NJEXCEL Program Features

Ongoing Support and Collaboration: E-Mentoring and Inquiry Groups

NJEXCEL’s Cohort and Inquiry Group design develops collegiality, collaboration, and peer support as candidates engage in a range of program activities.  Candidates work in regional Inquiry Groups, which meet regularly and continually communicate online, to discuss readings, problem-based activities and day-to-day challenges.  They support each other with peer reviews and feedback related to action research, job-embedded, and school-based projects.  Each Inquiry Group interacts with an assigned E-Mentor who facilitates the group’s activities and serves as its primary advisor.  Seminar Instructors, I-Mentors, S-Mentors, and Field Supervisors provide additional support related to program requirements and individual candidate needs.  NJEXCEL candidates and faculty form a collaborative learning community.

Standards-Driven, Problem-Based, Inquiry-Focused Curriculum

NJEXCEL’s program design, curriculum, and assessments are aligned with New Jersey Standards for School Leaders (NJPSSL), the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL), the National Educational Leadership Preparation Program Recognition Standards (NELP), and the Teacher Leader Model Standards (TLMS).   These standards form the basis for the requisite knowledge, skills, and dispositions for effective school leaders and the expected levels of NJEXCEL candidate performance in four inter-related areas of school leadership:

  • Visionary Leadership
  • Community Leadership
  • Instructional Leadership
  • Strategic Management

NJEXCEL’s Problem-Based Curriculum Modules are designed to address these areas and develop candidates' leadership and pedagogical and technological proficiencies.  NJEXCEL’s curriculum is inquiry-focused and requires job-embedded and Internship projects that emphasize the action research process, data-driven decision-making, and technology-driven research applications. Candidates will apply their skills and knowledge during structured job-embedded and Internship experiences. 

Technology-Infused Curriculum

NJEXCEL’s technology-infused curriculum is aligned with the International Society for Technology in Education, Standards for Education Leaders (ISTE-LE) and requires a minimum of 21 hours of technology training for all candidates.  The training is designed to enhance candidates’ technological knowledge, skills, and understanding related to effective use of current technologies to improve personal and staff productivity, and to enhance teaching and student learning.  Candidates develop individualized technology training plans based on an assessment of their technology skills.  Special technology skills sessions are supplemented by guided practice sessions that support candidates in using technology to prepare required presentations and an electronic Leadership Portfolio (e-folio).

Graduate Credit Option

Upon full and successful completion of the NJEXCEL Program, students become eligible for graduate credit through Thomas Edison State University.   Transcripts are available from Thomas Edison State University with the following credits, effective January 2018:

  • NJEXCEL Model 1……34 Credits
  • NJEXCEL Model 2……38 Credits
  • NJEXCEL Model 3……51 Credits
  • NJEXCEL Model 4……15 Credits

Field-Based Clinical Experiences

NJEXCEL emphasizes field-based clinical experiences that provide a range of opportunities to examine authentic problems within multiple school settings to broaden candidates’ experience and knowledge base.  Field-based clinical experiences are designed to build upon candidates’ prior experience and involve them in authentic tasks and problems encountered by district and school leaders.  Through these experiences, candidates interact with staff, students, parents, and community leaders from the district/school leader’s perspective. Candidates’ job-embedded and Internship experiences are collaboratively planned with E-Mentors and Internship Mentors.  Candidates develop individualized Professional Growth Plans to ensure meaningful opportunities to build upon and apply their knowledge, skills, and research in authentic settings.

Supervised Job-Embedded Experiences

Candidates participate in structured job-embedded experiences within the candidates’ school/district and complete job-embedded projects and activities.  These opportunities allow them to demonstrate their ability to lead, facilitate, and make decisions that effectively guide change, continuous improvement, and increased student achievement through application of research-based practices.  Each candidate has at least one on-site visit by an NJEXCEL Field Supervisor who observes him/her in the performance of specific job-embedded activities and provides feedback and support through one-on-one conferences.

Internships and Mentoring

Candidates participate in supervised Internships in a district or school.  Internships are conducted under the guidance of exemplary school/district leaders.  Participating districts/schools and mentors are selected by candidates in consultation with NJEXCEL staff.

Performance-Based Multi-Level Assessment System

NJEXCEL’s performance-based assessment system is designed to help candidates focus on their continual professional growth from the beginning of the program. Self-assessments aligned with New Jersey Professional Standards for School Leaders and the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders assist candidates in developing Personalized Leadership Profiles and Professional Growth Plans that will guide them through all program activities.  Multiple standards-based assessment methods are used to continually assess candidates’ knowledge, skills, dispositions, and performance, and to provide feedback for continuous professional growth.  All candidates are required to develop an electronic Leadership Portfolio (e-folio), which is regularly reviewed by the candidates with their E-Mentors.  A culminating External Portfolio Review is conducted at the end of the program and presented to a panel of exemplary school leaders. The program’s problem-based curriculum and performance-based assessments also prepare candidates for the School Leader Licensure Assessment (SLLA), the state-required test for principal certification.

Oustanding Faculty and Mentors

NJEXCEL’s Instructors, Mentors, and Field Supervisors are accomplished professionals with exemplary credentials as practitioners in a range of school and district leadership positions, as well as accomplished reputations as researchers and/or university professors in the field of educational leadership.