It's not just teenagers celebrating graduation this month. Last week, more than 50 experienced educators were recognized during a credential commencement surrounded by family and friends.
The students graduated from SDCOE's Preliminary Administrative Services Credential (PASC) Program, a rigorous, two-year course that prepares educators for the ever-increasing challenges of school leadership.
Gaining the PASC expands an educator's opportunities. The credential qualifies someone to serve in a variety of administrative roles, including principal, assistant principal, program manager, coordinator, nurse, and others depending on the school district.
"In this season of graduations, it is my honor to honor you -- educators, who are striving to have a greater impact on our schools in order to do even more for our students," said San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold.
"You have accomplished the next step in ensuring even more of our schoolchildren are positioned for success in college, career, and beyond," he told the crowd of graduates and their guests.
This year, the 54 program graduates were from 21 school districts in Los Angeles and San Diego counties. One student made the drive from Palmdale Unified in northern Los Angeles County to San Diego more than 20 times in two years.
"His commitment, and that of the other students, really shows us that this is a compelling program with benefits that outweigh the inconvenience of distance or time," said Jeff Warshaw, an SDCOE executive leadership coach who manages the PASC Program.
The graduation ceremony on June 8 included family, friends, food, and a panel discussion with Superintendent Francisco Escobedo of Chula Vista Elementary School District and Superintendent Steve Boyle of Escondido Union High School District.
"I really enjoyed being in the program. I learned a lot from the other cohort members, the teachers were very knowledgeable, and this credential opens a lot of opportunities for me," said PASC graduate Heather McCormick.
The San Diego Unified School District teacher was there with her husband and daughter. "It's so nice to be able to share this accomplishment with my family since they had to put up with me for the past two years," McCormick said.
The PASC Program develops systems leaders who are equipped to build high-performing schools that focus on powerful learning for students.
The program is built on SDCOE's Systems Leadership Framework, which provides a common language for connecting how to lead a school with what makes an effective and trusted leader. The comprehensive leadership curriculum was developed by successful school principals with input from area superintendents and is aligned with California Administrator Performance Expectations (CAPE).
This graduation class brings the total number of PASC graduates to 178 in four years.