Community Engagement and Leading School Change Certificate

Program Website:

Program Director: Dr. Katherine Orlando
Phone: 410-704-4623

All schools, but especially schools serving high poverty, racially and ethnically diverse populations, need staff that are able to engage effectively with the communities that they serve. Research has shown that schools that build on the assets of their communities are able to teach in more relevant ways, empower families and children, support families and children more effectively, and enable more students to learn at higher levels.   

Through examining sociological theory, understanding the concept of professional learning communities, and implementing action research initiatives, participants will increase their capacity for community engagement and school change. By responding to community needs and seeing the school community as possessing valuable assets, there will be more authentic change that reflects the voices and values of each community. Participants will learn how to build successful change from the bottom up, empowering students, families and community members to become the drivers of positive change.   

Courses will provide participants with:   

  • A sociological understanding of the race and class dynamics shaping the school communities that they serve   
  • Tools for developing an asset-based understanding of the students and families with which they work   
  • Skills for making changes to improve the ways in which schools serve and are accountable to their students, families, and communities   

Courses may be transferred as electives into a full Master’s degree in Transformational Educational Leadership in the Department of Instructional Leadership and Professional Development (ILPD) at Towson University.  

Admission Requirements

Application deadlines and a full listing of materials required for admission can be found on the website.

This post-baccalaureate certificate (PBC) will serve teachers, counselors, and non-profit employees working with schools who would like to develop skills in leadership and community engagement. The need for these skills is especially urgent among the growing population of professionals working with students in poverty in both urban and suburban communities in Maryland.

Certificate Requirements

This PBC in Community Engagement and Leading School Change will consist of the following four courses (12 units):

Total Units12

Program completers will be able to:

  1. Build, maintain, and continuously improve a coherent system of equitable academic and social supports, discipline, services, extracurricular activities, and accommodations to meet each student's full range of needs.
  2. Engage families, community, and school personnel in strengthening student learning in and out of the school.
  3. Develop and use tools focusing on an asset-based understanding of the students and families with which they work.
  4. Build and sustain productive partnerships with communities and the public and private sectors to promote school improvement and the success of each student.
  5. Strengthen the ways in which schools incorporate student, family, and community voice and are accountable to their students, families, and communities.
  6. Advocate for the needs and priorities of the school, district, students, families, and the community.