Times Editorial: Crookston Public Schools deserves credit for their efforts

Mike Christopherson
Crookston Times

    Understandably, when you’re an educational entity like Crookston Public Schools, with smaller and, the perception is, safer and warmer and fuzzier educational options a few miles down the highway, and a couple of parochial schools right here in town, much of what you do is going to be done in the name of getting more families to choose you as their kids’ education destination over the other options available.

    So CPS leadership in recent years has done things like expand preschool programming to get families into the public school system, and then hope they stay. They also added an early-morning drop-off option for families with small children when mom or dad, or both, have to get to work for the morning shift, sometimes before the sun even rises.

    But one could argue that what CPS administration, leadership and staff are doing of late, as what promises to be a memorable and interesting and eventful school year nears on the calendar, might be the best attraction yet for families with kids: They’re going above and beyond and over the top when it comes to keeping families updated on just how this school year is going to go...or at least how it’s going to start.

    Of course, this isn’t about trying to recruit parents to enroll their kids in Crookston Public Schools. This is simply about trying to manage a major case of information overload while at the same time giving parents and families and students and staff constant updates on everything they could possibly need to know. Because when you’re going back to school in the midst of a pandemic and you have to find some sort of elusive balance between safety and quality education with most students actually in the classroom but many also being educated electronically from home...well, having any stakeholders throw up their arms at any point and say, “I didn’t know!” or “No one told me!” is simply not an option.

    While no one can look in their crystal ball to see how the school year is going to go, much less how the first week or two are going to go, at least no one will be able to say that they weren’t informed. And if that’s priority #1 - to keep absolutely everyone in the loop with almost daily updates - CPS staff from the top down get a big fat “A” on their report card.

    And maybe, just maybe, when this pandemic is finally in our collective rear-view mirror, a few families who educate their kids elsewhere or were simply assuming that they were going to educate their kids elsewhere will conclude that Crookston Public Schools managed a daunting situation admirably and made the absolute best of it that they could for everyone who was relying on them to do just that, and they’ll choose CPS for their kids.

    But, again, it’s not about that. This is about navigating stormy, uncertain waters, and setting your sail in the best possible position you can, and in the process increasing the chances that you make it through, and, in the end, possibly stronger than you were to begin with.

Mike Christopherson