CROOKSTON SCHOOL BOARD COULD APPROVE RETURN TO FULL IN-PERSON LEARNING AT THE HIGH SCHOOL

The Crookston School Board will meet Monday night at 5 p.m. in the Crookston High School (CHS) Auditorium. The school board will be asked to consider approving Learning Model I for the district, in which the entire district, PreK-12, would have in-person learning every day.

Crookston Superintendent Jeremy Olson said things are lining up to make evaluating a move to full in-person learning for the first time since March 2020 a reality. “We’re taking a look at our high school learning model,” said Olson. “We’re going to evaluate whether we should go to model one. We’re in Model II right now which is in-person for Pre-K and 7-12 is the hybrid schedule. Model I would be in-person for all grade levels. That is a decision the school board will be making, as well the correct timing for going into Model I if that is decided.”

Olson said a return to in-person learning is important for both the core curriculum and what he called the hidden curriculum. “In-person learning is really good for kids, not only from an academic standpoint but when you can take into account mental health, socialization, and the hidden curriculum of schools,” said Olson. “We teach the actual curriculum, which is the math, science, and so forth. But there is also a lot of hidden curriculum that’s also taught in schools. How to cooperate; how to collaborate; how to be a leader; how to work within a team; and some of those things that are also important for kids.”

The district has the opportunity to evaluate the learning model because of how drastically the COVID-19 situation has changed since November. In November, county-wide cases were exceeding 390 a week with as many as 172 cases in Crookston in a single week. In the last three weeks, the number of county wide cases has dipped to fewer than 35 a week, with about 10 a week in Crookston.

Olson also said the rollout of optional staff testing and vaccination allotments also has the district hopeful the a return to in-person learning is possible. “We are providing any staff members in our district the opportunity to test,” said Olson. “That is not required of staff members, but it is offered to all staff members. We also have the vaccination rollout that has been happening. We have the first group of staff members that are getting vaccinated. We received 12 allocated vaccines. That is a very slow process because we all know vaccinations are in short supply right now. We are ready. If there was a rollout in an hour, magically we had 500 doses show up, we’re ready to go this afternoon.” 

The School Board will also designate its official law firms and media outlets; set the School Board meeting dates and times for 2020; approve School Board committee assignments and salaries. The board also has a resolution directing the administration to make recommendations for the Reduction of programs and positions with the reasons thereof, and a resolution to end the contract with Teachers on Call for substitute teachers and enter a contract with Frontline (Aesop). 

On the consent agenda, the board will accept a donation for $3,206.89 from the Red River Valley Coop Power Association, and approve the district’s pay equity report, the December 14 meeting minutes, and current district bills. The following personnel items are also included on the consent agenda: accepting the resignations of paraprofessional Brandon Boetcher and school counselor Leah Zimmerman; approving the employment of Sandy Seregin, Cindy Dubuque, and Penny Halstad as paraprofessionals; Lennis Fuller as a bus mechanic, driver, and custodian; Autumn Petron and Linda Fuller as instructional assistants at Washington Elementary School (WES); and approving a leave of absence request from CHS Social Studies teacher Meagen Solie.

The board will hear reports from the district principals Denice Oliver (WES), Chris Trostad (Highland Elementary School), and Eric Bubna (CHS). Superintendent Jeremy Olson will also give a report and request the nominations of School Board representatives to serve on the Northwest Regional Development Commission.