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Horizon School Division
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November 4, 2019 - a message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

November 05, 2019


I know I am not alone when I say that I can’t believe it’s November. How quickly time seems to go by. I sometimes think that I don’t take enough time to stop and really enjoy the moments that exist between before and after, between yesterday and tomorrow. The now is really so important to address…to cherish. If we don’t take care of it, it could lead to missing the crucial things that can make our future so much more effective. I think about time in relationship and watching our children experience growth as just a few examples that can be from both our personal lives and work lives. So please accept this as just what it is…a friendly reminder as the days slip by (maybe this is for me more than anyone else), to find the greatest parts of your every now. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, one of the greatest minds in any era put it this way, “Always hold fast to the present. Every situation, indeed every moment, is of infinite value, for it is the representative of a whole eternity.”

I believe Halloween was certainly one of the highlights of this past week. It is always a treat to see how our students, schools, and staff mark this day with such creative activities. Many of our school communities also take part in the WE Scare Hunger food drive campaign for their local food bank. Thanksgiving and Christmas are always busy times for donations, but our food banks often don’t get the support they need in the weeks between. This campaign is an excellent way to support people in need while engaging our students in their communities and promoting good citizenship. I just want to stop and say thank you to the incredible Horizon staff for supporting these excellent opportunities for our kids.

Last Monday was Horizon’s third Collaborative Learning Day of the school year that included our system’s Librarians together at central office for a day of professional development. I want to thank our Librarians for their engagement, and the day’s organizers from bringing everyone together for a critical day with colleagues from across the division. The importance of collaboration in any organization cannot be overstated, and I am thankful that our staff has opportunities to share and learn from one another for the benefit of all Horizon students.

On Tuesday, I met with principal Cory Popoff at HCI before heading back to the office where I held a brief meeting with central office staff to discuss our upcoming central office grand opening event. As I have shared, we will be hosting the Honourable Deputy Premier and Minister of Education, Gordon Wyant, for a short ceremony that morning at 10 AM. Among other delegates, we will also be joined by the Honourable Minister of Finance, Donna Harpauer, who is MLA for the Humboldt-Watrous constituency. Following the morning ceremony, there will be an open house, with tours and snacks, from 12 Pm to 6 PM. We look very forward to welcoming the public to tour our facility and will be promoting this day throughout our Horizon communities in the next two weeks.

On Thursday Horizon’s Audit Committee met to review our financial statements. The committee is made up of Trustees, David Holinaty, Paul Crow-Buffalo, Mark Fedak, Jolene Koopman, with Vice-Chair Linda Mattock and Chair Jim Hack acting as ex-officio members. Randy MacLEAN and Sarah presented our unaudited financial statement and Human Resource year-end data to the committee. The financial statements are a critical piece of our annual work and make for a large portion of our annual report that will be finalized by the end of November.

Following our Audit Committee meeting, I held a meeting with my Central Office Administration Team (COAT). During our time together, our COAT discussed Horizon’s strategic planning documents and made suggestions and revisions to reflect our work and plan for the coming year. These documents outline how Horizon will achieve our three goals of Literacy & Numeracy, Safe & Caring, and Graduation Rates. I deeply value the contributions and perspectives of each staff member on Horizon’s team, and we had several critical conversations during this meeting that will inform the work we do as a system in the months to come.

My Friday began in a conference call with the provincial Student Transportation Working Advisory Group (WAG). This WAG has been exploring options and following the work of Transportation Canada as it relates to school bus safety. Such options include extended stop arms, stop-arm cameras, and more. There is nothing more fundamentally important in our work as educators than the safety of our students and this WAG is committed to the very safest and best practices for student transportation across Saskatchewan. One of the discussion points focused on procedure around charter buses. Horizon’s procedure and practice are that if charter buses are used, they must have seatbelts and the seatbelts must be used. I believe there are people who are not aware that if seat belts exist in any motor vehicle, it is against the law not to wear them. There WAG had a very good discussion on this and a number of other ideas that will be considered across the sector and beyond.

Also, on Friday, I had the opportunity to meet with our Board’s newly-formed School Community Council (SCC) Engagement Committee. The committee includes Trustees, Jennifer Lemky, Jolene Koopman, Cheryl Vertefeuille, Christine Gradin, and Linda Mattock and is supported by Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO, Sarah Reding, executive assistants, Marni Sogge and Melanie Gray, and me. As this was the committee’s first meeting, we had much to discuss and the meeting developed some outstanding direction to support our school community councils.

Have a great week, everyone! #HorizonStrong

- Kevin

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