Friday Focus – 02-28-2020

Dear Team,

I enjoy reading stories, but more importantly, I love hearing the stories of others. Each of us as human beings are storytellers and each of us has our own story. Whether around a fire in the forest primeval, huddled in a cave, or gathered around a Thanksgiving dinner table, for thousands of years, people have shared and passed down their history through stories.

I thoroughly feel that no communication is more powerful, more persuasive, than a story that touches the heart and ignites emotions. Nothing is more indelible and more influential. It’s why politicians use them in their stump speeches: they recall the waitress in Cedar Rapids, the veteran in Charleston, all with a personal story that ties back to a wrong the candidate wants to make right. It’s why pastors use stories as illustrations in their sermons and why even the teachings of Jesus are full of parables like “The Prodigal Son.”

In a time when there are more distractions than ever, more things competing for attention, it’s important that we be good storytellers as well. To do our part so our friends, neighbors, community members and public leaders understand the power of education. Through stories, we influence. And through stories, we build support for investment in the single most important resource we have: our children. If you don’t tell your story, there is a good chance someone else is doing it for you. Be the creator, illustrator, and author of your own story. It is uniquely yours and worth sharing with others.

That’s why I value our Communications and Community Relations team whose members, among other things, do an amazing job telling the stories of the students and staff of our amazing Round Rock ISD family. We’re fortunate to have some former journalists on the team who are pros at storytelling through the written word or video. Like this video, released just this week, about how a group of our visually impaired students are volunteering at Safe in Austin, an animal rescue farm. For me, seeing stories like these are a powerful reminder of why we do what we do.

At the Texas School Public Relations Association this week, our Communications team was recognized as among the best in Texas for everything from photography, web design, communication plans, marketing, video storytelling and writing. To top it all off, the team won the Crystal Award for best communication during a Bond Election in the large district category for all of Texas!

It may be their job, but they give us all the tools to be storytellers. I hope you’re sharing the amazing things going on in Round Rock ISD with your family and friends, whether it’s on your social media feed, over a cup of coffee or around the fire pit in the backyard. And I hope you’re sharing your own personal stories of triumph and success, of hardships and challenges. Storytelling is the oldest form of teaching. We can use it in our classrooms to teach our students, but we can also use it in our daily lives to educate everyone on the importance of public education.

Next week, March 2-6, is Texas Public Schools Week. The future of our great nation is dependent on the continued success of its public schools. Our great state educates over five million children in our public schools. Let the world know that great things are happening in our schools. Tell your story. Tell our story.

There are many brilliant lyrics in the musical “Hamilton”, but some of the most haunting come at the end:

Let me tell you what I wish I’d known
When I was young and dreamed of glory
You have no control
Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?

Someone will tell the story of your school, your community…..the story of you. Tell it now, while you can, so it lives forever. History does not have to be his story when it can better be served by your story! Tell it loud. Tell it proud. Tell it again, over and over.

Thanks for reading. I’ll write again soon.

Respectfully,

Steve Flores, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools