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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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November 2, 2018 - A Message From Kevin C. Garinger

November 05, 2018

I saw so many great photos of our students in their costumes last week, enjoying school and community activities that were focused on celebrating Halloween. I love to see the creativity on display. As Albert Einstein once said, "creativity is intelligence having fun". Horizon's students were certainly having fun last week, and I'm grateful that our fantastic staff supports these activities each year. 

Last Monday, I got the opportunity to visit Archerwill School as a guest reader promoting literacy. Any time I get to spend with Horizon students and staff reminds me why our rewarding work as educators is so important. I would like to thank the staff and Principal Loralie Hamel for extending the invitation to me. Immediately following, I travelled to Rose Valley and had the pleasure of meeting with principal of Rose Valley School, Rick Hamel. Rick will be presenting to principals and vice-principals next week.

On Monday afternoon, I held a meeting with Horizon Central Office Administration Team (COAT) held a meeting in our south office to review Horizon's 2017-18 annual report, which the Board will review at their upcoming meeting prior to submitting it for Ministry of Education approval later this month. COAT is made-up of Horizon's senior leadership, managers, supervisors, coordinators, and officers. As this important document encompasses the work of our school division over the course of the previous school year, it was important to have the feedback and input of our COAT to ensure we capture and accurately report all the great work that happens in our system.

On Tuesday, I joined students, staff, and administrators at St. Brieux School for the first Review of School Effectiveness (ROSE) event of the 2018-19 school year. ROSE is a strategic process that gathers feedback and data from staff, students, administrators, parents/caregivers, School Community Council (SCC) members and community members and celebrates the great things happening for our students while identifying those items necessary to support each school's growth. I would like to thank each of the organizers of the ROSE event, including Principal John Casavant and his staff, Horizon's Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, Coordinator of Learning Services, Jan Paproski, and Supervisor of Student Services, Jason Neville. Finally, I want to thank the students, staff, and community member participants for their valuable feedback and input throughout this process. The data will help our staff at St. Brieux School on their journey from good to great.

Last Wednesday morning, we held a meeting to set the agenda for our upcoming November 7 Board meetings, which will include both our regular monthly meeting and the Board's annual organizational meeting. Board Vice-Chair, Wil Lengyel, joined us at central office, while our Board Chair, Jim Hack, joined the meeting by phone. Our agenda meetings ensure that our regular meetings run effectively, and that we are providing the essential information our Board members need to make their important decisions. I appreciate the time and conversations of all involved.

Following our agenda meeting, I met with Jens Nielsen, editor of the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation's (STF) monthly newspaper, The Saskatchewan Bulletin. Mr. Nielsen and I discussed the remarkable work of Horizon School Division staff, and the support we received in the aftermath of last spring's accident. Mr. Nielsen made a trip to Humboldt for our conversation, and I am grateful that he is helping to tell the story of all the amazing people and their work in support of our students and staff during unimaginably difficult times.

On Thursday morning, I had a meeting with Wynyard Elementary School teacher, Marea Olafson. I then visited the ELA class of Ms. Tessa Jordan at Wynyard Composite High School, where I was invited to recommend and talk about a book our students could read. The book I chose was "Refugee" by Alan Gratz. After my visit to the ELA class, I had the privilege of serving as a judge in a student bake-off in the Food Studies 30 class. I want to thank the staff of Wynyard Composite and Principal Mr. Terry Leibel for the invitation to join each of these fantastic activities.

On Thursday afternoon, I returned to central office for a meeting with Gerard Frison, teacher at William Derby School and President of the Horizon Teachers' Association (HTA). When we talk about building relationships and collaboration, our work with the HTA is an excellent example of the great things that can be achieved. We enjoy a fantastic relationship with the HTA executives, and work together to support Horizon's teachers in their work.

I travelled to Saskatoon on Friday for a meeting regarding the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) Math Priority. In support of improved math achievement, we are considering the work as a sector to develop a SaskMATH web resource that would support high quality math instruction and assessment for Saskatchewan students. There was also a teleconference with ESSP outcome owners on the Provincial Leadership Team (PLT), and as an owner of the priority for SaskMATH, I was able to listen in to part of it. The two meetings were an opportunity to share with our sector leaders about Horizon's collaborative work to develop common assessment practices in math.

Last Friday, the Ministry of Education and the Office of the Treaty Commissioner shared information about a new Kindergarten to Grade 9 Treaty Education Learning Resource to complement materials created in 2008. The resource is available in English and French and can be accessed through the K-9 Treaty Education Learning Resource link on the Saskatchewan curriculum website, or at It is designed for teachers and supports a deeper engagement in Treaty education for our students.

This week is Media Literacy Week in Canada. Activities and information shared through this promotional week highlight the importance of teaching children and teens digital and media literacy skills to ensure their interactions with media are positive and enriching. It's more important than ever that we learn and promote skills that allow us to decipher and interpret the information we see, to recognize what's true and what's false in the news shared online and in conventional media sources.

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