CROOKSTON – The start of school in September will usher in a renewed effort by Crookston Public Schools administrators and teachers to better communicate with parents and community members.

“One of the things we hope our parents will recognize is a commitment to communication,” said Jeremy Olson, superintendent of Crookston Public Schools.

Communication is one of four core values identified in Crookston Public Schools’ five-year plan. The five-year plan, drafted this spring with input from school administrators, school board and community members, was developed so the district would have established goals, Olson said.

Under the guidance of Big River Consulting Group, the school held meetings with administrators, teachers, the school board and with community members to get input on improvements they want to see in the district’s schools.

“It was a concerted effort by our district,” Olson said. “We realized we needed a target issue … (to) pull together our focus so we can improve our education in Crookston.”

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The plan will be launched this school year and carried out during the next five years.

“We’re looking at a snapshot of what do we want to do this first year,” Olson said.

Besides communication, the five-year plan’s other core values are a culture of high expectations, relationships and exceptional systems of report, Olson said.

“We want to be committed to excellence in everything we do,” he said.

For example, Olson said he hopes parents of Crookston students will notice more intentional communication by administration and teachers to parents this school year and in the future.

“We are really trying to up our parent engagement as a district,” he said. “We want to be proactive with our communication with parents.”

That means going beyond giving parents electronic access to their child’s grades, to teachers reaching out to parents by sending them emails and making phone calls. The communication by teachers with parents will not only be when students need to improve their work or there’s some other concern, but also when they have done something well that should be acknowledged, Olson said.

The school district also wants to improve its communication with community members and plans to use local media to inform the public at least twice monthly about the activities and successes of students, Olson said.

This school year the Crookston School District also will work to improve mental health services. One of the ways the district plans to accomplish that is to have mental health services available in the schools, Olson said.

Studies show that, when mental services are available in schools, there is an increase in those seeking counseling, he noted.

“School counselors are wonderful, but they’re more generalists,” said Olson, noting that mental health counselors specifically can address mental health issues.