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Horizon School Division
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November 25, 2016 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

November 28, 2016

November 21 – 27, 2016, was a week dedicated to the memory of millions of victims of the Holodomor, a man-made famine that devastated Ukraine in the 1930s. “Holodomor” means “extermination by hunger” in Ukrainian and up to 10 million Ukrainians were killed during the genocide. Crops were confiscated under the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin and Ukrainians were prevented from leaving their communities or accessing other sources of food. Remembering this dark period in history is critical to ensure that we never allow it to be repeated and I want to thank schools across Horizon, their principals, staffs and students, for paying homage to Holodomor.

Our third ROSE (Review of School Effectiveness) event took place at Punnichy Elementary Community 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 areas necessary to support the school’s growth. Celebrating the school and hearing from stakeholders in the school and community gives us an idea of how we can continue on our path from good to great, and I would like to thank our ROSE team and the staff of PECS for all the work that has made this ROSE event a huge success.

My Director’s Leadership Team (DLT) met at the Humboldt Uniplex on Tuesday. Our administrators had an opportunity to engage in professional development around citizenship education, Human Resources, governance for principals, and an on-going study of the book “Good to Great” by James (Jim) C. Collins. I appreciate the time and commitment of all involved in these days with hopes that they are designed to provide our school administrators with opportunities to collaborate and learn together.

I stepped out of the DLT meeting briefly on Tuesday to participate in a conference call meeting with Education Minister, Don Morgan, Board Chairs and Directors of Education from across Saskatchewan. Jim Hack (Horizon Board Chair) and I learned from the Minister that there will be no mid-year funding cuts to education, despite a larger than projected provincial deficit being forecast. 

On Tuesday evening, I had to join the Englefeld Protestant Separate School Division (EPSSD) Board in Englefeld via teleconference as they worked through their organizational meeting and regular monthly meeting. As Deputy Director, Randy MacLEAN and I were involved in an important meeting with the STF, Marilyn Flaman, Superintendent of Finance Services (who also serves as the EPSSD CFO), and Justin Arendt, Superintendent of Operation Services/COO, conducted the organizational meeting on behalf of me. The Board accomplished a great deal including approving the auditor’s report and the Annual Report as well as heard discussion related to bussing matters.

I travelled with Horizon Board Chair, Jim Hack and EPSSD Board Chair, Deanna Miskolczi to Regina on Wednesday to join the Board Chairs Council meeting that was held at the Regina Public School Division offices. The meeting was run by the Saskatchewan School Boards’ Association executive and allowed for great discussion related to the “Transformational Change” agenda.

On Wednesday afternoon, I had a phone meeting with Angela Chobanik, Executive Director of the Education Finance Branch and my expert advisor for the Sector Wide Efficiency Outcome. We had the opportunity to discuss the progress we have made on our outcome as we continue to explore efficiencies for the education sector.

Our Learning Improvement Plan (LIP) review meetings continued on Thursday, with Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw and Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski joining me in discussions with school administrators at Rose Valley School, Archerwill School, Annaheim School and Three Lakes School. Our conversations about the ongoing efforts of our school staffs to support students and learning are always inspiring. The important collaborative work of our principals and their staffs will ensure that Horizon continues to improve student outcomes long into the future.

On Thursday afternoon, a regional stakeholder feedback session called “Transform Saskatchewan” was held at the Humboldt Uniplex. The session included municipal government officials, business representatives and other members of the community and area discussing ways for improving services and helping Saskatchewan grow in a sustainable way. As I was occupied with LIP reviews, Marilyn and Justin attended on my behalf of my office and provided feedback to the facilitators. 

The Audit Committee of Horizon’s Board, chaired by Mr. David Holinaty, met on Friday morning to go over the annual external audit that has been underway since earlier this fall. This critical reporting process ensures that Horizon’s finances and processes are always transparent and accountable to our stakeholders. I would like to thank our auditors at MNP, our Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO, Marilyn Flaman and her entire Finance Services team for their efforts in bringing the audit to the approval stage. Of course, the critical work is for the Board to approve the Audited financials and this was delegated to the Audit Committee, due to the short time frame to approve the report. Thank you to trustees, Dave, Mark Fedak, Paul Crow-Buffalo, Wil Lengyel and Jim Hack (ex-officio member) as they ensured this important process was reviewed closely and that our auditors and my office were held accountable for our wonderful results related to our school division’s financial health.

This past weekend was Senior Boys’ Volleyball Provincials with St. Brieux, Wakaw, Cudworth, Middle Lake and Annaheim representing Horizon’s athletes competing for the championships in each of their categories. Thank you to the volunteers, staff and community members for their contributions to make this season a reality for our students. Finally, thank you to our students for representing Horizon with the highest degree of integrity anyone can ask. The lessons learned through teamwork will serve our students throughout their lives.

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