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Horizon School Division
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March 31, 2017 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

April 03, 2017

The 22nd National Congress on Rural Education in Canada was held in Saskatoon from Sunday, March 26 to Tuesday, March 28 with most of our Horizon trustees in attendance. They joined trustee and staff delegates from right across Canada at this worthwhile professional development opportunity. I had the pleasure of joining our Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, Supervisor of Literacy and Early Learning Services, Katherine Oviatt, and Horizon’s Writer-in-Residence, Sigmund Brouwer, to deliver a presentation regarding our partnership with Sigmund and the results of our literacy rates in Horizon. Congress delegates also enjoyed a presentation by Horizon’s Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, Coordinator of First Nations & Métis Education Services, Lester Gardiner, and Curriculum Coach, Larry Mikulcik related to culturally responsive schools and citizenship education. Of course, the entire 3 days were captioned by our eJournalism students from across Horizon and Englefeld who were, for the second year in a row, in attendance for this conference. The Saskatchewan Education Leadership Unit (SELU) of the University of Saskatchewan operates the Congress and invited Horizon students for the second year in a row, to capture the 2017 National event by taking photos, writing stories, interviewing presenters and delegates and creating videos. Throughout the entire three days, our students were incredibly professional and certainly made our divisions proud. For a glimpse of what this year’s Congress was all about and to see some of our students’ excellent eJournalism work, visit the team’s blog at https://ejournalismhorizon.wordpress.com. Once again, our system was well represented at the national conference and we should all be proud of the fact that Horizon is increasingly recognized as a leader in rural education.  

Following Monday’s sessions at the Rural Congress, I joined a teleconference to discuss the on-going development of options for in-city bussing in Humboldt. Horizon’s Superintendent of Operational Services, Justin Arendt, and Manager of Transportation, Jocelyne Possberg, have been working hard in collaboration with their counterparts at Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools and the City of Humboldt to ensure that all options for this project are explored and considered. I am pleased that we may finally be able to give our parents and students an opportunity to consider bussing in the city of Humboldt. On Tuesday, I had an opportunity to connect with members of our local media to discuss preliminary information related to how the provincial budget will affect Horizon School Division. Much of that information was also shared in my previous “This Week in Horizon”. As always, our media is to be commended for helping us inform our stakeholders from across the system with critical information.

Following the close of this year’s Rural Congress on Tuesday afternoon, I travelled back to central office for a meeting with our Board Chair, Jim Hack, and Vice Chair, Wil Lengyel, to plan the agenda for next week’s regular Board meeting. Deputy Director, Randy MacLEAN, Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO, Marilyn Flaman and Superintendent of Operational Services/COO, Justin Arendt joined us in the agenda meeting. There will be much to discuss at this coming meeting and I greatly value the time of all involved in ensuring that the meeting will run smoothly.

Our latest Celebration Day lunch was held last Wednesday at Punnichy Elementary Community School. These lunches are always a great way for members of our Board to spend time in schools with staff and students, and our lunch on Wednesday was an opportunity to show our appreciation for the staff at Punnichy Elementary.

I travelled to Saskatoon on Thursday to take part in a leadership session about understanding and applying the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The document emphasizes the importance of Indigenous heritage and traditions and I was honoured to take part in this private session with Chief Wilton Littleton and to learn more about this document’s implications for Canada, Saskatchewan and our schools.  

Friday saw none of our schools in session as teachers and students enjoyed a well-deserved long weekend. Back at central office, my Senior Leadership Team (SLT) comprised of the Deputy Director and Superintendents, met to begin discussing the details of our budgeting process for the upcoming school year. As we put together options to present to our Board, it is critical that we look at our options from every angle. To this end, we had the Central Office Administration Team (COAT), comprised of the SLT and all Supervisors, Coordinators, Managers and Officers join our budget discussion in the afternoon. Teamwork and collaboration are vital to this type of work, so the varied perspectives and expertise of our different service areas are extremely valuable as we move forward and meet the challenges of this coming fiscal year. As I have shared in the past, our budget is short an additional 3 million dollars from the prior year’s budget.

Also on Friday, I joined a teleconference with some of my fellow Directors of Education. The meeting was to discuss the upcoming Provincial Leadership Team (PLT) presentation to the Saskatchewan School Boards Association. A slide show presentation has been put together the ownership teams of each priority and outcome contained in the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) during their Spring Assembly on April 6.

As I mentioned last week, we had a number of students from Punnichy Community High School featured on Global TV’s “Focus Saskatchewan” last weekend. If you missed it when it aired, you can now find that segment at http://globalnews.ca/video/3337257/punnichy-proteges. Focus Saskatchewan has helped us share the success of our students and illustrate the important work Horizon’s Writer-in-Residence, Sigmund Brouwer does in support of our teachers working hard to meet learning outcomes. I am proud of our PCHS students and staff and sharing with Global has ensured this incredible opportunity with Mr. Brouwer will be captured forever.

Votes were tallied for Kraft Hockeyville this past weekend and it was announced that the title will go to O’Leary, PEI. Ituna came extremely close, and watching the community, and in many ways, the province come together these past few weeks to support Ituna’s bid for Hockeyville has been extremely inspiring. You may have seen the impressive crowd gathered at the Ituna rink on Saturday to hear the announcement, but what you might not have seen were the countless volunteers working to put it all together. For reminding us what a small Saskatchewan community can achieve by working together, I want to thank Ituna and everyone who supported their bid this year for being a great example of class and community spirit throughout this exciting process.

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