District having little luck so far finding a replacement

    The number of sixth-grade sections at Highland School has been reduced from four to three after what appears to be an abrupt teacher resignation, meaning that the number of students in the trio of sections is around 29. With the school district not getting a big response as of yet to their advertisement seeking a replacement sixth grade teacher – the thinking is the majority of the most-qualified candidates are already employed in October – it’s possible the three sections of sixth grade will remain for the remainder of the 2018-19 school year.

    The Crookston School Board on Monday, with some apparent reluctance, formally accepted the resignation of Linda Grenier. Board Chair Frank Fee voted against it, saying that he wasn’t voting against as part of an attempt to force Grenier to remain on the job, but because he found the whole situation so frustrating.

    “It really puts the school district in a bad situation; one month into the school year and you have a teacher resign,” Fee said. While acknowledging that he doesn’t know why Grenier resigned and that she could be dealing with some personal issues, Fee said she didn’t want to share her reasons for resigning.

    Initially, Fee continued, Grenier gave two weeks notice. But, he said Monday, apparently, when she learned that the district had immediately commenced with advertising to find her replacement, she got angry and quit immediately. “I’m not sure what she thought we were supposed to do,” Fee said of the decision to advertise the position immediately.

    Fee then held up Grenier’s teaching contract and wondered what it was good for. “Really, what’s a contract good for?” he wondered. “Why do we have contracts if you can just quit.”

    The Times on Tuesday was unsuccessful in attempts to contact Grenier.

Down to three sections

    So, for the foreseeable future, sixth grade at Highland will have three sections. “We just have to think that things will work out as best as possible for the rest of the year,” Fee said.

    Superintendent Jeremy Olson and Highland Principal Chris Trostad are working with the remaining sixth grade teachers and Highland staff to make the best of the situation, Fee continued, adding that the sixth grade teachers will “be given all the ammunition to make the year the best that they can.”

    Olson said letters were sent home to all sixth grade parents, and that he and Trostad will be available for a meeting at the school at 6:30 p.m. to answer any questions and address any concerns that parents have.

    Olson then reiterated his belief, which he says is backed up by most research, that the most important component to a positive student learning experience is the teacher in the classroom, with the number of students in the classroom being a “distant second.”

    Board member Dave Davidson said he’s spoken with a couple of the sixth grade teachers, and he lauded not only their willingness but their ability to “step up to the plate” and provide the “best option in a bad situation.”