New state funding makes creation of new positions possible.

The Crookston School Board has filled two new positions, made possible by “Achievement and Integration” funding from the Minnesota Department of Education that is now funneling into the local school district, and will continue to do so, because the diversity rate of its student population has reached a threshold to trigger the funding. (In accordance with the funding’s parameters, now that the Crookston district has reached the threshold, the East Grand Forks and Thief River Falls school districts will also receive similar state funds.)

The school district had to put a plan together on how to invest the dollars, which was approved by the MDE, and two of the primary components are the creation of an “interventionist” position and a “student success coach” position. Both positions are full-time. (Expanded preschool programming is also part of the plan.)

The funding requires a 30% local match of the $164,000 in state money. The local funding is included in the district’s 2019-20 budget.

The board has hired Kathleen Ryan as the interventionist. She’ll work at Crookston High School, and her work will focus on seventh and eighth-graders and specifically target junior high students who might be struggling academically and in other ways in their first two years at the high school.

Ryan is a University of North Dakota graduate with no full-time teaching experience. Four people applied for the position and two were interviewed.

As for the student success coach, Emily Samuelson has been hired. Her primary duties will be somewhat similar to what the district’s Hispanic liaison position once performed. That position has not existed for some time. Samuelson will work both in the school with students but also at home with students and families.

Ryan and Samuelson will each start in the fall.