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Internships & Projects

Internships & Projects

Yearlong internships build knowledge

Internships are at the heart of what the COSA-CUC program is all about. Our candidates tell us there’s nothing like actually doing the work to make the learning meaningful. Unlike many programs in Oregon, the COSA-CUC Principal License curriculum features a job-embedded, year-long experience that deals with annual improvement and progress, not just a snapshot of limited activities. Internships take place in a face-to-face school setting and under the supervision of an Oregon administrator who has held a license for at least three years. COSA will work with interns in non-traditional school settings, such as ESDs or virtual schools, to design internships that meet program requirements.


Candidates spend a year immersed in a project of their choice, one that has meaning for them and for their district. Each internship culminates in a comprehensive report on the district project. Past projects have included math standards, attendance and literacy.  


You'll never be alone. Each candidate works closely with a university supervisor (see Faculty list) and a district mentor. University supervisors are skilled Oregon educators dedicated to helping students succeed. Onsite mentors play a mission-critical role by providing immediate support, advice, access to information, and encouragement. Candidates meet with their support team (university supervisor and district mentor) multiple times throughout the year.

Internship participant reflections

We ask our interns to reflect on their experience each year. Here are a few thoughts at the conclusion of their school year.

– Gathering data doesn't matter if we don't use it. Over the past three years, I've gathered behavior data in a variety of ways, but often don't have them time or energy to refine, organize, and present it in a usable way. Through this project, I have been able to hear a lot of feedback about the frustration with this system. I've been able to work with team leaders and our admin to create a more streamlined and usable way of gathering information that is easier to present and helps teams to make informed decisions about behavior interventions.

– I have learned that organization makes a world of difference in my professional life. I am a deep, but scattered thinker. I often have ten pots on the stove and am looking for space for an 11th. I think what this project has helped me to learn is to prioritize time each week for each item I am responsible for. I've gotten so much better about gathering data and investing an hour or two into getting it in the correct place or format. 

– The internship has changed my perceptions about the role of a principal in one key specific way, and that is that a "principal" is more than just a manager of a school. Coming into administration, I viewed the position mainly as a manager of a school. Throughout my internship, I have learned that the principal/instructional leader is so much more than that. This internship has taught me that being a principal is about creating a vision and goals for a school, collaborating with others to work toward school improvement, building and sustaining positive relationships, supervising and evaluating staff, providing quality professional development to staff, making decisions that have moral and legal consequences, advocating for staff/students/families, providing students with good teaching and curriculum, enforcing school board policies, etc.  The internship showed me the impact a good principal can have on a school, and I can only hope that I continue to learn and master the skills needed to be that leader.