Ziggy the golden retriever spends time at all three schools.

    A certified therapy dog, a golden retriever named Ziggy, is spending time in Crookston Public Schools this school year and is having a positive impact on individual students as well as classrooms and the overall school climate.

    That’s what members of the Crookston School Board were told this week. Board members and administrators knew going into the school year that Ziggy would have a presence in the schools, but the board this week had to actually approve the addition of the therapy dog after Superintendent Jeremy Olson said it was brought to his attention by a staff member that district policy required official board approval of something like a therapy dog.

    “It’s a great program,” Olson said. “Certain students really respond favorably (to the therapy dog). We just feel it’s good for kids.”

    Ziggy is mostly based at Crookston High School but visits Washington School on Tuesdays. Denice Oliver, principal at the school home to the district’s youngest children, said Ziggy’s positive impact is immediate and obvious. “He’s a great addition to the district,” she said. “He de-escalates situations with kids just by walking into a room. The kids just love the dog; he makes a big difference in the atmosphere of our school.”

    Highland School Principal Chris Trostad said Ziggy visits Highland on Tuesdays as well.