Syracuse School District unveils plan to improve city schools

The challenges facing the Syracuse City School District are clear. The district currently lags behind the other large urban school districts in New York in several categories including key test scores but a new strategic plan hopes to turn that around.

On Wednesday night, Superintendent Sharon Contreras said she hopes that over the next five years, Syracuse will surpass those districts when it comes to test scores and graduation rates.

Hundreds of parents, neighbors and community leaders came out to see Contreras present the "Great Expectations" strategic plan at Clary Middle School in Syracuse.

The plan has been in development for several months. Parents, teachers, volunteers, administrators and business leaders all helped develop the goals and objectives the plan would cover.

Talina Jones was one of the parents who worked on the plan. Jones says there were several tough conversations about the priorities and goals in the plan - but she's hopeful it can provide the positive direction schools need right now.

"I think it's important we have high expectations not only of our students but of our staff, of our district and hold them accountable as well," said Jones.

The "Great Expectations" plan resets goals for all aspects of the schools. You can read the

full report here

. There are sections that deal with developing a new consistent curriculum for the entire district, more reading and math support for Pre-K and elementary school students and providing financial incentives for teachers that show positive results.

"It is important to incentivize high performance but its not only about money. We're also developing career ladders so teachers can become coaches and master teachers and peer observers," said Contreras.

Meghan Doss hopes the "Great Expectations" plan lives up to its name. Doss' two daughters came with her to the presentation at Clary Middle School and she wants to know what direction the district was taking.

"Sounds like a good plan - I just hope they can follow through," said Doss.

Contreras said the school district needs to be held accountable and she will give regular public updates on progress.

(Read the

Jamesville-DeWitt plan