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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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March 5, 2017 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

March 06, 2017

This past weekend at TCU Place in Saskatoon, the 41st Telemiracle event took place. In addition to fundraisers and activities happening in schools and communities across Horizon, a number of our schools and students were represented during the broadcast over the weekend. Students from the Humboldt Collegiate Institute SRC presented their cheque and helped with total boards very early Sunday morning. The Winston High School Garage Band, who had performed for us at our Opening Day Celebration, took to the stage at Telemiracle. Finally, Telemiracle also welcomed famed singer and songwriter, Jeffery Straker to their stage. You may recall that Jeffery is a Punnichy Community High School graduate and Horizon Wall of Fame Inductee and is an international award winning artist in music. Telemiracle is an example of the strong, community-minded generosity that makes Saskatchewan such a special place. Helping those in need and having a great time doing it is what Telemiracle is all about, and I am extremely proud of the efforts of everyone across Horizon to participate and make “Telemiracle 41” another successful fundraiser.

We continued Learning Improvement Plan review meetings last Monday, with Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw and me travelling to Drake School, Bulyea School, William Derby School and Nokomis School. On Tuesday, we continued our LIP review meetings at Ituna School, Foam Lake Composite High School, Foam Lake Elementary School, Wynyard Composite High School and Wynyard Elementary School and Watson. I want to thank staff and administrators at each of these schools for their work focused on literacy. We have asked teachers to complete a mid-year running record for each of their students. Running records, which are a formative assessment, are truly key processes that inform our practice. They allow us to determine the things that are working and adjust where necessary to ensure we meet the individual needs of students. I know that for some teachers this is a relatively new practice that will continue to increase in effectiveness the more we understand its purpose. One of the ideas that staff have shared is to develop a “Horizon solution” to running records for all F & P levels. I think this is a valuable consideration and one that we will need support from our teachers. I know teachers have created a number of these formative assessments and I could certainly see this work formalized within our system collaborative groups, if teachers choose to make their creation a priority. I look forward to our continue deliberations on this topic.

While at William Derby School, I had the opportunity to join Principal, Deb Schwandt-Kelln, Vice Principal, Eric Anderson, Supervisor of Student Services, Jason Neville, Crandall and Darrell in a meeting with Cognitive Disabilities. It is always positive to bring stakeholders together in support of student learning needs and our collaboration led to a strong plan.

Following our LIP reviews on Monday, I had a conference call with Crandall, our Coordinator of Learning Services, Jan Paproski, and Supervisor of Student Services, Jason Neville to discuss the finalization of our reports from the most recent Review of School Effectiveness (ROSE) events we have held. These occurred at Punnichy Elementary Community School, Ituna School, and Lanigan Central High School. These reports will be presented at our next Board meeting, on March 8, when we will share and discuss the data that has been gathered. During this meeting, we will also be joined via Skype by the Principals of Cudworth School and Wakaw School to discuss how the data from their ROSE events has been used in their buildings. We look very forward to hearing from Mr. Perry and Mr. Dickson and how the feedback gathered from their ROSE has helped move their schools from good to great.

On Monday evening, I had the pleasure of joining students, staff and parents at Lanigan Central High School for presentations relating to digital citizenship. Mr. Larry Mikulcik, Curriculum Coach for Horizon, also joined me at the information session. Students from LCHS shared presentations with all those in attendance related to various social media such as Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram, and shared tips and concerns for which adults and students should be aware. It was an engaging evening coordinated by LCHS teacher, Lindi Stroeder, and I would like to thank Lindi and Principal Janice Fansher for providing the opportunity for our students and families.

Following LIP reviews on Tuesday, Wednesday began in a teleconference with Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO, Marilyn Flaman and Ministry of Education personnel to discuss federally funded students. Marilyn and I were able to gain clarity around a number of important issues related to the funding we receive from our provincial government. Our Regulation 22 funding comes directly from the federal government for our First Nation children living on reserve and the Ministry of Education reduces our provincial dollars based on this federal funding. The conversation and collaborative focus resulted in maintaining a significant amount of funding for Horizon.

Following the teleconference, I went from the south office to the north office and joined meetings of our Board’s Student Day Committee and Celebration Day Committee. These important days in Horizon take a great deal of planning in order to ensure their smooth and efficient operation. Our Student Day Committee is made up of Trustees, Jennifer Lemky, Christine Gradin, Sheryl Kayseas and Jolene Koopman, along with central office staff members, Administrative Assistant, Kim Loose, Executive Assistants, Marni Sogge and Melanie Gray, Communications Services Officer, Lance Hiltz and me. The Celebration Day Committee is made up of Trustees, Albert Pinacie, Sheryl Kayseas and Jennifer Lemky as well as central office staff members, Marni, Kim, Melanie, Lance, Manager of Transportation Services, Jocelyne Possberg, Manager of Payroll Services, Corinne Thoms, Coordinator of Information Services, Ken Sogge, Administrative Assistant, Nicole Fitzpatrick and me. In short order, we were able to provide updates to the committees and plan the remaining elements for both days.

Also on Wednesday, students and staff from across Horizon and Englefeld School gathered at central office for a day of training and preparation that will lead to the provision of eJournalism services at this year’s Rural Congress in Saskatoon. You may recall that we had students and staff take part in this program last year, and Rural Congress organizers were happy to welcome our students back for another year. In addition to practicing their writing, interviewing, photography and videography skills, our students also heard from the 2017 Saskatchewanderer, who shared tips relating to digital journalism. Thank you to these students for your willingness to represent our schools and division at Rural Congress again this year. I would also like to thank Lance Hiltz, Communication Services Officer, for his ongoing leadership in organizing this important opportunity.

On Wednesday evening, I joined Trustees, School Community Council (SCC) members, central office staff and school staffs at LCHS for the first of our two annual SCC workshops. This was a great chance to meet with members of our SCCs and share about the great work being done in our schools and system. Prior to our workshops, I met with Mr. Gerard Frison, teacher at William Derby School and President of the Horizon Teachers’ Association (HTA). We have a great relationship with the HTA and I always value the time I get to meet with Mr. Frison and discuss our shared work for teachers and students. I want to thank Principal Jeff Stroeder and his staff for the preparation that went in to the event.

On Thursday, I joined a meeting of our Board’s Audit Committee, made up of committee chair, David Holinaty and trustees Paul Crow-Buffalo, Mark Fedak and Wil Lengyel. An agenda meeting in preparation of our upcoming March 8 regular Board Meeting and Annual Meeting of Electors followed the audit meeting. Vice Chair, Wil Lengyel, joined us at central office and Chair, Jim Hack joined by phone, as he was en route home from vacation.

On Thursday evening, I travelled to Wynyard Composite for the second of this year’s SCC workshops. Once again, it was a great opportunity to meet with staff and community members and talk about our partnership in support of students. I want to thank Terry Leibel and his staff for preparing the school for the event.

With Crandall away, Darrell and I were back on the road on Friday, travelling to Punnichy Community High School, Punnichy Elementary Community School, George Gordon Education Centre and Raymore School for LIP review meetings. While at George Gordon, I had the great pleasure of spending significant time in a meeting with Chief Bryan McNabb to discuss the critical partnership Horizon enjoys with George Gordon First Nation.

On Sunday, I travelled to Saskatoon for the League of Educational Administrators, Directors and Superintendents (LEADS) Annual Policy Conference. Horizon’s Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, also now serves as the President of LEADS, and it is a pleasure to join the APC with him and our other administrators.

One final announcement I would like to share relates to an exciting opportunity for one of our Horizon communities. Saturday night on Hockey Night in Canada, Ituna was selected as one of the top 10 communities for Kraft Hockeyville 2017. They were one of only 10 selected from the thousands of nominations received across the country and are one step closer to moving on to the Top 2 and potentially being crowned Kraft Hockeyville 2017! On behalf of the entire community of Ituna, I am asking Horizon School Division to support the community by the way of voting. The voting period will run from March 12th at 9:00AM EST and close March 13th at 11:59PM EST. Voting is open to residents of Canada 13 years of age and older. Principal, Ryan Belch shared a little bit about their arena. “Ituna Skating Arena is a public rink that is owned by the Town of Ituna but is operated and run by volunteers from the community and area. The "Deiner" style (one of the last standing) arena was built in 1962. Each year volunteers continue with upkeep and maintenance of this facility. In due time, the local board is proposing the build of a new multipurpose facility to replace the arena. Minor sports is thriving in our community, which includes a large number of females for which we currently do not have dressing rooms. As well, our Zamboni is a 1962 John Deere tractor with a scraper/flooder attached to it. This is a great opportunity for us, as the money will be put to a great cause in order to keep a major hub in our community alive. This is a very exciting time for us and if by some odd chance we win, an NHL hockey game potentially right within our school division would be a great highlight.”

I want to wish Ituna all the best in their effort to be crowned Kraft Hockeyville 2017 and hope each of you will take the time to vote. What an exciting opportunity!

Have a great week, everyone.   

- Kevin

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