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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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May 20, 2016 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

August 08, 2016

I trust everyone enjoyed a great May long weekend with family and friends and a well-deserved rest during this busy time of year. As we near the final month of the school year, I know that our students, parents/caregivers and staff are busy studying, planning and participating in a number of activities around our various communities. However, we all need time to get caught up in our rest and find time to relax. In the words of Mark Twain, “If you have no time to rest, it’s exactly the right time”. With our rest behind us, I know everyone will be feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the final stretch as we draw ever closer to the end of the 2015-16 school year.  

Last week began with a continuation of our CUPE negotiations on Monday. Secretary of Bruno School and CUPE Local 4799 President, Marie Moore worked with my office to send out a joint memo on behalf of the bargaining team later that evening. We announced that Horizon School Division and our CUPE employees were able to reach a tentative collective bargaining agreement after months of successful table discussions. Our successes have been founded in open and transparent discussions and a willingness to build high trust in each other through a focus on effective relationships. The negotiations were as respectful and collegial as any I have been through and I look forward to our Board of Education and our Horizon CUPE staff members being able to learn more about the tentative agreement in the upcoming weeks. As you perhaps saw in the release, the agreement will go to our CUPE staff members for a ratification vote in early June and will be reviewed by our Board of Education at their regular June meeting or another time of their choosing. I would be remiss if I did not take the opportunity to extend my sincerest thanks to everyone involved in the bargaining process including Marie, Brenda Dufault (EA at Lanigan), Carleen Theissing (EA at HCI), Karen Hancock (Librarian at William Derby), Michael Zemluk (Fleet Supervisor), Daryld Fehr (Maintenance Worker), Leia Thirsk (Counselor), Linda Haeusler (Caretaker and EA at Quill Lake), and Gary Day (National CUPE Rep). I also want to thank Deputy Directors, Randy MacLEAN and Lionel Diederichs, Superintendents, Todd Gjevre and Marilyn Flaman and Human Resource Officer, Monica Corrigan as well as Kristin Anderson (Labour Relations Specialist), who was necessary to help us outline our targets and our processes. 

On Tuesday, Horizon’s Literacy Team facilitated a Literacy Symposium for Horizon school administrators at the Humboldt Uniplex. I felt the day was a huge success and another opportunity for our Literacy Team to support educators on our journey to improve literacy for all students. I would like to thank Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, Supervisor of Literacy & Early Learning, Katherine Oviatt and Literacy Coaches, Kim Junk and Trish Maxwell for organizing this professional development opportunity. I would also like to thank the members of the Director’s Leadership Team for engaging in this work and for the sharing that will ultimately occur with your school staffs.

Also on Tuesday, a group of central office staff members travelled to Saskatoon to take part in a workshop to prepare for the upcoming School Board elections that will be taking place in October. Superintendent of Finance Services Marilyn Flaman, Executive Assistant Melanie Gray, Administrative Assistant of Facility Services, Stacy Anthony and Communication Services Officer Lance Hiltz took part in the workshop as part of our election team, which has been led by Deputy Director of Corporate Services, Lionel Diederichs. There is much preparatory work that goes into these elections and it is necessary to have staff eager to take on this work and gain experience around this critical element of our school division’s governance.   

The Director’s Leadership Team (DLT) met for our monthly meeting on Wednesday. Among a number of discussion topics, our Literacy Team spoke regarding our very encouraging spring Fountas & Pinnell reading level results, we heard an update from our Transportation Services department regarding bussing for next fall and the LEAN Literacy Committee presented their final report. We also had the opportunity to complete the book study we began earlier in the year, The Principal, 3 Keys to Maximizing Impact, by renowned education researcher, Michael Fullan. Fullan’s work makes reference to the keys (Being a System Player, Leading Learning, being a Change Agent) as being three gears that work together in order for a school, and ultimately a system, to be highly effective.     

Following our DLT meeting, Superintendent of Student Services Darrell Paproski, Superintendent of Learning Services Crandall Hrynkiw and I met with Robert Melrose Principal Elaine Comfort to discuss that school’s Learning Improvement Plan (LIP). We are roughly halfway through our LIP meetings with school administrators and to date our discussions regarding our school data have been extremely encouraging. The work of our administrators and staffs has been positive as we continue the work necessary to ensure these documents are living and breathing in our schools and as staffs use them to guide and focus their work for our students. 

Thursday was a non-instructional day for our schools and to take advantage of this time, a number of our Senior Leadership Team members were in schools facilitating 7 Habits training. I had the pleasure of facilitating this training for staff at Wakaw School while Crandall was at William Derby School in Strasbourg, Supervisor of First Nation & Métis Education Services, Joanne Cunningham was at Viscount Central School, Superintendent of Human Resource Services, Todd Gjevre was at Watson School and Superintendent of Finance Services Marilyn Flaman and Superintendent of Operations Justin Arendt co-facilitated training at Quill Lake School. A tremendous number of schools have expressed interest in getting the training in 2016-17 so our work is really only beginning in Horizon.

Friday was a day in lieu for parent teacher student interviews (PTSI). That morning, I took part in a meeting regarding Horizon’s work around Citizenship Education. Cathy Mills from the Human Rights Commission lead the discussion of a number of our staff including Crandall, Katherine, Joanne Cunningham, Supervisor of FNM Education Services, Jason Neville, Supervisor of Student Services and Larry Mikulcik, teacher and a member of the Citizenship Education (CE) catalyst teachers group that supported the development of the CE curriculum on behalf of Judge David Arnot and the Human Rights Commission. The work aligns very well with our Safe & Caring goal and I look forward to further opportunities to develop a strategic plan around heightened implementation of this curriculum with members of Horizon’s teaching staff.

Horizon’s senior leadership team (SLT) spent much of the past week preparing documents for our annual evaluations which will take place next week. The evaluations are a great opportunity to celebrate what each member of the SLT has accomplished in 2015-16 while recognizing areas where growth can lead to even further success. I would like to thank members of the SLT for their work on these documents and indeed throughout the past year. I look forward to the discussions that will ultimately come from these meetings as we continue to seek out the best possible way to serve our system and our students.

Have a great week, everyone.


-Kevin


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