full refund of their tuition payment from the Bursar’s Office. After this time, however, a full refund of tuition cannot be guaranteed.

Contact Information

Dr. Susan Rucker, Director
MS NISL/Institute for Education and Workforce Development
Phone: (662) 915-2707 or (662) 701-8150

Mary W. Leach, Program Coordinator
Division of Outreach and Continuing Education
Phone: (662) 915-7847

Mail: Post Office Box 1848, University, MS 38677
Fax: (662) 915-5138

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