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Horizon School Division
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April 19, 2021 - a message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

April 19, 2021

I hope everyone had a great first week back from the Easter break. As we head into a new week, I want to share information from Carol Brons, who is organizing donations for an upcoming radiothon in support of STARS Air Ambulance, in honour of our Humboldt Broncos and her daughter, Dayna Brons.

On April 21 & 22 STARS will be hosting a province-wide radiothon on 28 radio stations across Saskatchewan. This fundraiser will be raising funds for the two STARS bases in Saskatchewan. Each base costs $10.9 million to run and the Province of Saskatchewan funds half, meaning each year, STARS must raise $10.9 million to stay operational in Saskatchewan. STARS is also updating equipment and is hoping to raise enough money to purchase 2 cardiac monitors (one for Regina and one for Saskatoon) at a cost of $20,000 each. Dayna's story is featured on a personal fundraising page to help bring a face to those who have been impacted by STARS. You can find that page here: Please feel free to share this information and donate if you are able to this very worthwhile cause that is close to our hearts.

My previous week began with our Board’s School Community Council Engagement Committee. This committee continues to do great work in support of Horizon’s SCCs, and I appreciate the conversations we have around how we can help these groups access the resources they need. Following this, I met with Horizon’s Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO, Sandy Gessner. Sandy and her team are hard at work preparing documentation and planning for Horizon’s budget, and this was a great chance to touch base on the state of that process.

For the remainder of the morning last Monday, I met with our Board Table Officers, Jim Hack (Chair) and Linda Mattock (Vice-Chair) for our monthly Board agenda meeting. Deputy Director, Randy MacLEAN, Superintendent of Operational Services/COO, Justin Arendt, Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO, Sandy Gessner, Executive Assistants, Melanie Gray and Marni Sogge, and Communication Services Officer, Lance Hiltz joined us for this meeting. There is always much to discuss and consider for our monthly Board meetings, so having this opportunity to ensure our agenda runs smoothly is always critical.

I wrapped up my day on Monday in meetings with my fellow Education sector leaders, first in a discussion regarding COVID-19 with Medical Health Officers, then in a meeting regarding the upcoming Provincial Education Plan (PEP) implementation.

Also, on Monday, April 12, the Ministry of Education announced an exciting opportunity for the community and area of Humboldt. We will be receiving support and funding for an Early Years Family Resource Centre, and we are very excited for this work to begin taking shape. More information will be shared soon, as plans are finalized. We look forward to having this resource centre in place for families in Humboldt and the surrounding area.

On Tuesday, I met with my colleagues from the League of Educational Administrators, Directors, and Superintendents (LEADS), to discuss and develop an agenda for an upcoming meeting between the LEADS president and president-elect and the Minister of Education. The media was also very engaged on Tuesday regarding the Family Resource Center and I want to thank them for their interest, and help us spread the exciting news. And speaking of exciting, I finished my day on Tuesday in a meeting about the Lanigan School project. The planning process is ongoing, and the facility continues to take shape with input from the community and other stakeholders.

Last Wednesday, I met again with Sandy to continue our discussions regarding Horizon’s budget. This is a very busy time of year for our Finance Services folks, and we all greatly appreciate their efforts and expertise. After my meeting with Sandy, I met with my Executive Assistant, Marni Sogge, to review various items, prior to meeting with my Senior Leadership Team (SLT) of Superintendents and Assistant Superintendents. For this meeting, the SLT was joined virtually by Wendy Therens, Consultant, and Tricia Wuschenny, Director of Early Childhood Development with the Ministry of Education. Wendy and Tricia shared information and answered questions about the Early Years Family Resource Centre coming to Humboldt, and we greatly appreciated their time and knowledge.

The Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) Board Chairs Council held a meeting Thursday morning, prior to the SSBA virtual Spring Assembly later that evening and that stretched into Friday. Horizon’s Board Chair, Jim Hack, joined his counterparts from across the province and then the entire Board took part in the SSBA Spring Assembly.

On Friday morning, I met with my Director’s Leadership Team of principals, vice principals, and central office personnel. During this meeting, I stepped out briefly to hear from members of the Education Sector’s Response Planning Team during a conference call update from that group. Immediately following the spring assembly, I joined trustees in a Public Section meeting and then joined a provincial meeting of the Corporate Services Team and took part in a weekly meeting between school division officials and Public Health.  a provincial committee meeting regarding the development of graduation guidelines. So much work and planning continues throughout Horizon School Division and the education sector, and I am very grateful for our staff, colleagues, and partners for their work and support throughout this challenging year.

The pandemic continues to challenge our students, staff, and families and we recently had to move the grades 7-12 to learn from home in Englefeld. Many of our communities have been impacted by Covid-19 and our thoughts continue to be with those who are inflicted and impacted. Finally, and in a related matter, I want to join with those in education across Horizon and the province in sharing our deepest condolences to the family, colleagues, and students of Victor Thunderchild, a teacher at Carleton Comprehensive in Prince Albert. Victor passed away due to complications associated with Covid-19 and I know our thoughts are with everyone who knew and loved Victor, and all those mourning his loss.

Have a great week and stay safe, Horizon.

- Kevin

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