K12 Master's Cohort Program



Main Office

Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis
School of Education
253 Education Building
1000 Bascom Mall
MadisonWI  53706-1326

Tel: 608/262-3106
Fax: 608/265-3135

Email: elpa@education.wisc.edu
or by contact form
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The pleasure of becoming an educated person is the enormous interest it adds to life. To be able to be caught up into the world of thought— that is to be educated. —Edith Hamilton

K12 Leadership Master's Cohort Program

Developing K-12 Leaders To Eliminate Inequities in
Wisconsin Public Schools and Beyond

In Collaboration With


Association for Wisconsin School Administrators 

Wisconsin School District Administrators Association (WASDA)


EVERY SUMMER                                                 

The application deadline for admission for Summer 2019 is ​​April 1, 2019.

                                                                                     School District Partners

 Application                      Admission Process       

Student Financial Services (Financial Aid)    UW-Madison Tuition

Department of Public Instruction    QUESTIONS    

  Middleton-Cross Plains
  Monona Grove
  Mt. Horeb
  Sun Prairie



The program is designed for current teachers and school or system leaders who are committed to becoming effective leaders of schools that eliminate inequities in student learning for all students in the schools and systems they serve. At the completion of the 14 month program candidates will receive a Master’s in Education and a Wisconsin administrator license for the principalship.  Students may also receive a director of instruction and director of student services license with 12 additional credits.


The program embodies the Wisconsin Idea, one of the longest and deepest traditions surrounding the University of Wisconsin that education should influence people’s lives beyond the boundaries of the classroom. Through the Masters in K-12 Leadership Cohort with a focus on Social Justice Leadership, the Partnership seeks to enhance its influence on educational quality and opportunity for all students in Wisconsin schools and beyond.


hese challenges have brought together the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators (AWSA), the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators (WASDA), and Partner School Districts to develop a pipeline for the next generation of school leaders committed and prepared to eliminate inequities in K-12 schools.




Based on the research on exemplary leadership preparation programs for social justice and research that advances equity, key features of this program include the following:




Each candidate accepted into the program will undergo a rigorous application and selection process to ensure that they possess a deep commitment to equity for all students, a strong instructional skill set for addressing a range of student learning needs, and a record of taking leadership roles that address equity. A committee composed of university faculty, AWSA representatives, and school district officials will screen applicants with an emphasis on recruiting racially diverse candidates and candidates with experience across student differences.


Rigorous, Accessible 


Candidates will engage in 14 months of focused, in-depth coursework with immediate application.  Courses will thoughtfully build on each other and be focused specifically on the work of eliminating inequities. Conveniently offered with  blended learning (in person and on-line), courses are offered Friday evenings 4:00-9:00 and Saturday’s 8:00-5:00, 5 weekends during the academic year and three on-campus week intensive sessions in the summer before and after the academic year.


Robust Internship


Candidates will engage in a strong internship integrated throughout the program, closely tied to course requirements under the guidance of a mentor principal who has demonstrated equity success. Candidates will gain hands-on experience with core principal competencies taught through coursework, practicum experience, and coaching.





New principals will receive one year of on-the-job coaching.  These individuals will observe candidates during their internship and in their first year practicing in the field.  Coaches will provide immediate feedback on performance and ongoing guidance to accelerate learning and leadership development. Coaches will include current and formal principals with expertise in eliminating inequities in their schools.



The program will collect data from recent graduates, instructors, coaches, and equity data in candidate schools every semester for continuous program improvement, program accountability, and accountability to the field that graduates are truly making a difference.


Multiple Licensure


Upon program completion, candidates will be eligible for the principal, director of instruction license, and director of special education and pupil services.


Pathway to Executive PhD


All credits in the program can be applied to the highly successful Executive PhD in Educational Leadership which further prepares candidates to advance equity work at the district regional, state, and national levels and through educational policy and research positions.

Develop Leadership Capacity    


Candidates develop leadership capacity for social justice by carrying out authentic learning experiences throughout the program’s coursework and practicum. Coursework is connected to and woven with practice to reinforce and transfer learning.  Feedback and coaching provide opportunities to develop reflective practice and transfer learning into leadership actions to eliminate inequities.  
Program Cost
Master's with Principal certification - 30 credits
Master's with Principal, Director of Special Education and Pupil Services and Director of Instruction certification - 42 credits


Assistance with funding may be available.

The following (42 credits) will satisfy the requirement for the M.S. degree in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis, principal, director of instruction, and director of special education and pupil services licensure.  

Flexibility in Time to Completion
While the program is designed for completion over a 14 month period, if students needs to spread the course work over two years, this is an option.  

1st Summer    

9 credits
​3  week intensives with online work 

Critical Instructional Rounds
ELPA 847 Instructional Leadership and Teacher Capacity             
(TAUGHT IN EVEN YEARS 2018, 2020, 2022...)  

Student Work Correlations to Instruction  
ELPA 703 Evaluating and Supporting Quality Classroom Teaching
(TAUGHT IN ODD YEARS 2019, 2021, 2023...)

Equity Analysis and Plan  
ELPA 735 Leadership for Equity and Diversity (hybrid course) 
Finance/Resource Equity Audit and Plan
ELPA ​832 Resource Allocation for Equity and Social Justice    

1st Spring  

9 credits
Friday/Saturday - 5 weekends  

Engaging Parents and Community Plan
ELPA 770 ​Community, Opportunity, Justice

Examining the Legal Foundations for Equity and Justice
Policy Analysis Toward Equity

ELPA 840 Public School Law 

School Board Meetings
Principal Shadow
Wisconsin Educator Effectiveness Toward Equity
ELPA ​900 Practicum

2nd Fall   (optional)

Course work available to complete requirements for
Director of Instruction and/or Director of Special Education and Pupil Services
6 credits
Friday/Saturday - 5 weekends 

District Analysis of Current Planning Activities/Revise Toward Equity
ADDITIONAL course (1 of 2) for Director of Instruction license

ELPA 875 ​Theory and Practice of Educational Planning

District Equity Policy Analysis 
ADDITIONAL course (1 of 2) for Director of Special Education and Pupil Services license

ELPA 842 Legal Foundations of Special Education and Pupil Services
hybrid- in person/online

1st Fall  

 9 credits 
Friday/Saturday - 5 weekends 

ELPA 863 Race, Class and Educational Inequality

Understanding Practices to Improve Student Equity and Opportunity
ELPA 845 School-Level Leadership

School Board Meetings
Principal Shadow
Staff Employment Equity Analysis
ELPA 900 Practicum

2nd Summer   

9 credits
3 week intensives with online work

Student Work Correlations to Instruction 
ELPA 703 Evaluating and Supporting Quality Classroom Teaching
(TAUGHT IN ODD YEARS 2019, 2021, 2023...)

Critical Instructional Rounds
ELPA 847 Instructional Leadership and Teacher Capacity
(TAUGHT IN EVEN YEARS, 2018, 2020, 2021...)

District Wide Equity Implementation Plan
ADDITIONAL course (1 of 2) for Director of Special Education and Pupil Services license
ELPA 835 Leadership for Inclusive Schooling online
Equity Resistance Analysis and Plan 
ADDITIONAL course (1 of 2) for Director of Instruction license
ELPA ​860 Organizational ​Theory and Behavior in Education


Effective May 2018

Guide 2018-2019 

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