true that it doesn’t matter how much work we put into effective assessment
practice or ensuring our students reach grade level and beyond in literacy if
our students don’t feel safe in the environments they spend over 15,000 hours
during the course of their lives as students. I am thankful for the adults in
our schools and system who work tirelessly to make this so for our children. It
is with this focus of our goals in mind, literacy, assessment and safe and
caring, that I begin “This Week in Horizon”.
was a historic day for Horizon School Division and the City of Humboldt. Last
week was Humboldt Pride Week and to kick it off, community members and
dignitaries gathered for the first-ever raising of the pride flag at Humboldt
City Hall. Mayor Malcolm Eaton, Members of the Legislative Assembly, Donna
Harpauer and David Forbes, representatives from the local RCMP and faith
community, Sarah Miller of PFLAG – Humboldt, and representatives from the
Saskatchewan Pride Network and OutSaskatoon were all on-hand to share in this
important occasion. Representing Horizon, our Superintendent of Human Resource
Services, Todd Gjevre, shared a few words of thanks on behalf of my office and
our division. As educators, we strive to create a culture of inclusion in our
classrooms, and to support the development and success of each and every
student in our schools. By raising the pride flag at Humboldt City Hall, these
partners had the chance to demonstrate to community members and students that
we are committed to ensuring all identities and cultures are welcome and
celebrated. This is an especially powerful message for our young people, so to
all organizers and participants in this event, I offer my sincere gratitude.
Monday and Tuesday of this past week, a provincial symposium was held regarding
the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP)’s goal for Saskatchewan’s three-year
graduation rate. This goal is to have our sector’s three-year graduation rates
reach 85% by June 30, 2020. The Graduation Rate Symposium was held in Moose Jaw
and I joined our Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski,
Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, Coordinator of First
Nation & Métis Education Services, Lester Gardiner, and Supervisor of
Literacy & Early Learning Services, Katherine Oviatt in attendance at this
important forum. In Horizon, great work has been done to improve graduation
rates for our students and that work is ongoing. We have many areas of
celebration around this work, but there is always room for improvement. By
continuing our support of students, building on our relationships with
educational and community partners, and growing our culture of collaboration,
we will not only achieve this goal for our students, but surpass it.
Wednesday, Horizon’s Board of Education met for their regular monthly meeting.
There was much to go over and it was a very productive meeting for our Trustees.
Among the great number of items for discussion, were matters relating to Board
Governance, opening day enrolments, the upcoming Board election, and transportation.
As always, our Board Members demonstrated their incredible commitment to our
students, staff and communities. Their vision lays the foundation for the work
we do in our classrooms and I always appreciate their attention to detail and
thoughtful decision-making processes.
and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) screening continued for our Pre-Kindergarten
students. The information we get from ASQ will help us learn where each child
is at developmentally and where the classroom teacher can provide learning
experiences to enhance that development. It also allows us to be able to
identify where additional assessments and supports are required to aid children
at the earliest stage they begin in our schools. I have appreciated that our
classroom teachers, educational assistants, occupational therapists and speech
and language pathologists have worked closely with our literacy support team
led by early intervention and literacy support coach Kim Scharf in a one-day screening
session. The follow-up will be exciting as the collaboration of this team will
continue an even deeper process to support the success of our littlest learners.
Senior Leadership Team (SLT) met Thursday morning. This team is made-up of Deputy
Director, Randy MacLEAN, Superintendent
of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, Superintendent of Student Services,
Darrell Paproski, Superintendent of Operational Services/COO, Justin Arendt,
Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO, Marilyn Flaman and Superintendent of
Human Resource Services, Todd Gjevre. This meeting was an opportunity to
discuss the progress of Horizon’s strategic planning documents, upcoming
professional development opportunities for our school administrators, the
continuing roll-out of our new AESOP Absence Management system for staff, and
an update on this year’s upcoming external audit.
and Thursday afternoon, several of our high schools joined a Skype presentation
regarding the Ontario Comprehension Assessment (OCA) tool. This overview
training helped our school administrators and teachers familiarize themselves
with the OCA tool, which will be used to understand and strengthen literacy in
Grade 9-12 students. Thank you to those who were able to skype in for the
initial session and provide their expertise and knowledge to this new process.
High school literacy support coach, Jacquie Bergerman was instrumental in the
planning and implementation of the roll out and she will be hosting follow-up
sessions for teachers at their schools in order to provide individual support. Prior
to this year, there was no tool in place to specifically measure the comprehension
levels of high school students. Using the OCA tool, we will now have a clearer
understanding of where our instruction is most effective and where we can focus
our work in support of these students.
Thursday evening, I had the opportunity to lead a volleyball referee clinic at
Humboldt Collegiate Institute, along with Scott Cory from Hanley. As the
Officials’ Coordinator for Zone 5B for Sask Volleyball, my goal is to ensure we
have enough officials available to meet the demand in Horizon Central Athletics
Association as well as to support our young or novice officials in their
development. It is critical that we have people trained for these officiating
positions to allow our students the opportunities to play, and I am proud to be
in a position to support this in the sport of volleyball. Already we’ve had 44
people at the two clinics that have been held in Horizon, up from about 12 in
total from last year. My goal was to have 50 people attend clinics and that
approximation will be smashed with two clinics remaining.
Fountas and Pinnell (F & P) assessments are preparing to be implemented this
upcoming week, literacy coaches, Trish Maxwell and Kim Junk hosted the F & P
training for new teachers and administrators on Friday. We know that this
training will result in the consistency and validity we saw this past spring
when we were able to validate the outstanding results of our system. I know I
focus a great deal on my continued desire to excel in this area but it is a
fact that when we relish in our success, it is because the results we focus on
equate to the individual and collective success of our children and students.
What greater gift can we give our children than to see them succeed…and our
school and system staffs are providing this gift every day and every year,
15,000 total hours per student.
I had the pleasure of meeting with the recently appointed President and Chief
Executive Officer of Carlton Trail Regional College, Mr. Ralph Troschke. Ralph
joined Carlton Trail from Olds College and I appreciated the opportunity to begin
building a relationship with him as well as discussing briefly the important partnership
Carlton Trail shares with Horizon School Division. I want to thank principal of
HCI, Cory Popoff for setting up the meet and greet and for meeting with me
afterward as we discussed our assessment goal and the recently completed A3 for
which Cory has done a considerable amount of work.
the opportunity to join Todd Gjevre, Superintendent of HR Services, as we officiated
a Senior Boys volleyball tournament at Humboldt Public School on Friday evening
and all day Saturday. We were inspired as we witnessed a number of our Horizon
student athletes compete for the right to call themselves tourney champs but most
of all, because they did so with the utmost in sportsmanship and respect for their
officials, their opponents and the game.
is no school for students on Monday as the second Collaborative Learning Day of
the school year is being held in Humboldt for our secretaries, educational assistants and teachers. I
look very forward to these days as the importance of coming together to learn through
dialogue with our peers from across the vast geography of our school division
can never be understated. Isaac Asimov, famed author and biochemist summarizes the importance of our work together
when he says, “A knotty
puzzle may hold a scientist up for a century, when it may be that a colleague
has the solution already and is not even aware of the puzzle that it might
solve.” Have a great week,
everyone.- Kevin Kevin C.
Garinger, B.Ed, M.A.EdDirector of
Education/CEOHorizon School Division