Strategic Plan investments and strategies lead to improved student performance
There is reason to celebrate in Walla Walla Public Schools as data released recently from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) reveals performance improvement trends across several areas. Recent data reveals improvement in science, math, English Language Arts, attendance, 9th grade success, graduation rates and discipline.
Five years ago Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith and the school board embarked on a year-long stakeholder engagement and evaluation process that culminated in the development of the school district’s 2017-2022 Strategic Plan. The results over the past five years have been impressive. Middle school reading and math scores are up. Student participation in extra and co-curricular activities are on the rise. The number of students taking and passing AP exams is higher than ever. Kindergarten readiness scores are up. Graduation rates are at an all-time high and dropout rates are at an all-time low.
“Significant progress has been made since 2017, pointing back to the school board’s strategic planning investments and strategies,” said Superintendent Smith. “The school board established bold performance targets, researched best practices, and invested in staff and strategies to achieve the desired outcomes.”
Recent OSPI Data Release Highlights:
Science Scores Exceed State; English Language Arts and Math Scores Trend Up
• Recent results show the district exceeds state scores on science exams. English Language Arts scores, nearly 9% below state averages in 2017, are now within 3% of state figures. Similarly, math scores have improved considerably over the same period, and are now within 4% of statewide results.
Attendance Rates Exceed State
• WWPS’ attendance rate now exceed state figures, a significant improvement from 2017, when the district was well below state levels. In recent years, the district has implemented home visitor and outreach strategies and made investments to engage students and support families by eliminating fees to participate and increasing access to afterschool clubs/activities.
9th Grade on Track Numbers Exceed State
• The district’s ninth grade on track numbers now exceed state averages, where 77.8% of ninth graders are passing all of their classes. This number has improved 12% since 2017, where the district used to lag 7% behind statewide schools.
Graduation Rates 10% Above State Average
• Graduation rates continue recent trends where nearly 92% of students are graduating on-time, 10% above state levels. In 2017, WWPS was graduating only 75% of their seniors, 4% below state averages.
Discipline Rates Decline
• School discipline rates continue to trend down, marking a 28% decrease in student behavior incidents since 2017.
“These trends are a credit to our incredible faculty, students and community, especially in light of the challenges surrounding the pandemic,” said Superintendent Smith. “Our continued focus towards supporting high quality instruction, aligning systems, addressing social/emotional needs, and engaging all students continues to lead us towards our vision of Developing Washington’s Most Sought-After Graduates.”