Specialty Professional Associations: SPA

The PSEL standards are aspirational, career spanning and speak to all leadership levels.These standards best serve practitioners. The three primary stakeholders for the ELCC and the NELP standards are those responsible for preparation program review and approval, accrediting associations, and higher education programs. Within this professional context, there are 17 Specialty Professional Associations, referred to as SPAS. The ELCC/NELP SPA,coordinated through the NPBEA, deals with all educational leadership programs, both building and district.

The SPA or program review is an essential component of the overall accreditation process, which provides evidence that program candidates have a strong foundation of content and pedagogical knowledge in that program area. All EPPs (Educator Preparation Providers) seeking CAEP Accreditation must complete the program review process. Program review is part of the overall accreditation process and occurs prior to the self-study and on-site accreditation visit. EPPs then use the results of program review as evidence to meet applicable CAEP standards. CAEP has a set of requirements for Specialty Professional Association (SPA) reviews.

National Recognition for Your State


NELP 2018 standards will be available for use in January 2018. The CAEP Spring 2020 Cycle is the first time programs will be required to use NELP 2018 standards. Educational leadership programs should base their transition to the NELP standards by back-mapping from the date of their next CAEP onsite review. After the January 2018 release of the NELP standards, program must have time to:

  • Develop and align 6-8 assessments to the NELP standards
  • Build assessment rubrics aligned with the standards components and indicators
  • Collect and report two applications of data


Who should create and submit program reports?
All colleges and universities that offer programs for the preparation of superintendents, principals, curriculum directors or supervisors at the master’s degree, post-master’s, specialist, or doctorate levels may participate in the CAEP/ELCC/NELP program review.

  • It is the CAEP Coordinator’s responsibility to keep the program’s profile updated in CAEP’s Accreditation Information Management System (AIMS).

When can programs submit reports?
Three years to twelve-months prior to the on-site CAEP accreditation visit, educational leadership programs submit program reports in AIMS, the CAEP on-line review system, for ELCC program review. These reports must be based on the 2011 ELCC Building or District Level Educational Leadership standards. Programs have two opportunities to submit each calendar year.

                                                                        CAEP’s Annual Calendar of Activities


    • ELCC Program Reports Posted in AIMS      September 15
    • ELCC Program Team Review Period      Oct 15 – Nov 15
    • ELCC Audit Committee Review Period      Nov 15 – Jan 1
    • CAEP Technical Edit Period      Jan 1 – Feb 1
    • National Recognition Reports Posted      February 1


    • ELCC Program Reports Posted in AIMS      March 15
    • ELCC Program Team Review Period      April 15 – May 15
    • ELCC Audit Committee Review Period      May 15 – July 1
    • CAEP Tech Edit Period      July 1 – August 1
    • National Recognition Reports Posted      August 1

Report Guidelines:What are the criteria for submitting reports?

The guidelines on submitting a SPA Initial Review Report are located in a PDF, accessible by clicking the image to the right. 

Click here to access the guidelines for submitting reports.

The Program Review Process

ELCC SPA Reviewers must

  • Be actively employed in educational leadership field
  • Convey clear and concise observations and judgment in writings without personal bias
  • Finish reviews on time and submit complete reports to AIMs system
  • Participate in at least one review cycle per year
  • Work as part of team and contact team member as part of team process

ELCC SPA Review Team must

  • Make a program report recommendation to Audit Committee on whether to grant
    • Nationally Recognition
    • Recognition with Conditions, or
    • Not Nationally Recognize


ELCC Audit Team,
Five members appointed by National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA)

    • Review every Program Recognition Report to ensure fair and unbiased team reports
    • Make final program report decision based on team recommendation
    • Will also review reports that have been flagged by CAEP staff


What do my National Recognition Report Results mean?

Program Reviewer Application Process

The NPBEA encourages educational leadership practitioners and higher education faculty who prepare school and district leaders to become involved and serve as volunteers on ELCC’s educational leadership program review teams.  We encourage you to review the attached selection criteria and application process for becoming an ELCC Program Reviewer (see below). For more information on the ELCC Program Review Process please contact Ms. Honor Fede, ELCC Coordinator, at hfede (at) naesp.org:

  • ELCC Reviewer Application Form (PDF  |  MS Word)
Whom to contact: