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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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May 3, 2019 - A message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

May 06, 2019

Welcome back to This Week in Horizon, everyone. I hope you had a great Easter Break and first week back. As you might know, May is Early Childhood Education Month. May 8 is also Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day. The first years of a child’s life are so critical for establishing a foundation for future learning, and we are so fortunate to have remarkable Early Learning educators in place across Horizon. As many of you are aware, Supervisor of Literacy and Early Learning, Katherine Oviatt and her team, which includes Speech and Language Pathologists and Occupational Therapists have been travelling from community to community across Horizon to assess the early learning needs of our children aged 6 months to 5 years. There are many value-added aspects of the assessment work including setting the stage for the successful integration of children entering Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) or Kindergarten and getting supports in place for children who otherwise may not realize supports until they were in school. As well, this action research project will ultimately support engagements with the Ministry of Education around recommendations for the necessary enhancement of Pre-K across Horizon School Division. As Maria Montessori once said, “Early childhood education is the key to the betterment of society.”

This past week began with a special meeting of our Board regarding the 2019-2020 budget. So much of everything that has been happening prior to this week has focused on the preparations for the 2019-20 budget, including the Board’s regular monthly meeting prior to the break, on April 17. While work remains to finalize the budget for our next school year, we made a great deal of progress. As always, our Board is committed to supporting the very best opportunities for learning and success and while this is another difficult year for grant money from the provincial government, many people across Horizon School Division have been working extremely hard to make the most of what we’re given.

The Board’s Governance Committee met on Tuesday. The committee continued their work reviewing Board Policy and preparing for the upcoming Board and Director annual evaluations. We had an excellent conversation and will be taking a number of recommendations back to the Board’s consideration during the May meeting.

On Wednesday, while I was in Cudworth with Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski and Supervisor of Student Services, Jason Neville, Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw stepped in for me to attend the iHealth Partnership Meeting in Saskatoon and Superintendent of Operation Services, Justin Arendt joined a teleconference regarding MySchoolSask. The health initiative continues from the work of the previous “Saskatoon Health Region” as we recognize the importance of education and health working together to support the needs of our youth. I am a member of the committee along with Directors of Education from the three school divisions in and around Saskatoon. MySchoolSask is the provincial student information system (SIS) that is expected to be rolled out in August of the 2019-20 school year. A great deal of preparation has occurred and we recently got word that the system is going to be ready for us to begin some of the training necessary for teachers and secretaries to be able to use the system effectively. To be clear, there is a plan that has been developed, specifically around training, which stemmed from important engagements with staff and our local Horizon Teachers Association executive. We can expect that in the upcoming month and even into August, staff will be involved in training to support our important work that revolves around student information.

Also on Wednesday, central office staff took part in a training session regarding Horizon’s new meeting agenda software. This software helps us assemble agendas and reports for our Board meetings, Director’s Leadership Team (DLT) meetings, Senior Leadership Team (SLT) meetings, committee meetings, etc. It also allows us to produce the public meeting minutes following each Board meeting. I want to thank executive assistants, Marni Sogge and Melanie Gray and the remainder of my staff for their work to learn the ins and outs of this important tool.

On Thursday, we held a Review of School Effectiveness (ROSE) event at Viscount School. ROSE is a strategic process that gathers feedback and data from staff, students, administrators, parents/caregivers, School Community Council (SCC) members and community members and celebrates the great things happening for our students while identifying those items necessary to support school and system growth. I would like to thank each of the organizers of the ROSE event, including Principal Eric Anderson and his staff, Horizon's Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, Coordinator of Learning Services, Jan Paproski, and Supervisor of Student Services, Jason Neville. I also want to thank our visiting principals for this event, Clayton Parobec (Humboldt Public), Darryl Dickson (Wakaw School), Carol Baade (Imperial School), Terry Leibel (Wynyard Composite), and Raymore School Vice Principal, Travis Flahr. Finally, I want to thank the students, staff, and community member participants for their valuable feedback and input throughout this process. The data will help our staff at Viscount School on their journey from good to great.

I then travelled to Saskatoon to join a meeting of the League of Educational Administrators, Directors, and Superintendents (LEADS) executive. Back in March, I was elected to the executive of this prestigious group and since then, have been involved in two meetings to formulate the direction for our professional organization. The meeting continued on Friday before I headed to our first graduation of the year.

I stepped away from my LEADS meeting on Friday morning to join my Director’s Leadership Team (DLT) in a video conference meeting with principals, vice principals, and central office leadership. We are fortunate in Horizon to have access to technology and professionals that make these meetings accessible and efficient regardless of our physical location.

To close out the week, I travelled to Watrous to join in the celebration for Winston High School’s class of 2019 graduation ceremony. As I mentioned, this was Horizon’s first grad of the year and I was proud to represent Horizon School Division at this event, along with our Trustee, Jennifer Lemky. Congratulations to all students, families, and school staff on this important milestone, and best of luck to the Winston High class of 2019 in the weeks, months, and years ahead!

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