UMKC Plus Step by Step

With support from a leadership coach and experience managing teachers in a local school, our residents learn how to create a school culture in which students are challenged and inspired, and where teachers receive the feedback and support they need to grow.

Our residents are a diverse set of certified educators who have at least three years of teaching experience, a passion for helping teachers do their best work, and a deep commitment to the students, families and communities of Kansas City. 

Candidate Traits

There is no such thing as a typical PLUS resident, but our leaders do share a few key traits:

  • Desire to pursue graduate training, PLUS residents must be simultaneously enrolled in one of two graduate programs:
  • Commitment to Excellence: PLUS residents relentlessly pursue excellence—for themselves, their teachers, and their students—as they work to foster a supportive learning environment where teachers succeed and students thrive. They use student data to guide their leadership, encourage a culture of feedback and constant learning, and actively seek out opportunities to grow and improve.
  • Instructional Expertise: PLUS residents have a track record of success in the classroom. They know how to challenge and inspire all students, and they have valuable insight and practical advice that will help the teachers they manage do the same.
  • Strong Leadership Instincts: PLUS residents may not enter the program as expert managers, but they do come with strong skills and instincts for influencing others. They anticipate challenges and solve problems strategically, they motivate others to do excellent work, and they promote an inclusive environment that values all community members and the diverse perspectives they bring. 

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Program Steps

  1. Apply: Complete the application and get accepted into the program and into a master’s degree or Ed.S. program. We’re looking for educators with at least three years in the classroom and some experience leading adults as teacher leaders, instructional coaches, or department chairs. Educators from partner schools as well as other schools and districts are welcome to apply.
  2. Secure your school placement: Secure a leadership position at one of our partner schools, where you’ll develop your leadership skills in a real school setting. We believe leaders do their best work at schools that match their skills and interests, so you’ll be responsible for finding a placement, but we will give you ample support along the way and connect you with schools that may be a good fit.
  3. Attend Summer Institute: Complete an intensive summer institute alongside other PLUS residents, where you will learn and practice foundational leadership skills, such as delivering effective teacher feedback, establishing a vision for academic excellence, and translating that vision into real results for students.
  4. Complete your degree program and a two-year residency at a local school: Spend two years developing teachers in a local school, with support from a seasoned leadership coach. In addition to hands-on practice in a real Kansas City school, you will work toward a Master’s or Educational Specialist’s in educational administration.
  5. Successfully complete your residency, earn your certification and your degree: Demonstrate success with your teachers and students and pass required exams to earn your principal certification and a Master’s or Ed.S. degree at the end of your second year.  

Program Benefits

As a Kansas City PLUS resident, you’ll receive:

  • Hands-on practice: During the school year, get real experience helping a team of teachers improve their instruction, with support from a leadership coach. Our residents receive a full salary and benefits from the schools where they work.
  • Personalized coaching and training: In bi-weekly coaching visits, your leadership coach will help you work toward personal leadership goals and build a deep understanding of your school and the surrounding community. We will also work with you to tailor a coaching and development plan—including monthly professional development sessions—that fits your leadership experience and the context of the school where you work.
  • Support from a mentor principal: We partner with schools who are committed to providing their residents with the best possible training and support. As part of this commitment, mentor principals in our schools will receive training on how to best support your development as a leader, and more broadly, foster a strong culture of leadership development.
  • Principal certification and a master’s degree or Ed.S. degree: Demonstrate success with your teachers and students, complete coursework, and pass required exams to earn principal certification and a Master of Arts or Education Specialist Degree in Educational Administration at the end of your second year.
  • A community of leaders: Tap into a diverse network of fellow PLUS residents who will challenge you to grow and support you along the way.