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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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March 10, 2020 - a message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

March 09, 2020

Sunday, March 8th was International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to honouring the achievements of women throughout history and all across the world. It is also a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women and marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. I am grateful that in today’s world, women are getting far closer to equality, but the fact is, we simply are not there. According to the IWD website, women are still not getting equal pay, there are lower proportions of women to men in government positions, and women’s education is still being withheld across the world. Battles have been won, but the battles are not over yet. More needs to be done and education is one of the necessary supports for moving the dial. As actress Emma Watson stated, “We need to live in a culture that values and respects and looks up to and idolizes women”. This then becomes the responsibility of all of us, for the change that is necessary, must be a change in all humanity for all humanity. Our mothers, our grandmothers, our wives, our sisters, our aunts, our daughters, and our friends have deserved this yesterday, today, and every day forward.

To begin the past week, I was in Saskatoon along with my fellow League of Educational Administrators, Directors and Superintendents (LEADS) members. Our three-day annual policy conference covered a number of critical discussion topics, such as legal issues in education, cybersecurity, Indigenous Education, and more. I appreciate the critical work of our LEADS organization and my colleagues across our province, who do so much to ensure the effective operation of our school divisions and provide opportunities for student success. 

On Wednesday, I returned to central office where we hosted School Community Council (SCC) members from across Horizon School Division at our annual SCC Workshop. Following feedback from a survey we sent to SCC members, we decided to have two sessions that day… a morning/afternoon session and an evening session, to allow for the varied schedules and travel times of our SCCs. With the creation of our Board’s SCC Engagement Committee, the planning and facilitating of this year’s workshop looked different than it has in the past. Trustees on the SCC Engagement Committee presented the workshop and shared information directly tied to the work of our SCCs. Topics such as annual work plans, report and minute templates, roles and responsibilities, communication, fundraising, etc. were covered in the sessions. I also took time to present on the Education Act and Education Regulations, as they pertain to the duties and powers of SCCs. I want to take this opportunity to thank Elder Stuart Bitternose of George Gordon First Nation, for joining us to begin each session with a prayer. We greatly appreciate his partnership and his words to begin these sessions in a good way. I also want to thank my staff and the SCC Engagement Committee for their work to prepare the day. Lastly, I want to thank our SCC members for taking time from their lives to join these sessions, take part in discussions, and ultimately contribute to the success of their schools through their critical work.    

I had a full day of meetings at central office on Thursday. We held an online meeting of the Director’s Leadership Team (DLT) to start our morning. My Senior Leadership Team shared several information items and discussion topics with school principals and vice principals about ongoing business and new opportunities. 

Following my meeting with the DLT, I met with Jennifer Fitzpatrick, Director of Cultural Services for the City of Humboldt. We discussed the development of a Reconciliation Policy and the potential for some exciting projects that we may have the opportunity to partner on in the months ahead.

I then met with Carlton Trail College VP of Administration Amy Yeager, and Adult Basic Education & Student Services Manager Rachel Tran, to discuss Indigenous engagement, and Horizon’s annual Reconciliation flag-raising ceremony we hold each June on Indigenous Peoples Day. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss these deeply important topics with our partners at Carlton Trail. For the remainder of my afternoon on Thursday, I met with my Executive Assistant, Marni Sogge, to discuss the 2020-2021 budget. A lot goes into preparing these budgets items for my review, and I thank Marni and my staff for that work.

I took a few moments on Thursday afternoon to speak with Sarah Miller from Bolt FM. That morning, I shared a letter with Horizon families regarding our contingency planning for the potential of job action by Saskatchewan teachers in the ongoing provincial collective bargaining process. I appreciate our local media helping us share this message, and we will continue to do everything we can to keep families informed about any changes or sanctions that may take place. The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) has agreed to provide us with at least 48 business hours notice of any sanctions that might occur, so we will be sharing with families as soon as possible in those instances. We plan to establish a “Communication Centre” at our central office to provide information to parents and caregivers in the event of job action and the centre would be accessed through our central office at 306-682-2558. We know that our children’s interests are extremely important in the minds of our teachers. We continue to be very aware that the processes involved in negotiations are business matters and fall within the legal mandates of the parties involved.     

On Friday morning, I visited Humboldt Public School for a discussion and review of their Learning Improvement Plan (LIP). Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, and Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, Jason Neville, and I will be wrapping up this round of our LIP review meetings in the near future. These documents and the conversations surrounding them are very valuable, and the time and passion of everyone involved in their development. I also spent time at HCI and the STEP program before heading to Punnichy in the afternoon for a short meeting.

Have a great week, everyone. Stay #HorizonStrong.

- Kevin

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