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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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November 4, 2016 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

November 07, 2016

I trust that everyone had a fun and safe Halloween. It was certainly a busy few days for many of us in Horizon. I had the privilege of spending the majority of this past week with Horizon’s new Board of Education. In this time of transition, it is great to know that we have so many passionate people desiring to support and represent our students, staff and families. I feel that I can speak for everyone when I say that I am very excited for our ongoing work and collaboration under the guidance and leadership of Horizon’s Board. By working together, we will continue to achieve great things. Phil Jackson, one of the most successful coaches in professional sports, may have said it best: “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team."

Monday, I travelled to Lestock to join the staff and community of Punnichy High School and Muskowekwan First Nation at the funeral service of Hyson Dubois. Hyson, a grade 10 student from Punnichy High, tragically passed away while quadding near his home community of Muskowekwan. He will always be greatly missed by our entire Horizon family and our thoughts and/or prayers remain with his family and friends. 

On Tuesday, my Director’s Leadership Team (DLT) met via Skype to discuss various administrative matters relating to Horizon schools. We had a chance to talk about our upcoming Learning Improvement Plan (LIP) reviews, the first round of which have been scheduled for each school, beginning on November 16. During these reviews, Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw and I travel to schools to meet with administrators as they discuss their staff’s learning improvement planning for the school year. The LIPs are designed to align with Horizon’s Strategic Plan, which in turn aligns with the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP), the strategic plan for the province. During our DLT Skype, we also discussed other important items such as teacher evaluation processes, student transportation, and school safety plans. Utilizing Skype to conduct these meetings has been a great benefit to our system, allowing us to hold in-depth discussions with school administrators without the need for costly travel.

Later Tuesday morning, I met with my Review of School Effectiveness (ROSE) team to discuss our most recent ROSE event, which was held at Cudworth School. During our meeting, I spoke with Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, Supervisor of Student Services, Jason Neville and Coordinator of Learning Services, Jan Paproski, about the information we gathered from our Cudworth School ROSE. We have prepared this information to be presented to our Board at their next regular meeting in December. A great deal of work goes into planning our ROSE events, and also to organizing the data we gather from them, and I would like to thank everyone involved, particularly Jason and Jan, for their efforts to ensure this important feedback is collected and understood. Through this important data gathering, we are able to support the work of principals and their staffs as they work to ensure highly effective learning opportunities for all students.

On Tuesday afternoon, I had the privilege of joining students, staff and fans in Muenster School for Pre-District Volleyball. It was great to see our athletes engaged in this level of athleticism, and as always, I am very appreciative of our staff and volunteers for making these opportunities a reality for our kids. 

On Wednesday, Horizon’s new Board of Education came together for the first time since last month’s election. It was a full day, beginning with individual and group photos of our trustees at 8:00 am. I want to thank Justin Arendt, Superintendent of Operation Services and Ken Sogge, Coordinator of Information Services and their team of Kyle Lamont, Chris Nienaber, Bruce Maxwell and Shawn Peters, for providing network and technical support to the trustees. We then invited our trustees, their families and central office staff, to take part in a swearing-in ceremony for our Board. During the ceremony, we enjoyed a bagpipe performance by Mr. Lauchlan MacLean of Lowlands Music and were also joined by Mr. John C. Will, a Humboldt area lawyer, who officially led the swearing in process and witnessed our trustees as they signed their declarations as Board Members. Several members of our local media were also on-hand and, as always, we greatly appreciate their work to help share Horizon’s news with our stakeholders. 

Following our swearing-in ceremony, the first Organizational Meeting of this Board was called to order. Secret ballots were cast for our Board’s table officer positions, with Jim Hack, Subdivision 10 Trustee, elected as Board Chair for another year and Wil Lengyel, Subdivision 7, elected as Vice Chair. Other organizational items, such as meeting times and indemnity rates, were discussed and decided upon for the coming year. We broke for lunch in order to introduce our Board to any of our central office staff who were able to be in attendance. After lunch, we concluded our Organizational Meeting and began our first Regular Meeting of this Board. This first meeting for our new Board of Education, was a chance to provide trustees with an overview of the work of Horizon’s various services. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my Deputy Director, each of my Superintendents, and other members of my staff for their work in preparing these reports for our Board’s review. 

With the adjournment of our Regular Meeting Wednesday evening, Board Members reconvened at the Humboldt Canalta for supper and an initial orientation session with Dr. Leroy Sloan. The orientation session continued for our trustees over the course of the next day and a half on Thursday and Friday, all of which was facilitated by Dr. Sloan. It was a tremendous opportunity for trustees to learn more about Board Governance and to review closely Horizon’s Board Policy Handbook. I am greatly appreciative and inspired by our trustees’ efforts over the course of these very full days and evenings. I also want to extend a huge thank you to Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO, Marilyn Flaman, Executive Assistants, Marni Sogge and Melanie Gray, and confidential​ secretary, Kim Loose, as well as other members of our central office support team, for their incredible preparation and support during these three important days that didn’t end until after 8:00 pm each night.

On Saturday, I had the great pleasure of officiating, along with Todd Gjevre, Superintendent of Human Resource Services, the 4A Senior Girls’ Volleyball Conferences at Humboldt Collegiate Institute. My thanks to the staff, students, parents and coaches whose efforts made it an enjoyable tournament for all involved. It is always enjoyable to be a witness to our young people demonstrating great skill and sportsmanship, representing their school and our Division so very well and making all of us in Horizon proud.

Have a great week, everyone. 

- Kevin

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