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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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January 11, 2019 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

January 14, 2019

Welcome back, everyone! What an exciting week the first week of school has been for Horizon School Division. We were happy to welcome students and staff back to our classrooms this past Monday, and glad to see them refreshed and ready to learn after a well-deserved break. We shared our 2017-18 annual report this week, which highlights so much of what we are proud of from the previous year. A couple of highlights include the fact that our Grade 3 students continue to see improved reading results, with 77% reading at or above grade level, our on-time graduation rates remain higher than the provincial average, and of course, our amalgamation with Englefeld School has been a wonderful journey. Our central office staff is settling into the new facility, which we are excited to share with each of you in the coming weeks and months. With the changes we have already seen this year, and the changes to come, I am reminded of a quote from author C.S. Lewis. He wrote, “It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg”. No matter where we are in life, we can always find new opportunities and new potential for ourselves by embracing change. I think about the achievements we have already seen as a system, and I know that these changes for Horizon School Division put us in an excellent position to reach even greater heights in 2019.  

I began the past week in a meeting with our Board table officers, Jim Hack and Linda Mattock, to set the agenda for the regular Board meeting on January 16. Jim joined us by phone and Linda joined us in-person. I was able to take Linda on a short tour around our new space following the meeting, and we are excited to show off the building when our full Board is together later this week. On Monday afternoon, I led members of our local media through a tour of the new building. I want to thank Devan from the Humboldt Journal and Dawson from Bolt FM for taking time to help share our news with their readers and listeners.

On Tuesday, I called a meeting of our central office staff to discuss the norms and processes of our new building. That afternoon, I joined several of our administrative support staff for a training session on some of the audio/visual components in our new meeting rooms.

The provincial Strategic Leadership Team for the Unified Student Information System met on Wednesday morning to further plan for the upcoming migration to MySchoolSask student information system that is in the works for all Saskatchewan school divisions. I appreciate the work of this team, as there is much to prepare to ensure this transition happens smoothly and efficiently.

The Provincial Leadership Team (PLT) met to discuss the SaskMATH Priority via a web conference on Wednesday afternoon. As a primary owner, I led the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) discussion related to developing a web resource to support high-quality math instruction and assessment for the province. If the priority is approved, the resource will be developed by teachers across Saskatchewan for teachers.

A virtual working session was held on Thursday morning regarding the ESSP’s Graduation Rates Outcome. On Thursday afternoon, I had a meeting with Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski. Darrell and I then joined Supervisor of Literacy and Early Learning Services, Katherine Oviatt, for a virtual working session regarding the ESSP’s Early Years Priority.

I finished the week with the Board’s Governance Committee, which includes Trustees, Christine Gradin, Nathan Bitternose, and Lori-Anne Proznick, as well as Board Table Officers Jim Hack and Linda Mattock as ex-officio members. As this was the first time this committee met since the Board’s organizational meeting in November, their first order of business was to elect a committee chairperson. Trustee Jennifer Lemky will continue in this role. The committee then reviewed their Board Policy Handbook, their Annual Work Plan, and their Subdivision boundaries, among other discussion items. As this was the first time many of our Trustees had seen our new building, we also led them through a short tour of the space.       

To conclude this week, I want to remind each of you to consider coming to see your new Horizon office. The purpose of having the facility was understood but has become extremely obvious now that we are finally in the new facility. A transportation issue came up that would have taken nearly half a day to get to because of where people were located and coordination of documentation and schedules. In our new reality, it took literally five minutes to address. As author Joseph Rain stated, “A prosperous and sustainable future necessarily demands responsible and efficient management of our affairs: responsible co-creation”. The co-creation of our new facility is going to support our growth as a system and we are proud of what that future will look like for our students and staff.

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