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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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February 10, 2017 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

February 13, 2017

To begin This Week, I want to acknowledge the passing of a teacher, a friend, a coach, a colleague, a mentor and a leader in sport across Saskatchewan, Mr. Dennis Pomeroy. Dennis passed away suddenly this past week and all who knew him will sorely miss him. Athletes, coaches and officials across Saskatchewan and Canada knew Dennis and respected his care and his attention to detail. His legacy in the volleyball circles will live forever. Just last year, Saskatchewan Volleyball gave him an honorary award for his commitment to the sport he so admirably served. Our thoughts and/or prayers are with Dennis' family during this difficult time.

On Monday, I spent the majority of my day working on final preparations for the very full agenda of the Board. Although I greatly appreciate any time I get to spend in our schools, I also recognize there is a need to take "Q2" time when it is available. Those of you who have taken the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People will recognize that Q2 stands for Quadrant 2 – the quadrant of effectiveness where planning and preparation occurs. Of course, this meant that some of the February Learning Improvement Plan (LIP) meetings with principals had to be moved and I greatly appreciate the flexibility of my administrators to adjust their schedules to accommodate my needs. I spent the majority of the time reviewing and making adjustments to Board and Director Leadership Team (DLT) presentations with CFO, Marilyn Flaman and my Executive Assistant, Marni Sogge.

On Tuesday, the Horizon Board of Education Governance Committee met to discuss the Board Policy Handbook. The handbook guides the work of the Board of Education and its Director of Education in Horizon School Division so ensuring that it remains up to date and accurate is of critical importance. I would like to thank members of the committee, made up of Trustees, Linda Mattock and Nathan Bitternose and chaired by Trustee, Jennifer Lemky, for their diligent attention to the details of this document. Most recently, the committee was able to make a number of changes to the entire document and presented their recommendations for the Board's approval at the regular meeting on Wednesday.

On Tuesday evening, I had the unique pleasure of meeting with Ms. Joanne Jackson, Senior Client Executive in the Education Market with IBM Canada. Our meeting was an opportunity to discuss technology efficiency opportunities in the K-12 education sector in Saskatchewan. I look forward to further opportunities to support the potential of a partnership that could yield significant efficiencies for school boards across our province while ensuring the needs of our staff and students are met.

Our Board of Education held their regular meeting on Wednesday of last week. It was a long meeting that stretched well into the evening but, as usual, it was also very productive. The Board spent time discussing our recent conversations with the Ministry's advisory panel relating to transformational change and the Perrins Report as well as Board Chair, Jim Hack's conversations with four of the six MLA's. We were also able to set a date for the Board's Annual Meeting, which will be held on March 8 along with the regular monthly meeting. The Annual Meeting gives our electors an opportunity to hear directly from the Board in relation to our Annual Report, covering the period of September 1, 2015 to August 31, 2016. We also enjoyed presentations from three of our Principals regarding their work and the work of their staffs in utilizing the data collected during our Review of School Effectiveness (ROSE) events. We heard from Principal Trevor Otsig of Three Lakes School, Donna Appel of Drake School and Caitlin Hackl of Rose Valley School, all via Skype, who eloquently shared their positive experience with our ROSE events. Each of them did a tremendous job of sharing how the feedback from the process has helped them move their schools from good to great. We then heard from Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, Supervisor of Student Services, Jason Neville and Coordinator of Learning Services, Jan Paproski, reporting on one of our recent ROSE events held at Watson School. Following the ROSE events, the Board learned about the Student Services accountability report from Superintendent of Student Services and his team of Jason and our Supervisor of Literacy and Early Learning, Katherine Oviatt. The data in each of these reports was highly engaging, demonstrating significant areas of celebration that directly tie to the outstanding work of our division personnel, our school principals and our school staffs. It takes a team to realize success and Horizon as a whole has worked hard to build this culture of collaboration.

Our Board also had a conversation regarding the Court of Queen's Bench ruling that resulted in the need to hold a by-election in Subdivision #5 (LeRoy School, Wynyard Elementary School and Wynyard Composite High School). Horizon Board determined that the date of the by-election would be May 10, with advance polls held on April 25 in the communities of Wynyard, LeRoy and Janzen. A media release in relation to the by-election was sent from my office on Thursday and can be found here. Until the results of the by-election are declared, the Subdivision 5 Trustee position will be vacant. Further information regarding nomination deadlines, polling locations and other items will be provided within Subdivision 5 schools, communities, media sources and Horizon's website.

The Director's Leadership Team (DLT) met via Skype first thing Thursday morning. I had the opportunity to share with school administrators regarding the latest related to transformational change, updates to the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) and preliminary options for the 2017-18 school year calendar. A number of other critical items were brought to our school administrators from our Superintendents and staff in Learning Services, Student Services, Finance Services, Human Resource Services and Operational Services. As our Skype meetings continue to offer savings on both costs and travel time, I am grateful to our staff for their commitment to this process.

Following our DLT meeting, I travelled to Humboldt Collegiate Institute (HCI) with Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski to meet with school administrators and discuss the HCI Learning Improvement Plan (LIP). I want to thank Principal Cory Popoff, Vice Principals, Shaun Gardiner and David Millette and all the staff at HCI for working to realize success in their goal focused on literacy.

I spent much of the afternoon on Thursday finalizing options for the 2017-18 school year calendar. A survey has been sent to staff, providing options for this calendar and seeking feedback and consultation around how our calendar will look in the coming year. I would like to thank our Horizon staff for their important feedback and look forward to taking it back to the Board for final approval at their the March meeting.

I was on the road for the morning on Friday, travelling with Darrell and Crandall to Schell School (Holdfast), Imperial School and Watrous Elementary. I had to leave following the Watrous Elementary meeting and Darrell and Crandall continued to meet with principals at Winston High, Viscount School and Bruno School. The purpose of our meetings was to review the mid-year literacy successes in each of the schools. As always, the on-going work and collaborative efforts of our principals and their staffs along with supports from our literacy team has served to support the outstanding results found in these living documents and is a testament to the incredible power of working together. Through the commitment of each employee, trustee and stakeholder in Horizon, we continue to achieve success for our students each day, and the plans at the school level are a large part of how we are able to make that possible in our schools. Our focus reminds me of a quote by famed basketball player, Michael Jordan who said, "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships."

Have a great week, everyone.   

- Kevin

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