School is back in session! We have had a great start to the year at Crookston Public Schools. Our staff returned at the end of August and participated in several trainings as we prepared for the students' return. As part of our strategic plan, the main focus of our back to school training was on building stronger relationships with our kids and families. The relationships with our kids, community members, and other staff are so important as we begin the journey to become an even better school district.

    At these district trainings, I had the opportunity to meet our new teachers and staff. At the end of last year we had several long standing members of our team retire which is always a little scary as our retirees represented numerous years of experience. While we will never be able to replace those dedicated staff members that retired, we were able to fill these positions with some very talented individuals. 

    Crookston Public Schools received some positive news on the opening day of school as we had a stronger than expected enrollment on the opening day of the year. We were projecting 1108 for the opening day of school and our first day of school number was 1132. Last year, our first day of school number stood at 1124. While it is far too early to celebrate our slight bump in enrollment, it is an encouraging sign.

    While enrollment is critical to our funding, it is not critical in our direction as a district. We will become a school of excellence based on the quality of our collaborative work, not the quantity of our student body. Our direction is a focus on excellence. We are committed to excellence in everything that we do. We recognize that not everything that we do is excellent currently; however, we are committed to the path of excellence. We realize that the path towards excellence is not an easy one and that there will be several bumps along the way, however, we are committed to this path. To bring this about, we are focused on four core components: Communication, A culture of High Expectations, Relationships, and Exceptional Systems of Support.

    Some of the components for this plan have already been undertaken. We have focused on the systems of support by adding an intervention/success coach for 7th and 8th graders this year. We also increased access to mental health providers with our partnership with Northwest Mental Health. Many of the components of the strategic plan are still in the infancy stage as we plan and prepare. What I am encouraged by is the quality and commitment of the staff at Crookston Public Schools. We have some very serious and difficult work ahead of us, however, I could not think of better people to help with this important work! Go Pirates!