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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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December 2, 2016 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

December 05, 2016

It may be hard to believe, but the first few months of the school year have flown by and we now find ourselves with just a few weeks left in 2016. As we make our final preparations for the holiday season, I would like to thank everyone in advance for their work to ensure that this joyous time of year is special and memorable for our students, staff and families. One of the ways we are trying to make this holiday season memorable for those students and families in Horizon who are less fortunate is through the Board of Education’s Christmas Hamper project. To date, we have approximately 99 families for whom we will provide gifts and food cards and this accounts for nearly 200 Horizon children. Since December 2014, the project will provide for over 500 children across our system and this wonderful focus for our staff and Board is a great illustration of what the season is truly all about.

With the Ministry of Education’s recent announcement that an educational governance review is underway in Saskatchewan, I would like to begin “This Week” by inviting you to visit a website which has been set up by the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA): http://saskschoolboards.ca/education-belongs-to-community/. This site provides information and resources to help community members ensure that their voice is heard in this process.

On Monday, the Chief and Council of George Gordon’s First Nation band, made a resolution to create and operate a Hub and Cor in their community. I want to thank the Chief Bryan McNabb and his council, including our trustee Nathan Bitternose, for their vision to become only the second First Nation community in the province to make this resolution. A great number of our own staff have had a hand in supporting the direction of the George Gordon First Nation including Crandall Hrynkiw, Superintendent of Learning Services and Lester Gardiner, Coordinator of Aboriginal Education Services. A Hub and Cor brings together service areas such as education, health, social services and justice in order to address social issues and needs and improve the conditions in communities and I eagerly look forward to providing support from my office in Horizon toward the Chief and Council’s mission.

I was on the road for much of this past week, having important discussions with administrators and staff, as our Learning Improvement Plan (LIP) review meetings continued. Along with Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski and Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, I sat down with the Elaine Comfort, principal of Robert Melrose Elementary on Monday. I want to thank Elaine and her staff for their work in the development of the LIP document and their continued efforts in support of our students.

Monday evening, I had a phone conversation with secondary owners of the Sector-Wide Efficiency outcome, Donna Johnson, Assistant Deputy Minister and Cory Rideout, Director for Light of Christ Roman Catholic School Division. Also joining us were our expert advisors, Angela Chobanik, Executive Director of the Education Finance Branch and Dawn Court, Executive Director of the Corporate Services Branch regarding purchasing cards. These cards are a part of our ongoing efforts to streamline purchasing and save both administrative time and costs. As we move to the Government of Saskatchewan purchasing cards for Horizon school division, another benefit we will see compared to a standard credit card is that we will gain rebates on purchases.

On Tuesday, Crandall, Darrell and I travelled to William Derby School, Bulyea School, Raymore School and Nokomis School. Wednesday took us to Viscount School, Bruno School, Humboldt Collegiate and Humboldt Public to continue our very important discussions regarding learning improvement planning at those schools.

On Wednesday afternoon, following my last meeting for the day at HPS, I met with Cory Popoff, Principal of Humboldt Collegiate. We had the opportunity to discuss our work that he is driving related to assessment in Horizon. It remains exciting to see how we are readying to move assessment forward in Horizon. In particular, Cory is preparing to begin a process, much like we do with literacy, to develop common assessments in numeracy that will serve to support our teachers and students for the impending provincial assessments that will begin in 2018-19. My day wrapped up with the second meeting of the year with Gerard Frison, teacher at William Derby School in Strasbourg and President of the Horizon Teachers’ Association (HTA). I appreciated the opportunity to sit down with Gerard and discuss such items critical to teachers such as Teachers’ Convention and Calendar development.

I travelled with Darrell and Crandall to Cudworth School, Wakaw School, St. Brieux School and Lake Lenore School on Thursday, and Kelvington High, Wadena Composite and Wadena Elementary School on Friday for more LIP meetings. I continue to be very impressed by the work staff and their administrators are doing with respect to our three goals. The results of our literacy, safe and caring and assessment data demonstrates continuous improvement toward our ultimate goal expectations and I thank every staff member in our system for this growth. Every person supporting our schools and our school staff has a hand in our success.

On Friday afternoon, the Ministry held an online meeting relating to a policy statement on the subject of child abuse. Student safety is of course the first priority of the education sector and I appreciated the opportunity to take part in this important policy conversation. Darrell and Jason Neville, Supervisor of Student Services, will share more regarding this important initiative in the upcoming weeks.

Friday evening, central office staff and our Board held our annual Christmas party. It was a fantastic event that brought many of us together to celebrate and enjoy great company. I would like to thank everyone involved in planning our party as well as our staff, Board and families for who were able to join us for the evening.

Lastly this week, I would like to ask that you keep one of Horizon’s families in your thoughts or prayers this holiday season. The Kapeluck family from Quill Lake lost their home in a fire in the early morning hours of November 28. They have two children attending Quill Lake School and the school and community are doing what they can to support the Kapeluck’s through this very difficult time, as we will also be doing at the system level.

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