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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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October 21, 2019 - A message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

October 21, 2019

This upcoming week, we celebrate Education Week in Saskatchewan (October 20-26). The theme this year of “Working and Learning Together” recognizes the importance of collaboration among our students, staff, communities, and partners. The week is also Saskatchewan Library Week, with the theme of “Libraries: Building the Future”. Please take time to thank our school librarians for the invaluable support they provide for our students. Also, be sure to visit your local or regional library and enjoy these invaluable resources available in our communities. October 21 is also “Bus Driver Appreciation Day” as proclaimed by our provincial government. Our bus drivers do so much to ensure the safety of our students and provide a critical service to our families. During the upcoming, busy week of recognition and celebration within our system, I look very forward to observing the many ways these days are commemorated in our schools.

Although the past week was a short one following the long weekend, it seems we are able to fit a lot into the four days. On Tuesday, I met with the Joint Operations Committee (JOC) that oversees the operation of Humboldt Collegiate Institute (HCI). The committee includes Horizon Trustees, Linda Mattock and Dave Holinaty, myself, Deputy Director, Randy MacLEAN, Superintendent of Operational Services, Justin Arendt, and Superintendent of Finance Services, Sarah Reding, along with senior leadership and Board Trustees from Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools. The main focus of the meeting was on the impending audit for HCI. Both Boards have some level of responsibility when it comes to the audit so it is necessary that it becomes a discussion item around the table.

On Wednesday, I met with the Heritage Classic Advisory Board, also via teleconference. With the event rapidly approaching, my time on the advisory board is coming to an end. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to represent Horizon School Division in this work, and for the opportunity we have had to be involved as  a system in both the NHL and the WHL games that weekend.

Horizon’s Board of Education met on Thursday for their regular monthly meeting. Among a number of discussion items, our Trustees enjoyed a presentation from Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, and Supervisor of Literacy & Early Learning Services, Katherine Oviatt. Their presentation covered their work and the data collected during last year’s Ages & Stages (ASQ) community screening project, which was the first exposure of the early learning assessment tool to all of Horizon’s elementary school communities. The work Katherine and her team did provide developmental screenings and assessments to all children aged 2 months to 5 years whose parents were able to find the time to engage in the process. In total, nearly 600 children were assessed and the fact that interventions were immediately put in place for some of our children following the assessment meant the project was already highly successful. That said, the data is also critical to our Board’s advocacy for changes to the way PreK funding and programs are offered in rural Saskatchewan. I want to thank Darrell, Katherine, their team, and our Board for their ongoing efforts in support of Horizon’s youngest learners. The Board also got their first glimpse into the Annual Report, which will be completed by the end of November for the government’s final review.

On Thursday evening, an event was held in Imperial to support one of our children who is still undergoing treatment relating to a very serious medical ailment. The community raised a significant amount of money to support the family through donations and a supper. I want to thank Carol Baade and her staff, students, and families for being willing to help someone in need when the need arises. We will continue to keep this little man in our thoughts and/or prayers as he continues to undergo treatment.

My Central Office Administrators Team (COAT) met on Friday to review our strategic planning documents around our goals of Literacy & Numeracy, Safe & Caring, and Graduation Rates. We had deep conversations around these goals and supporting documents and will be continuing this work in a future meeting. I greatly appreciate the feedback, conversations, and thought that took place at our meeting. Since our strategic plan ultimately guides our schools in the creation of their Learning Improvement Plans, having our team collaborate and improve these documents at this stage is a critical piece of our annual strategy work.

We were also fortunate to have Sarah meet with the Ministry of Education’s Executive Director of Education Funding, Angela Chobanik, and Director of Financial Policy, Josh Kramer. Both Angela and Josh drove to our office to meet with Sarah and discuss funding for education.  After they joined our COAT team for lunch, we had the opportunity to tour Angela and Josh around our office and introduce them to the staff. I want to extend our thanks, both for their visit and for their work to provide funding to our system.

Following our COAT meeting, I met with Kenda Thimm of MNP to discuss Horizon’s annual audit. Kenda’s team at MNP does a tremendous amount of work each year preparing our audit for the Board and a necessary part of the process is to meet with my office and others within my office to go over potential issues and concerns. The final audited financial statements will make up part of the Annual Report due the end of November.

Lastly this week, I want to say thank you, Horizon, for doing your part to vote and spread the word about Kraft Heinz Project Play and the Lanigan Swimming Pool. As finalists in this contest, Lanigan was up for the grand prize of $250,000 to support their community project. The winner will have been announced if you’re reading this after Monday, October 21. No matter the outcome, we should be proud that our province rallied together, as we always do, to support this exciting opportunity for one of our communities.  

Have a great week, everyone.

- Kevin

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