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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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February 8, 2019 - A message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

February 11, 2019

February 10-16, 2019 is Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week, and this year’s theme is “Creating a Vibrant Education Together”. When I think about the gratitude I feel for Horizon’s incredible staff, it is certainly more than I can express in a single paragraph, a single TWIH, or even a single week. Every member of the Horizon School Division team works to support students in their learning journey. To each of you, my staff of Horizon School Division, I want to say that your work and your commitment to children and families inspire me every day. Thank you, Horizon…this week and always. Not only are you creating a vibrant education, but you are also highly effectively responding to our Board’s vision of, “Creating a better world, one student at a time”.

I was in Saskatoon Tuesday and Wednesday for meetings with the Provincial Leadership Team (PLT). The PLT is made up of my fellow Directors of Education from across Saskatchewan, including members of the First Nation authorities, and personnel from the Ministry of Education including our Deputy Minister, Rob Currie. On Tuesday, much of the day was occupied with a meeting among my fellow Directors. Late in the afternoon on Tuesday, I joined a teleconference with our Board Chair, Jim Hack, and Vice Chair, Linda Mattock, along with Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO, Marilyn Flaman, Superintendent of Operational Services/COO, Justin Arendt, Deputy Director, Randy MacLEAN, Communications Services Officer, Lance Hiltz, and executive assistants, Marni Sogge and Melanie Gray to set the agenda for the Board’s upcoming monthly meeting.

On Wednesday, the PLT reviewed and discussed the provincial data and looked at the progress that has been made toward the goals of the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) for Cycle 3. The remainder of the day involved the finalization of Cycle 4 ESSP planning. While we look to 2020 and beyond, I am proud to be part of the work this team has done to ensure our sector continues moving forward for all students in Saskatchewan.

Last week, we began the latest round of Learning Improvement Plan (LIP) review meetings in schools. Along with Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, and Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, I travel to schools in Horizon to discuss the important LIP documents with school administrators. On Thursday, we visited Wadena Composite High School and met with Principal Darin Faubert to discuss the work he and his staff have done to develop and support the goals of the school and school division.

The Director’s Leadership Team (DLT) met via Skype on Friday morning. We discussed our work developing the 2019-2020 school year calendar, upcoming staffing meetings, future opportunities and programs available for students, and more. I also shared an important reminder for schools booking trips on charter buses. As a school division, we will continue to ensure that any charter buses used by Horizon students and staff are equipped with seat belts/seat restraints and that those devices are utilized by every person on board the bus. I have followed up with some of our vendors following the meeting and was grateful to hear their continued commitment to this ongoing responsibility of Horizon School Division. We closed the meeting with information regarding the MySchoolSask student information system project. We continue to be in a place to support the implementation of the program for the 2019-20 season and look forward to the benefit this will provide our students, families, and staff.

Following our DLT meeting, our Senior Leadership Team (SLT) held a meeting at central office. As always, I appreciate the insights, support, and perspectives of this team as we work to provide services and support for students, staff, schools, and families across our system. I spent Saturday and Sunday in Saskatoon refereeing volleyball. I am grateful for the opportunities our parents and staff provide our kids by ensuring they are involved in various experiences outside of school. I think what I appreciate most is the conversations that spring up when staff, parents, and students engage me in conversations. There were so many of those conversations and although I know I can’t get to many of them, they included the likes of principal Garth Anderson, who was watching his granddaughter in U13. His daughter and Lanigan Elementary School teacher, Lindi was coaching and we also had some great discussion at one point on Saturday. It was great to see the upstart 13U team from Strasbourg coached by at least one former student of mine, Janelle Frizzell and her sister Marj, both first responders. They were quick to point out that they were wearing jerseys donated by the Mark Cross 18 Foundation. Mark was another former student of mine and former Broncos’ assistant coach who tragically passed away on April 6, 2018. Mark is also the son of former Strasbourg teachers, Brad and Marilyn. Although I didn’t see trustee, Lori-Anne Proznick, I did get a few chances to see her husband and former trustee, Murray Proznick as well as their daughter and current student, Shelby. After a terrible vehicle accident, I know I join thousands who have expressed their heartfelt gratitude that Shelby is able to walk, let alone be around the volleyball venues. She was watching her former club team from Lanigan along with her former coach and Lanigan teacher, Barb Klapak, who I was grateful to get a chance to chat with. Among others were the student contingent from Englefeld coached by community member, Trevor Kowalski and a team from Quill Lake and area that included the daughter of Englefeld School principal, Cori Harcourt. There were at least two teams from Rose Valley and area and I got to rub shoulders with some of the coaches including principal, Rick Hamel and teacher, Trevor Smith. There were so many other parents, staff, and students I won’t get to but as you can tell, there is a very good reason I enjoy being around the volleyball venues. It is truly wonderful to be able to spend time connecting with staff, parents, and students…while getting a bit of refereeing in too.

I want to end This Week by reminding each of you to fill out the calendar survey for 2019-20. The survey will close on Tuesday, February 12 at 5 pm in order that I can get the results to the Board at their regular February meeting. Last year we had 667 staff and SCC members fill out the survey, the most of any year since I’ve been involved with supporting the Board in establishing the calendar. I’m hopeful we can expand on this number and at “press time”, we have 174 responses.

Have a great week, everyone. Stay warm…and #HorizonStrong.

- Kevin

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