The Crookston School Board held a closed meeting Monday night to conduct a mid-year review of Crookston Public Schools Superintendent Jeremy Olson. Board chairman Frank Fee said Olson was graded on progress toward four goals. “The Crookston School Board almost unanimously gave high marks to Superintendent Olson,” said Fee. “He was graded on four goals – providing timely communication to the school board; provide leadership toward management of school district finances; continued efforts to grow student enrollment; and then, student achievement. It was graded from the top distinguished, accomplished, satisfactory, and unsatisfactory.”
On goal one – providing timely communication to the school board – Olson received five distinguished scores and one accomplished from the six-member school board. On Goal two, Olson also received five distinguished and one accomplished for providing leadership to ensure effective management of school district finances. On goal three – to retain and grow student enrollment through marketing – Olson received one distinguished and five accomplished. For goal four, Olson received one distinguished, two accomplished, and three satisfactory student achievement scores.
Fee said board members are concerned about the loss of learning caused by the pandemic and distance learning’s effect on student achievement. “Some board members were happy to see a little uptick in test scores, but are concerned by the loss of learning that’s currently happening caused by the pandemic and distance learning,” said Fee. “It will be up to the superintendent and administration to make up that loss of learning through either after school programs or summer school programs and get that school education for our students that they may have lost through distance learning. All in all, it was another high-grade mid-year evaluation for Superintendent Jeremy Olson.”
While Olson scored high, Fee noted he might have scored higher if the board was able to grade only his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The superintendent spent a lot of his time, if not most of his time on the pandemic,” said Fee. “Keeping students and staff safe; dealing with parents; distance learning; different (learning) models; and making sure he can get the products that can keep everybody safe but also finding the money for that. We think if we were grading on the pandemic, I’m sure it would be pretty much distinguished for the superintendent on the pandemic. He mentioned that last night during our review that he admits most of, if not all of his time is dealing with the pandemic. Some things have to get back on track, but it is a weird time for a lot of people, including superintendents.”