The Scaffolded Apprenticeship Model (SAM Citywide)


The Scaffolded Apprenticeship Model (SAM Citywide) is a proven, innovative school building leadership certification program designed for teachers who want a non-traditional, practice-based leadership preparation experience. The program combines theory and practice, engaging participants in team-based action-research tasks to improve actual outcomes at their school during (not after) the program. The program is geared to teachers with at least three-years of teaching experience who wish to take on or strengthen an existing leadership role at their school. Some graduates choose to become assistant principals (or principals) immediately after graduation. However, our target student is one who is currently a teacher leader or wishes to become so OR someone who wishes to become an assistant principal.

Our Vision of Leadership
SAM Citywide students put theory into practice during the program and become part of a growing number of teachers and leaders across the city who are improving the system as a whole. In SAM Citywide we define leadership as the collective capacity to continuously improve outcomes for students with whom a school has not previously been successful. We believe in the idea of a learning leader – someone who strives for continuous improvement by modeling and leading effective collaboration and continuous learning.

SAM Citywide produces school leaders who are skilled and comfortable in:
• Collaboration
• Leading adult learning
• Leading effective uses of data
• Leading improvement in school culture
• Leading improvement in school systems (curriculum, instruction, assessment, attendance, etc)

The Theory of Change
Unlike the typical administrative certification program, SAM Citywide has a distinct theory of change rooted in an approach called Strategic Inquiry. In SAM Citywide, participants learn through experience to engage in Strategic Inquiry to improve outcomes for students and to lead other colleagues to do the same.

Innovative Curriculum & Structure
The SAM Citywide curriculum is grounded in helping participants engage in each of the three tasks below. The curriculum is an integrated whole. Students move through the program in a cohort, guided typically by one facilitator who gets to know the work and the participants deeply over time. The work is:
• Team-based
• Practice-based
• Real-world based

Three phases of work in Strategic Inquiry:
1. Move students
2. Move colleagues
3. Improve school systems

Our Action-Research Approach
In a traditional program, students work mostly alone and they move through distinct course taught by different professors. In this program, students move together as a cohort through an integrated experience unified by core action-research tasks. They tasks are designed to provide leaders with the knowledge, skills and habits of mind needed to lead inquiry-based improvement in an actual school.

Classmates, Alumni, and Continued Connections
Graduates of SAM Citywide have developed a common language and mastered a common approach to leading improvement in complex systems. The cohort model supports the development of deep friendships and professional connections, within and outside of one’s specific cohort. This rich network of SAM alumni is a resource that can be drawn upon as a continued connection beyond graduation.

Program Fast Facts
• Program completed within two academic years
• Cohort model (move through entire program with one cohort and typically one instructor)
• Convenient, weekly 4-hour seminars (courses occur one night per week, 5pm-9pm, 15 per semester for 4 semesters)
• School intervisitations (1 per semester) as part of the program
• Internship at your school site
• Emphasis on collaboration and real world action-research tasks
• Proven, research-based model

Testimonials from Students
“SAM helped me to see leadership as a process to be applied rather than a quality I possess. Since it is my ability to apply inquiry to problems of practice rather than an abstract personal quality that defines my leadership, it is not incumbent upon me to act as problem solver and chief but rather as a member of a collaborative team of professionals. I now believe that my authority is derived not from the position I hold, but from the strength of the collaborative inquiry I facilitate.”
-Pete Schmidt, SAM graduate 2013, Special Education Department Chair, Lower Manhattan Community Middle School

“The SAM program changed the way I think about making change. We learned about leading by doing the actual work of improving our schools.”
-Emily Whitmore, SAM Citywide graduate 2013,Instructional coach, Bronx Charter School for Children

Contact Us for More Information
For partnership programs, admission is made directly to the sponsoring organization. Admissions are made directly to the School of Public Affairs for the SAM program and the SDL track.

Questions about the SBL/SDL certification recommendations, SDL track, or MSEd course requirements should be directed to John Cutuli in the School’s Office of Academic Programs. Questions about the SAM program should be sent to Nell Scharff Panero, Director of the Center for Educational Leadership. Information sessions are held monthly on the Baruch College campus.