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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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June 21, 2021 - a message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

June 21, 2021

June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. We organized a small ceremony at our central office on Monday to celebrate our First Nations and Métis partners, students, staff, and friends. This is one of the most important days on our school year calendar, and I thank Assistant Superintendent of Indigenous Education Services, Bryan McNabb, and the numerous committee members for organizing the event and inviting our dignitaries. We are able to have a small outdoor gathering this year, and we appreciated the opportunity to welcome our guests to join us in the courtyard of our central office. Happy National Indigenous Peoples Day, everyone.

Last Monday, a meeting was held to discuss Horizon’s Local Implementation Negotiation Committee (LINC) agreement. Deputy Director Randy MacLEAN and I met with William Derby School teacher and Horizon Teachers’ Association President, Gerard Frison, and Kelvington High Principal and LINC chair, Robert Lissinna to discuss our current agreement. The LINC agreement expired in August of 2020 and our conversations set the stage for the potential of a new agreement to replace the expired one that remains in effect until new terms are achieved. We had a very good and productive meeting and will have more information to share on this topic soon.

Monday afternoon, I met with our Lanigan School management team to discuss the latest development regarding the school project. The project working group that had been meeting until last week has come up with some incredible design elements and we are just in process of making sure the scope of the project is aligned to the Ministry’s budget. I and I followed the Lanigan meeting by joining other leaders across the province who make up the Implementation Team, including Superintendent, Darrell Paproski, to discuss the new Provincial Education Plan (PEP) interim plan. The three main goals of the plan will include literacy, learning gaps, and mental health, all of which align with our Horizon goals set by our Board.

On Tuesday, we held rollout events for the SaskMath resource for all school divisions and First Nation authorities across Saskatchewan. A great deal of work has gone into creating this highly valuable resource for Saskatchewan educators, and we are very excited to be able to share what the working team has developed. There were a number of Horizon staff who were part of the development of the resource including teachers Lorne Gottselig and Katherine Schapansky, and coaches Trish Maxwell and Lana Steiner. I also want to thank former Horizon Superintendent, Crandall Hrynkiw for his work in helping to move the project forward in its first year of development. Finally, I want to thank Katherine Oviatt whose leadership and passion truly helped guide this resource toward a highly impactful conclusion. You can find this resource at SaskMATH.ca.

I joined a meeting of Saskatchewan High School Athletics Association (SHSAA) District Officials Commissioners on Tuesday afternoon. As our pandemic restrictions begin to loosen and we look to opportunities for next year, we are hopeful that there will be increased possibilities for school sport and other school extra-curricular opportunities found in the arts. It has been long overdue for our students and staff and I am grateful our province is heading toward the lifting of restrictions. Earlier on Monday morning, Premier Moe indicated that all public health orders will be lifted on July 11 so this is certainly a strong message for all of us that supports this return to a much more normal time for our children, families, and staff.  

On Wednesday, Our Board of Education came together – some in the office and some joining remotely – for their final regular meeting of the 2020-2021 school year. We had many important discussions and reports throughout the meeting, including pandemic planning and response updates, Human Resource Services and Operational Services updates, and discussions pertaining to the next school year. Our Board also passed the school year budget for 2021-2022, which will be submitted to the Ministry of Education for review and approval. You can read more about our budget here. I want to thank our Board for their guidance and priorities through this budgeting process, and throughout the year. This has been such a strange and hard year for many reasons, but our Board has remained committed and focused on their goals for students, families, and staff. And, we look very forward to the possibility of welcoming all of our Board members back to their office and Boardroom when we are back together in August.

On Thursday, I joined Kam Kiland, Facility Services Manager and Justin Arendt, Superintendent of Operational Services in a meeting with representatives from Nutrien to continue our conversations regarding partnerships. It is so critical to have partnerships within a school division and having these opportunities to discuss this with the leadership of organizations like Nutrien is extremely positive for Horizon School Division. One of the things that were shared with me that I can share with each of you is the free app that the company has pushed out. It is called “Farmers 2050” and is an excellent educational application for students. It is well worth looking at and is both educational and fun.

Education sector leaders, the Response Planning Team (RPT), and the Director’s Leadership Team (DLT) of principals, vice principals, and central office staff all held meetings throughout the past week to continue our discussions regarding COVID-19 planning and response. Following Friday’s DLT meeting, I finished up my week with interviews for an administrative position.

Graduation ceremonies took place last Friday at LeRoy School and Punnichy Community High School, and Wakaw School will be holding their ceremony on Tuesday. Congratulations to this week’s grads, staff, and families for the beautiful ceremonies to mark this major accomplishment for our students.

Finally, Happy Father’s Day to all the dads and surrogate dads out there. I hope each of you had a chance to spend time with the people you love, be it in-person or virtually. And if Father’s Day is a difficult day for you due to loss or a strained relationship, our hearts are with you also.

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