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Horizon School Division
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November 30, 2020 - a message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

November 30, 2020

I hope each of you had a relaxing weekend. Of course, it was Black Friday so I’m sure if you were like me, you were busy trying to find some local deals for Christmas gifts for family and friends. It’s rare I get a head start on Christmas shopping but this year I decided to shift gears and at least get a start on gift-giving. In the spirit of giving, I just want to thank so many of you, including our local CUPE and the Horizon Teachers’ Association and numerous schools, businesses, and individuals for being so willing to give to the Christmas Hamper Project. We are so grateful for the support and I want to once again remind everyone that you can make a personal donation to this worthwhile cause through either a payroll deduction over one pay period or multiple pay periods (contact Corinne Thoms at corinne.thoms@horizonsd.ca) or by donating in whatever manner you choose by connecting with my office and Marni Sogge at marni.sogge@horizonsd.ca. Every bit helps in this important, worthwhile cause to spread holiday cheer to families in need across our system. I also want to add that we have received further support of our Christmas Hamper Project from Auroraman himself, Englefeld School teacher, Jeff Burton. Jeff is selling limited-edition copies of the first issue of the Auroraman comic book he created, and he is donating a significant portion of the proceeds to our Christmas Hampers. It is truly a wonderful gesture. If you are interested in one of the special edition copies, please visit the Auroraman Facebook page for more information and details.

The Government of Saskatchewan announced new COVID-19 measures that took effect last Friday, and I have provided a copy of the new measures. My office shared a memo with families and staff to illustrate how these measures affect our schools and the work of our staff and students. The memo can be found at the link located at this location. These new measures – which require all students to be masked throughout the school day, and now including PreK-3 students – certainly present a change from what our practices have been so far this year. We are in the process of getting final clarity from our partners in Health and the Ministry of Education on exactly how this needs to look for specific classrooms and situations, and I plan to share more information in this regard as soon as possible. But so far this year, we have seen outstanding adherence and cooperation from staff and students everywhere in our system. Our Horizon team is committed to keeping students, communities, and one another safe and healthy. And I know this commitment will continue. This past week, we were informed of a new case in Cudworth School and a case in St. Brieux School, and just this weekend, we found out about a case in Wynyard Composite High School. These cases create anxiety and certainly, our main focus is on the individuals and their families who are either sick with Covid-19 or who are requiring to self-isolate. However, what has also been a testament to any of these Horizon family members is that the practices of each of them and each of you, have meant that we have not yet seen a case transmitted between individuals within any of our schools. I have said it many times, but I truly do not feel it can be stated enough…thank you, Horizon. When this is all behind us and we can once again enjoy working together in closer proximity without masks and hand sanitizer, I look forward to shaking each of your hands. In so many ways, you are heroes to your students, your colleagues, and your communities. And so, with the newest measures established by the Chief Medical Health Officer, we will continue our amazing work so we can hopefully relax the measures as Christmas gets all the more closer.

Our Learning Improvement Plan (LIP) meetings continued last week. Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, and I travelled to Bulyea School, William Derby School, Nokomis School, and Drake School on Monday. On Tuesday, we made our way to Schell School, Imperial School, Watrous Elementary, and Winston High School. Monday was also a non-instructional day of no school for students and a Collaborative Learning Day for school staff. On Monday evening, I joined a meeting of the Horizon Teachers’ Association Executive. On breaks from our LIP meetings on Tuesday, I joined an Education Sector Pandemic Planning conference call, while Justin Arendt and Kameron Kiland met regarding the next steps in the Lanigan School project.

Our Board joined the Saskatchewan School Boards (SSBA) Fall General Assembly and Annual General Meeting last Wednesday and Thursday. This year’s assembly took place virtually on Zoom and the SSBA staff did a great job of ensuring there were very few issues. During the assembly, elections were held for the SSBA Executive and Horizon’s own Christine Gradin (Subdivision 6) will be joining the executive as the representative for the Central Constituency. And, Horizon’s Board Chair, Jim Hack, was acclaimed to the position as Public Section 2nd Vice-Chair. Congratulations, Jim and Christine! It is exciting to have trustees involved in the provincial leadership of these organizations and I know they will do an outstanding job representing Horizon and all trustees in the sector.

On Thursday morning, I held a meeting with the Director’s Leadership Team (DLT) of principals, vice principals, and central office leadership staff. We discussed a couple of pressing items, including the provincial mask mandate changes for schools. On Thursday evening, I joined a discussion with our Joint Operations Committee, which includes staff and Board members from both Horizon and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools for the joint operation of Humboldt Collegiate Institute.

On Friday, Darrell and I were back on the road for LIP meetings, this time at Sask Central Hutterian School, Wynyard Composite, Wynyard Elementary, and Watson School. Our Board’s Audit Committee met Friday afternoon to review and approve Horizon’s Audited Financial Statements for 2019-2020. Once again, trustee Mark Fedak was named the chair of the committee and other trustees named to the committee were Jenna Hale, Albert Pinacie, and Jim Lissinna. Table officers, Jim Hack and Linda Mattock were also part of the meeting as ex-officio members. I want to extend my deepest gratitude to CFO, Sarah Reding and Manager of Financial Reporting Services, Lori Washkowsky-Lucyk and their entire team for helping to ensure the audit went over without a hitch. I have signed off on the management letter and Jim has signed off on the audit so our financials are ready to be sent into the Ministry to be tabled in the legislature in December. Following our audit, the committee held their quarterly audit meeting where Sarah presented the quarterly financials and Randy MacLEAN presented a Human Resources report.

It’s hard to believe December is just a day away. Please have a great week everyone. This is truly a wonderful time of the year…and we will continue to make it so, even in the middle of a pandemic. Have a great week and stay safe, Horizon.

- Kevin

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