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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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October 21, 2016 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

October 24, 2016

This past week was certainly a busy one for our students and staff. October 16-22 was Saskatchewan Education Week, providing an opportunity to celebrate student success and recognize our dedicated professionals and paraprofessionals across the province, with the theme of “Celebrating Today, Preparing for Tomorrow”. It was also Saskatchewan Library Week, bringing attention to these great facilities and inviting everyone to “Explore & Discover Saskatchewan Libraries”. On Monday, October 17, we recognized our bus drivers across the province for Bus Driver Appreciation Day. Although these days are a reminder to appreciate the students, staff and facilities we enjoy in our province, we always hope to celebrate, recognize and appreciate the people who make our system great every day of the year.

The second ROSE (Review of School Effectiveness) event of the school year took place at Ituna School on Monday. ROSE is a strategic process that gathers feedback and data from staff, students, administrators, parents/caregivers, School Community Council (SCC) members and community members and celebrates the great things happening for our students while identifying those items necessary to support the school’s growth. The ROSE team for Ituna consisted of Deputy Director, Randy MacLEAN, Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, Superintendent of Human Resource Services, Todd Gjevre, Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, Supervisor of Student Services, Jason Neville, Supervisor of Literacy & Early Learning Services, Katherine Oviatt, Coordinator of Learning Services, Jan Paproski, Principal of Robert Melrose Elementary School, Elaine Comfort, Principal of Punnichy High School, Donna Nurse, Principal of Watson School, Jay Fitzsimmons and Principal of Punnichy Elementary School, Dawn Liska. We had an opportunity to hear about the great work happening at Ituna School while continuing to be open to opportunities for improvement. Celebrating the school and hearing from stakeholders in the school and community gives us an idea of how we can continue and improve on our work. This is a big reason why the ROSE process is such an important part of our work in Horizon. On behalf of everyone involved, I would like to thank Principal Ryan Bulych, Vice Principal Brittany Ward and the entire staff of Ituna School for welcoming us to their building for this important day of feedback, discussion and celebration. A special thank you to teacher Cindy Yanko and the other staff and students who provided us with one of the most incredible lunches one could ask for. I think I’m still full from the perogies, meatballs, turkey, beatniks and cabbage roles…not to mention the desserts.

On Monday and Tuesday, teachers and administrators took part in training regarding Horizon’s new Portal tool (found here: https://portal.horizonsd.ca). The portal provides a space for staff and students to collaborate and share information. A number of staff have begun utilizing features of this site already, and we will be providing support for staff to continue engaging with this tool as the school year goes on. For staff interested in learning more about what this tool has to offer, visit the Scholantis Youtube page for how-to videos and demonstrations. We will also be making recordings of our own training sessions available for staff to view/review in the coming days. Thank you to Wadena Composite High School and Humboldt Collegiate Institute for hosting our training on these days, and thank you to Chris Nienaber, Bruce Maxwell, Shawn Peters and Kyle Lamont of Horizon’s Technology Services Support Team for their work to ensure we were able to share and record these sessions via Skype. This team has also been working with Scholantis to ensure that the portal tool is working properly for all staff and we certainly appreciate their efforts.

I spent my Tuesday on the road, meeting with Principals at William Derby, Bulyea and Nokomis School. It is always a pleasure to attend to the needs at our schools while discussing the great work underway in support of our students’ success. Thank you to administrators and staff at each of the schools for taking the time to meet with me.

On Tuesday evening, I travelled to Englefeld for the EPSSD Board’s regular meeting. We heard a report from Englefeld School Principal, Patricia Knafelc and had a chance to discuss such matters as the SSBA Fall Assembly, monthly financials and the EPSSD September 30 enrolment numbers. As all five Board Trustee positions were declared through acclamation, there will be no need for an election for the EPSSD Board, and the new Board will meet in November for their first organizational meeting.

Tuesday night I was asked by the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors to be the moderator of the City of Humboldt Mayoral and Councilor Candidates Forum. The city, not unlike other municipalities in Horizon and across the province, has a number of councilor candidates running for seats on city council. There are also three people up for election for mayor and all candidates did a tremendous job of representing their interests and the interests of their electorate in answering the questions I asked of them.

Horizon’s Literacy Team held our 3rd Literacy Symposium for school administrators on Wednesday and Thursday. The symposium brought Principals and Vice Principals together at the Humboldt Uniplex for two days of professional development relating to our literacy goal. A huge thank-you goes to our administrators for engaging in these sessions as they continue their growth as literacy leaders in their schools. As we know, literacy is not just about reading and writing, it is a skill that builds the foundation for success in every subject and life beyond the classroom. The symposium was the result of much planning and work on the part of our Literacy Team, and I would like to give them a big thank-you as well, on behalf of our admin team, our teachers, our students and parents/caregivers. Under the supervision of Darrell Paproski, Superintendent of Student Services, our Literacy Team is made-up of Katherine Oviatt, Supervisor of Literacy & Early Learning Services and our Literacy Coaches, Jacquie Bergerman, Kim Scharf, Kim Junk and Trish Maxwell.

While our Literacy Symposium was concluding on Thursday, Todd Gjevre was in attendance at the provincial Human Resources meeting. Todd and Randy are both part of the provincial committee that discusses HR-related matters within the province and I appreciate the expertise of both gentlemen as they work to ensure the smooth operation of Human Resources Services in Horizon while sharing our unique reality with other school division HR personnel.

On Thursday evening, I had the pleasure of joining students, families, school and central office staff, our Board of Education and other community members for a meet & greet at Day Star First Nation. We enjoyed great company and food as well as a fantastic opportunity to get to know our community members and partners. I would like to thank Day Star for their hospitality and particularly Paul Crow-Buffalo, Trustee for Subdivision 12, for being such excellent hosts.   

Friday was another day spent traveling to schools as I attended personnel meetings in Englefeld School and LeRoy School before heading back to the office to get caught up on matters there. I was grateful to get an update on Kloey Bells, one of our high school students who was in a vehicle accident last weekend. Daughter of Watrous teachers, Lee and Colleen Bells, Kloey has been making small gains every day and for that, we are so thankful. It will be necessary to continue to hold her in your thoughts or prayers as her journey back to normalcy will be a long and laborious one…but one we know she will persevere through.

On Saturday, I had the distinct pleasure of attending the 1A Girls’ Soccer Regionals in Lake Lenore and watched two of our own Horizon teams compete for the championship plaque and medals. Lake Lenore won the tournament, beating Three Lakes School in the final but both teams will compete at the provincial championships next weekend in North Battleford. I know this next weekend is a big one for our soccer athletes, coaches, parents and communities and I would like to extend my best wishes to all Horizon teams moving on to provincial tournaments. I would also like to echo a special thank you to the Principal of Lake Lenore, Ralph Viczko, for inviting me to be part of the medal ceremony.  

In close for “this week”, I would like to send out a quick reminder that Board Elections will take place next week, on October 26th. Information regarding such things as candidates, polling places and polling times can be found on Horizon’s website, at www.horizonsd.ca/board/electioninfo. I would also like to remind our staff and communities of the importance of voting for their chosen trustee nominees and municipal candidates on October 26th. We are fortunate in our country to have this right and voter turnout is critical to ensuring the practice of fair representation. As Barack Obama, President of the United States stated, “There’s no such thing as a vote that doesn’t matter.”

Have a great week, everyone.

- Kevin

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

Kevin.garinger@horizonsd.ca