Straight Talk by Baker Kurrus, June 9, 2015

I spent some time last Saturday morning with the incoming student council officers from McClellan High School.  Most of you know that the McClellan mascot is a lion, so I met with a “pride” of wonderful young Lions.  I enjoyed getting acquainted with them, and I learned a lot.  They have some great ideas for next year, and I want to be a part of their plans.  I want all of our schools to have a quiet, confident sense of pride.  If we can instill a justifiable sense of pride and accomplishment in our schools, then our staffs and our students will expect more from themselves, and they will not accept behavior that erodes or undermines that sense of self-worth. 

The McClellan students asked me a number of great questions, including questions about our district’s long term ability to fund new schools.  I put some numbers on the board for them, so in sort of an odd twist the student council at McClellan was the first group to get a summary of the beginnings of a long range capital improvement plan.  As I mentioned, they asked a lot of great questions. I will share more on this subject, and we are going to need to talk a great deal as a community if we want to move ahead with respect to facilities.

I have been on the job about a month.  For the first few days I was literally managing problems minute to minute.  As things have leveled off, I am now managing decisions and events on a slightly extended schedule.  I will know that we are making progress when I am planning and managing for a longer term.  The team is coming together, I think, but the real proof is in the results. 

The most disturbing thing I witnessed last week was a publicly-posted video of students fighting on a school ground.  I guess the conventional wisdom would be that I should not mention this, but it is real, and it happens too frequently.  And it is unacceptable.  It is unacceptable to the vast majority of students who want something better for themselves and their school.  I am asking students to help instill a sense that this behavior is completely unacceptable.   Schools must be a higher place, for students and adults, where everyone is valued, and learning is paramount.  We have lost sight of this, and we must rediscover the vision.  Fighting, whether with fists by students, or with words by adults, must be transcended.  Right now, I am not sure which one is causing the most intractable problems, or which will be more easily remedied.

Warrior Pride! Tiger Pride! War Eagle Pride! Patriot Pride! 

Lion Pride!  Count me in

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