As we head into the last week of September, I want to take this opportunity to remind you about the upcoming Orange Shirt Day
. This is a day to commemorate victims and survivors of the residential school system, in the spirit of reconciliation. The day is an opportunity for critical conversations about this dark time in our nation’s history, and how the devastating effects of residential schools are still felt in our society today. As we work towards Truth & Reconciliation, we must remember our past and work together for a better future. The annual Orange Shirt Day is set for September 30, and since that falls on a Sunday this year, schools and other organizations are encouraged to hold events on a nearby date that fits your local schedule. I want to remind you that you can go to the following website for ideas to plan events in your school or community. Visit: http://www.orangeshirtday.org/resources--ideas.html
I spent several days in Regina this past week, along with my fellow Directors of Education from across the province and personnel from the Ministry of Education. Our group makes up the Education Sector’s Provincial Leadership Team (PLT). We had meetings on Monday with our Directors group to discuss numerous items of interest including cross-border transportation between school divisions, MySchoolsSASK (the new province-wide student information system) and a strategy development for its implementation, as well as numerous other important issues. Tuesday, and Wednesday, we spent our focus looking closely at the next “cycle” of strategies for meeting the provincial goals and have begun the necessary steps to engage stakeholders in this work. We also conducted a “wall walk”, where our provincial student data and assessment results are displayed for review and discussion. The many valuable conversations always focused on supporting staff in our systems and schools and ultimately improving learning for Saskatchewan’s students.
Last Monday, while students had the day off from classes, we held Horizon’s second Collaborative Learning Day of the school year. Teachers, secretaries, and educational assistants gathered in Humboldt for a day of professional development, learning, and discussions. I want to thank our staff for their work during these important sessions. I also want to thank the day’s facilitators for the planning required to support the group learning. The success of our system relies on collaboration, and we should be proud of the work we do as a Horizon team.
On Tuesday, I took a brief break from my PLT meetings to speak with Bolt FM about Horizon’s central office building, currently under construction in Humboldt. As I have shared in the past, the centralized building will be a great benefit for our system, bringing efficiencies to our administrative work through putting everyone under one roof and finding significant cost savings associated with no longer renting. Our contractors and Facility Services team are doing remarkable work to ensure that the space is ready for occupancy in late 2018.
On Thursday of last week, I spent the day with my Senior Leadership Team (SLT) focusing on professional development. The team is made up of Deputy Director, Randy MacLEAN, Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO, Marilyn Flaman, Superintendent of Operational Services/COO, Justin Arendt, Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, and Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw. The collaboration and support of this group is critical for our system, and I greatly appreciate their discussions and contributions.
To close this week, I want to leave you with a few words from Abigail Adams. Ms. Adams was one of the Founders of the United States, the second ever First Lady, and closest advisor to President John Adams. She is quoted as saying, “Learning is not attained by chance; it must be sought for with ardor and diligence.” Thank you, students and staff of Horizon School Division, for seeking out opportunities in order to learn new things every day.
Have a great week, everyone. Stay #HorizonStrong.
Kevin C. Garinger, B.Ed, M.A.Ed
Director of Education/CEO
Horizon School Division No. firstname.lastname@example.org