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

March 11, 2019

Spring is in the air…finally! I think we all agree that this cold snap, that seemed to last far too long, will be a thing of the past. It is hard to believe we are well into March, however. I know I get to this place and I start to feel anxiety and unease wondering how all the work that is left, will be able to get done in the short time before summer. And yet…every year we seem to be able to arrive at the finish line very close to where we expected and wanted to be. Of course, spring is also championship curling season and a few of our former grads, Kirk and Dallan Muyres were competing in the Brier. Although they came up short, the future looks very bright for this Sask foursome. Of note, the Marsh brothers who play for Kirk, are nephews of Horizon teachers Dave and Bryna Nevill.

On March 3, 4, and 5, I joined other members of the League of Educational Administrators, Directors, and Superintendents (LEADS) for the Annual Policy Conference in Regina. Any time spent with this group is always extremely valuable, and I appreciate the forward-thinking of this group in planning for the future of education in Saskatchewan. I was pleased to learn that I have been accepted to the executive of LEADS beginning this year and I look forward to continuing to work alongside my colleagues in this role.

Horizon’s fourth and final Collaborative Learning Day took place last Monday. Thank you to everyone for your participation in these important opportunities to work and learn together as a system. As Mother Teresa once said, “None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful."

On Monday afternoon, we met to set the agenda for the March Board meeting, which will be taking place Wednesday, March 13. Deputy Director, Randy MacLEAN and I joined the meeting by phone, while Vice Chair, Linda Mattock, Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO, Marilyn Flaman, and Superintendent of Operational Services/COO, Justin Arendt met at central office with executive assistants Marni Sogge.

On Tuesday morning, the Crisis Management team held a teleconference to further discuss supports and services that may need to be considered for our schools and communities as we approach the one-year anniversary of the Humboldt Broncos accident. The team includes Horizon staff, representatives from Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools, the Saskatchewan Health Authority, Partners Family Services, and the City of Humboldt. We also discussed an upcoming presentation from Kevin Cameron – Executive Director of the North American Centre for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response – which is being held at our central office on March 11. The presentation will provide our staff in Humboldt and across Horizon an opportunity to hear directly from Kevin Cameron on the topic of trauma and healing. I look forward to this opportunity and wish to thank everyone on our Crisis Management team for the planning that brought this presentation about for our staff.

On Tuesday afternoon, we continued our Learning Improvement Plan (LIP) meetings. Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, and Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski and I travelled to Bulyea School and William Derby School for these meetings. Following our LIP meeting in Strasbourg, Darrell Paproski and I had a chance to meet with our Trustee, Cheryl Vertefeuille at the Strasbourg and District Health Center to discuss potential opportunities and to clarify Horizon protocol with health personnel. The meeting was very positive and I know will lead to further opportunities for students across Horizon.

My Director’s Leadership Team (DLT) held a Skype meeting to start the day on Wednesday morning. We discussed a number of important items relating to the administration of our schools and opportunities for students and staff. We also held a very short meeting with my Senior Leadership Team (SLT) meeting before travelling to Three Lakes School in Middle Lake, St. Brieux School, and Lake Lenore School to continue our LIP meetings.

The first of our annual SCC workshops was held at Quill Lakes School on the evening of March 6. The second took place at Watrous Elementary School on March 7. We had very good attendance and engagement for both evenings, and it was great to connect with our SCC members for a night of conversation and information sharing. I want to thank Horizon’s Deputy Director of Education, Randy MacLEAN and Admin Assistant, Nicole Fitzpatrick for coordinating this opportunity for our staff, Trustees, and SCCs.

Our LIP meetings continued on Thursday, with school administrators from LeRoy School, Lanigan Elementary School, Drake School, Nokomis School, and Watrous Elementary School. On Friday morning, we held meetings with the principals of Cudworth School and Wakaw School. I also joined a Provincial Leadership Team (PLT) teleconference with my fellow Directors and Ministry of Education personnel.

Following these meetings on Friday morning, I had a lunch meeting with Ed Wurz of Twin Creek Colony near Wishart. We have an exciting opportunity for a partnership in the works with Twin Creek, and I look forward to sharing more on that very soon. It was great to speak with Ed and his wife, and I look forward to building this partnership as we move forward in establishing the second new school addition to Horizon in the last two years and the third Colony School in the system.

On Friday afternoon, I joined a number of dignitaries in bringing greetings at the Senior Boys Curling Provincials opening ceremony at the Humboldt Curling Rink. Thanks to Humboldt Collegiate Institute staff and students as well as the Humboldt Curling Club for hosting the championship. I want to send a special shout out to Stacy Jackson and Karla Gardiner. The HCI boys finished 5th in the competition, representing their school and school division extremely well. As well, at the girls' provincials, Wadena represented Horizon School Division extremely well and the same can be said for Foam Lake, who competed in the mixed provincials. Both teams narrowly missed the playoffs and a chance to compete for a medal. Thank you to all who made the season possible for our students, including parents/caregivers, volunteers, organizers and coaches.

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