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Horizon School Division
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November 30, 2018 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

December 03, 2018

I don’t know about you, but the incredible hoarfrost that has covered much of our province these past few days has certainly gotten me into the holiday spirit. As we enter this season of fellowship and generosity, I want to share a reminder about Horizon’s annual Christmas Hamper project. For five years now, Horizon’s Board and staff have donated funds to provide holiday gifts for families in need across our communities – things like books, toys, winter clothing, and groceries for a holiday meal. This year, we anticipate preparing gift packages for 312 children and 121 families, which are our highest numbers yet. Our Board contributes $5000 to this effort, and the remainder of the funds needed are raised through personal donations from our Board members, staff, and local businesses.  If individual staff members wish to contribute, you can provide a donation by sending an email to Corinne Thoms, Manager of Payroll Services at Corinne will set up a payroll deduction and tax receipt to help you spread holiday cheer to children and families across Horizon. Thank you, in advance, to anyone able to donate to this effort. Thank you, also, for the countless other ways our staff makes this a very special time of year for students. Your ongoing support is deeply appreciated.  

Our Learning Improvement Plan (LIP) review meetings continued this past week. Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, and Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, took on a few days of this work while I was ill and I thank them and the principals at the various schools for their efforts to share the important work school staffs are doing in support of student learning. On Monday, we visited Lanigan Central High School, and when I headed home ill, Crandall and Darrell continued on to Lanigan Elementary School, LeRoy School, and Englefeld School. Tuesday took them to Three Lakes School, St. Brieux School, Lake Lenore School, and Annaheim School. On Wednesday, they travelled to Wakaw School, Cudworth School, Bruno School, and Viscount School and then, on Thursday morning, we met with Muenster School, Humboldt Collegiate Institute, and while I was meeting with the audit committee, Crandall and Darrell met with Humboldt Public School. We finished the week with trips to Punnichy Community High School and Punnichy Elementary Community School. Due to the important conversations that took place, we moved George Gordon Education Centre, Raymore School, and Sask Central Hutterian School to this upcoming week. I am grateful for the work that has gone in to creating and reassessing these LIP documents at each of our schools. The opportunity to discuss plans with each of our school administrators is always a great reminder of the incredible work that happens each and every day in our system.

As I mentioned, on Thursday morning and afternoon, I joined a meeting of our Board’s Audit Committee. I joined this meeting along with Horizon’s Superintendent of Finance Services, Marilyn Flaman and Deputy Director, Randy MacLEAN. The Board Trustees who make up our Audit Committee are Jolene Koopman, Mark Fedak, Paul Crow-Buffalo, and David Holinaty. Vice chair, Linda Mattock also joined the meeting as a non-voting member. To begin our meeting, Trustees acclaimed Mark as this year’s committee chair. I want to take this opportunity to thank Jolene who did a tremendous job of chair over the last year. We then reviewed the 2017-18 Human Resources report and the 2017-18 audit and the audited financial statement, provided by MNP. With the approval of this audited financial report, Horizon’s 2017-18 annual report has been submitted to the Ministry of Education, and the Minister of Education will table the document in our Legislature later this month. I want to thank Horizon’s Finance Services team led by Marilyn and our Board’s Audit Committee for their work to prepare and review this critical document for another year.

Following our Audit Committee Meeting, I joined our Board’s HTA/Board Liaison committee including Linda Mattock and Christine Gradin, for a meeting with the Horizon Teachers’ Association (HTA) Executive. Our Board Chair, Jim Hack was unable to attend and sent his regrets. We tried something new this time around as we worked through a process whereby we examined the impact of the new Student Information System on stakeholders such as teachers and principals. Our meetings are critical to the continued good relations that our Board maintains with the HTA, which is also critical to the services we provide every day for students and families. Thank you to the HTA Executive who were able to attend including president, Gerard Frison, Rob Lissinna, and Penny Bugera who worked through this important discussion item with our Trustees and staff.

After meetings in Punnichy, I travelled to Strasbourg for the funeral of former student, Lloyd Hodgins. As I mentioned, Lloyd was the son of former teachers Dennis and Joanne Hodgins. He was loved by any of us who knew him. He coached some of our students from Strasbourg and Raymore and surrounding areas in hockey and his bantam team showed up to pay their tributes to a young man who gave so much in such a passionate way. He is certainly sadly missed by all of us who knew him and I know our thoughts and/or prayers go out to his dad, Dennis, his sister Stephanie and her family, as well as his brother Ian and was predeceased by his wonderful mother, Joanne.

We were fortunate to have Sigmund Brouwer in our system this past week and I know many teachers were extremely grateful for Sigmund’s work in supporting their efforts in leading writing for our students. Of course, his message, along with that of our Supervisor of Early Learning and Literacy, Katherine Oviatt, who was instrumental in organizing his work this week, is always about the importance of writing, reading, and story. This week, I want to leave you with a quote from the inimitable Mr. Rogers who once said, “I like to compare the holiday season with the way a child listens to a favourite story. The pleasure is in the familiar way the story begins, the anticipation of the familiar turns it takes, the familiar moments of suspense, and the familiar climax and ending.” 

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