Internship Guide Ed Leadership (M.Ed.)

Guide to the Internship in Educational Leadership

Forms and Links for Mentors: (Mentors may complete and submit these forms online)

Quick Links to Forms 

Forms for Mentors:

Forms for Students:

      The Master of Education degree (M. Ed.) in Educational Leadership at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) prepares educators to become administrators who are able to create and maintain effective schools. The program requires students to demonstrate competence through course work, practical experiences, and portfolio assessment. In their graduate program, students are exposed to a variety of instructional methodologies including problem-based learning, case study methods, lecture/discussion, cooperative learning, and practical experiences. As a culminating experience, each student enrolls in the course entitled Internship in Educational Leadership that is taken during the final one or two semesters of the student’s program. 

    This information serves as a guide for the Internship in Educational Leadership to: a) practicing administrators who are mentors to the interns, b) graduate students who are undertaking an Internship experience, and, c) Internship supervisors who are supervising professors or adjunct faculty. It briefly describes and/or defines:

1) the language associated with the Internship in Educational Leadership; 
2) the purposes of the Internship in Educational Leadership; 
3) the process of mentoring; 
4) the prevention and solution of potential mentoring problems; 
5) the requirements for reporting and evaluation progress; and 
6) the forms and materials associated with the Internship in Educational Leadership.

Purposes of the Internship in Educational Leadership

The Language of the Internship in Educational Leadership

The Mentoring Process

Selecting Mentors 
    The faculty cooperates with school district superintendents, principals, and potential Internship students to identify administrators who serve as mentors. Mentors must be either pincipals or distirct-level administrators approved by the district and the university to serve as mentors. Mentors may delegate mentoring responsibilities to assistant principals and other administrators, but they must oversee this delegation. Mentors are informed about the program, their expected roles and responsibilities, and the benefits of mentoring in meetings with university supervisors and through this document. They file a Mentor Application in Educational Leadership to signify willingness to work with one or more Internship students. Mentors selected by the faculty are expected to serve in the program for at least one year. The benefits to mentors include full library privileges at FGCU, and the assistance of the Internship student in carrying out building-level responsibilities.
    Mentors are responsible for working with the university supervisor and the Internship student to set up a series of activities that will be mutually beneficial to the student and to the mentor. In other words, the student will engage in shadowing and hands-on activities that will provide the student with valuable educational experiences, while at the same time providing some assistance to the mentor in performing tasks and accomplishing objectives. The mentor also will be responsible for evaluating the Internship student's accomplishments twice during the Internship experience: once in the middle and once at the end of the Internship experience. 

Selecting Internship Students 
Only students who have completed at least 24 hours of course work (or will be registered for their 24th hour or more) toward the degree may submit the Mentor Application - Educational Leadership. The application must be filed at least one month prior to the semester when the Internship is to begin, which provides sufficient time for the mentor, student and university supervisor to meet and plan the internship. This form indicates intent to participate in an Internship experience during the following semester. Internships currently are planned only for the spring and summer terms. In this way, students experience summer school and have an extended period of time to fulfill the time requirements of the Internship.

Criteria have been identified for the selection of Internship students and include:

  • Students must have successfully completed at least 24 semester hours of their course work, or will be registered for 24 or more credits during the start of the internship ;
  • Students must initiate a written request to enroll in the Internship in Educational Leadership;
  • Students need to inform their immediate supervisor that they intend to enroll in the Internship, for some students may need to take personal days or make arrangements with their supervisor to participate in the Internship in Educational Leadership activities;
  • Students must agree to meet on campus as required for seminars during the semesters they are working as Internship students;
  • Students must agree to follow the Internship in Educational Leadership guidelines in this handbook.

Guidelines and Responsibilities of the Faculty in Educational Leadership 
        The Educational Leadership faculty is responsible for supervising and coordinating the building-level and district-level administrative Internship program for graduate students. Criteria used for selection of the field-based site include:

  • evidence that the site provides for the students model opportunities to experience leadership with teachers, school staff, students, and community members;
  • evidence that the site provides opportunities for the development of broad understandings of administrative task and skill areas outlined in the Florida Educational Leadership Standards; and
  • evidence that the site provides opportunities for student engagement in observing, planning for, or implementing continuous improvement and/or site-based management concepts.

        The Faculty in Educational Leadership is responsible for:

  • selecting administrators who want to serve as mentors for Internship students;
  • selecting students who apply to participate in the Internship in Educational Leadership;
  • assuring that the Internship in Educational Leadership guidelines described in this handbook are followed;
  • assigning students to Internship supervisors;
  • evaluating student performance with input from mentors and Internship supervisors.
  • communicating with the mentors and Internship students in the field; and
  • supervising the mentor-student experience.

As Internship supervisors work with the mentors and graduate students during the Internship in Educational Leadership experience, several identified tasks are required. These tasks include:

  • reviewing each student’s progress and Internship experience;
  • resolving problems which may arise;
  • insuring that the student is receiving performance feedback;
  • monitoring student postings on Angel;
  • meeting with students on campus or online during the Internship in Educational Leadership seminars.

Internship Contract Requirements 
Internship in Educational Leadership is problem-based and links research, theory, and practice in studying the range of problems that students will encounter when they become administrators. The Internship in Educational Leadership experience has the following major requirements:

1) Students will enroll in 3 or 6 credit hours of  EDA 6945 Internship in Educational Leadership, depending on when they were admitted to the program in Educational Leadership. All student admitted in the fall of 2008 or after are required to complete 6 credits. Internship Students will read the most recent edition of the book by Ronald Rebore entitled The Ethics of Educational Leadership. The book will be discussed in seminars as well as in online discussions.

(2) Students will work with their advisor and Internship supervisor/mentor to develop an individualized set of activities that will enable the students to gain experiences in areas in which they lack knowledge or experience. Students will use the Florida Leadership Standards as the basis for the individualized program. Students should examine the current status of their Learning Portfolio to pinpoint areas of deficiency as they work with their advisors and mentors to complete their Internship. The Administrative Task areas listed below may also be used for ideas of areas that need development, though these task areas are also interspersed throughout the National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA). The Florida Educational Leadership Standards, which form the basis of the mentor's evaluation of the student were developed based on the NPBEA standards and the template that the students uses to establish his or her Internship activities is consistent with the Florida Educational Leadership Standards.

3) Each Internship student is to select several projects which have been identified as areas of need in the student's background. This requirement is to provide a sustained experience with activities at the student's Internship site.

4) The number of hours of actual Internship experiences will vary per student, but the minimum number is 200 contact hours for each 3-credits in which the student is registered, not including online discussions and class seminars.

Project Requirements.Each Internship student should select projects that assist school personnel in their efforts to improve schools and/or the delivery of services to those schools. Project criteria include the following:

  • At least one project must be identified as a "School Improvement" project.
  • At least one project must involve experience with understanding the school's class scheduling, including the master schedule.
  • Projects should be goal oriented, of limited duration, and have unique, identifiable, and specific results.
  • Projects should have a degree of complexity. Internship students are expected to participate in a variety of activities—such as, hold meetings, prepare memos, interview people, conduct conferences, survey personnel, analyze data, assist in reports to the central office staff or the board of education, and observe and supervise instruction and schools.
  • Projects should be coordinated with other activities in the school or district. The timing, sequencing, and resources must "mesh" with other activities.
  • Projects must have beginning, middle, and ending phases. The Educational Leadership student should be involved in four major functions: project selection, planning, implementation, and evaluation.
  • Projects must benefit the school or district and be approved by the mentor and Internship supervisor.

In their projects, students may serve as chairpersons of committees or as administrative assistants. Example projects may include responsibility for: total quality education, school improvement, school and curriculum restructuring, community involvement, faculty training and development, school image, instructional evaluation system, restructuring schools, fund raising and/or grant writing, school-business alliances, or other agreed upon projects. The following administrative task areas may also provide ideas:

Administrative task topics for principals include, but are not limited to, the following areas: 
1. school improvement; 
2. teacher observation and evaluation techniques; 
3. establishment or revision of procedures; 
4. budgeting/accounting procedures; 
5. school-community communication; 
6. school-community activities; 
7. student supervision; 
8. student leadership activities; 
9. facility maintenance and repair; 
10. quality improvement; 
11. school curriculum development and assessment; 
12. facility schedules; 
13. staff and faculty training; 
14. technology infusion; 
15. school discipline; 
16. business partnerships; 
17. grant writing; 
18. use of statistical data; 
19. others as deemed appropriate by the mentor, student, and supervisor.


Specific Course Requirements for Students:

  • The student is expected to shadow the administrator and assistant principal(s) to become familiar with the daily duties and responsibilities of school leaders. During this time, students should observe but not assume direct responsibility for these areas.
  • It is recommended that the mentors encourage Internship students to assume responsibility for some tasks during the Internship in Educational Leadership experience. In schools where this is not possible, an explanation should be provided in the student’s Internship portfolio.
  • Students will attend on-campus or online seminars as required. Typically, these seminars are held for two hours on Fridays during the semester in the late afternoon. At each seminar, students are expected to pose a problem from their Internship experiences for the seminar participants who will engage in a problem-solving discussion. At the end of the discussion, the student posing the problem will  present his/her solution that he/she has developed based on a brief theory/literature review.
  • Each student will participate in a weekly online Discussion Board. Each week, the student will post his/her experiences, and participate in an exchange of ideas among faculty and other students. Student postings must include a discussion of how the student's experiences are related to theory/research and to the Florida Educational Leadership Standards. These online postings and interaction among students substitutes for additional on-campus seminars that would occur if the Discussion Board were not available.
  • Internship Portfolio. Each student will maintain a portfolio of activities that includes student reflective thought relative to the experiences which may be the student's online postings, and any artifacts in which the student was involved during the experience. The Internship portfolio will be submitted to the university advisor at the end of the Internship. It will include a Log of Internship Activities (listing of dates worked, the hours each day, and what was done each day and signed by the mentor (electronic signatures are acceptable); the evaluations by the mentor; journal entries (these can be a copy of the Discussion Board entries); and artifacts that support journal entries. This portfolio is to be done electronically and placed on a CD-ROM.
  • All Internship Students will read the book by Ronald Rebore entitled The Ethics of Educational Leadership. The book will be discussed in the seminars as well as in online discussions.

Learning administrative skills is strengthened when students are exposed to the realities of leadership and managerial work, namely, getting results with and through others. Internship students should assume leadership roles, "shoulder the responsibility," and feel the pressure of the need to act and to live with the consequences of their actions. Internship students must be placed in situations where they are expected to accomplish results through others within a set of time constraints. Another important aspect of the Internship in Educational Leadership is that the student should experience a substantial degree of self-directed learning. Such autonomy helps Internship students to reason through and discover what they need to know in relationship to each problem and their own skills and abilities.

Final Program Learning Portfolio 
         The Learning Portfolio is organized around the accomplishment of the Florida Educational Leadership Standards. These standards are based on the National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA). The NPBEA Standards were developed by the Council of National Policy Board to help strengthen preparation programs in school leadership (2016). In addition to the NPBEA Standards, students will be expected to demonstrate competence in the university’s program competencies for Educational Leadership that combines the Florida Educational Leaders Standards. For a list of the NPBEA Standards and FGCU Program Competencies in Educational Leadership, please see the Guide to Portfolio Contents or the separate listing of these items on the Educational Leadership Program Webpage. 
 Summary of Implementation Steps for Mentor/Internship Student Working Relationships

 1. The student completes the Application for Internship, and then the faculty members work with the student to identify the mentors and the Internship site(s) for each Internship student.

2. The Internship supervisor meets with Internship student and mentor(s).

3. The student completes an individualized set of experiences using the Florida Educational Leadership Standards. The Internship supervisor reviews with Internship student the expected roles and responsibilities.

4. The mentor and Internship student develop details of plans for the Internship projects and identify tasks to be achieved for the completion for the Internship in Educational Leadership.

5. The mentor introduces the Internship student to school personnel and students and informs them of the level of authority that the Internship student is being given in the school. In this way, the school staff  and students will respond to the Internship student in his or her administrative role.

6. The Internship student shadows the principal (mentor) and/or assistant principal(s) to become familiar with the scope of the principal’s work.

7. The Internship student writes weekly postings to the course Discussion Board to share experiences with other Internship students. Occasionally, students will meet on campus with other members of the Internship student cohort group to share experiences, progress, and cases.

8. The Internship student begins work on specific projects and begins to assume responsibility for tasks delegated by the mentor.

9. The Internship student and mentor reflect on the day-to-day administrative activities.

10. As the mentor’s confidence in the Internship student’s abilities and skills increases, greater responsibilities are assumed by the Internship student.

11. The mentor completes Internship Evaluation Reports which are shared with the Internship student, and the Internship supervisor.

12. The mentor assures that all Internship requirements are met and signs the student's log of activities.

13. The student completes the Learning Portfolio.

The Internship in Educational Leadership is completed when the mentor, Internship/internship student, and the Internship/internship supervisor assure that the terms of the Internship requirements have been completed.


Preventing and Resolving Problems

This section of the handbook provides suggestions on ways to avoid problems and suggests solutions to the most common problems that occur during the Internship in Educational Leadership experience. 

Mentors May Be Too Protective and Controlling

Mentors must realize that future administrators learn from mistakes and that mentoring is a learning experience for Internship/internship students. Students must be allowed to take risks, make mistakes, take responsibility for errors, and learn from their mistakes. Mentors can assist students by giving them responsibilities, allowing them occasionally to be unsuccessful, and providing feedback. When an Internship/internship student receives feedback, it should be analyzed and acted upon. 

Mentors May Take Advantage of Internship/Internship Students

Mentors who frequently need assistance may exploit Internship/internship students and the mentoring process. Sometimes this takes the form of assigning students to meaningless tasks or duties for long periods of time, or allowing students to be "thrown into" a situation. They may not be ready for the experience and may not have some chance of achieving success. Mentors can avoid these mistakes by constantly reviewing the purposes for the Internship in Educational Leadership and checking tosee if the assigned activities fulfill the purposes of the Internship in Educational Leadership. 

Mentor/Internship/Internship Student Personal Relationships

Frequently the mentor and Internship/internship student become close friends. Working together may lead to the development of a familiar, personal relationship. The problem that sometimes arises is maintaining objectivity in assessing the Administrative Internship student’s competencies. The mentor may fail to see the student’s "shortcomings". The process of evaluating the Internship in Educational Leadership student’s progress should be kept as objective and as free from bias as possible. But, the mentor may want to check his/her perceptions of the Internship student with those of other professionals who have the opportunity to observe or work with the student. Periodic meetings with the university Internship coordinator and or Internship  supervisor can assist here.

If the mentor/student relationship results in a personality conflict, the mentor or the student should consult with the Internship supervisor to resolve the situation. Frequently such conflicts can be traced to the lack of share understandings and the lack of appropriate time to communicate. 

Effective Administrators May Lack the Time for Mentoring

Sometimes the best administrators have a difficult time performing effectively as mentors. These administrators may be busy with their roles and responsibilities or they may not know how to implement the mentoring process. Mentors can avoid this problem if they carefully review their existing workload. Supervisors expect mentors to discontinue their involvement with the program if they believe they are no longer effective in working with the Internship student. The Internship supervisor will visit periodically with the mentor to review the quality of the p student/mentor experience. 

Limiting Internship/internship Student’s Perspectives

Each mentor has developed one or more styles or strategies for dealing with administrative tasks and leadership responsibilities. The Internship student may come to view the mentor’s approaches as the correct and only successful ways to accomplish specific tasks. The mentor continually needs to expose the student to alternative strategies and to other administrators whose styles may be different from the student’s own. The emphasis should be on helping the Internship student understand the order and the criteria using different options available for achieving success in different situations. 

Mentor Dependency

Some Internship/internship students find it difficult to assume responsibility for their work. Mentors, in a spirit of assistance, may provide students too much help. Mentors can prevent this from occurring by explaining to the Internship student the importance of making independent and informed decisions. The mentors also can encourage students to take risks with the assurance that the mentor will stand behind the student who occasionally makes mistakes. 

Internship/internship Student Dissatisfaction

Internship/internship students vary in the skills, confidence, and level of experience they bring to the mentoring process. Some students may demand more from the mentoring process. Some students may demand more from the mentor than mentor either wants or is able to give to the student. Mentors can avoid this problem by explaining their expectations for the amount of time, levels of responsibility, and involvement in administrative activities the Internship student can expect. If the student’s expectations during this discussion are not met, then another mentor will be found to work with the student or the student’s expectations will be adjusted to fit the Internship experience with the assistance of the Internship supervisor. 

Expecting Internship/Internship Student Perfection to Match the Mentor as "Hero"

Some mentors, because of their skills, experience, and training are expert or master administrators. They almost always do the "the right thing." Some Internship/internship students view these mentors as outstanding and beyond making mistakes. The students’ responses to such imagery may be to devalue themselves and their own performance. Mentors can prevent this to some extent by sharing their own frustrations, failures, and information on their performance. They also can help the Internship student view the contributions of others as leading to success in the school. 

Mentor’s Low Expectations for Internship Student Performance

Because Internship/internship students are learning, the mentors’ standards for their performance may be low. The student may use the excuse of "I am only an Internship/internship student" to allow performance to slip. Mentors should expect Internship/internship students to avoid using their status as an excuse for not attempting to do their best all of the time. The mentor may want to remind the Internship student of the criteria for evaluation should the student lower his/her own performance expectations. The mentor may wish to copy the evaluation instrument and let the Internship student review it or conduct a self-assessment of progress. 

Speaking for the Mentor

When the mentor and Internship/internship student work closely together, some teachers or staff in the school may conclude that talking with Internship/internship student is like talking to the mentor. The Internship student may be viewed as speaking for the mentor. Others may view the Internship student as a "rubber stamp" or "one of them" and unable to think or act independently of others. Mentors should caution both Internship/internship students and their staff members that the student has a responsibility to perform effectively in specific role areas. The mentor should advise the Internship student to develop a personalized style of leadership and to concentrate on adapting rather than adopting the mentor’s particular strategies. 

Cross-Gender Mentoring Relationships

The benefits of men and women working together as professional personnel to gain different leadership perspectives is recognized. The numbers of male mentors usually exceeds that of female mentors. Frequently it is necessary, therefore, for cross-gender mentor/student experiences. Sometimes these relationships become suspect to the school and community publics. The mentor and Internship/internship student can prevent this from occurring by: 1) limiting their activities to the standard administrative tasks performed during regular school hours, 2) ensuring that the relationship is strictly professional, and 3) avoiding "situations" which might lead others to conclude that the professional relationship extends to a personal one. 

Students should see their advisor if they have any questions about the contents of this document.

     This section describes how mentors and Internship students are selected. It outlines requirements for the students. It also outlines requirements for the Internship in Educational Leadership experience, provides examples of the broad range of possible Internship experiences, and identifies the procedures for completing the Internship in Educational Leadership.     The words mentor, Internship student, and Internship supervisor are used throughout this guide. The mentor, the building-level administrator or the district administrator, has responsibility to serve as a role model, teacher, guide, and evaluator for a person developing in the profession. District mentors would be used in those cases where the student may have had the opportunity to experience building-level responsibilities in another situation or to expand upon a student's building-level internship experiences. A graduate Internship student, observes, converses, and works with the mentor on administrative processes and procedures at the building or district level. Internship students also receive instruction, guidance, and evaluation of their progress from the mentor. Internship supervisors meet with the mentors and the students prior to a student's internship, and by providing direct field supervision and guidance to the mentor and Internship student as needed. 

    The Internship in Educational Leadership is based on field experiences involving a building-level mentor or district-level mentor, an Internship student and aa Internship supervisor and/or Internship coordinator. Mentoring is defined as a relationship between a mentor and Internship student that allows the student to learn how to perform effectively the administrative and leadership functions and responsibilities of the building-level administrator. When the primary mentor is a principal, the student may be assigned some shadowing and work experiences with assistant principals as well. On some occasions, a mentor may be a central office professional working in staff development or curriculum areas. FGCU faculty have developed working relationships with central office personnel in local districts who will assist our students in obtaining a variety of excellent experiences at the central office.
    For students who are not seeking Educational Leadership certification, arrangements will be made on an individual basis for an Internship experience in their particular career field.     The Internship in Educational Leadership provides "real-life" activities that allow students to apply theory and knowledge of subject matter content and to assess and reflect on the interaction of theory and practice. A second purpose is to provide a service to the host school and district by providing administrative candidates who have the potential to function in a leadership position and who have classroom experience applying theory and research in school administration. The final purpose is to assess the Internship in Educational Leadership student’s ability to perform effectively the responsibilities associated with school leadership. 


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