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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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April 8, 2016 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

August 08, 2016

I know each of us came back to a busy first week following the Easter break. As the weekend drew near and the air still held a chill, the snowflakes attempted to remind us that winter was not long past. For many of us, spring has seemed a little slow in coming this year. But we have assurance that it will eventually come and we know that there is soon to be new birth and new growth. At this time of the year, Horizon has our own season of sorts. This is the time of year where opportunities present themselves and teachers, administrators and staff have opportunities to grow and change. With that change comes a renewed passion for their roles as they join with our current staff and continue to ignite new energy and growth in our students.

As you have read in the memos sent out from my office last week, Clayton Parobec will be moving into the Principal role at Humboldt Public School and Joe Filson will be filling the Principal position at Nokomis School, both beginning August 24. This will mean that the Principal position at Three Lakes School and the Vice Principal position at Raymore School will be opening up, and I look forward to our search for the passionate educators who will fill those roles. Sylvia Nagy, teacher at George Gordon Education Centre, will be the Acting Principal at GGEC until the end of the school year. This reconfiguration comes as a result of GGEC’s Principal, Bryan McNabb, having won the recent election to become Chief of George Gordon First Nation. Please join me in congratulating Chief McNabb on his new position. I would also like to congratulate Nathan Bitternose, Horizon Board of Education Trustee, on his election to the George Gordon Council. I am looking forward to working together with these exemplary leaders in their new capacity as we build on the great relationship Horizon enjoys with George Gordon First Nation.

In the office, we welcomed our newest Human Resource Generalist as Megan-Star Graham joined us for her first day on Thursday, April 7th. Megan-Star accepted this position following the resignation of Jenna Hale who held position for nearly a year and a half. I would like to welcome Megan-Star to our Horizon team and I look forward to the many contributions she will make in our system. Lastly, it was with mixed emotions that we announced the upcoming departure of our Deputy Director of Corporate Services/CFO, Lionel Diederichs. This news was shared with the Senior Leadership Team and Board first thing Monday morning, then with our central office staff at a morning meeting. Finally, the news was shared with all staff through a memo from my office. As the memo stated, Lionel will be moving on to a new opportunity with the Prairie Spirit School Division as their CFO beginning August 1. The epitome of effective leadership is founded in the belief that the organization is left in a much better place than when the leader arrived. Since joining Horizon in 2013, Lionel has made a number of significant contributions to our system and Horizon is far better off for his efforts. Please join me in thanking Lionel for his dedication to the students, staff and all other stakeholders in Horizon. Lionel has been a great leader and a tremendous friend to many of us and his loss is certainly Prairie Spirit’s gain.

On Tuesday, Lionel and I met with our Board Chair, Jim Hack and Vice Chair, Wil Lengyel, for our agenda meeting in preparation for the Board’s regular monthly meeting on April 11. Jim was unable to join us in person but joined us by phone. I also met with Jan Paproski, Coordinator of Learning Services, Jason Neville, Supervisor of Student Services and Crandall Hrynkiw, Superintendent of Learning Services on Tuesday to discuss the finalization of our Review of School Effectiveness (ROSE) report held at Three Lakes School on March 16. As we move forward with bringing the ROSE process to other schools, it is important that our reports allow us to share the great work of our schools and administrators with our Board and other stakeholders. I look forward to sharing this report with our Board on Monday and discussing the great work that went into both the process and the remarkable achievements of Three Lakes School where it was held.

Our CUPE negotiations continued for much of the day on Wednesday. As our talks progress, it is clear that the work of our negotiation teams will make our system stronger through the improved relationships we now enjoy. We will continue our negotiations on April 25th and I look forward to continuing our work toward establishing a strong agreement for all stakeholders.

On Wednesday evening, we held a meeting of the Horizon Joint Committee on Teacher Workload and Efficacy. As you may recall, the committee is made up of members from the Horizon Teachers’ Association, the Board of Education and the Senior Leadership Team. The committee is looking at best practices to support teacher efficacy and the perceived teacher workload intensification. Randy MacLEAN, Deputy Director of Education and Nadine Jennison, teacher and vice-principal at Wakaw School, are co-chairs of the committee and their facilitation of the meeting was instrumental in supporting the tremendous discussion that ensued. I would like to thank our committee members for their work and I look forward to where the discussions and focus will lead us as a system.

The Senior Leadership Team met Thursday morning to discuss a number of matters including upcoming SLT evaluations and the 2016-2017 budget. Following this meeting, the Student Day Committee met to continue planning for the event coming up on May 3. This year, our event is focused on student leadership and we have a number of exciting presentations lined up that will be delivered by our own Horizon students. Student Day has become a fantastic learning opportunity and celebration for our students, and I am very excited and proud that this year they will have an even greater role in the day’s presentations. I would like to thank the committee for their work in preparing and organizing this event for our students, especially Committee Chair, Jennifer Lemky, Trustee Dave Holinaty, Executive Assistant, Marni Sogge and Confidential Secretary, Kim Loose.

On Friday, I finally had the opportunity to travel to some of our schools in Horizon and Englefeld. I spent part of the morning at Englefeld School before heading to Foam Lake Elementary School to join many of our Horizon Trustees for a Celebration Day Lunch with staff. At our Celebration Day last August, FLES was one of the schools who won this lunch for their staff and it was great to be able to connect with them and enjoy a fantastic lunch.

I returned to the office Friday afternoon to meet with Lana Binning of the Franklin Covey Corporation. Lana is the regional coordinator (Manitoba and Saskatchewan) for Franklin Covey, helping organizations to establish a strategic plan for the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The Leader in Me. Lana, Marni and I met to discuss a potential opportunity for our schools considering becoming The Leader in Me (TLIM) schools. The opportunity to establish a system approach to TLIM will be necessary and will require staff of Horizon School Division to attain certification to deliver the training required for our schools. Although TLIM is a great tool to support our students, we will continue to explore the most efficient way to deliver it as the cost is significant.

Finally, I want to thank my staff in the North and South offices as many were clearing off their desks and readying for a final “move” of sorts. The office spaces were being readied for a final reorganization before moving to our new building. As the new build is a couple of years away, we wanted to make sure we utilized our space in both buildings in the most efficient and effective manner. After months of preparation, this phase of office space reorganization took place this weekend and having spent some time at the office over the weekend, I am thankful to report the work is nearly complete and staff will be able to get their computers and office spaces set up again.

As we begin this upcoming week, our teachers will be busy with Fountas and Pinnell testing. In the upcoming weeks, I look forward to hearing how our students have grown over the course of the year through the efforts of teachers, principals, support staff, central office staff, parents and of course, themselves.

Have a great week, everyone.



-Kevin


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