Frequently Asked Questions

Career, Licensure, Exam

In order to obtain licensure, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) requires a 500-hour practicum and proficient scores on the Massachusetts Performance Assessment for Leaders (MAPAL). This graduate certificate program provides content-specific experiences, which align with the MAPAL, and provides support with the 500-hour school site practicum experience; however, earning a proficient score on the MA-PAL exam itself is requirement for licensure. The MA-PAL assessment can be taken at any point a student feels prepared or post-graduation.

The tasks and assignments that are part of this graduate certificate will prepare participants for the Massachusetts Performance Assessment for Leaders (MAPAL) Exam, which they can elect to take on their own after they complete the program or any time during the program.

The completion of the four tasks required for the Massachusetts Performance Assessment for Leaders (MAPAL) Exam are aligned to the curriculum for this graduate certificate. The MA-PAL handbook designates acceptable forms of support from leadership programs such as: 1) ensuring the understanding of tasks 2) the alignment of tasks to coursework and field work 3) discussions on how to demonstrate understanding and 4) practicing leadership skills related to the four tasks. The GCSL does provide support for students who wish to take the exam post-graduation or during the program.

The GCSL is a principal preparation program. If you are interested in being a school principal or assistant principal, in the state of Massachusetts, a license is required. We are a DESE sponsoring organization who has authority to endorse candidates for this licensure.

GCSL may also be attractive to other educators looking to enhance their leadership skills, as well as employers outside of school leadership, because this program educates about universal practices in leadership and equity along with racial understanding and organizational transformation.

Curriculum and Coursework

Students should plan to spend a minimum of 10 hours per week for two classes. This time includes listening to lectures, participating in webinars, interacting on discussion boards, and digesting the material.

During the program, there is one synchronous Zoom meeting per week. There is also the possibility of group work projects that may need an additional Zoom meeting within a one- or two-week cycle.

At this time, we are planning to provide an in-person experience for the third semester, which will take place during the month of July.

Application and Admissions

Yes, the GCSL is intended for both current and aspiring school leaders and professionals. If you are not currently working in a school setting where you can complete your practicum hours, we will work with you to find a placement.

New students are enrolled once a year during the spring semester. Applicants can apply for the spring term.