Straight Talk by Baker Kurrus, June 26, 2015


I just left a meeting of the eight incoming principals who were recently appointed.  I told them that they were an outstanding group, and they are.  Six of the new principals will work in elementary schools or early childhood centers.   One thing the principals and I discussed was the transition of their students to middle school.   I have spent some time examining the readiness of our sixth-graders for middle school.  Far too many are not prepared.  We have one middle school where less than 49.5% of the students are proficient or advanced in math and literacy.  At another middle school, 46% percent of the students entering sixth grade last year were not proficient in literacy.  Sixty percent were not proficient in math.  We need to eradicate these problems, root and branch, both in the early grades and thereafter.  We will do all we can in every grade, but we simply must kill these problems at the root.    

Registration Extended for Two Weeks for New Pre-K Seats

In an effort to provide more families with the district's exciting new pre-K4 option, LRSD is extending registration for two additional weeks:

June 29-July 2, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and July 6-10, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

See additional details regarding qualifications and documents you will need to take with you to registration in attached flyer.

LRSD Giving Our Youngest Scholars the Tools They Need to Succeed!

Flyer - English - Espanol


Scott Field Temporarily Closed for Maintenance Work

Please be advised that due to maintenance work on the turf, Scott Field will be closed until July 6th. Thank you for your understanding.

FHSA, McDermott and Fulbright Land on Top in myOn Reading Challenge

The results for the 2014-2015 myOn Reading Challenge are in and Forest Heights STEM Academy won the top spot with 23,579 books read. McDermott earned the number two spot with 21,259 books read and Fulbright came in third with 18,952 books read.

1. Forest Heights STEM Academy: 23,579
2. McDermott: 21,259
3. Fulbright: 18,952
4. Chicot Primary: 13,816
5. Washington: 13,376
6. Brady: 11,847
7. Meadowcliff: 10,662
8. Wakefield: 8,504
9. Forest Park: 8,222
10. Carver: 8,176

14,671 LRSD students participated in the program; 507,106 books were opened; 234,996 books were read with 46, 451 hours and 2 minutes total reading time as of June 15, 2015. This does not include reading time or book count in hard cover books.

Top photo: Fulbright students with most time spent reading banner
Bottom photo: McDermott with principal Scott Morgan who began the reading competition in LRSD

LRSD Slated to Open 15 New Pre-K Classrooms this Fall

The Little Rock School District is pleased to announce that it will be adding 15 new P-4 (four-year-old) classrooms for qualifying students in the 2015-16 school year. In addition to families meeting the criteria listed in the chart found on the flyer, the student must be four by August 1, 2015.  Click here to download the flyer in English - en Espanol

The new seats will be available at Woodruff Early Childhood Center and Bale, Booker, Carver, Franklin, Geyer Springs, Rockefeller, Romine, Stephens, and Washington  elementary schools. Registration will be held at Woodruff Early Childhood Center, 3010 W. 7th on the following dates:

  • June 23, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • June 24, 10 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • June 25, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

To register, qualifying families must bring:
Birth Certificate or Proof of Birth
Child's Social Security Card or Number
Current Proof of Address (utility bill or rental agreement with parent/guardian's name )
Current Proof of Income (pay stub from previous 30 days or 2014 W-2)

If your child has already been assigned a pre-K seat, he or she will remain at his/her assigned school.

LRSD Spring 2015 Newsletter

                                   Click here to read the LRSD Spring 2015 Newsletter

                                              Click here to read the LRSD Spring 2015 Newsletter

LRSD Security Officer Showcases Jefferson Jammers


This past fall, LRSD Safety and Security Officer Chad Henson began mentoring aspiring student musicians at the school where he is assigned, Jefferson Elementary.  Now, after six months of honing their horn skills, the talented students showcased their talents in an end-of-the-year musical performance on Tuesday, June 9th.


You may recall that Henson wanted to make a difference in the lives of students at Jefferson through music, but did not have instruments or the means to acquire them. Henson contacted the non-profit organization Art Porter Music Education, Inc. (APME) for help.  


The request aligned perfectly with APME's mission - to provide scholarships and to enhance reading, language and mathematical skills and other learning experiences" for students through music. Henson and some of Jefferson's fifth graders were on full display for a concert to remember.

LRSD Students Excel In Destination Imagination Competition

Students from Booker Arts Magnet and Pulaski Heights Middle School were among four LRSD schools that  participated in the Destination ImagiNation Global Finals in Knoxville, TN from May 19th - 23rd.

Booker Arts Magnet Jackson's Jaguars team placed 16th out of 82 teams competing in the scientific challenge, Making Waves. The team had to design and construct an incredible sound machine that produces two different sounds. They also created and integrated two visible displays of sound waves into the presentation. The end result allowed them to create and present a story that included a change to a faster or slower narrative pace.

Pulaski Heights Middle School's 7th grade team, the Alpha Einsteins, placed 27th in the competition. While competing in the structural challenge, they were tasked with creating a structure that could hold up to 10 pounds, have playing cards within the structure, and then were asked to remove the cards with an original removal device while the structure remained standing. 

Throughout the four-day event, teams at the elementary, middle, secondary and University level competed in team and instant challenges to determine their final standings. Destination Imagination (DI), is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering students' curiosity, courage and creativity through open-ended STEM, fine arts and service learning challenges.



Attention LRSD Parents:

Between now and June 15, 2015, please update your address, if you have moved.

Updating your address does NOT mean that students will be required to leave their current school during the 2014-15 school year. Current addresses must be in the system for transportation to be in place for the 2015-16 school year and for accurate scheduling to take place at the appropriate school.

Thanks for your support and cooperation.

Keeping Active Students Healthy

LRSD Health Services Department recommends regular physicals for students of the Little Rock School District..  Regular physicals are required by the state and needed for many recreation programs.  Physicals can also often help detect and treat medical issues when they are just getting started and therefore easier to treat.

Free physicals are being offered Saturday at:
2015 Community Health & Wellness Expo
St. John Baptist Church | 2501 S. Main, Little Rock, AR
Saturday, June 6, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Six Little Rock Schools Honored with Reward Funding

Six Little Rock Schools Honored with Reward Funding

By Communications Intern Jasmine Threatt with contributions from Tiffany Kidd

State legislators joined LRSD Superintendent Baker Kurrus this week in handing out ceremonial checks to district winners in the Arkansas School Recognition and Reward Program.  Six of the 215 schools being recognized statewide as high performing and gaining are in the Little Rock School District:   

  • Forest Park Elementary
  • Gibbs Magnet Elementary
  • Terry Elementary
  • Jefferson Elementary
  • Don Roberts Elementary
  • Williams Magnet Elementary

The Arkansas School Recognition Program was created to provide financial rewards to public schools displaying high performance, student academic growth, and a high graduation rate for secondary schools.

 Schools received $100 per student if they ranked within the top 10% of all public schools combined; for those within the top 11-20%, $50 was awarded per student.  A special committee was formed for schools receiving the recognition incentives to determine the best way to use the funding. That committee included a faculty-elected teacher, the principal, and a parent to represent the local parent teacher association.

Funding may be used for staff bonuses, educational materials or any personnel or methods used to improve or maintain student performance. Some LRSD campuses designated their awards for the purchase of technology tools like iPads and iPad minis for students.


LRSD Joins myON in Support of 24/7 National Reading Challenge

In a joint partnership, the Little Rock School District and representatives of myON, a digital literacy platform, announced local participation in a national reading challenge that promotes convenient opportunities for reading wherever students are. LRSD administrators created a vision to fully integrate technology within the curriculum in the spring of 2013 to ensure all students are reading at or above grade level.  The level of commitment from initial pilot to district wide implementation throughout the 30 plus elementary schools exceeded expectations. With access to thousands of digital titles, Little Rock students are reading more, becoming more engaged and more confident in their ability to read.

Little Rock School District, which serves approximately 25,000 students, in 31 elementary and seven middle schools, is committed to raising academic achievement throughout the district. In order to accomplish this, administrators are providing several technology tools, as well as unlimited access to myON’s books to encourage reading in and out of school to ensure that all students are reading at grade level by the 3rd grade.

Free Summer Meals Program Kick Off

On Thursday, May 26, Patty Barker of the Arkansas No Kid Hungry campaign, LRSD Supt. Baker Kurrus and representatives from the Dept. of Education and Dept. of Human Services gathered at Mabelvale Elementary to kick off the 2015 USDA Summer Food Service Program in Arkansas. The annual event focuses awareness on the importance of providing free meals to children from families who might otherwise not get enough nutritious food during the summer. Of the 250,000 Arkansas children who are eligible for free and reduced price lunch, 85% are NOT getting summer meals.

To find a location near you, call 1-866-3-HUNGRY or go to Open to ALL CHILDREN, 18 and younger at no cost; no enrollment required.

Arkansas has one of the highest rates of child hunger in the nation, with more than 1 in 4 children struggling with hunger. In the summer of 2014, Summer Food Service Program sponsors served more than 4 million meals at over 1,200 sites across the state.

Straight Talk by Baker Kurrus, May 25, 2015


Thanks to all who let me know that they are “all in.”  It means a lot to me, and gives me a sense of optimism for our school district.  I have gotten hundreds of enthusiastic responses, and lots of good ideas.  
Mr. Marvin Burton, Deputy Superintendent, and I attended all of the traditional graduations at Verizon Arena.  I was unable to attend the graduations at the Accelerated Learning Center and Hamilton Academy, but Mr. Burton did attend.  It was fun and exciting to see the exuberance of students as they received their diplomas.  It was a privilege to share the moments with them.    Many students from all of our schools received scholarships and accolades.  For a great many of our students and their families, the night was a real celebration.
Some of our kids from one high school felt like they graduated by “beating the odds.”  I was deeply troubled by the statement.  After the ceremony, I talked to as many students as I could as they were leaving.  Those conversations remain very disturbing to me.  Some said that they felt as if they had to overcome obstacles that were placed in their paths by the community, or by the school itself.  

ARP (ACT Readness Program) offered at Parkview Arts & Science Magnet High School

ARP (ACT Readiness Program) will be offered again this year from June 19 – July 10, 2015 at Parkview Arts & Science Magnet High School. Rising 10-12th grades students who have taken the ACT, PLAN or EXPLORE and wish to improve their score are eligible. The program is offered five days per week from 8:30 am – 1:00 pm. The program reviews subject areas covered on the ACT and gives students extensive test-taking practice. There is no charge for the course.  However, transportation is not provided.

Please fill out the following forms at this link:

Civic Advisory Committee Meeting — May 26, 2015, 5:00 p.m.

LRSD Civic Advisory Committee Meeting 

May 26, 2015

LRSD Administration Building-Student Center

5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Members of the LRSD Civic Advisory Committee will hold a meeting today, Tuesday, May 26, 2015, at  5 p.m.  The meeting will be held in the Student Center at the LRSD Administration Building, 810 W. Markham St.


LRSD and LREA Reach Agreement For One-Time Bonus

 In a joint news conference, Little Rock School District Superintendent Baker Kurrus and Little Rock Education Association President Cathy Koehler announced an agreement for a one-time bonus that will be allocated to most district personnel.  Under the agreement, eligible employees will receive $350 by June 19.  The negotiation was required under the agreement between the District and The Little Rock Education Association.

Eligible employees include teachers, school staff, assistant principals, principals and administrative staff with pay grade designations of 65 and under.  

Click on this link to read the complete News Release

Straight Talk by Baker Kurrus

In an effort to promote transparency and to speak directly to LRSD stakeholders about the status and future of the district, Superintendent Baker Kurrus launched a weekly column today, called "Straight Talk."  Highlights from this week's edition include a "where we are" and "where we need to be" perspective, with an invitation to stakeholders to participate in the support of our students, teachers and schools, and to declare that they are "all in."

To read the first article on May 15th, click here:

To email Baker Kurrus, use this email address:, or use our contact form.

Listing of all "Straight Talk" articles


21st Century Community Learning Center Grant Applications

The District intends to submit 21st Century Community Learning Center grant applications for Carver Elementary and Mabelvale Elementary.  The grant applications are due May 28, 2015. The 21st CCLC grant provides funding for out-of-school programming (before school, after school, Saturday, and summer programs) and provides both academic programs and enrichment activities.  Community input is invited.  Please contact Linda Young at to share ideas or to volunteer.