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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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October 15, 2019 - a message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

October 15, 2019

I hope each of you has had a restful long weekend and a happy and healthy Thanksgiving spent with loved ones. As I think about the things I’m grateful for, I’m reminded of these words from Helen Keller: “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched — they must be felt with the heart.” During this Thanksgiving season, I am grateful to work in a profession that provides countless opportunities to feel things with your heart every day. Thank you to each of you for all you do, Horizon.

As October is breast cancer awareness month and having participated in the recent CIBC run for breast cancer two weekends ago, I am reminded of all the incredible women across Horizon and the globe who are battling the disease every day. I am also grateful to be in living in an era where the word cancer does not equate to a death sentence. In my own family, I have had a mother who has fought off the vicious throws from breast cancer and have a sister who is still taking treatment over a year since she was dealt news no one ever wants to hear. Later they would tell her that she would have to have a mastectomy and undergo significant levels of chemotherapy and radiation. As difficult as I know it was sometimes to just endure the treatments, I am thankful she is alive. I am also thankful for the mammography technicians and the doctors who read the x-rays to determine if there are concerns with the breast tissue. I am also thankful that in Saskatchewan, there are two major breast cancer screening centres located in Saskatoon and Regina, satellite centres in Swift Current, Moose Jaw, and Prince Albert as well as a mobile screening centre that travels almost exclusively in the north for screening. I want to remind women and men that early detection is a key to establishing a plan for eradication so regular screening is essential.

I began the past week in a teleconference with the Provincial Leadership Team (PLT), consisting of my fellow Directors of Education from the education sector as well as First Nation authorities, along with the Deputy Ministry of Education and members of his office. These meetings are always a great opportunity to discuss opportunities, challenges, and successes with my colleagues as well as to engage in collaborative efforts to improve conditions for our students across the province.

I had the pleasure of joining trustee Cheryl Vertefeuille at the Imperial School SCC for their meeting on Monday evening. Although I joined by phone, I appreciated the opportunity to share some of the insights into the governance structure of these important legislated organizations. Any chance trustees and I get to join our SCC meetings is always welcome, as it gives us the chance to speak with and learn from the incredible caregivers and volunteers we have supporting our schools and advocating for our communities. 

I called a meeting with members of Horizon’s leadership team at central office on Tuesday. This meeting included Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO, Sarah Reding, Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, Jason Neville, Coordinator Student Services, Jan Paproski, Supervisor of First Nations & Métis Education Services, Bryan McNabb, Supervisor of Literacy & Early Learning Services, Katherine Oviatt, Superintendent of Operational Services/COO, Justin Arendt, Supervisor of Human Resource Services, Todd Gjevre, and Deputy Director, Randy MacLEAN.  

I then met with my Executive Assistant, Marni Sogge, Communication Services Officer, Lance Hiltz, Manager of Facility Services, Kam Kiland, and admin assistant, Stacy Anthony to discuss the work to complete the front reception area of our central office in anticipation of our grand opening on November 15, 2019. For the remainder of the day on Tuesday, I met with Gerard Frison, a teacher at William Derby School and President of the Horizon Teachers’ Association (HTA). It is always a pleasure to spend time with Gerard and discuss our shared goal of supporting Horizon’s teachers. 

Last Wednesday, we held our agenda meeting to plan for the upcoming Board meeting on October 17. Board Chair, Jim Hack, joined us by phone and we discussed the information that the Board will need through reports from my office in their next meeting. On Wednesday afternoon, Horizon’s second-year school administrators met at central office for an induction meeting. This group is very beneficial for our new administrators and for my team at central office, as we have a chance to share necessary information and learn from them how we can continue supporting them moving forward.  

On Thursday, I had the opportunity to join a very successful youth gathering at George Gordon Education Centre (GGEC). Principal Tammy McNab and her staff at GGEC, along with Chief Bitternose, Elders, and members of the George Gordon First Nation put on an incredible day of activities and learning for Horizon students from GGEC, Nokomis School, William Derby School, and visiting students from Muskowekwan School and McDermid Community School in Regina. There were teachings on topics ranging from Treaties, Residential Schools, Cree language, hunting and fishing, constellations, plants, tipi raising, traditional games, and more. I want to thank Chief Bitternose, Principal McNab, and all involved in this fantastic learning opportunity for our students and students from neighbouring communities.

On Thursday afternoon, I called a brief teleconference meeting with Principals and Vice Principals to share some exciting news for our school division related to my work representing Horizon on the Heritage Classic Advisory Board. A tremendous opportunity has been provided our staff and students relative to accessing tickets to the Prairie Classic, which is the outdoor game on Sunday, October 27th between the Regina Pats and the Calgary Hitmen. Tickets for this once in a lifetime experience are free for our school division as long as transportation costs are met. It is my hope we can send hundreds if not thousands of our Horizon families to the event in Regina and principals have begun the work to determine head counts for our schools. I want to thank the Regina Pats and REAL in Regina, along with colleagues from the HCA board including Chair, Wayne Morsky for this opportunity. 

Finally, I participated in the PLT teleconference on Friday in anticipation of our upcoming meetings. Again, I greatly appreciate the important work of this group in leading and planning the discussions that always focus on supporting sector-wide improvements.

Lastly this week, I want to share some exciting news from one of Horizon’s communities. The Lanigan Swimming Pool has been named in the top four of the Kraft Heinz Project Play, for a chance to win $250,000! They need as many votes as we can give, starting at 10 AM on October 18 - 20. There is no limit to the number of times each person can vote so teachers, support staff, and students can do their part to help Lanigan succeed. Visit the website -- https://www.kraftheinzprojectplay.com/ -- and don’t be afraid to tell your friends. 

Let’s get ready to start voting on October 18!

Have a great week, everyone.

- Kevin

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