Seattle schools' five year strategic plan ended on a negative note, but Superintendent Jose Banda on Tuesday stood before local and district leaders, focusing on the positive.

We know we didn't make our targets. But we've made significant progress in key areas, he said.

Of the 23 measures of academic progress, the district met its goal on only one of them.


Why? For starters, the plan wasn't Banda's.

I don't know that is really included the staff input really to the point where they bought into it and they owned it, said Banda.

Banda owns it now. On Tuesday he introduced a new five-year strategic plan.

We have to be smarter with what we do, he said.

Despite missing its targets, the district shows year over year growth in third grade reading scores, seventh grade math scores, and college readiness.

There is also much greater participation in advanced placement and international baccalaureate programs.

The one target hit - 6th graders passing all classes at 91 percent. Where the district falls short-- English language learners and free and reduced lunch students. Students who are having the hardest time is where the district appears to be failing the most.

We tend to treat kids as problems to solve or issues to resolve outside the systems of the family, said Stephanie Jones, Executive Director of Communities and Parents for Public Schools.

Included in the new plan is a much bigger and more direct role for parents, something Jones believes is a key and often missing piece of the overall student puzzle.

Helping them understand what the end game is, helping them learn how to get a kid ready or prepared to go to college. We all buy into the idea, said Jones.

It's an idea that despite steady progress in some areas, falls far short of the district's own expectations. High school readiness is at an all time low.
Repeat 9th graders earning sufficient credits is down to 25 percent from 48 percent five years ago.

The district is counting on a new plan, new ideas and new blood to produce higher scores all the way around.

Banda will give a 30 minute overview on the State of the District Wednesday at 4pm at the John Stanford Center Auditorium.

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