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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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October 26, 2018 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

October 29, 2018

As we head into the final week of October, I want to wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween. I want to thank our students for being respectful while they are trick-or-treating this upcoming Wednesday. I am also ever grateful that our community members are so mindful of our students as they travel from home to home in their quest for goodies. With the costumes, treats, and activities that our schools’ plan at this time of year, I look forward to seeing how our students and staff will celebrate the day.

Horizon’s third Collaborative Learning Day of the 2018-19 school year took place Monday, with librarians travelling to Humboldt to take part in professional development sessions and collaborative conversations with colleagues from across our system. Teachers and principals used the day to engage in a number of planning and preparation activities related to their Learning Improvement Plans (LIPs). I will be travelling to schools in November, along with Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, and Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, as part of our annual LIP review process. I want to thank our staff for their engagement in another successful Collaborative Learning Day, including those responsible for presenting, planning, and organizing.

On Tuesday, I spent time in interviews and then, later in the evening, I travelled to Raymore School to lead 7 Habits training for staff. I always value the opportunity to facilitate this training, as it gives us a chance to explore our habits and look at our daily behavior, both professionally and in our personal lives. As Stephen R. Covey once wrote, “The key to success is dedication to life-long learning.”

After spending the morning with staff and students in Punnichy on Wednesday, I travelled back to Humboldt for the opportunity to meet with Lieutenant-Colonel Stacy Grubb, commanding officer of the Royal Regina Rifles. The Royal Regina Rifles are a Primary Reserve infantry regiment of the Canadian Armed Forces and part of our meeting included a flag presentation, which I was honoured to take part in. I want to thank Lieutenant-Colonel Grubb for his time and for the conversation we shared. 

Late Wednesday afternoon, I joined Justin Arendt, Superintendent of Operation Services, as we met via teleconference with the provincial MySchoolSask (MSS) Strategic Leadership Team. The Strategic Leadership Team includes personnel from the Ministry of Education, school division senior leadership designates, and representatives from technology vendors. The team has a mandate to provide strategic-level advice and guidance on behalf of the education sector to support the overall success of the MSS program. MSS is a multi-year business and technology transformation program, which includes the implementation of a new provincial student information system (SIS), modernization of business processes, the migration of legacy data, and the integration of the Student Data System.

On Thursday, I spent time in our central office where, later in the day, our staff held a farewell luncheon for Horizon’s receiving clerk, Karen Smith. Karen will be moving on to an opportunity outside our system, working as an administrator for the Rural Municipality (RM) of Three Lakes. In 2011, she began work with our division as the librarian for Three Lakes School, and in 2016, we were lucky to have her join us at central office. Karen’s contributions to our system have been invaluable, and although we are sad to see her go, we certainly wish her all the best in her exciting future.

In the afternoon, I traveled to Englefeld, the newest member of Horizon School Division, to meet with Principal Cori Harcourt regarding a number of items for review and discussion. I can appreciate the immense amount of work that is required when a school division amalgamates with another, such as has occurred with Englefeld. The recognition of this is the first step in trying to make the transition smooth and I thank the teachers and support staff for their outstanding efforts as members of Horizon’s instructional staff, as trying as it can sometimes be. For any of us who have feelings that something seems insurmountable, I encourage you to remember the words of the famed Johann wolfgang von Goethe, “The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.”

On Friday, I joined my fellow Directors of Education from across Saskatchewan, as well as Ministry of Education personnel, for a teleconference meeting of the Provincial Leadership Team (PLT). I appreciate the PLT’s collaborative approach to issues and opportunities for the education sector in Saskatchewan, and I value the time we have for these crucial conversations about our sector’s future.

Saskatchewan High School Athletics Association (SHSAA) Provincial Soccer took place this weekend, with Three Lakes School hosting 1A Girls and Lake Lenore School hosting the 1A Boys.  The Three Lakes School team was represented in the 1A Girls championship, and Horizon’s 1A Boys teams included Lanigan Central High School, Lake Lenore School, and Three Lakes School. The Humboldt Collegiate Institute (HCI) 2A Girls team travelled to their group’s Provincial championship in Regina. SHSAA Provincial Football Championships also began this weekend, with Wakaw, Lanigan, and Viscount kicking-off in the 2A 6-man playoffs, Foam Lake in 2A 9-man, and HCI in 3A 9-man. These playoffs will conclude on November 10. I want to take this opportunity to thank our student athletes, student volunteers, staff and community coaches, volunteers, and officials, family members, the Horizon Central Athletics Association, and everyone else involved in making these sports happen for students.

With a very heavy heart, I want to conclude this week by sharing that in the morning hours of October 23, Horizon’s Deputy Director, Randy MacLEAN, lost his mother due to heart-related complications. My thoughts are with Randy, his wife, their daughters, and their extended family in their time of grief. Please join me in offering your thoughts and or prayers to the MacLEAN family as they cope with this tremendous loss. While our Deputy Director is away with his family, please direct any inquiries normally directed to him to either Todd Gjevre (Supervisor of Human Resource Services) or myself.

Have a great week, everyone. Stay #HorizonStrong.
- Kevin
Kevin C. Garinger, B.Ed, M.A.Ed
Director of Education/CEO
Horizon School Division No. 205