Straight Talk by Baker Kurrus, May 10, 2016

Straight to Banner graphic with a picture of Baker Kurrus

"Listen to your heart.  Let it guide you."

Hello Straight Talkers.

Yesterday I briefly posted a column which had some very personal reflections, including some about my mother.  After consulting with my editorial board (my wife and kids), I decided to pull it down, for now.  My son said he loved the stories, but that the tone was not in keeping with previous things found in this space.  He said, “I think you should thank everyone for the support and encourage them to continue putting energy and excitement into the schools after you’re gone.  You said recently in a press conference that you liked competition, and that was refreshing to me.  If everyone continues to work hard and continues to prove that LR schools perform just as well or better than the other schools, the people that want the best for their kids will want their kids to go to the LRSD.”

Thanks to all who are ignoring the distractions and focusing on the classroom.  Thanks to all who have worked so hard to get our students ready for their standardized tests.  Thanks to all who have administered all of these tests, and given so much in the last year.

My son is right.  We have the best schools, and I love competition.  We are winning.  We have room to get better, and we are moving in the right directions.  The superintendency is not the key to the success of the district.  The people in schools provide the stability, trust and competence that parents seek with respect to the educations of their children.

Picture of students honored at City Hall Erica Braswell of Hall, Isha (pronounced “Eye-sha”) Horton of Parkview, and Natalie Amos of McClellan, baker Kurrus, Marvin Burton, Dr. Booth

I just got back from Little Rock City Hall.  The city board honored three brilliant young women from LRSD, Erica Braswell of Hall, Isha (pronounced “Eye-sha”) Horton of Parkview, and Natalie Amos of McClellan.  Erica is both a Gates Millennium Scholar and a Dell Scholar.  Isha is a Gates Millennium Scholar.  Natalie is a Dell Scholar.  These young women are incredible people, in addition to being gifted students.

Baker Kurrus having lunch and posing with a student

I had lunch today at Mabelvale Middle School with the Little Rock PTA Council, which is a group composed of the presidents of all of the PTA’s in the district.  The Council presented a number of awards to students who entered the Reflections competition.  One young man, Nicolas Salerno (4th grader at Roberts), won an award for his poem, “Let Your Imagination Fly.”  I asked him to read it to me after the ceremony, and he did so.  The emotion in his voice was marvelous as he read:

Listen to your heart,
Let it guide you,
Embrace it, love it, live it,
And it may tell you a song,
It is the thing that tells the truth,
It also knows right from wrong,
Some people don’t know how to let it out,
You have to let your imagination fly,
You can choose the path you take,
Heartless or mindless, just do it,
And don’t let anybody stop you!

I was amazingly and serendipitously blessed by these words from this delightful keeper of wisdom and truth.

Thanks to the thousands of employees in this district who listen to their hearts, and who embrace our students, love them, and nurture them.  This is the essence of being human.  This is the essence of an educator.  I am so gratified and blessed to have had the opportunity to work alongside so many wonderful people.

Erica, Isha and Natalie:  We are so proud of you.

Nicholas, thank you for speaking to us through your poem.  

We are listening.


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