The purpose of any superintendent entry process is to provide clarity and focus so that we can provide every student with the opportunities they deserve. In order to do that well, Dr. Zrike has clearly articulated our priorities to ensure that every stakeholder – our educators, leaders, teams, students, families, and community – knows, understands, and holds the district accountable for delivering on our promise to students and families.

To develop these priorities, Dr. Zrike examined his entry findings through the lens of the four pillars of the original strategic plan. The current strategic plan represents important work that led to improvements across our system. It is also a robust plan that incorporates 13 goals and 52 strategies. Every one of the goals and strategies is important, and we are still taking the broader work into consideration. What follows is an effort to prioritize and focus within these strategies, narrowing down to four strategic priorities and 12 initiatives to enable those priorities to happen. In order to streamline our efforts, we asked ourselves the following guiding questions:

  • Has there been important work done that needs clarity and acceleration?
  • Are there currently gaps that we have not yet met as a system?
  • Are there systems or structures that hinder our ability to progress as a district?

The input received and the data examined as part of entry planning shaped a series of priorities and initiatives that will guide our path forward for the children of Salem.

These priorities are not exhaustive, but rather represent key areas of focus for us as a district that we believe are most important to focus on and to commit our precious resources. As expected, they are reflective of many of the goals and strategies in the 2017-2022 strategic plan. This is an effort to synthesize and prioritize within the plan. Dr. Zrike looks forward to continued feedback on this work, especially as we do the work to turn them from statements on a page to the work of the district.


Beyond strategy and priorities, it is essential that these efforts turn into results for our students. We must be able to assess our collective progress. Dr. Zrike believes the work of measuring, holding ourselves accountable, and reflecting on our progress ought to be work we do together with our community. To develop this list, we collaboratively sought to identify outcomes that identified what the successful implementation of these priorities would look like. Below you will find the overall metrics that will serve as the report card for our work.

  • Increase the percent of educators and staff who represent the racial, ethnic and linguistic diversity of students from 6% to 9% for teachers and from 11% to 15% for all staff
  • Increase the number of 3-4 year-olds in high quality PreK seats across the Salem Public Schools from 87 students (2019-20) to 185 students
  • Decrease student chronic absenteeism from 25.1% of students (2018-19) to 20%
  • Reduce the disproportionality of suspensions and days of suspension by subgroup as compared to the district average by 50%
  • Increase the percent of students who report that they learn about, discuss and confront issues of race, ethnicity and culture in school (as measured by the annual Panorama survey) from 43% favorability to 55% favorability (grades 3-5) and from 38% favorability to 50% favorability (grades 6-12)
  • Increase the percent of Salem residents who attend the Salem Public Schools from
  • 76% to 80%
  • Accelerate high school outcomes:
  • Increase the percent of students who graduate in 4 years
  • from 80.5% (2018-19) to 85%
  • Decrease the percent of students who dropout on an annual basis from 4.5% (2018-19) to 3.7%
  • Increase the percent of students accessing advanced coursework from 44.4% (2018-19) to 60%
  • Improve overall performance as measured by MCAS:
    • Increase Grade 3-8 ELA growth from 49.3 (2018-19) to 52
    • Increase Grade 10 ELA growth from 41.5 (2018-19) to 48
    • Increase Grade 3-8 Math growth from 49.1 (2018-19) to 52
    • Increase Grade 10 Math growth from 33.4 (2018-19) to 40
    • Increase the percent of schools who meet 75% of their accountability targets
    • or more from 14% (2018-19) to 42% of SPS schools
  • VIEW: Salem Public Schools 2023 MCAS Access and Accountability Results