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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
News Item

April 15, 2016 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

August 08, 2016

As I begin This Week, I reflect on the importance of partnership in our work as a system. As each of you are aware, Horizon School Division has embarked upon a literacy journey to achieve our goal of each and every student reading at or above grade-level. To help us measure our progress along the way, we have utilized the Fountas & Pinnell assessment tool for all grade 1-8 students and vulnerable readers in our grade 9-12. This past week, we began the second round of F & P assessments and they will continue to be completed by our teachers until April 22. The data collected from this assessment provides us with the roadmap for improvement on our journey and I am looking very forward to reviewing the results when the testing is completed. The partnerships our staff has gained by working together has been critical to our journey. I am equally pleased about the partnerships that have been gained with other stakeholders such as parents and community members. One additional partnership that has been very successful is that which we enjoy with author, Sigmund Brouwer. I am proud to share that Horizon School Division’s Writer-In-Residence, has been named to the 2016 Alberta Literary Award Shortlist in the R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature category for his novel, “Thief of Glory”. On behalf of Horizon School Division, it is my pleasure to offer our congratulations and best wishes to Sigmund as the selection process for this award moves forward. News of another impressive award reached us last week as Barry Croshaw, teacher at Winston High School in Watrous, received the Football Saskatchewan Darcy Busse Coaching Excellence Award. Years ago, I had the distinct pleasure of teaching alongside Darcy and knew him to be an incredible athlete, a tremendous teacher and friend and an exceptional coach. As an athlete, he played volleyball for the national team and football was likely the last thing from his mind. However, I had the pleasure of coaching football with Mr. Busse and recognized how outstanding he was at impacting our youth, getting them to reach a potential they never realized they could achieve. As a football coach in Watrous since 1992, Barry embodies the same ability to see students succeed in sport and is a very deserving winner of this award. I know you join with me in congratulating him on this well-deserved recognition.

Another celebration for our Horizon family occurred at the “Frozen Four” NCAA national hockey championship last weekend in Tampa Bay, Florida. Horizon’s Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, was on hand for the national championship game as he celebrated a victory with his son and North Dakota Fighting Hawks goaltender, Matt Hrynkiw. Congratulations to the Hrynkiw family and the North Dakota team on their decisive win.

These occasions to celebrate successes give us a great reason to come together as a Division. However, it is perhaps even more important for us to come together in times of challenge or grief. It is with a heavy heart that I share sad news regarding the mother of our Coordinator of Learning Services, Jan Paproski. Jan’s mom passed away suddenly on April 13 and I want to take this opportunity to extend my sincere condolences to Jan, Darrell and their family. I know that each of us has the Paproski family in our thoughts during this difficult time.     

Horizon’s Board of Education held their regular meeting on Monday. A presentation of the results from our Review of School Effectiveness (ROSE) event at Three Lakes School last month was delivered by our Coordinator of Learning Services, Jan Paproski and Supervisor of Student Services, Jason Neville. The review of the results of the ROSE process led to a very positive discussion and I know I speak for everyone when I say that we are eagerly anticipating the ROSE process at Drake School on Monday. On behalf of Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, Jason also shared an accountability report regarding the work they have been doing with respect to supporting students with intensive needs. The Board also had a delegation from the Public Section with them, sharing information regarding an ongoing court case that Public Section is involved with in Saskatchewan. At lunch break, the Board took the time to celebrate the recent and upcoming milestone birthdays of three of our Trustees, Melva Desjarlais, David Holinaty and Darcy Swiderski. They shared cake with any staff who were available and we enjoyed singing “Happy Birthday” to each of the trustees. Following our Board Meeting, the Wall of Fame Committee met to select this year’s inductees. We have a number of very impressive individuals lined up for this year’s induction and I look forward to sharing more information on this in the weeks to come.

While the Board met on Monday, former principal of GGEC and newly elected Chief of George Gordon First Nation, Bryan McNabb was sworn in to his new role. Along with the swearing in of Chief, members of his Council, including Horizon Trustee, Nathan Bitternose, were also sworn into their important roles. Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Chief, Bobby Cameron was in attendance at this ceremony, as was Horizon’s First Nation & Métis Liaison Officer, Lester Gardiner. I would like to once again congratulate Bryan and Nathan on their roles.   

On Tuesday, I travelled to Day Star First Nation for a meeting with our trustees (Jim Hack, Wil Lengyel, Nathan Bitternose, Albert Pinacie, Melva Desjarlais, Paul Crow-Buffalo) and Day Star Chief and Council and Education Committee. Horizon School Division enjoys a great relationship with Day Star First Nation and the opportunity to continue building this rapport is critical for the success of our students, staff and communities. The Chief and Council listened to Darrell Paproski and Katherine Oviatt, Supervisor of Literacy and Early Learning Services who shared the literacy results for our Day Star students. The data sharing opened up tremendous discussion related to how we can continue to move forward together and in support of our children. I would like to thank principals, Dawn Liska (Punnichy Elementary), Donna Nurse (Punnichy High) and Gene Unruh (Raymore) for being present to share in the discussions and Trustee, Paul Crow-Buffalo, for leading the meeting.

On Tuesday afternoon, I had the opportunity to attend the SHSAA Sportsmanship Award Presentation to the Senior Girls’ Curling team at Ituna School. I am extremely proud that our students are being recognized for such a positive reason and it was a great pleasure to be a part of the presentation. I want to congratulate and thank principal, Ryan Bullych and vice-principal, Brittany Ward, for their invitation and for their work in supporting the girls’ curling team, their coaches and their entire school. Ituna has won three sportsmanship awards in curling alone, a success that needs to be attributed to the entire school community.

On Wednesday, I took part in an Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) finalization meeting held at the offices of Prairie Valley School Division. As owner of the Operational Spending Outcome, I led a review of the outcome’s charter. During this time, a number of our central office staff members were engaged in professional development opportunities. Back at central office, members of Horizon’s central office took part in First Aid/CPR “C”/AED training on Wednesday and Thursday, ensuring that our personnel are prepared to support staff and others in the event of an emergency. Horizon’s Supervisor of Literacy & Early Learning Services, Katherine Oviatt and Literacy Coaches, Trish Maxwell and Kim Junk attended Hanen training in Winnipeg on April 13-15. Based on the most current research in early childhood education, Hanen programs are designed for educators who work in a variety of early childhood settings. In a comfortable, small-group environment, program participants gain the knowledge, skills and tools they need to make language and literacy-learning a fun and natural part of every child’s day. Now that they have the training, I look forward to our Literacy team assuming the responsibility of Hanen training in Horizon for the 2016-2017 school year.  

Thursday was the first day of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) Spring Assembly, which was held in Regina. Spring Assembly is an opportunity for Board of Education Trustees from across Saskatchewan to come together to discuss issues and vote on resolutions presented to the SSBA. On Thursday morning prior to the assembly, the Provincial Leadership Team (PLT), made up of Provincial Directors of Education, First Nation Directors and representatives from the Ministry of Education, delivered a presentation to Board Chairs on updates to the 2015-2017 ESSP outcomes. In the afternoon, I joined Board Chair and Vice Chair, Jim Hack and Wil Lengyel for the Public Section Executive Meeting. Following supper, the trustees were able to participate in a professional learning opportunity as well as hearing a message from the SSBA president.

On Friday, Chief Financial Officer, Lionel Diederichs joined me for a morning meeting before being seconded to count votes for the three resolutions that were presented through the SSBA. We also had the opportunity to hear a short message from Minister of Education, Don Morgan. Following the morning session, I travelled to Punnichy for a meeting with principal, Donna Nurse and Dawn Liska before heading home. Friday was a non-instructional day for our schools which meant teachers had a day without students and could focus on professional growth opportunities. To capitalize on this time, members of my Senior Leadership Team were out conducting 7 Habits training for staff in a number of our schools. Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hyrnkiw, lead a session for staff at William Derby School, Superintendent of Human Resource Services, Todd Gjevre, lead training at Bruno School, Superintendent of Operational Services, Justin Arendt and Superintendent of Finance Services, Marilyn Flaman, co-facilitated a session at Quill Lake School. Deputy Director, Randy MacLEAN led a morning session on Habit 7 for staff at Wynyard Elementary before moving on to several staffing interviews back at central office. This training is always a fantastic professional development opportunity and I appreciate the fact that members of my SLT have taken the time to facilitate these sessions.

Have a great week, everyone.


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