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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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January 27, 2017 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

January 30, 2017

To begin “This Week”, I would like to share a reminder that the nominations deadline for Horizon’s 2017 Wall of Fame is on Tuesday, January 31. For more information or to submit a nomination, please click here. As with previous years, we anticipate a great deal of impressive individuals to choose from when our committee comes together to decide this year’s inductees, and I want to thank everyone for their time and effort to help us recognize the many impressive graduates from Horizon and our legacy divisions. These individuals serve as an inspiration to our students, our staff, our communities and many of the people beyond and are a testament to the important work of our Board and staff.

Our week began with a Skype meeting of the Director’s Leadership Team (DLT) last Monday. During our meeting, we discussed a number of concerns and issues including the transformational change agenda, upcoming Learning Improvement Plan review meetings, updates to AP 404 – Criminal Record Checks for Employees, early development of the 2017-18 budget and a discussion of where our students are at in terms of literacy. As always, I appreciate the time of my school-based and central office administrators and their work to ensure that information is shared with staff in an efficient and timely manner.

Following the DLT meeting, I spent the rest of the day in meetings and phone calls at central office. In the afternoon, I met with members of central office staff to finalize preparations for our Board’s table officers, Jim Hack and Wil Lengyel to meet with the six-person panel and to discuss Governance in Saskatchewan, as per the Dan Perrins’ report.  

On Tuesday, departmental exams began across Horizon. I would like to thank our staff for ensuring these exams ran smoothly and that our students were prepared and ready to succeed.

While exams were going on, I attended a meeting between members of Horizon’s Board of Education and Chief and Council of George Gordon First Nation. Vice Chair, Wil Lengyel and trustee Nathan Bitternose were able to join the meeting in person while Board Chair, Mr. Jim Hack, joined the meeting via teleconference. I had a number of staff join in the meeting including Outreach Worker, Marcia Bitternose, Coordinator of First Nation & Métis Education Services, Lester Gardiner, Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw and Deputy Director of Education, Randy MacLEAN. The meeting with Chief McNabb and his council was an important opportunity for conversation related to transformational change in education and our ongoing, collaborative partnership in support of students. Chief McNabb shared their concerns with the potential of a “shift” in governance including the potential that it could remove their voice from the Board table. Chief and Council also shared their appreciation for the more than 25-year relationship with Horizon and its legacy school divisions and asked that this be shared at the table with the panel.

On Wednesday, I took part in a conference call with my fellow Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSPD) Outcome and Priority owners, discussing future planning and the upcoming “Plan Finalization session to be held in Regina. There are a few changes that will occur related to the Sector Plan in Cycle Three (2017-2019) and I will share these changes in the upcoming weeks and once the plan has been completed.  

On Thursday, Horizon’s Board Chair, Jim Hack, Vice Chair, Wil Lengyel, Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO, Marilyn Flaman, and I had the opportunity to meet with the Ministry’s advisory panel to discuss Perrins’ report and share our Board’s perspective related to what changes should be considered in the Education Sector. A great deal of data was gathered from numerous stakeholders’ and this was also shared in the report. The Board had the opportunity to share the perspective of three groups who provided written confirmation of their perspective as partners in education. The three groups included Horizon Teachers’ Association (HTA), George Gordon First Nation Chief and Council and Touchwood Agency Tribal Council. The meeting went very well and our table officers and staff did a very good job of sharing their perspectives professionally and passionately. Following Horizon’s meeting with the panel, I joined members of the Englefeld Protestant Separate School Division (EPSSD) Board for their meeting with the panel. The concerns of staff, parents/caregivers and community stakeholders related to the importance of maintaining locally-elected Boards and community voices in educational decisions was certainly the main focus of the discussions. Following our meetings, Wil and I remained at the Regina Crossing Mall and took the opportunity to discuss the agenda with Jim in preparation of our next Board meeting on February 8.

On Friday, I met with Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw and Coordinator of Learning Service, Jan Paproski, in order to finalize our upcoming Review of School Effectiveness (ROSE) presentations to our Board. The presentations will cover the ROSE events held in recent months at Watson School and will have presentations from three of our school principals who will share how they used the data in their school to support learning improvement. The ROSE data continues to provide our Board with a great sense of the tremendous work being done in our schools.

This past Friday, January 27, was both Family Literacy Day and International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Of course, we have a major focus on Literacy in Horizon as one of our three foundational goals, and Family Literacy Day is a great reminder for everyone about the importance of modelling good reading and literacy habits in the home. It was great to hear about the events and activities held across Horizon to celebrate this day. Another of Horizon’s goals, Safe & Caring, is exemplified by our recognition of International Holocaust Memorial Day. This day marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, which occurred in 1945. It is critical, now and always, that we remember the events of that dark chapter in human history so that we remember to oppose prejudice and persecution in all its forms. I would like to thank our schools for recognizing this day, and Horizon’s Curriculum Coach, Larry Mikulcik, for his work sharing information with our schools. 

Have a great week, everyone.   

- Kevin

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