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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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November 14, 2016 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

November 15, 2016

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"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them." These words are from a poem called For the Fallen, by Robert Laurence Binyon. As Canadians, we enjoy many freedoms, and we owe these to the men and women who serve and have served our country; those who have fought to defend us and those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Each November 11, as we come together as a nation to honour our veterans and remember what they've given to preserve our way of life, I feel an overwhelming sense of pride in my country and community. Knowing about the various commemorations and ceremonies held in schools across Horizon School Division, I am so grateful that we have people working hard to organize these events so that the lessons of our veterans and gratitude for their service is passed on to future generations. I would like to offer my heartfelt gratitude to our schools, local Legions and community members for organizing these ceremonies, which serve to keep our history alive and ensure we never forget.

On Monday, I took time to address a number of burning issues before heading to Wynyard for a short meeting. I took the opportunity to check on a bussing matter in our system while heading back to the office. Student transportation is one of the critical services provided to families in our division and we continue to work diligently to ensure that the service runs as smoothly, efficiently and safely as possible. With change comes an opportunity to review processes in Horizon and the changes to our contracted service provider has resulted in a number of unique and identifiable processes that required our transportation services department to address. I want to thank Justin Arendt, Superintendent of Operation Services, Jocelyne Possberg, Manager of Transportation Services, Michael Zemluk, Fleet Supervisor, MaryAnn Rath, Administrative Assistant and their entire team including our Horizon and Southland bus drivers, who have aided us in identifying these process needs. We will continue to make service the focus in transportation and these individuals have been working non-stop to support the requests of parents, schools and communities with service the top priority.

On Tuesday morning, I had the opportunity to travel to St. Brieux and meet with Principal John Casavant, who took me on a tour of the school and then met with me briefly to discuss matters relevant to the needs of St. Brieux students and staff. It is amazing to see the incredible work that it going on in the school as the well over 8-million-dollar renovation continues forward in anticipation of establishing a wonderful learning environment for our students. I want to thank John and his entire staff for continuing to be extremely flexible as these renovations challenge the daily work of our students. Keeping the "end in mind" has helped everyone in St. Brieux make these necessary transitions palatable and, believe me, the light at the end of the tunnel is quickly coming into full view. Of course, Justin and Kam Kiland, Manager of Facility Services, have been instrumental in overseeing this project and will continue to afford strong support as the project continues to move along.

I spent time in the office on Tuesday before travelling to Regina to take part in meetings of the Provincial Leadership Team (PLT) on Wednesday and Thursday. I may be the first "reminder" for our Horizon community related to the danger of wildlife on our highways. I'm always grateful to know that staff, students, parents and community members travel our highways without running into deer, moose or any other animal. I wasn't as lucky Tuesday night as a deer unexpectedly jumped out in front of me and caused some minor damage to my vehicle. I was able to make it to Regina before the radiator sprung a leak and I lost all of the coolant. I was glad to finally get a rental on Wednesday morning before heading to the PLT meeting and the damage continues to be addressed in Regina. As I said, use me as a good reminder to be aware of the wildlife…I will continue to hope others don't experience the same level of contact with them that I recently experienced.

The PLT is made up of my fellow Directors of Education from across the province, as well as representatives from Aboriginal authorities and the Ministry of Education. The meetings included reflection sessions, strategy development sessions and data wall walks. If you are unfamiliar, the "wall walk" process gives us an opportunity to visualize the data we gather as school divisions by presenting it on a large wall, where it can all be seen at once and data trends can be easily identified. Schools across Horizon are beginning to display their own data in a similar way and I will continue to encourage principals to provide this view of student learning growth in their own schools.

On Wednesday evening, I had the opportunity to join consultations with Lisa Lambert, who is the newly-appointed Legislative Secretary for Curriculum Development and Consultation with the Government of Saskatchewan. Lisa led Directors through a consultation process that allowed us to discuss lessons learned from past curriculum renewal/development and provide feedback on how the Ministry can improve this important work into the future. It was great to meet with Ms. Lambert and her committee and we can all look to the results of this collaborative process in the near future.

As PLT sessions and meetings continued on Thursday, I was unable to attend any of our Remembrance Day ceremonies across Horizon. I looked forward to attending at Winston High School that morning as Kloey Bells was making her return from hospital in Saskatoon. This was certainly an exciting day for students, staff and community as Kloey was able to play the trumpet and sing during the celebration. We are very thankful Kloey has been able to get this far so quickly following a near fatal vehicle accident that kept her in the hospital until Wednesday. Randy MacLEAN, Deputy Director and Todd Gjevre, Superintendent of Human Resource Services, were both able to attend and I greatly appreciate their willingness to represent my office at this important event honouring our veterans and supporting Kloey in her return to Winston High. I know schools across Horizon were involved in Remembrance Day celebrations and I would like to, once again, thank everyone for their dedication to supporting our Canadian soldiers, both past and present.

On Saturday, I had the good fortune of officiating with Todd and Katherine Oviatt, Supervisor of Literacy and Early Learning Services at the 4A Regional Girls volleyball championship hosted by Humboldt Collegiate. HCI and Lanigan athletes and coaches represented Horizon extremely well, with Lanigan capturing the title. The work of hosting these events often falls on the shoulders of our staff, students and parents and Horizon will host an unprecedented 3 Provincial Girls Volleyball Championships in Muenster (2A), Rose Valley (1A) and Lanigan (4A) this upcoming weekend. Good luck to all the teams as they bid for a successful close to their volleyball season.

On Sunday afternoon, I had the opportunity to meet with our newly formed Board of Education in Saskatoon as I took them through Horizon's strategic plan. The discussion from our trustees was outstanding and we carried that momentum into the three-day Fall General Assembly of the Saskatchewan School Boards' Association. Meetings continued today (Monday) with proposed bylaw amendments and resolutions being voted upon as well as a meeting with Public Section. Our Board also held a special meeting during the course of the afternoon to establish Board committees and to pass a motion to allow the Governance committee to work on a proposal for the Board related to policy changes. Meetings will continue for our trustees tomorrow morning and afternoon before they head home.

Lastly, it is with a very heavy heart that I share tragic news from our Horizon community. Kluzy Muyco, father of a student at Drake School, was involved in a fatal car accident on his way to work on Thursday morning. Please join me in keeping his family and friends in your thoughts and/or prayers as we grieve this loss and come together in support of his family and community.

Have a good week, everyone.

- Kevin

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