Principal Preparation for Excellence and Equity in Rural Schools (PPEERS)

Group shot of PPEERS 3 students

PPEERS Program

At UNC Greensboro, we know what it takes to enhance our students’ education. Our unique approach to learning and top-quality faculty make the Principal Preparation for Excellence and Equity in Rural Schools (PPEERS) – A North Carolina Principal Fellows Program more than just a Master’s Program. It’s a life experience. Find out what sets us apart. We invite you to explore our dynamic and diverse community and partnerships in the Piedmont area of rural North Carolina.

Program Components

  • Cohort-based program
  • Strong support from Leadership Coach and Mentor Principal
  • Full-time internship experience (11-month)
  • Salary replacement to allow full-time study (Year 2)
  • Strong productive relationship between districts and UNCG

Program Highlights

  • Rigorous Coursework
    • August 2022 – May 2024: 10 courses and a 11-month full-time internship (during year 2).
  • Cohort Experience
    • Participants develop a tight-knit professional network that extends beyond the Program.
  • Leadership Development
    • Intensive summer institutes during the summer including assessments to explore leadership styles.
  • Special Topic Seminars
    • A “deep dive” into topics key to the success of principals in high needs, rural schools.
  • Full-Time Paid Yearlong Clinical Internship
    • Interns will be paid at the salary they would have made had they remained in their 2022-2023 position.  Additionally, participants receive a stipend for work required of them during the summer months of the Program 2023 and 2024.
  • Leadership Coaching
    • During the 11-month internship experience, coaches provide feedback and serve as a Critical Friend.
  • Enrichment Experiences
    • Interns take a study tour to an effective and innovative high needs, rural school.

PPEERS is designed to cultivate skills that research indicates are key for principals in high-needs schools:

  • Instructional leadership, including data use and supervision
  • Distributive leadership
  • Talent management, including cultivation of effective teams
  • Change leadership
  • Building a positive school culture
  • Promoting equity

Year Long Full-Time Internship

Based on lessons learned from previous programs, including the North Carolina Principal Fellows Program, PTLA, and the FTLP, as well as research about the importance of a sustained, authentic clinical experience (e.g., Darling-Hammond, et al., 2007), Principal Preparation for Excellence and Equity in Rural Schools (PPEERS) includes a 11-month, full-time clinical internship (August 1, 2023- through June 30, 2024) at a high-needs, rural school.

The internship is the heart of PPEERS in that it is the opportunity for authentic, site-based learning as well as the application of what PPEERS candidates learn in their coursework, leadership development, special topic seminars, and enrichment experiences.

During their clinical internship, PPEERS candidates will typically meet twice monthly with their Leadership Coaches for approximately two on-site. Additionally, during their internship, PPEERS candidates will continue to take coursework and complete leadership assignments that engage them in a structured set of experiences linked to the national Professional Standards for Educational Leaders and North Carolina Standards for School Executives as well as the day-to-day leadership of the internship school.

PPEERS candidates will create an electronic portfolio of artifacts from their practicum and internship assignments that are aligned to the NC Standards for School Executives. Coaches, Mentor Principals, and UNC Greensboro Clinical Supervisors will examine entries throughout the program. The portfolio is the basis of conferring the Certificate of Competency for licensure, which is based on 21 expectations aligned with the NC Standards for School Executives.

Leadership Coaching

Principal Preparation for Excellence and Equity in Rural Schools (PPEERS) participants will typically receive twice-monthly structured, non-evaluative Leadership Coaching during their 11-month internship experience.

Leadership Coaches:

  1. observe and provide feedback to PPEERS candidates on an ongoing basis, especially with regards to instructional leadership, data use, school change, and managing talent, including team building
  2. serve as a Critical Friend to help problem-solve challenges
  3. monitor progress on candidates’ Leadership Growth Plans
  4. encourage reflection by participants, helping them to apply their learning from PPEERS in their internship leadership practices.

Each PPEERS candidate will meet with their Leadership Coach at the internship site twice monthly August, 2023 – June, 2024. Sessions typically last about two hours. Each session involves examination of instructional leadership practices, dialogue, review of site-based assignments/projects, reflection on lessons learned, and a check-in/check-out with the PPEERS Intern’s Mentor Principal. Each session also involves an accountability check of the candidate’s progress on their Professional Growth Plan.

Special Topic Seminars

Special Topic Seminars are held on 2 Saturdays during each semester and during intensive summer sessions in Year 1 and Year 2, to allow Principal Preparation for Excellence and Equity in Rural Schools (PPEERS) candidates to delve deeply into topics key to the success of principals in high-needs, rural schools. While these topics are also integrated into coursework, Special Topic Seminars provide opportunity to develop deep knowledge on these topics.