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Superintendent kicks off aggressive five-year excellence plan

By SAISD Communications
July 23, 2015 edition of Insider

SAISD's goal to become a National Model Urban School District accelerated on July 20 when Superintendent Pedro Martinez presented a preliminary proposal to Trustees. His presentation was the kick off for a planning process in which all schools and departments will define how they can help to develop high-performing schools.

Community input will be sought this fall. "This is the start of a crucial conversation on where we're at today and where we need to be in the future," Martinez said.

The presentation, titled "The First 100 Days -- Redefining Excellence," outlined 10 measurable academic goals to be achieved in five years. Steps will be taken along the way, starting with an aggressive year-one plan, to identify and prioritize needs, evaluate programs and create alignment to ensure meeting long-term metrics and goals.

Topping the list is a call for 70 percent of all SAISD schools to be rated B or higher in three years under the state's new accountability system. Starting in 2017-18, campuses will be assigned letter grades of A-F. The 70 percent must include schools from every SAISD feeder pattern, Martinez said.

"It isn't just a particular school. The reason this target is so aggressive is because it has to be inclusive of all neighborhoods."

Other goal highlights include increasing:

• AP/IB participation (25 percent) and performance (13 percent) to 50 and 59 percent, respectively.

• SAT/ACT college-ready performance from 5 to 43 percent.

• The percentage of graduates who complete their first year of college without remediation from 40 to 74 percent.

• The percentage of graduates attending college (52 percent), a four-year college (25 percent) and Tier One universities (2 percent) to 80, 50 and 10 percent, respectively.

To help them succeed in higher education, Martinez proposes a support system that might include alumni. Tracking our graduates through college also would benefit the District by learning from their experiences in order to help ensure that the next generation is well prepared, he said.

While not addressed in these 10 goals, Martinez assured Trustees that character development and extracurricular activities will play an essential role in order to develop well-rounded students and help them to bond with their school.

The plan began being shared with principals at the July 22-23 Leadership Summit, which resumes July 28-30. Principals will start forming school-based teams to develop year-one metrics in August.

Accountability from everyone, starting with him, will be crucial, Martinez said.

"Every decision we make, whether it's a hiring decision, programs that we have in schools, support systems, or changes we make in departments, has to drive to accomplishing these goals."

Community input gathered from meetings to be held in each Trustee District will be a key component in the finalized plan, Martinez said.

"The question that I’m going to ask is, are these rigorous enough? Is this going to make you proud of our district? "The whole purpose of these goals is that if we want to be a model urban school district, that means families choose our district and that employees choose our district and that they have pride in our district."