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Horizon School Division
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March 10, 2017 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

March 13, 2017

I would like to begin "This Week" with a few items that recognize and celebrate the success of our students, staff, schools and communities. Following last year's WE Day, Jadyn Borstmayer, student at Bruno School, was selected for a trip to Kenya after discovering that PotashCorp was accepting applications from students as part of their sponsorship with WE Day. Jadyn submitted a 500-word essay on why she should be selected to join the WE Day participants for this trip. This year, Jadyn has been asked to join the Star Phoenix 'commercial break', where she will participate in an interactive game at WE Day Saskatoon. On behalf of Horizon, I would like to express my congratulations to Jadyn, Principal Lianne Borstmayer and the staff of Bruno School on this exciting honor. We are very proud of the great leadership our students demonstrate in their schools and beyond and Jadyn is a very inspiring example. At Bulyea School, students have taken part in an Intergenerational Penpal Project with seniors in the Bulyea, Strasbourg and Duval areas over the past few months. On March 10, they held a potluck with Saskatchewan Senior Mechanism, providing students and their penpals a chance to meet in-person. I would like to thank, among many others, Sask Senior Mechanism, Principal Keith Hassman and the staff of Bulyea School for supporting this important endeavor. Finally, I would like to thank Mrs. Michel Sorensen of Last Mountain Pioneer Home in Strasbourg, and parent at Bulyea School. Michel was instrumental in making this great opportunity happen for our students and communities. I also want to share that we have a number of students from Humboldt Public School and Foam Lake Composite School entered in the "Canada's Coolest School Trip" video contest. For more information and to cast your vote, visit the My Parks Pass website, here. Look for "Thousand Islands" (HPS 8P), "We Wish We Were in Gwaii Haanas" (HPS 8E), and "Adventurous Trails of Grasslands" (FLCS), and cast your vote prior to March 24. Great job on the videos and best of luck in the contest, HPS and FLCS students. Finally, I want to send one quick reminder to vote for Ituna for Kraft Hockeyville 2017! Voting closes Monday evening, March 13, 2017 and you can vote multiple times. Good luck Ituna!

On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of this past week, I was in Saskatoon for the League of Educational Administrators, Directors and Superintendents (LEADS) Annual Policy Conference. As I mentioned last week, Horizon's Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, has been named President of LEADS, our professional organization. I would like to once again, extend a heartfelt Horizon congratulations to Darrell. He will serve members across Saskatchewan extremely well.

The March meeting of our Board was held on Wednesday, March 8. During our regular meeting, we had the opportunity to finalize the 2017-18 school year calendar. Through a consultative process that involved our partners in the Horizon Teachers' Association (HTA) and solicited feedback from all Horizon staff and SCC members, the Board approved the calendar for our next school year. To view the 2017-18 calendar in its entirety, please click here. Among other critical discussion items covered during our regular meeting, we connected via Skype with Principal Ryan Bulych and Vice Principal Brittany Ward of Ituna School and Principal Lindsay Perry of Cudworth School. The purpose of connecting was so each principal could share how the data collected through the recent Review of School Effectiveness (ROSE) events at their schools have helped them and their staff further strengthen the effectiveness of our learning environments. Thank you to Lindsay, Ryan and Brittany for sharing these improvements and plans with our Board. The Board also heard about our most recent ROSE events held in Punnichy Elementary Community School, Lanigan Central High School, and Imperial School. Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, Coordinator of Learning Services, Jan Paproski and Supervisor of Student Services, Jason Neville did a commendable job of preparing and delivering the three presentations for trustees. Still another important item of discussion was focused on staffing numbers and the Board had the opportunity to review past and current organizational structures with a view to understanding the changes that have existed over the last number of years.

Horizon's Annual Meeting of Electors was also held on Wednesday, beginning at 1:00 PM. Though the meeting was brief, it was a great opportunity to discuss the achievements of our students and staff in 2015-16 as well as to provide an overview of our financials for the same fiscal period. I want to thank some of our local media, the Humboldt Journal and Bolt FM, for sharing this important meeting with our stakeholders and providing reports on it.

The Director's Leadership Team (DLT) met via Skype on Thursday morning. The school year calendar, our upcoming Collaborative Learning Day on March 20, school-based staffing and budget meetings and other important business took the mainstage during our meeting. I always appreciate the opportunity to meet with our DLT, and these Skype meetings continue to offer an effective and efficient method for minimizing travel costs and time away from classrooms. One piece of information related to this statement and should be considered by all staff is the potential of obtaining a bus drivers licence. Our school's are always in need of having people with this background and, as Horizon busses can be used anywhere throughout the system, a school can make travel plans extremely inexpensive, especially when a staff member is willing to drive one of the busses. Of course, bus driving is not for everyone and, as student safety is our primary concern, feel free to contact our transportation services department

Our Learning Improvement Plan (LIP) review meetings continued last week, with Crandall, Darrell and I travelling to Quill Lake School, Lakeside Colony Hutterian School, Lanigan Elementary School, and Lanigan Central High School on Thursday. On Friday, we made our way to Wakaw School, Cudworth School, and Humboldt Public School. In each of these meetings, the dedication of our staff was clear, as was the fact that LIPs are being constantly improved and examined to support our work for students.

On Friday morning, I stepped out of our LIP review in Wakaw to take part in a Provincial Leadership Team (PLT) conference call, along with my fellow Directors of Education and Ministry of Education personnel.

Following LIP meetings on Friday afternoon, I was able to join our Board's Governance Committee as they met to discuss Horizon's Mission, Vision, and Values, our Board Policy Handbook, and talk with Janet Wagner. Ms. Wagner supports continuous improvement work, such as LEAN, for a number of school divisions including Horizon. In the upcoming weeks, Janet will take the Board through a process to review and revise their Mission, Vision and Values. I would like to congratulate our Governance Committee, consisting of Trustees, Jennifer Lemky, Linda Mattock and Nathan Bitternose, for their important work in support of this committee. Board Chair, Jim Hack, also was part of the Governance Committee discussions.

In closing, I want to share a great celebration item involving a few of Horizon's former students. Rachelle Block, former LeRoy School student, has the lead role in the U of S Greystone Theatre's musical production of Cabaret this year, and Jackie Block, also formerly of LeRoy School, is responsible for creating and teaching the dance choreography to the actors. Their proud dad, Ricky Block, is a teacher at Annaheim School. The show is running from March 2 to April 1, and you can get tickets online at http://artsandscience.usask.ca/drama/greystone/onstage.php

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