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November 22, 2019 - a message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education
November 25, 2019
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) held their Fall General Assembly this past week with trustees from across Saskatchewan meeting in Regina on November 17-19 for three days of learning, collaboration, and discussions. I had the pleasure of joining our Trustees for these days. Early Monday morning, before the SSBA sessions began, our Board held a Special Meeting to discuss who will be serving on which Horizon Board committees for the coming year. The composition of our Board’s committees is decided annually following their Organizational Meeting – which was held the week prior.
On Tuesday, I joined my fellow members of the Provincial Leadership Team (PLT) in attendance for a portion of the SSBA Board Chair’s Council Meeting. The PLT is made up of my fellow Directors of Education and personnel from the Ministry of Education, and we were happy to join with our Board of Education Chairs to discuss the Cycle 4 work being conducted in the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) as well as to discuss other matters pertinent to our Board.
On Tuesday afternoon, a commemoration of the 86th anniversary of Holodomor was held at the Saskatchewan Legislature. Some estimates suggest that the famine-genocide was responsible for over 10 million lost lives in Soviet Ukraine in 1932-33. An atrocity of this scale is almost impossible to comprehend, and we must ensure that future generations do not forget. Last week was Holodomor Memorial Week, and November 23 was
International Holodomor Memorial Day
. As educators, we know the importance of passing on our history, especially the darkest moments, so that future generations do not repeat these terrible mistakes.
The PLT met again on Wednesday and Thursday. Also on Wednesday evening, the SaskMATH Reference Committee had a face-to-face meeting at the Ministry of Education office in Regina. On Thursday, the PLT held a data wall walk, allowing us to see our provincial learning data. The process of “digging into data” is an excellent planning process and one that many staffs in Horizon are very familiar with as Katherine Oviatt, Supervisor of Literacy and Early Learning and her team of Literacy Coaches have helped to bring it to schools to inform instruction. The process at the PLT brings our data together at the provincial level, lets us see it all at once, and shows where issues exist and the areas connected to those issues.
On Friday, I continued with work around the SaskMATH priority. I always appreciate the opportunity to share the important work that has been happening within this Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) Priority Team, of which I am a co-owner.
I also want to say thank you and congratulations to all student-athletes, coaches, officials, parents, and volunteers for an excellent volleyball season wrapped up with Boys Provincial Volleyball this past weekend. Many talented student-athletes were in competition, including Horizon teams from Muenster School (1A), Annaheim School (1A), Wadena Composite (3A), and Humboldt Collegiate Institute (4A). Congratulations to all the teams for representing Horizon so very well. Special recognition goes to HCI for their bronze medal win and to Annaheim and Muenster who finished with silver and bronze, respectively. Wadena had a good showing and narrowly missed the playoffs. So much work is involved in bringing these opportunities to our students, and we can never say thank you enough to everyone who is involved.
Finally, it is with a heavy heart that I must share the passing of one of our students. I know her loss has affected students and staff in Foam Lake and Wadena and I want you to know that, as we put the supports in place which includes our teachers and support staff from these communities, all of Horizon are with you in thought. I thought the quote by Alyson Noel, New York Times Bestselling author, best sums up our grief at this difficult time. She said, “I should know enough about loss to realize that you never really stop missing someone-you just learn to live around the huge gaping hole of their absence.”
Through all of our daily challenges, stay Horizon Strong everyone…and have a great week.
Kevin C. Garinger B.Ed., M.A.Ed.
Director of Education/CEO
Horizon School Division No. 205