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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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February 10, 2020 - a message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

February 10, 2020

In all areas of our system, Horizon School Division staff are “Bringing Learning to Life”. This is the theme for Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week 2020. February 9-15 is a week to recognize and celebrate the contributions, hard work, and dedication of staff in the education sector, who go above and beyond expectations to help students grow and succeed. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Upon the subject of education… I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people may be engaged in.” Education, this most important subject, is only possible when we all work together, collaborate, and share – the way our staff does every day. You are engaged. You are helping students and supporting one another. One day at a time, Horizon, our society is made better by your efforts. Thank you, all.

I began the past week in a meeting with Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, Jason Neville and then joined meetings regarding our provincial SaskMATH work. We continue to develop the SaskMATH online resource to support educators in our province and these meetings include the necessary planning with Horizon’s Supervisor of Literacy & Early Learning, Katherine Oviatt, and our SaskMATH project support manager, Crandall Hrynkiw, and consulting with our team, including members of the Provincial Leadership Team including Assistant Deputy Minister of Education, Susan Nedelcov-Anderson, Barb MacKesey, Director of Christ the Teacher SD, and Vince Cable, Director of Creighton SD.

Our Board table officers, Chair Jim Hack and Vice Chair Linda Mattock joined us on Monday morning to set the agenda for their regular meeting on February 12. I then made my way to LeRoy School, where they were holding an assembly to celebrate their Senior Girls Volleyball team receiving the SHSAA Sportsmanship Banner for 1A Girls. I was grateful for the opportunity to attend the banner presentation and to provide congratulations to the team for their success the past season. Not only did LeRoy School win a silver medal, but they also join Three Lakes School and Punnichy Community High School, who have been presented with the sportsmanship award already this year. In the near future, teams at Humboldt Collegiate and Wakaw School will also be receiving this honour. I am certainly proud of the accomplishments of our teams whatever goals they set and achieve but I am especially proud of how our coaches and staff support our youth toward being great people. The late, great Kobe Bryant said, “Everything negative — pressure, challenges — is all an opportunity for me to rise.” It is true that rising isn’t winning but rather demonstrating greatness through how you respect the game and the people.

On Monday afternoon I had the pleasure of joining the grand opening celebration for the new Chief Sabitawasis School at Fishing Lake First Nation. I joined our neighbours and partners at Fishing Lake to commemorate the completion of their school’s construction. It has been a long time coming and certainly extremely necessary for those students attending on Fishing Lake. Horizon offers our congratulations and best wishes to Fishing Lake and their new facility.  

Learning Improvement Plan (LIP) meetings continued last week. Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, Jason Neville and I travelled to Bulyea School, William Derby School, Nokomis School, Drake School, Lanigan Elementary School, and Lanigan Central High School on Tuesday. On Wednesday, we made our way to Lakeside Colony School, Quill Lake School, Wadena Elementary, and Wadena Composite.

While at Wadena Composite, we joined school staff for their Celebration Day Lunch with Trustees Sheryl Kayseas, Christine Gradin, and Wil Lengyel, who were representing the Board. We presented cake for the school including students and staff and then ensured we covered noon hour supervision so staff could enjoy the lunch provided by the Board.

I continued to William Derby School on Wednesday afternoon, for an instructional walkthrough meeting, followed by a meeting with WDS teacher and Horizon Teachers’ Association President, Gerard Frison. There is always much to discuss between Gerard and me and the collaborative relationship we enjoy is reflective of the larger relationship between the HTA and Horizon. One of the important discussion items we shared was in relation to the Horizon math assessments. A memo will be coming soon indicating that these assessments will not be due until the first week of June. I know this has been a concern for some teachers so I trust this update will alleviate some of those concerns.

On Thursday, our LIP meetings took us to Punnichy Community High School, Punnichy Elementary, Raymore School, and Sask Central Hutterian School. That afternoon, I travelled to the Prairie Valley School Division office in Regina to join the Saskatchewan School Boards Association Board Chairs Council for a meeting regarding provincial collective bargaining. To the teachers in Horizon, you will be making a decision in response to the current offers. Obviously, as members of the CBA between the government and the STF, this important decision is solely yours to make. In order to help you with the choice, I have ensured that there is a link on the Horizon website to review documents and new releases at, https://horizonsd.ca/Services/HR/collectivebargaining.  I trust you will find the material useful for your upcoming decision.

I finished off the week on Friday with a videoconference meeting of my Director’s Leadership Team. We discussed several important items for our system, with updates from Human Resource Services, Student Services, and Operational Services. I also shared information regarding the development of the 2020-2021 school year calendar. A survey was sent to all staff and SCCs this past Friday asking for feedback on next year’s calendar. I have asked that responses to the survey be completed before 9 AM on Wednesday, February 12th. I know over 250 individuals have already submitted their vote, which equates to approximately one-quarter of our staff. A link to the survey was sent to your email address on Friday early afternoon from Executive Assistant, Marni Sogge. I intend to take the results to the Board during their meeting for the purposes of their review and to eventually decide on the 2020-21 calendar.

Lastly this week, I want to share some good news about one of our teachers at Wynyard Elementary. Marea Olafson was in the media last week sharing about the success of her pottery business, Freba Pottery. You can read all about it here. Congratulations, Marea. 

Have a great week, everyone.

- Kevin

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