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September 3, 2019 - A message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education
September 03, 2019
Welcome back, everyone! It is exciting to have our students return to classrooms and get the new school year started. The bells, the chatter in our hallways, the young ones and staff eager for new opportunities and knowledge…it truly is one of the best times of the year. This year, Horizon’s three foundational goals have been updated to reflect the priorities of our Board. Our updated goals are: Safe & Caring, Literacy & Numeracy, and Graduation Rates. You will notice the addition of “Numeracy” to reflect our focus on mathematics, and that “Graduation Rates” has replaced our previous “Assessment” goal. This is because we continue to see success with our goal of improved assessment practices, and those practices are now reflected in all aspects of our work. As we move our updated goals forward, I want to thank each of you in Horizon School Division for the contributions you will make in the coming months. Your work will create a better world, one student at a time.
This past Monday, August 26, was the Horizon Teachers’ Association (HTA) convention. This year’s convention was held at Danceland in Manitou Beach. I want to thank HTA President, Gerard Frison, and the organizing committee for another fantastic convention. As you may have seen, Mr Frison gave a fantastic performance as the fifth Beatle – complete with a wig – to get things rolling. We also welcomed 15 new teachers into the HTA and Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation, and myself and our Board Vice-Chair, Linda Mattock, had an opportunity to bring greetings.
Following the HTA convention, I travelled to Day Star First Nation, along with CFO/Superintendent of Finance Services, Sarah Reding, and met with Chief Lloyd Buffalo, his council, and a number of Horizon Trustees. The purpose of our meeting was to officially sign our new tuition agreement with Day Star. The process of reviewing and updating this agreement has been a rewarding experience and I want to thank everyone involved, including our former CFO, Marilyn Flaman, for this important work. The agreement reflects current practices, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action to support learning for students of Day Star and Horizon School Division. We have had other school divisions request a copy of the agreement to assist them in their own work to update similar agreements, something of which we are very proud.
Horizon’s first Collaborative Learning Day of the school year took place in Humboldt on August 27. To start the day, I had the pleasure of welcoming our teachers and sharing some of Horizon’s impressive data from last school year. Teachers and secretaries then took part in a number of sessions throughout the day, including MySchoolSask (Aspen) training, sessions with Horizon’s Literacy Team, and more. Thank you for your collaboration, sharing, and conversations in support of your own work and that of your colleagues.
Our Horizon Celebration Day was held last Wednesday. I want to thank all staff, including the day’s organizers, for a fantastic event recognizing the work and talents of our staff and students. We enjoyed performances from a number of students, including Hudson Mierau (Winston High), Cohen Jones (Schell School), JJ Webster, Harrison Mooney, and Tyson Webster (Imperial School) and their garage band, Hannah Gaudry (Wakaw School), Devdan and Hailey Chegus (Watson School), and Tanner Hall (HCI). We recognized our staff through the presentation of Years of Service pins – including our Board Trustee, Wil Lengyel, who is celebrating 45 years of service to our system! We presented this year’s Excellence in Teaching Awards. This year’s very deserving award winners are: Leah Hergott (Grade 3, Humboldt Public School), Gayle Fahlman (Kindergarten/Grade 1, Schell School), David Rowe (Senior ELA/History, Humboldt Collegiate Institute), and Cynthia Lovequist (Grade 1 - 2, Bulyea School). Congratulations, all. During the day, we also had the honour of presenting the 2019 Wall of Fame inductees… Andrea Froese and Kenny Shields. Ms Froese has made her mark on the legal profession, working as a partner in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department of the internationally-renowned Bennett Jones LLP in Calgary. Kenny Shields was, of course, the lead singer of Streetheart and a Canadian Rock and Roll legend. We were honoured to have Ms Froese and her family join us, and to welcome Mr Shields’ wife, Elena, sister, Sharlene, and friends to the ceremony. We are very proud to hang their photos on our Wall of Fame to inspire students, staff, and visitors for many years to come.
This past Thursday and Friday were an admin day and a non-instructional day, giving our school staff time to prepare for our students’ return to classrooms. On Thursday, I had the opportunity to lead 7 Habits training for staff at Humboldt Collegiate Institute. I always enjoy leading this training and want to thank the HCI staff for their engagement and conversations.
The previous week was also a busy one for Horizon. On August 19 and 20, we welcomed our 15 first-year teachers to a two-day workshop at central office. On August 20, Humboldt held its annual Pride Flag raising at city hall. While I was busy with a prior obligation, Horizon Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski represented my office at this ceremony and brought greetings on behalf of Horizon. This type of opportunity to communicate our Safe and Caring goal, and our work to provide inclusive classrooms that celebrate and support our LGBTQ2 students and staff has become an important annual event.
On Wednesday, August 21, Horizon’s Board met for their first regular meeting of the 19-20 school year. It was great to see our Trustees following the summer break, and we had a very productive meeting. My Director’s Leadership Team (DLT) of school principals, vice-principals and central office staff met at our central office building on August 22. That afternoon, we welcomed first-year administrators to an orientation session, also at central office.
After the busy few weeks leading up to the first day of school, I want to thank our staff for their work to prepare for our students’ return. In the weeks to come, your efforts will support your colleagues and help shape the minds and character of our young people. There is no better gift you could give our future. I am humbled to work with each of you.
Have a great week and a fantastic year, everyone.
Kevin C. Garinger B.Ed., M.A.Ed.
Director of Education/CEO
Horizon School Division No. 205