Proposal will go back before board after Jan. 28 parent meeting.

    Crookston School Board members on Monday asked a few questions about Crookston High School Principal Lon Jorgenson's proposal to convert from seven periods to an eight-period school day at the high school next fall, but they didn't raise any major red flags, either.

    That could be partly due to the fact that they'll have a chance to vote on the matter later, after Jorgenson hosts a meeting following the Jan. 28 board meeting for parents to hear more about the proposal, ask any questions and/or voice any concerns.

    What's driving Jorgenson's push? Mostly, he told the Times previously and reiterated Monday, it's about giving students more time to do their assignments. By starting the school day 10 minutes earlier, at 8:05 a.m., and reducing class periods by around five minutes, he said it would free up an eighth period each day that would be used for the daily PrimeTime homeroom program, which currently lasts only around 10 minutes, as well as a supervised study hall. The period would be known as the PrimeTime Study Hall, he said.

    "The best schedule is the one that students want," he said, reiterating that a recent survey of students and teachers found that roughly three-fourths of respondents favor the revised daily academic schedule. "There are things we're missing right now, like study and work time for the kids, prep time for the teachers, and truancy and tardiness response, which we'd have more supervision over with the eighth period. This is something that would help students, and help us as a staff and school."

    Jorgenson said he's heard loud and clear from CHS students that "seven straight periods of learning is a whole lot of learning" and that the students would welcome their academic day being "broken up a little bit" by the PrimeTime Study Hall.

    With CHS scores sagging on some MCA tests, especially in science and math, school board member Frank Fee said it would be his hope than increased study and work time would raise test scores. "In theory, this should raise scores, correct?" he said.

    "It should, it should help," Jorgenson replied. "I don't see how it can hurt."

    The proposal is expected to go before the board again after the Jan. 28 parent meeting. "We'll see what the parents have to say," Jorgenson said. "Maybe they'll raise some issues I'm not aware of."

 End of an era: Accompanist Montague retires  
 The school board on Monday accepted the retirement letter from Carol Montague, longtime piano accompanist at countless musical concerts at the high school. Montague and her husband, Bill, have both retired and moved to Arizona.

     New board member Dave Davidson said Montague will be missed.

“I think the district owes Carol a real debt of gratitude,” he said.  “I’m not saying she’s impossible to replace, but it’s going to be unusual to go to a concert and not see Carol there.”