American International College Meets New Massachusetts Standards for Improving Public Education

AIC has received approval for its graduate program in School Leadership.

Springfield, MA, November 28, 2013 --( American International College in Springfield meets new state requirements scheduled to take effect in January. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) has issued new program approval standards aimed at improving public education in Massachusetts by putting the emphasis on a students’ competency.

AIC President Vincent Maniaci said, "AIC has received approval for its graduate program in School Leadership in three licensure fields: Principal/Assistant Principal (PreK-6, 5-8, 9-12), Administrator of Special Education, and Superintendent/Assistant Superintendent."

According to the Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Massachusetts Commissioner of Education, “Our goal is to ensure that every classroom in the Commonwealth is staffed by an effective educator, and schools and districts are organized to support student achievement and success. To achieve this goal, ESE is relying on preparation programs to prepare all teachers and leaders to be effective educators,” he said.

Ellen Noonan, Vice President, School for Graduate and Adult Education, said, “All higher education institutions with state-approved administrative training programs in the Commonwealth were required to develop new programs last year and to submit to the Dept. of ESE a newly-written program based on the new Standards for a School Leadership by April 1, 2013.”

According to Noonan, “This re-accreditation is significant as AIC currently has School Leadership training programs not only in Springfield, but in Buzzards Bay, Lawrence, Marlborough, Medford, Fall River, Wakefield, Weymouth, Worcester and East Bridgewater."

Noonan said AIC achieved re-accreditation status in large measure due to long hours over many months of hard work under the direction of AIC's School Leadership program director and assistant dean, Joseph Ruscio. “Joe put together a team of 12 AIC School Leadership faculty who themselves are either current or retired superintendents, principals or in other school leadership roles, and together they worked tirelessly to complete this task. Their commitment and dedication to this task was truly impressive,” she said.

This group, which became known as the “Professors Working Group,” met 24 times beginning in May 2012 through March 2013, either on campus or in retreat for several days at a time, to develop the program.

Ruscio said the work began with three subcommittees. “One conducted research on successful programs across the country, the second developed the responses to a Needs Assessment for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the third group developed the strategies and work plan for the year ahead,” he said.

Developing the program on time was a challenge. “We were racing to the deadline all the while ensuring that the new program met my expectations, the education department’s expectations, the college’s expectations, as well as the high expectations of the state,” Ruscio said.

“When candidates have to become licensed by 2016, they are going to have to pass a performance-based assessment, unlike what they do now for licensing. So revising the program is really a precursor to revising the whole new licensing procedure at the preparatory level.”

Ruscio said administrators will now have additional tools and knowledge to be able support teachers in the challenge of meeting the high needs of students.

“Now students can be assured they are enrolled in a program that meets the standards and goals of what the state requires; a program that will train candidates in becoming a highly qualified, highly proficient practitioner. They can participate in the program knowing they are getting the best of the research and content, as well as the essential opportunities for practice, because we’ve embedded hours for their field experience within courses they take along the way," according to Ruscio.

Esta Sobey, AIC Associate Dean of Education, said, “This was a unique opportunity imposed on us by the state to perfect our programs that were already quite effective. We are proud of the hard work of the team and excited to move the new programs forward."
American International College
Craig Greenberg