At the beginning of this school year, we celebrated the centennial celebration of Bellevue High School – a legacy of excellence in education in Bellevue. Eight months later, we are excited to launch a new 5-year strategic plan as we look ahead to the next 100 years in the Bellevue School District. This new strategic plan was co-designed by a coalition of stakeholders representing our diverse community. The plan was approved by the board at the May 16, 2024, meeting and it represents our collective vision for the future.

Read the 2024-29 Strategic Plan

Imagine a Future of Flourishing for All  

Imagine a school system where every student, staff member, and family feel, without a doubt, that they belong and are accepted, where their cultures and identities are embraced and celebrated. Imagine classrooms and schools where every student, staff member, and family can experience joy and excitement and actively learn with the support they need to succeed. Finally, imagine a school system where students, staff, and families don’t just participate or receive but feel prepared and compelled to lead collectively to drive positive change, locally and globally, for people and for our planet. That is the essence of the new strategic plan: Belong. Learn. Lead. 

The Problems We’re Trying to Solve 

The first task the strategic plan guiding coalition undertook was to go out and listen to as many people as possible from as many different backgrounds and experiences as possible. The goal was to hold an honest mirror in front of our faces so that we could see the ways in which people experience the Bellevue School District. From those interviews, the following key problem statement emerged for us to solve: 

Each member of the diverse BSD community wants to feel heard, valued, and affirmed so that they can feel empowered to do their best work, but there is not yet an organizational culture that helps each individual experience a sense of belonging and support. 

The root causes underlying this problem statement include the following:  

  1. Bellevue has a reputation of great success, but that success has not been available to everyone. 
  2. Our school system is not yet designed to be responsive to diverse needs. 
  3. Our decision-making processes are not effectively set up to partner with students, families, and staff. 
  4. Systems and structures lead to relationships that are more transactional and compliance focused than what people want which is more human-centered connectedness. 

3 Key Community Commitments  

Addressing the problem statement and root causes, the strategic plan centers on three key community commitments (what we all collectively work toward).  

  1. We Belong. We commit to each student, staff member, and family member feeling a part of a community that cares for them. We commit to feeling valued and known and helping others feel valued and known. 
  2. We Learn. We commit to building a culture of innovation and learning for students as well as all community members. 
  3. We Lead. We commit to being agents of change in our lives, our community, and our world. We commit to creating collective impact “for people and planet.”  

3 Key Priorities 

In order to make progress on these commitments, there are three key priority areas to focus our work over the next five years. 

  1. Build Human-Centered Systems and Relationships. We want people to feel valued in the Bellevue School District. Building human-centered systems includes things like ensuring every child and family has at least one supportive adult relationship in the school and prioritizing relationship building throughout the district. 
  2. Cultivate Student Engagement and Learning. Learning should be engaging and fun! It should also build on the strengths of our students. Cultivating student engagement and learning includes project based learning, creating multiple pathways for student success, and implementing culturally responsive and sustaining teaching practices. 
  3. Strengthen Collective Leadership. Students, families, and staff should feel a sense of agency when they engage with others in the Bellevue School District. Strengthening collective leadership includes bringing more people into the design and decision-making process (radical inclusion). It also includes promoting leadership across our community to improve conditions for people (humanity) and for the planet (environmental sustainability).  

An Inclusive Process for Designing the Strategic Plan 

The strategic plan design process was grounded in values such as inclusion and empathy. We formed a guiding coalition that included students, caregivers, educators, school board directors, and community leaders, intentionally seeking perspectives not typically included in district decision-making. Conducting 116 empathy interviews (one-on-one interviews asking about people’s experiences with the Bellevue School District) from across the district, the coalition identified key themes, a central problem statement, root causes that contribute to the key challenges in our district, and then the commitments and priorities to address those root causes.  

Next Steps 

This is just a brief snapshot of the new strategic plan. I hope it gives you a good sense of what we’re working toward as we look to the future of the Bellevue School District. There will be many opportunities to learn more and to participate in the design of the key strategies that will help us reach our goals.  

The work now shifts to establishing a steering committee that will work with the community to define key metrics and guide implementation. We will also launch inclusive design teams to help develop strategies and solutions aligned to the commitments and priorities. Stay tuned for opportunities to get involved! The more inclusive the better. 

Sincerely,

Dr. Kelly Aramaki

Dr. Kelly Aramaki, Superintendent


The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.