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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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November 22, 2021 - a message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

November 22, 2021

This week and weekend have undoubtedly been exciting in Horizon School Division. It was another short week for school-based staff and families who enjoyed a five-day weekend, including this Monday. The November break has always been appreciated by staff as we look to develop the calendar. We will check on its value again this year as we prepare for the 2022-23 calendar.


Horizon had our fair share of accomplishments in our system, including our Board winning the prestigious Premier's Award. We also had seven girls' volleyball teams from Raymore, Watrous, Lanigan, Humboldt, LeRoy, Annaheim, and Rose Valley attend provincial championships this weekend. We also three boys' teams attended regional playoffs. All three of our teams are headed to provincials this upcoming weekend. Congratulations to all teams for a successful year! We are so proud of everyone for representing our system at every level of play so very well. Finally, congratulations to Rose Valley, who won the 1A Girls provincials for the 5th time in a row, and Annaheim, who won bronze. Extended congratulations also go out to Watrous and Humboldt Collegiate on winning bronze at their respective provincials!


2021 Premier's Board of Education Award for Innovation and Excellence in Education

We are thrilled about our Board receiving the Premier's Award for the George Gordon Mîkiwahp (Tipi) Project. We are grateful to the Board for their support of this important project and their vision for providing us with the direction for the project.


To the students, families, and caregivers of George Gordon Education Centre – thank you for opening your community to us. Thank you to the Elders and Knowledge Keepers for sharing your wisdom with us. Thank you to Principal Tammy McNab and all the staff at George Gordon for your support and welcoming us. Thank you to Katherine Oviatt, Superintendent of Learning, who was instrumental in leading this important work. I also want to thank Bryan McNabb, Superintendent of Indigenous Education; Amanda Moosemay, Instructional Coach; Lana Steiner, Math Coach; and Heidi Linford, Literary Coach, for your leadership and work to this point and into the future.

If you haven't already seen it, the video is at this link:


Saskatchewan School Boards Association Fall General Assembly

From Sunday, November 14 to Tuesday, November 16, the Board and I engaged in the SSBA Fall General Assembly. As always, the Assembly was an informative event and an excellent way to connect with our education colleagues. I loved seeing the Ile a la Crosse Grade 7 jigging video – what a talented group of dancers! We also took in presentations on creating home and school connections, the transformative power of relationships and an excellent talk by Dr Debbie Pushor of the University of Saskatchewan. Finally, Jim Hack attended the SSBA's Board Chairs Council on Tuesday afternoon and following his recent election as Board Chair and the 2nd vice-chair of the Public Section. Congratulations Jim!


Christmas Hampers

It's that time of year again! Our Christmas Hamper program is in full swing, and cash donations, personal hygiene items, blankets and winter clothing (toques, mitts, scarves and socks) are graciously accepted. The Horizon School Division Board of Education will match all cash donations up to $5,000, and tax receipts will be issued.


Over the past seven years, gifts and grocery store cards have been purchased for 802 families and 2,063 children throughout Horizon School Division. When the project began in 2014, 46 families and 98 children were supported. The need has increased every year, and in 2020, 174 families and 440 children were sponsored. If you are interested in donating, either as an individual or a school, don't hesitate to contact Manager of Payroll Corinne Thoms or Executive Assistant Marni Sogge. Because of your selflessness, we can do amazing things for those less fortunate.


SaskTel Information and Collaboration Session

SaskTel hosted a session for Directors of Education from Horizon, Sun West, Saskatoon Public, Saskatoon Catholic, and Prairie Spirit School Divisions. We discussed our goals, strategic directions, and things getting in the way of our work. The session was very informative, and we dug into some major topics like distance education, network infrastructure, safety, and much more. SaskTel is a major partner in education and they are always seeking ways to try and enhance the support they provide our school division. I look forward to follow-up conversations and the continued dialogue that is supportive of moving our system forward.


LEADS Executive Board Meeting

I spent much of Thursday in an Executive Board Meeting with my counterparts from other school divisions from across the province and our executive director, Ben Grebinski. As President Quintin Robertson, Director from Good Spirit, could not attend, I chaired the meeting as the President-Elect. LEADS is a professional organization for all supervisors, superintendents, Directors, and Deputy Directors in the province who hold a teaching certificate and who are out of the scope of the STF. It was a valuable meeting, and I look forward to our next opportunity to engage in the important work of the League.


School Board/Public Health Meeting

While I was in the LEADS meeting, Katherine and Darrell joined moderator Dr Maurice Hennick from the Saskatchewan Health Authority for a public health update. Meeting with our Medical Health Officers is a necessary practice that we continue to be extremely grateful for, and I thank Katherine and Darrell for taking on this important responsibility throughout the last year and a half.


LEADS/EdCan - Workplace Wellbeing Updates

On Friday I joined Gwen Keith, Director of Education from Holy Family School Division and Max Cooke from EdCan for a meeting to discuss mental wellness. The Well at Work program supports educators from across Canada in developing and implementing system-wide strategies to improve K-12 workplace wellbeing for the long term.[JG1]  I look forward to sharing more about this initiative in the upcoming weeks.


Have a wonderful week, and stay safe, Horizon!