School leadership seminar series focuses on protecting students

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Metal detectors and software for monitoring Internet activity are increasingly used in America’s public schools to protect students. While these tools seem to be successful at keeping guns and other weapons out of schools and at preventing kids from viewing sexually explicit material and from engaging in cyberbullying, they also are expensive and generally leave all students feeling like criminals.

A new Penn State seminar series, called the School Leadership Series, examines such tools and also investigates the ethical and financial implications of using them. The series is intended to be a professional-development opportunity for school administrators and educators.

“Participants of the School Leadership Series engage in discussions with, and learn from, the experiences of other school-system leaders, acquire practical knowledge through finance-related assignments; pinpoint inefficiencies, redundancies, waste and barriers in their school-districts; and review archived sessions from the convenience of their computers,” said Preston Green, professor of education and of law, who organized the series.

The Penn State Educational Leadership program, for which Green is professor in charge, sponsors the School Leadership Series. Green organized the series in order to provide practitioners -- including superintendents, members of school boards, principals, and others -- with training on how to act legally, how to act ethically, and how to act in a fiscally wise manner.

“The Educational Leadership program has expertise in each of these dimensions,” Green said. “I wanted to provide this expertise to the state’s practitioners.”

These dimensions are discussed in detail in the series' three courses: Law and Education; The New Fiscal Reality; and Ethics in Educational Leadership.

The “Law and Education” course covers topics such as student discipline, child abuse reporting laws, search and seizure, creating and maintaining safe facilities, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the hiring and termination of tenured teachers.

“The New Fiscal Reality” course covers topics such as the uncertainty of state aid and local taxes; rising expenditures, such as energy, transportation, and insurance; budget reduction procedures; the relationship between spending and student outcomes; and ethical decision making in budget reductions.

The “Ethics in Educational Leadership” course covers topics such as how school leaders can create an environment that is legally, educationally, and ethically sound; ethical issues related to high-stakes testing and No Child Left Behind requirements; issues of educators’ accountability and responsibility; safety versus privacy issues; zero-tolerance policies; and cyber-bullying, sexting and cell phones.

According to Green, the series has two registration options: credit and hours only. Participants in the credit option will earn 3 graduate university credits while earning 90 Act 45 hours or 90 Act 48 hours. Participants in the hours only option can earn 90 Act 45 hours or 37.5 Act 48 hours, but will not earn graduate university credit.

The “Law and Education” and “The New Fiscal Reality” courses already have started, but “Ethics in Educational Leadership” begins on May 10, 2012. To learn more and to register, go to: http://www.outreach.psu.edu/cape/school-finance/. The entire three-course series will be held again in February 2013.

 

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Last Updated February 28, 2012