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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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March 15, 2018 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

March 18, 2019

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the sun and winter in the shade.” ― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Horizon! As with many other days on our calendar throughout the year, our schools and students always mark the occasion with great-looking crafts and projects; and I have enjoyed seeing these activities in schools and on social media throughout the week. One thing St. Patrick’s Day always signifies for me is the coming of spring…and on the birth of my oldest son. On March 20, with the first day of spring, we will be finished with this winter, at least on paper!

In Horizon, last week began with a meeting of the Board’s Governance Committee on Monday morning. This committee includes Trustees Lori-Anne Proznick, Christine Gradin, Nathan Bitternose, committee chair Jennifer Lemky, with Board Chair Jim Hack and Vice Chair Linda Mattock as ex-officio members. The committee continued their review of the Board Policy Handbook, with a focus on Policy 3 – the Role of the Trustee.

Following our Governance Committee Meeting, I met with the executive of the Horizon Teachers’ Association to continue our discussions relating to the 2019-20 school year calendar. I want to thank the HTA and President Gerard Frison for their consultation on next year’s calendar, specifically around our fall start-up days and the HTA convention. A memo with information on the calendar will be coming out to all staff shortly.

On Monday evening of last week, Horizon staff from the Humboldt area were invited to our central office to join staff from Humboldt’s Greater Saskatoon Catholic schools, the Saskatchewan Health Authority, Partners Family Services and the City of Humboldt for a presentation from renowned trauma expert, Kevin Cameron. Kevin is the executive director of the North American Centre for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response. He has provided critical guidance in the aftermath of a number of high-profile traumatic events, including the Humboldt Broncos tragedy. His presentation and Q&A session seemed to be extremely beneficial for our staff and partner organizations as we approach the one-year anniversary of the Humboldt Broncos tragedy. I thank Kevin for his time and guidance, and I thank our Crisis Management Team for coordinating this opportunity.

On Tuesday, I joined students, staff, administrators, and community members at Winston High School for our latest Review of School Effectiveness (ROSE) event. ROSE is a strategic process that gathers feedback and data from staff, students, administrators, parents/caregivers, School Community Council (SCC) members and community members. ROSE celebrates the great things happening for our students, while identifying those items necessary to support each school's growth. I would like to thank each of the organizers of the ROSE event, including Principal Terry Braman and his staff, Horizon's Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, Coordinator of Learning Services, Jan Paproski, and Supervisor of Student Services, Jason Neville. Finally, I want to thank the students, staff, visiting principals, and community member participants for their valuable feedback and input throughout this process. The data will help our staff at Winston High School on their journey from good to great.

On Wednesday, our Board met for their regular monthly meeting for March. During this meeting, our Trustees enjoyed a presentation from Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, and Supervisor of Literacy and Early Learning, Katherine Oviatt, regarding Horizon’s work to support early learning. Among other important discussions, we also talked about our First Nation Tuition Agreements, the new Provincial Collective Bargaining Agreement between teachers, boards, and the Government of Saskatchewan, and a request for litigation funding from Public Section to support the appeal in the Theodore case relating to Catholic school funding. It was a very productive meeting, and as always, I thank our Trustees for their guidance and dedication.

On Thursday, our Audit Committee met at central office. This committee is made-up of Trustees Paul Crow-Buffalo, David Holinaty, Jolene Koopman, and committee chair Mark Fedak, with Board Chair Jim Hack and Vice Chair Linda Mattock as ex-officio members. The current financial status of Horizon was shared with the audit committee by Marilyn Flaman, Superintendent of Finance Services/COO. Marilyn does a tremendous job of preparing this information for the Board and my office.

For lunch on Thursday, I travelled to Three Lakes School in Middle Lake for our latest Celebration Day Lunch celebrating staff. I was joined by Deputy Director, Randy MacLEAN, my executive assistant, Marni Sogge and admin assistant, Kim Loose from central office, as well as Linda Mattock and David Holinaty representing our Board. While we supervised students, Three Lakes staff enjoyed a lunch and cake provided by the Board. Whenever we have the opportunity to spend time with students and celebrate our staff, it is always a major highlight of our work.

I finished off the week with a trip to Foam Lake to visit the bus garage with Transportation Services Manager, Jocelyne Possberg. Following our visit, I returned to central office to meet with my executive assistant, Marni Sogge, to review updates to a number of Horizon’s administrative procedures.

On Sunday evening, I had the extreme pleasure of joining other members of staff including Kameron Kiland, Manager of Facilities Services and Teacher, Jill Semko at Kelvington High School to participate in the 4H Speech competition judging. 15 Horizon students participated in the District finals. Although it was my first time to be involved in 4H competitions, I was, as usual, extremely impressed with the abilities of our youth. It was also great to see principals, Kim Nicholls and Rob Lissinna in attendance.

I want to end this week by offering my deepest condolences to the people of New Zealand and the global Muslim community. As educators and caregivers, we know that our children often hear or process more than we might like regarding events in the news media; and such terrible events can be a source of anxiety for our young ones. For this reason, I want to direct you to an excellent resource found here, on the Media Smarts Canada website. This resource has a number of tips on conversations and important lessons we can share in the aftermath of this type of event. Only through education and compassion can we help ensure that events like the one in Christchurch do not happen again.

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