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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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November 12, 2019 - a message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

November 12, 2019

“We have the duty of memory, encore et toujours (still and always).”

-   Governor General Julie Payette

On Remembrance Day, we take time as a nation to reflect on, honour and remember the sacrifice of the men and women who serve our country. In our schools, we see this remembrance through our students’ poems, art projects, and stories, through our partnerships with local Legions and community organizations, and in our Remembrance Day programs. On Monday, I was able to join principal Clayton Parobec and teacher Robyn Moore at the first-ever "No Stone Left Alone" event in Humboldt. Students in grade 7 from Humboldt Public School led a wonderful service for the community focused on remembrance and on ensuring those graves of veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, were adorned with poppies. It was an example of the many wonderful events our students and staff host for our communities and in honour of our veterans. I am proud of our students and staff and how they commemorate this important day, and I am equally proud of our communities for supporting these important events and activities put on by our schools. It is for reasons like this that I am proud to call myself Canadian. Lest We Forget. 

I hope you had a relaxing long weekend, everyone. It was an extra-long weekend for our students and many of our staff as Friday was a day in lieu of parent/teacher/student interviews. Of course, students will get an extra, extra-long weekend as they will be off Tuesday for the admin day. 

Last week, my Director’s Leadership Team (DLT) gathered in Humboldt for two days of professional development and discussions. We enjoyed a number of presentations, began our group book study of Michael Fullan and Joanne Quinn’s Coherence, and discussed important school division reminders. I especially want to thank all of the presenters and organizers who were part of the two days. As collaboration continues to be an important aspect of why we have continued to see growth in our results year over year, a great deal of the work was focused on just that…examining how to deepen our collaborative practices. I want to thank the DLT for making the entire two-day PD session engaging and beneficial for each other.

On Wednesday, the Saskatchewan Association of School Business Officials (SASBO) Facilities Group held a meeting at our central office. 21 of the 27 Saskatchewan school divisions were represented at the meeting, and we were proud to show off our central office to these knowledgeable professionals. Also on Wednesday, I met with our Board Chair, Jim Hack, and Vice-Chair, Linda Mattock, to set the agenda for their upcoming regular Board meeting. We were joined by Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO, Sarah Reding, Superintendent of Operational Services/COO, Justin Arendt, Deputy Director, Randy MacLEAN, executive assistants, Marni Sogge and Melanie Gray, and Communication Services Officer, Lance Hiltz.

On Wednesday afternoon, I travelled to Saskatoon to join a meeting of the League of Educational Administrators, Directors, and Superintendents (LEADS). As part of the executive of LEADS, my work entails working to support the governance framework of the League in ensuring its members are provided necessary professional development and regulatory supports to maintain their status as a professional organization. Our meetings concluded on Thursday at noon.

On Thursday afternoon, I had a conference call with William Derby School teacher and President of the Horizon Teachers’ Association (HTA), Gerard Frison. Gerard and I discussed our plan for the upcoming HTA Liaison Committee meeting with HTA executive and Board members. The HTA Liaison Committee was established when I first got to Horizon to enhance communications between our HTA executive and my office as well as with our Board. The meetings have really taken a major shift in terms of the mandate as Gerard and I meet regularly throughout the year. We are able to focus the liaison meetings on discussing the future of Horizon as it relates to teaching and learning.  

Following my meeting with Gerard, I joined Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, and Supervisor of Literacy and Early Learning Services, Katherine Oviatt, in a meeting with Assistant Deputy Minister, Gerry Craswell at the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools office to discuss the Community Screening Project Horizon engaged in last year. I appreciate their interest in this important work, and the opportunity to share our data regarding Horizon’s early learners. The ultimate goal of the meeting was to present options around how Pre-Kindergarten or even preschool could exist in all of our communities where we have Kindergarten programs. More work will be required but this initial meeting was a necessary start to look at a future that could be even brighter for the children and families of Horizon. Currently, we have 7 provincially funded PreK programs in 5 communities and one federally funded program in one other community.

On Friday, I spent a significant part of my day working on catching up on some of the backlog and addressing other emergent issues. I was also involved in an interview with CJVR radio regarding the grand opening of our division office on November 15th. The upcoming week is an exciting one, to say the least with Horizon playing host to two provincial championships and hosting Deputy Premier and Minister of Education, Mr Gordon Wyant and Minister of Finance, Ms Donna Harpauer, along with our trustees, First Nation Chiefs and Councils, business partners, our families, and our staff for our grand opening. Please remember that the entire Horizon community is welcome and the grand opening will begin at 10 am and that our doors will be open for tours from 12 pm to 6 pm. We look very forward to sharing our facility with our public.

Lastly this week, I want to say thank you to the accountants we have within our staffing complement in Horizon School Division. November 10 was International Accountants Day, and another reminder to stop and show our appreciation for the incredible people we have working to support our students each day.

Have a great week, everyone! #HorizonStrong

- Kevin

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