NJ EXCEL FAQ

Q. What is NJ EXCEL?

A. The New Jersey Expedited Certification in Educational Leadership (NJ EXCEL) Program is a State-approved non-traditional program leading to Principal and School Administrator certification in lieu of a second master’s degree in educational administration, and to certification for Supervisor and Director for School Counseling Services in lieu of the 12-14-credit sequence of graduate courses required by the State.

Q. Who is eligible for NJ EXCEL??

A. Eligibility for NJ EXCEL Models #1, #2, and #3 require a minimum of a Master’s Degree or higher in a field related to education and more than four years of full-time teaching experience and/or experience as an educational specialist (i.e. school social worker, school psychologist, and counselor).

NJ EXCEL Model #4 leads to School Administrator certification. Admission to the program requires a Certificate of Eligibility for Principal or Standard Principal Certification. Individuals who have a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and have served as a Business Administrator/Board Secretary for a minimum of four years are eligible for the program.

Q. What NJ EXCEL Model suits my experience and career goals?
A. NJ EXCEL’s four program models are designed to match each individual’s educational and professional experience with a path to four areas of State certification to meet their career goals. The four models are briefly described below:

NJ EXCEL Model #1: For practicing supervisors with at least 5 years of supervisory experience under a New Jersey Supervisor Certificate; leads to New Jersey Certificate of Eligibility for Principal and certification for Director of School Counseling Services* upon completion of the following:

• State-approved program of instruction

• The minimum of 300 hours of field-based experiences

• School-Based Internship within a 12-month period

• A passing score on the State-required test for Principal Certification (School Leader Licensure Assessment/SLLA).

 

NJ EXCEL Model #2: For classroom teachers and educational specialists holding supervisor certification and practicing supervisors with less than 5 years of supervisory experience; leads to New Jersey Certificate of Eligibility for Principal and certification for Director of School Counseling Services* upon completion of the following:

• The State-approved program of instruction

• A minimum of 300 hours of field-based experiences

• A school-based internship within a 12- to 15-month period

• A passing score on the State-required test for Principal Certification (School Leader Licensure Assessment/SLLA).

 

NJ EXCEL Model #3: For classroom teachers and educational specialists with more than four years of full-time service; leads to State certification for Supervisor*, Certificate of Eligibility for Principal, and Director of School Counseling Services* upon completion of the following:

• The State-approved program of instruction

• A minimum of 300 hours of field-based experiences

• A School-Based Internship

• A Supervisory Internship within an 18-month period

• A passing score on the State-required test for Principal Certification (School Leader Licensure Assessment/SLLA).

 

NJ EXCEL Model #4: For individuals who have a Certificate of Eligibility for Principal, a Provisional Principal’s Certificate, a Standard Principal Certificate, or Business Administrator/Board Secretary with four years of experience; leads to New Jersey Certificate of Eligibility for School Administrator upon completion of the following:

• A project-based School Administrator Internship

• A minimum of 150 hours of field-based experiences

• A passing score on the State-required test for School Administrator Certification (School Superintendent Assessment/SSA).

* NOTE: (1) Eligibility for Director of School Counseling Services Certification requires a master’s degree in school counseling and a minimum of three years of counselor experience; (2) The State does not require a test for certification as Supervisor or Director of School Counseling Services.

Q. For NJ EXCEL Model #1, do I need five years of full-time experience as a supervisor or can it be part-time?
A. To be eligible for principal certification upon completion of NJ EXCEL Model #1, State Code requires five years of successful full-time experience as a supervisor of an instructional area or department related to the New Jersey Curriculum Standards under a valid supervisor certificate. Therefore, candidates may apply to NJ EXCEL with at least four (4) years of supervisory experience if they will complete their 5th year by the end of the NJ EXCEL Program. The required five years of supervisory experience is determined based on the job’s requirement for supervisor certification and the nature of the responsibilities of the position the candidate holds, regardless of title. For example, if the position requires supervisor certification and includes both supervisory and teaching responsibilities, it would be considered full-time.
Q. Do I have to wait until I have five years of experience as a teacher and/or educational specialist before I can apply to NJ EXCEL Model #2 or Model #3?
A. The State requires that you have completed at least five years of full-time experience as a teacher and/or educational specialist by the time you apply for certification at the end of the NJ EXCEL Program. Candidates may apply to NJ EXCEL with at least four years of full-time experience if they will complete their 5th year by the end of the NJ EXCEL program.
Q. If I have a master’s degree or higher in a related educational field that is not specific to a content area in the NJ Curriculum Standards, such as special education or pupil personnel services, am I eligible?
A. Yes.
Q. If I am certified as a supervisor and have supervisory experience in another state, am I eligible?
A. Yes. Equivalent out-of-state certification and supervisory/teaching are acceptable for admission to NJ EXCEL.
Q. Can experience as a department head, coordinator, or similar position count as supervisory experience?
A. Yes, as long as the position, regardless of title, requires supervisor certification with responsibilities typical of the supervisory role (e.g. staff supervision, curriculum and professional development, program and coordination).
Q. Do I have to be a member of NJPSA to apply to NJ EXCEL?
A. No, you do not have to be an NJPSA member to apply. However, once accepted, you will automatically become an NJPSA “Aspiring School Leader” member if you are not a supervisor and already a regular member. The cost of Aspiring School Leaders Membership is included in your tuition. Aspiring membership entitles you to all NJPSA services, except legal services. If you are already a practicing supervisor (Model1 or Model 2), you are expected to be a regular dues-paying member of NJPSA. Although this is not a requirement for admission to NJ EXCEL, Model 1 and Model 2 candidates are encouraged to be NJPSA members.

Application Process

Q. Where Can I Get an Application for NJEXCEL, and is there an application fee?

A. There is no application fee for NJ EXCEL. You must apply online at www.njexcel.org.

Q. What Do I Need to Bring to the Interview?

A. Candidates should bring the following to the interview:

• Copy of your graduate degree(s)

• Copy of all New Jersey and other state certifications

• District letter (original) verifying completion of at least four years of full-time teaching and/or educational specialist experience

• School district statement of support

• Current resume

• Job description (Model 1 only). The job description is necessary to ensure your eligibility based on your current supervisory role.

Q. Do I need to bring a formal portfolio to the interview? What if I don’t have one?

A. Please bring some examples of your work that exemplify your leadership, supervisory, and/or teaching practice, and your knowledge of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and student learning.

Q. When will I complete my writing sample, and will it be handwritten or done on a computer?

A. The writing sample will be e-mailed to you prior to your interview. You will be asked to complete the writing sample and bring a copy with you to the interview along with a writing task analysis exercise.

Certification

Q. Does NJ EXCEL provide any special support to help me pass the State tests?

A. The NJ EXCEL curriculum is designed to provide ongoing learning experiences that mirror the SLLA and SSA problem-solving exercises (i.e. case studies, vignettes, and scenarios). NJ EXCEL also offers a special series of SLLA and SSA Prep sessions, which review the content of each test. SLLA and SSA Prep Sessions are offered at no additional charge to NJ EXCEL candidates.

Q. If I get a Certificate of Eligibility through NJ EXCEL and don’t take a position right away, is there a limit to the number of years the CE is valid?

A. No. The State Code does not indicate an expiration period for the certificate of eligibility.

Q. Am I eligible for certification for  Director of School Counseling Services when I complete NJ EXCEL?
A. The requirements for State certification for Director of School Counseling Services are included within NJ EXCEL Models #1, #2, and #3. Eligibility for this certification requires certification for guidance counselor and a minimum of three years of counseling experience. There is no state test for certification for Director of School Counseling Services.
Q. Am I eligible for supervisor certification when I complete NJ EXCEL?
A. The requirements for State supervisor certification are included within NJ EXCEL Model #3. There is no state test for supervisor certification. Candidates must have at least three years of educational experience before applying for the supervisory certificate. Candidates must have at least three years of educational experience before applying for the supervisory certificate. Most candidates will be eligible to apply within one year of starting NJ EXCEL.
Q. How do I apply for State certification when I am finished with NJ EXCEL?
A. FEA will process your application for your certifications as soon as you complete all NJ EXCEL requirements and have passed the State test(s). You are responsible for completing the application, Oath of Allegiance, and paying the required State fee for each area of certification. The fee includes the Certificate of Eligibility as well as the Provisional and Standard Certifications when you obtain a position and complete the Residency.

Internships

Q. How do NJ EXCEL Internships work?
A. To meet the State requirement for a 300-hours field-based leadership experience, NJ EXCEL requires a range of internship experiences with multiple mentors. The purpose of the field-based experiences and internships for all NJ EXCEL Models is to provide authentic, field-based, hands-on experiences under the mentorship of an exemplary practitioner.
School-Based and Supervisory Internships are carefully planned to meet each candidate’s needs based on prior experiences and professional growth targets. A School-Based Internship (90 hours) with a Principal mentor is required for Models #1, #2 and #3. A Supervisory Internship (30 hours) with a Supervisor mentor is also required for Model #3. Model #4 requires field-based internships at the district level with a School Administrator Internship (150 hours) with a superintendent/assistant superintendent mentor.
Q. How am I placed in the Internships?
A. NJ EXCEL considers, first and foremost, an Internship placement that best meets your professional growth needs. However, on a case-by-case basis, consideration is also given to other areas (i.e. logistics, schedule and responsibilities in current position, teaching responsibilities). Final placement decisions are made by the NJ EXCEL Internship Coordinator in consultation with each candidate.
Q. How will my Internships be scheduled?
A. Internship schedules are extremely flexible. The exact schedule will be determined by you and your internship mentor(s) based on the types of experiences that best meet your professional growth targets and required performance tasks and internship project(s) to be completed.
Q. How are schools and mentors selected?
A. Internship sites and internship mentors are selected from an NJ EXCEL approved list. Candidates may suggest a school and/or mentor, which may be considered for NJ EXCEL approval. However, priority will be given to ensuring that both the district/school and internship mentor will provide the best experience possible.
Q. Is the Internship Mentor’s stipend included in the NJ EXCEL tuition?
A. Some stipends are; some are not. The E-Mentor and Field Supervisor stipends are included on the program’s tuition. I-Mentor (Principal) and S-Mentor (Supervisor) stipends are paid directly to the mentors by each candidate. All mentor stipends must be satisfied prior to the program’s completion.

Faculty

Q. Who teaches NJ EXCEL classes?
A. NJ EXCEL’s instructors, e-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 university professors in the field of educational leadership. A list of instructors with a summary of their credentials is available upon request.
Q. Who are the mentors for the Internship?
A. Mentors for school-based internships are practicing principals, and mentors for school administrator internships are practicing superintendents and assistant superintendents. Supervisory mentors for supervisory internships are practicing supervisors or administrators with supervisory experience. All mentors are selected using standards to identify exemplary district/school leaders and supervisors based on their professional accomplishments and evidence of their districts’/schools’ and/or programs’ effectiveness.

Graduate Credit

Can I receive graduate credit for completing NJ EXCEL?
NJ EXCEL candidates are eligible to receive graduate credit from Thomas Edison State University TESU’s banded hours program. In October 2010, and again in May 2016, Thomas Edison State University reviewed NJ EXCEL Programs and recommended the following graduate credits:

NJ EXCEL Model #1 = Total 34 credits;

NJ EXCEL Model #2 = Total 38 credits;

NJ EXCEL Model #3 = Total 47 credits;

NJ EXCEL Model #4 = Total 12 credits.

Thomas Edison’s Master’s in Educational Administration requires 36 credits. NJ EXCEL graduates may apply 18 credit hours earned in NJ EXCEL toward the attainment of a Master’s from Thomas Edison after they have completed the NJ EXCEL program is they are interested in attaining a second Master’s degree.

Rutgers University grants six credits from the NJ EXCEL program toward its doctoral program in educational leadership. NOVA Southeastern University  grants nine credits from the NJ EXCEL program toward its doctoral program in educational leadership.

Enrollment & Location

Q. What is the enrollment per cohort?
A. The average enrollment for each cohort is approximately 25 to 30 candidates. However, additional candidates may be accepted if warranted. Regardless of the cohort size, candidates are divided into small Inquiry Groups (peer study groups of 6 to 8 candidates) to optimize opportunities for collaboration, dialogue, and ongoing support by an E-Mentor assigned to each Inquiry Group.
Q. When and where do Inquiry Groups meet?
A. Inquiry Groups are assigned according to region (north, central, south) and meet on a regular basis at a location in their region that group members determine with their E-Mentor. Inquiry Group meetings are scheduled within the total number of required instructional hours. E-Mentors meet with their Inquiry Groups and provide ongoing support and guidance throughout the program. Inquiry Groups meet a total of 24 hours for Models #1 and #2, 33 hours for Model #3, and 27 hours for Model #4.
Q. If enrollment for one of the cohort classes is too low, what happens?
A. The cohort will likely be cancelled, and candidates will be referred to another cohort if space is available.

Tuition and Other Costs

Q. How much is the tuition for each NJ EXCEL Model?
A. Model 1:  $7,600.00 – Plus book costs, ASCD membership costs, and $650.00 I-Mentor stipend, which is paid directly to the mentor by the candidate)

Model 2:  $8,200.00 – Plus book costs, ASCD membership costs, and $650.00 I-Mentor stipend or $400.00 S-Mentor (Project) stipend which are paid directly to the mentor by the candidate.

Model 3:  $10,500.00 (Plus book costs, ASCD membership costs, and $650.00 I-Mentor stipend; $400.00 S-Mentor (Project) stipend or $350.00 S-Mentor (Internship) stipend, which are paid directly to the mentor by the candidate.

Model 4: There are four tuition tiers in Model 4 depending on various conditions:

Tier I (Full Tuition) – $3,150 + $650 mentor stipend paid directly to the mentor by the candidate.

Tier II (Reduced Tuition for Candidates Who Have Taken and Passed the SSA) – $2,800 + $650 mentor stipend paid directly to the mentor by the candidate.

Tier III (EXCEL Alumni Models 1, 2, and 3) – $2,500 + $650 mentor stipend paid directly to the mentor by the candidate.

Full tuition payment is due prior to the start of each cohort in January or July on deadlines established by each cohort. FEA is committed to making the NJ EXCEL Program as affordable as possible. As a self-funded program, NJ EXCEL tuitions are established based on program operation costs, which may vary from year to year. Therefore, FEA reserves the right to increase tuition as needed to maintain program quality. Although there is no formal financial aid available, monthly payments to NJ EXCEL are interest free. The program has also established collaboration with The Bank of Princeton for loan arrangements to pay for this program. On request, candidates can also be referred to a financial advisor, who can work with them on other options.

Q. How much is the first payment on the tuition and when is it due?
A. Upon formal written acceptance into NJ EXCEL for Models #1, #2, and #3, an initial deposit of $2,500 is required within 10 days following that notification. Remaining tuition payments are paid in equal monthly installments. Candidates who choose to pay the entire tuition will receive a 5% discount prior to a set deadline at the start of the respective cohort.
Q. Are books included in the tuition?
A. No. Purchase of required books is the responsibility of each candidate. NJ EXCEL carefully selects current books that are cost-effective and practitioner-oriented, and which will contribute to a significant personal/professional library.  NJ EXCEL will provide a small number of required books at the start of the program. All other required books are the responsibility of each candidate to obtain. All Model 1, 2, and 3 candidates must also have at minimum a Premium Electronic ASCD Membership for the duration of their NJ EXCEL program.

Q. Are there technology fees or other special fees?
A. No.
Q. Are costs for the state-required licensure test, applications for certification, and the mentor for the Residency (if I obtain a school leader position) included in the tuition?
A. No. Costs related to State-required tests, application for certification, and the mentor stipend for the Residency if hired in a school leader position are the responsibility of each candidate.
Q. Will I be eligible to receive reimbursement for NJ EXCEL tuition from my school district?
A. This depends on your district’s policies and bargaining agreement. Most districts accept letters from NJ EXCEL and/or an NJ EXCEL transcript to verify course completion for district reimbursement. If the district requires graduate credit for reimbursement, you should inform your district that NJ EXCEL has been recommended for graduate credit by Thomas Edison State University. There is a required fee for this transcript. These transcripts are optional.
Q. Is it possible to get financial aid to pay for this program?
A. FEA does not participate in the federal loan program that may be available through higher education institutions. However, FEA has arranged for candidates to apply for an unsecured personal loan through The Bank of Princeton. Additional financial plans can be discussed through a recommended financial advisor.

 

Program Requirements

Q. What is the NJ EXCEL curriculum like? Are there exams, term papers, etc. required in NJ EXCEL?
A. NJ EXCEL is a non-traditional, standards-driven, performance-based program for experienced educators. As such, its emphasis is on field-based and job-embedded experiences, professional growth, and leadership performance as measured by the New Jersey Professional Standards for School Leaders, the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISSLC), and the 2015 Professional Standards for Educational Leaders. Given this emphasis and current research in leadership development and adult learning strategies, NJ EXCEL is designed to provide authentic, problem-based learning experiences in an inquiry-focused, project-based curriculum that emphasizes collaboration and dialogue in the examination of leadership and instructional practices.

NJ EXCEL Models #1, #2, and #3 include class sessions and special institutes, technology training sessions, and Inquiry Group meetings. All models require one or more field-based Internships that address your specific professional growth needs, and one or more Internships and job-embedded projects. There are no traditional tests or exams. Multiple, performance-based assessments are used throughout all models.

NJ EXCEL Models #1, #2, and #3 require a minimum of 21 hours of technology training, which is included in the total required instructional hours. The technology requirement is intended to ensure that all candidates have at least a basic level of proficiency in the use of MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Web resources. Technology is also integrated throughout the program to enhance candidates’ understanding related to the use of technologies to enhance staff productivity, teaching, and learning. Each candidate engages in customized technology training based on his/her technology self-assessment and is provided with ongoing support and special sessions for tutoring and guided practice. NJ EXCEL also makes web-based technology tutorials available to all candidates for independent online training to enhance technology skills, which is included in tuition fees.

NJ EXCEL Model #4 is a totally field-based model, which requires a 150-hour Internship under the mentorship of a Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent, 27 hours of Inquiry Group meetings, and one Action Research Project. There are NO FORMAL CLASSES in Model #4.

NJ EXCEL candidates are provided with accounts to NJ EXCEL’s Online Learning Community (Chalk and Wire) and actively participate in ongoing electronic communication, e-mentoring, networking, sharing resources, discussion boards, instant messaging, and announcements.

Attendance Requirements

Q. What are the attendance requirements? What happens if I miss a class or session?

A. State requirements for certification through NJ EXCEL mandate completion of a specific number of clock hours for each NJ EXCEL Model. Candidates are, therefore, expected to attend all sessions in order to complete all required hours. However, if a class session is missed for good reason, the candidate will have opportunities to arrange make-up hours in accordance with program policies. It is the candidate’s responsibility to contact the instructor of the make up class prior to attending the needed session.

For More Information or Clarification

Visit: www.njexcel.org

Email:  Frank Palatucci, Program Director at fpalatucci@njpsa.org

Dr. Jeff Graber, Associate program Director, at jgraber@njpsa.org

Dr. Joseph Poedubicky, Field Experience Coordinator, at jpoedubicky@njpsa.org

Ms. Wanda Grant, Administrative Assistant, at wgrant@njpsa.org

Phone: 609-860-1200

Fax: 609-860-6677