Educational Leadership Certificate (ELC) - Principalship 5051


 The 28-credit Educational Leadership Certificate is for teachers, school counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers at the master’s level.  Educators interested in expanding their leadership capacity for roles such as grade level coordinator, department chair, curriculum coach, or teacher specialist, and are not interested in a formal administrative position, would benefit from the program also.  The Educational Leadership Certificate is a licensure only program for the Principal (5051) license. 

The 28-credit (30-credit for Minnesota) Educational Leadership Certificate program can be completed in 18 to 21 months (5 academic terms) and is offered in an online format taught by doctoral instructors.  The Principalship licensure only program consists of nine courses based on the Wisconsin Administrative Standards.

Non-Wisconsin Teaching Licensure/Certification
UW-La Crosse programs offering a licensure or certification in Wisconsin will need to be reviewed by the State Board of Education of any other state in which the student plans on teaching. The individual state education boards determine what courses transfer in to meet license or certification requirements for each state.

Director of Instruction Add-On Program
Visit Director of Instruction Add-On for more information on how to add this two course program.  

Admission guidelines: Educational Leadership Certificate

  1. A master’s degree in education or closely related field from an accredited institution.
  2. Have completed three years of successful full-time teaching experience at any of the grades at the early childhood through adolescence developmental range, OR Have completed three years of successful experience as a school counselor, a school psychologist, or a school social worker, which includes evidence of at least 540 hours of successful classroom teaching experience. 
  3. Hold or be eligible to hold any Professional Educator License to teach at the early childhood through adolescence developmental range or shall have completed an approved program leading to a license to teach, OR Hold or be eligible to hold a Professional Educator License as a school counselor, a school psychologist, or a school social worker, or shall have completed an approved program leading to one of these licenses.
  4. An overall undergraduate grade point average of at least 2.85 on a 4.00 scale, OR an average of at least 3.00 in the last half of all undergraduate work, OR an average of at least 3.00 for no fewer than 12 semester credits of graduate study at another accredited graduate institution.
  5. Completed an online application.
  6. Provide the University with your original transcript.
  7. Two professional letters of recommendation.
  8. A copy of your teacher or administrator license.
  9. Provide verification that degrees completed outside Wisconsin meet WI teaching standards.
  10. Please mail recommendation letters and license copy to: 
    Patricia A. Markos, Director
    IPSE, UW - La Crosse
    Suite 269 Morris Hall
    1725 State Street
    La Crosse, WI  54601

Sequence of Courses 

Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5
EDU 765

EDU 766

EDU 767

EDU 768

EDU 769

EDU 770

EDU 771

EDU 772

EDU 773



Educational Leadership (Principalship) Certificate Curriculum: 

Course Course Name Credits
EDU 765 Introduction to Educational Leadership 3 Credits
EDU 766 Principalship 3 Credits
EDU 767 Data-based Decision Making for Instruction 3 Credits
EDU 768 Supervision and Instruction 3 Credits
EDU 769 Leadership and Cultural Competence 3 Credits
EDU 770 School Law 3 Credits
EDU 771 School Finance & Resource Allocation 3 Credits
EDU 772 Inclusive Pedagogical Practices 3 Credits
EDU 773 Practicum in the Principalship & Seminar 4 Credits
TOTAL   28 Credits

The Minnesota Board of School Administrators requires 30 credits beyond the master's degree for principal licensure; therefore, those seeking Minnesota licensure must take a minimum of two additional elective credits.  Learners may choose between EDU 716 Effective Communication Through Language (2 cr.), EDU 720 Digital Literacy and the Common Core (2 cr.), or EDU 735 Foundations of Professional Learning Communities (3 cr.).


EDU 765 Introduction to Educational Leadership
In this course learners will explore the concept of educational leadership.  More specifically, what is the role of the principal in ensuring they lead a school whereas all of their students can achieve the highest levels of academic success? What is the role of principal in creating and building a school community focused on continual reflection and improvement?  With that, we will explore educational leadership via a cognitive approach grounded in the following three elements:

  1. Socio-cognitive leadership – A shared cognitive approach to decision making present in schools that have successfully closed achievement gaps.
  2. The Dimensions of Leadership for Learning – Where school principals focus their time and attention as a catalyst for student improvement.
  3. Levers of Change – The individual, organizational, and community levers that master principals use to further the Dimensions of Leadership for Learning (Kelly & Shaw, 2009).

In addition to a focus on socio-cognitive leadership, learners will consider the balance between the symbolic and technical sides of educational leadership.  Finally, the concept of educational leadership will be grounded in conversations related to the importance of principal professional development to include the importance of personal development and personal satisfaction. 

EDU 766 Principalship
The task of a principal in the PK-12th grade environment is both demanding and complex.  It requires that the leader be skilled in personnel administration, staff development, evaluation, instructional leadership, and the reflective process along with a myriad of additional skills needed to successfully navigate the experiences of being a building principal.  This course focuses on the six standards of the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC Standards) using the reflective process as provided by Thomas Sergiovanni.

EDU 767 Data-based Decision Making for Instruction
This course explores the use of data as a tool to enhance decision-making processes for continuous school improvement by providing a framework for improving teaching and learning.  Upon completion of the course, learners will be able to analyze, report, communicate, and use multiple measures of data for continuous school improvement.  This course emphasizes how data can guide leaders through curriculum alignment, supervision of instruction, and professional development.  Through assignments and activities learners will put theory into practice.

EDU 768 Supervision and Instruction
This course is intended to examine the foundations of a teacher supervision and evaluation structure which includes emphasis on classroom supervision, adult learning theory, coaching, administration which promotes professional growth, standards for effective teacher evaluation and performance-based methods for teacher growth /school improvement that are closely associated with student learning outcomes.  The emphasis of this course will highlight the professionalism of teaching by examining how teachers may actively contribute to determining the emphasis of their professional / outcomes while emphasizing student scholarship as their core mission.

EDU 769 Leadership and Cultural Competence
This foundation course in leadership and cultural competence enhances the learner’s abilities to comprehend, evaluate, and offer culturally sensitive and competent educational opportunity to diverse school populations.  This course gives students the opportunity to reflect upon their own cultural development and to be more responsive to the needs of all students.

EDU 770 School Law
This course examines the federal and state school law for educational leaders addressing legal issues impacting the operation of public schools.  The topics that will be studied include organizational structures of school, federal, and state systems, church-state related issues, teacher’s rights, rights of students with disabilities, instructional issues, tort liability, and equal opportunities in education.

EDU 771 School Finance & Resource Allocation
This course examines the financial contexts and legal requirements of educational budgeting.  The roles of federal and state laws, regulations, and tax policies are considered, as are local conditions and concerns, in raising and distributing revenue.  The processes of budgetary planning, preparation, management, and control are carefully evaluated. 

EDU 772 Inclusive Pedagogical Practices
In this course learners will explore how to create and sustain schools that are successful for each of their PreK-12 students.  Focus will be placed on shifting school structures from programmatic thinking to a model of service delivery.  In addition, discussion will focus on using standards as a catalyst for creative uses of responsive curriculum, innovative teaching strategies, and ongoing assessment.  Consideration will be placed on how funding and various laws can be leveraged to support the achievement of all students.  Throughout this course learners will examine (1) preventive strategies for fostering student success versus adopting a ‘wait until they fail’ approach, (2) instructional strategies that engage a wide-range of students, (3) how principals can ensure the success of their students, (4) how principals can support their teachers and staff to ensure student success, and (5) standards-based teaching grounded in the needs of a diverse student population.  Finally, inclusive educational pedagogies form the spine of this course.

EDU 773 Practicum in the Principalship & Seminar
The purpose of this course is to provide you with practical experience in the school principalship.  This practicum is developmental and provides opportunities for learners to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the WI Content Guidelines for Principal (51) Licensure Programs.  Performance will be measured via two observations by a school-based supervisor and two by the UWL supervisor.  In addition to observations, learners are required to engage in online discussions anchored to the practicum seminar.  These discussions are grounded in the day-to-day lives of principals and will support learners in gaining a deeper, authentic understanding of the principalship.  Learners will also engage in professional discussions with an experienced administrator/cooperating principal and their practicum supervisor.  The practicum also affords learners experience engaging in authentic activities including the opportunity to take risks under the guidance of a cooperating principal and university supervisor.  Finally, practicums lead to numerous networking opportunities that can translate into informal support systems post practicum.

EDU 716     Effective Communication through Language (MN Learners)  
In this course, students will examine the research and best practices to support the Speaking and Listening Strand of the English Language Arts (ELA) Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  Students will define what makes up a classroom community, why it is important to build a classroom community, and how to begin the construction process.  Students will be working with diverse groups of people to enhance their listening and speaking skills.  In addition, students will use their grade level standards to craft a presentation to a group of peers.  Students will then examine strategies to help elementary students interact appropriately with adults and peers and how their own students can be doing grade level appropriate presentations.  Students in this class will be working on developing lessons and strategies that will help their own students comprehend and interact with the spoken word.

EDU 720 Digital Literacy and the Common Core (MN Learner)
In this course, students will examine the research and best practices to support all of the strands of the English Language Arts (ELA) Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in the area of digital literacy. Students will learn how to search efficiently and evaluate websites for validity.  Students will collaborate using a variety of online tools including wiki's, blogs, and other social media.  Lastly, students will implement lessons and strategies in their professional practice to help achieve career and college readiness skills for their students.

EDU 735     Foundations of Professional Learning Communities       In this course, students will gain knowledge of the essential components of a Professional Learning Community (PLC).  Using acquired knowledge, students will analyze the progress of their school or district on the PLC continuum. Students will investigate ways to build a culture of collaboration that improves student learning and will be expected to continuously apply PLC tenets to their practice.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees vary among UW System campuses, and sometimes among programs within a campus.  For the ME-PD Learning Community program, tuition fees are the same for both in state and out of state residents.  Tuition and fees are determined late summer immediately preceding each academic year.  

Credits Rate $450 per credit
Masters or Certificate
WI residents and non-residents
8 Credit Semester $3,600
7 Credit Semester $3,150
6 Credit Semester $2,700

SCHOLARSHIPS ~ take tuition down to only $396/credit
We are pleased to announce the offering of scholarships to our existing and entering students for our programs. Scholarships will be available to students with a minimum 3.0 grade average.  Scholarship will be in the amount of $54/credit. Since our existing tuition is $450/credit, the applied scholarship to qualified applicants will take this amount down to $396/credit. For new students, we will look at your entering GPA at application and use that GPA for qualification standards.  Existing students we will look at your GPA at time of your last term to determine qualification standards.

Other Fees
A $56 application fee is charged at time of application. There will be a Fall for Education Conference special course fee of $50 in addition to your fall tuition. Each semester there is also a $25 registration charge and a $2 per credit fee for D2L services.  There is a $38 graduation fee charged your last semester to cover the cost of the diploma, cover and commencement ceremony. 

If you have questions about fees, contact the Cashier's Office or the Office of Admissions.  The Board of Regents reserves the right to change tuition and fees without published notice.

In addition to tuition, book costs will average $100-200 per semester.  Your facilitators will communicate required book lists throughout the semesters.  Also budget for school supplies (paper, pens, folders, etc.).

Financial Aid

Financial Aid - IF APPLICABLE

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at You will be asked to insert the Federal School Code for UW-La Crosse which is: 003919

Step One: Application to Graduate School

Complete the Application for Graduate Admission form online at:

When completing the application, here are some helpful hints to use on certain pages of the application in order to apply for the correct program.

  • Post-Secondary: Choose Graduate Degree (Master, Doctoral, Specialist, Professional)
  • Reason for Applying: Choose Graduate Degree, Licensure or Certificate
  • Graduate Programs: Choose…..
    • Educational Leadership Certificate for the Educational Leadership Certificate since you already have your master’s degree.

Request ALL OFFICIAL UNDERGRADUATE transcripts from ALL previous post-secondary     institutions attended.  This includes transfer credits even if they appear on another school transcript.  If you attended UW-La Crosse, you do not need to request those transcripts.  Please contact each institution individually to request your academic records.  Most universities allow you to request transcripts online.

All official transcripts must be sent directly to:
Graduate Admissions Office
142 Cleary Center
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
1725 State Street
La Crosse, WI 54601

Or by email to:


Step Two: Submit two letters of recommendation and copy of teachers license to:

Patricia A. Markos, Director
IPSE, UW - La Crosse
Suite 269 Morris Hall
1725 State Street
La Crosse, WI  54601

Email to:

Step Three: Financial Aid - IF APPLICABLE

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at  You will be asked to insert the Federal School Code for UW-La Crosse which is: 003919

Step Four: Registering for 1st Semester Courses
Registration opens when the Learning Community (LC) is confirmed.  Once the LC is confirmed, registration materials, book lists and other information will be emailed to you a couple weeks prior to the beginning of your first weekend.
Register for your first semester courses using our WINGS system at: