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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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June 24-28, 2019 - A message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

June 28, 2019

Welcome to the holidays, everyone. As I ready to share my last message of the 2018-19 school year (I know…hard to believe), I want to start by sharing a few words from Horizon’s Board Chair, Jim Hack.

“On behalf of Horizon School Division’s Board of Education, thank you.

Thank you to our students, our parents/caregivers, families, and communities. We are proud to serve you and thank you for your support throughout this past school year.

Thank you to my fellow Trustees, our teachers, our administrative staff, our caretakers, our facilities staff, our numerous professionals and paraprofessionals, our bus drivers, our office staff and senior leadership, partner First Nations and community organizations, our SCCs, and partner organizations in the education sector and across government. The importance of your work cannot be overstated – what you do every single day helps children learn and succeed. We are very proud of the people within our team, and we could not be more grateful for the support of our partners. You really are making a better world, one student at a time.

We wish you the very best as you head into the summer months and some well-deserved relaxation. We look very forward to welcoming you back to our classrooms in the fall!”

I certainly echo Jim’s thanks and wish to extend my own to everyone in Horizon and our partner organizations. I know that we often anticipate the summer holidays with a view to spend time with family and enjoy the lake or the beach or those wonderful “stay-cations”. However, a week ago Sunday, I was reminded that, as much as so many of us are grateful for summer, there are those who will look upon it less favorably. A week ago Sunday, I had my vehicle broken into and my wallet and a number of personal items stolen, along with my division computer and iPad. I have been thinking about those who would do such a thing…those who are undoubtedly less fortunate than many of us. Nearly all our parents and caregivers do an incredible job with their youth and even in circumstances when our children struggle with behavior issues, it is often not the fault of parents. As a parent, I know this first hand. So when our children have needs, the fact that the school and the home work together to provide support to our kids is not only beneficial, it is completely necessary. I think about the fact that while school is in session, those children who need caring, kind, and helpful adults are so very fortunate to be supported by the outstanding professionals and paraprofessionals we have within our system. You provide direction and guidance when it is required and you model the moral imperatives we want for our kids. But those young people who have needs that would be best managed with this significant structure, are lost when school is out. Summer should be a time of enjoyment but I can’t help but think how hard it must be for these youth. I have always believed that education is the great equalizer in our world. Today, I recognize that more than ever. And as I look back on the year, I am in awe of what each of you have done for our kids…

And what a year it has been! We welcomed Englefeld School and New Horizon Hutterian School into our Horizon family. We moved into our new central office, where so many efficiencies have been found in terms of having our whole central team together in one building. The technology and space within our meeting rooms has allowed us to cut-down significantly on travel time (video conferencing) and meeting space rentals, and we feel very fortunate to have hosted a number of professional development opportunities with our fantastic Literacy Team. We continued our Review of School Effectiveness (ROSE) process, visiting 4 schools with a view to learn what makes them great. We completed another year of Learning Improvement Plan (LIP) meetings and the excellent conversations that come about during our visits. Our staff conducted Ages & Stages Questionnaires for the young ones in nearly every one of our communities, to support early learning for all. This work will also help Horizon in our advocacy for more early learning supports in rural Saskatchewan. Horizon continues to be a leader in Saskatchewan in terms of math assessments, with HCI principal, Cory Popoff, and our teaching staff leading that work. With so much happening and more to come in the new school year, I feel so grateful and honoured to be part of Horizon School Division each and every day.

On June 21, we held a very special ceremony at our central office. In commemoration of National Indigenous Peoples Day, we hosted our third annual Reconciliation Flag Raising ceremony. To see photos from the event, visit our website, or Horizon’s Facebook page. We were honoured to welcome guests from our partner First Nations, including Day Star, George Gordon, Fishing Lake, Muskowekwan, and Kawacatoose. Chief Byron Bitternose brought greetings from George Gordon, and David Crow Buffalo shared greetings from Day Star. Trustee, Sheryl Kayseas shared greetings from Fishing Lake, where she serves as a council member. Trustee, Albert Pinacie, brought greetings from Muskowekwan, where he previously served as Chief. We also had the privilege of hearing from the President of the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan, Glen McCallum, who brought greetings and shared a message about the important of bringing people together. Harold Litteletent and the Dancing Horse Dance Troupe from Kawacatoose shared performances and insight about dance, the drum, and their culture. Harold and our executive assistant, Melanie Gray, started the morning with a smudge. Elder Stuart Bitternose shared an opening prayer. I want to thank our guests for joining us and sharing about their experiences, culture, and relationships. I also want to thank my staff, including Crandall, admin assistant Shelley Schell, and others for organizing this important event. I also want to thank Lester Gardiner, principal at Punnichy Elementary Community School. In his time in the role of Coordinator of First Nations & Métis Education Services, he played an enormous role in establishing this annual ceremony. It is a privilege and responsibility to engage in the work of reconciliation with our First Nations partners. We are honoured by their partnership and collaboration in support of students and families.

This past week, I joined the Board’s Audit Committee for their final meeting of the school year on Monday. I then travelled to George Gordon First Nation to conduct interviews, along with Deputy Director, Randy MacLEAN, and Subdivision 11 Trustee, Nathan Bitternose, for the principal role at the George Gordon Education Centre.
On Tuesday, we hosted the League of Educational Administrators, Directors, and Superintendents (LEADS) and a meeting of the Professional Relations Committee, of which I am the chair, at our central office in Humboldt. Along with Randy and myself, we were joined by Ben Grebinski, LEADS Executive Director, Don Rempel, Director of North East School Division, and Randy Emmerson, Superintendent with Saskatchewan Rivers School Division.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I conducted our annual appraisals of my members of my senior leadership team. This week, I met with Randy MacLEAN, Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO, Marilyn Flaman, and Superintendent of Operational Services/COO, Justin Arendt. I want to thank each of them for their work and the work of their teams for another great year. 

On Thursday, I had a phone meeting with Bev MacWilliams of YES Canada, regarding the exciting work we’re engaging in to support bringing international students to Horizon School Division next school year. More information about this exciting opportunity will be shared as we move forward in the coming months.

Our final graduation ceremonies took place this week. On Thursday, students at Watson School, Cudworth School, Three Lakes School, and Humboldt Collegiate Institute held their celebrations. On Friday, Annaheim School marked their students’ milestone and the final Horizon School Division grad of the year. As our students completed departmental exams this week, I want to say that we are so proud of what you have achieved in our schools and beyond. High school graduation is such a major milestone in the lives of our young people. To our students, I want to wish you all a truly fantastic summer and an even better future, wherever life takes you.
 
At this time, I also want to take this opportunity to thank two people who have dedicated incredible energy to Horizon students, staff, and stakeholders. Crandall Hrynkiw, Superintendent of Learning Services will be leaving our system due to restructuring but will continue to work with me as a lead within an ESSP priority. Crandall has been in Horizon for 7 years and has spent years working as a Director of Education, principal and teacher as well as a Regional Director within the Ministry. He is going to be sorely missed but I am grateful he will be continuing to support the needs of staff and students across the province with a view to leave a significant mark on the province through the ESSP.

Finally, Marilyn Flaman, Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO will complete her tenure with Horizon at the end of August. Marilyn is leaving us to pursue a position as a lead with the regulatory board of the Chartered Professional Association of Saskatchewan. To put it in Marilyn’s words, she will be the auditor of all auditors including the Provincial Auditor. Marilyn has been also been an outstanding leader, providing critical support for students, staff, and stakeholders across our system. Although we will get the opportunity to see her for the next two months, it will be a significantly sad day when she is no longer in our system. Already the ad for the next Horizon CFO is out. If you know someone outstanding to fill Marilyn’s shoes, please direct them to me.

For my final This Week in Horizon for 2018-2019, I want to leave you with the following quote…

“One benefit of summer was that each day we had more light to read by.” – Jeannette Wall

Have a great Canada Day weekend and summer, Horizon! I hope you enjoy many great books and make many new memories with the ones you love. Stay #HorizonStrong.

Kevin

Kevin C. Garinger  B.Ed., M.A.Ed.
Director of Education/CEO
Horizon School Division No. 205