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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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September 30, 2019 - A message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

September 30, 2019

Monday, September 30 is Orange Shirt Day, a day to commemorate the victims of residential schools in Canada’s recent past and to honour the work of Truth and Reconciliation. As part of moving forward on our journey of healing, people across our country will wear orange to show the acknowledgement of the wrongs carried out against our First Nation partners. Wearing orange also demonstrates the shared commitment to a future of unity and cultural celebration. As I do every year, I look forward to seeing photos of our students and staff wearing orange and engaged in activities to promote reconciliation in our communities.

We started the past week with our second Collaborative Learning Day of the year. Among other professional development opportunities, our teachers had the chance to receive more training and support on the MySchoolSask student information system. We also brought secretaries back for another session on MySchoolSask, to ensure they have the support they need on this important program. I appreciate everyone’s participation, and our trainers and organizers, for their work to make this a very productive Collaborative Learning Day for staff. As comedian and writer, Amy Poehler wrote: “Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” This is what we hope to facilitate with our Collaborative Learning Days, and it is great to see our staff engaged in this vision.

On Tuesday, Horizon’s principals, vice-principals, and staff from central office were together in our Boardroom for a day of professional development with the Director’s Leadership Team (DLT). I opened the morning sharing updates and reviewing our administrative procedures and other matters, and Supervisor of Human Resource Services, Todd Gjevre led us through a couple of HR case studies. Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, and his team shared information from his service areas. We were then joined by Ken Sogge, Jim Swan, Kyle Lamont, Linda Kindrachuk, and Melissa Wilkinson. As Linda led principals through an information session on MySchoolSask, the others acted as resources to ensure support was provided for them. Later, principal Rob Lissinna also supported principals on the grade book and the nuances of the Aspen grade book. I want to thank everyone for their input, discussions, and learning in support of our students and staff. We accomplished a great deal throughout the day and could not have done it without the team we had in place.

I was in the office for meetings on Wednesday before heading to Saskatoon to join a Health and Education partnership meeting. This meeting of members of these two critical areas reviewed a draft of our partnership agreement and discussed items of concern for both sectors moving forward. I appreciate that our partners in Health continue to engage with us in education as it enhances the vital services we’re able to provide to students and families when we work together.

Personnel from across the Education sector in North Battleford on Thursday and Friday for the Graduation Rates Symposium. Darrell Paproski, Superintendent of Student Services was joined by Katherine Oviatt, Jason Neville, Jan Paproski, and Bryan McNabb, who each had the opportunity to share and discuss our successes and challenges relating to the Graduation Rate outcome of the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP), while learning from experts and colleagues about how we can move this provincial measure forward for students.

On Thursday and Friday, I spent the vast majority of both days working both on a review of my appraisal document and finalizing the George Gordon Education Agreement. We have been working very closely with the George Gordon First Nation Chief and Council and their staff to ensure that the agreement aligns with the needs of both our Board and Chief and Council. Also on Friday, some of our staff in Horizon had the privilege of hearing more about the Following Their Voices initiative from an Elders Gathering in Prince Albert. Raymore School is in its fifth year of Following Their Voices, and Punnichy Community High School has begun their second year of the program. As we continue this important work, I am proud of our staffs and communities for their continued involvement.

Have a great week, Horizon. #HorizonStrong

- Kevin

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