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Horizon School Division
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April 28, 2017 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

May 01, 2017

As April 23-29 has been Administrative Professionals Appreciation Week, I would like to begin with a very heartfelt “thank you” to Horizon’s administrative staff. Your work to support our students, families, staff and facilities is critical to the services focus we have in our system. We are deeply grateful for your work year-round, but this past week gives us the opportunity to celebrate your contributions in a more formal way. Today, and every day, know that you are appreciated.

The 2017 Horizon Holocaust Symposium was held this past Monday. As you have heard, our special guest for the symposium, Mr. Amek Adler, passed away very suddenly the next morning. Our thoughts and/or prayers are with his family and friends, and we are forever grateful for the opportunity to hear Mr. Adler’s story. It was a true honour to have him attend our symposium and share his testimony with our students and staff, and that honour is made even more profound with his passing. The concept of this symposium, which came from Horizon’s Curriculum Coach, Larry Mikulcik, was to have our students hear these stories directly from Holocaust survivors. Mr. Adler’s passing is a reminder that we are the last generation who will hear the testimony of Holocaust survivors, and it is our responsibility to share their stories. His story, his resilience, his empathy and his kindness are something that everyone in attendance will never forget.  

On Tuesday, we held the 2017 Student Day at the Humboldt Uniplex. Approximately 200 students were in attendance to enjoy presentations from their peers and a keynote presentation from Dr. Alec Cuoros, University of Regina professor and digital citizenship expert. Students from Bruno School, Lake Lenore School, Lanigan Elementary, William Derby, Wadena Composite, Punnichy Community High and Winston High all shared their stories and talents to inspire their fellow students to find opportunities for leadership in their schools and communities. As has been the case at each previous Student Day, Codie Prevost closed the afternoon with a performance that had almost everyone dancing. This year, Codie was joined by the Winston High Garage Band to wind up the day of learning. I appreciate the opportunity to celebrate the work of our students, and am grateful that our students, staff and stakeholders are able to recap the day through articles, photos and videos put together by members of Horizon’s eJournalism Team. You can access their tremendous work by clicking here.

Following Student Day, the Joint Operating Committee (JOC) met to discuss our partnership between Horizon’s Board and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools to oversee the operation of Humboldt Collegiate Institute.

While I was present at the JOC meeting, Dr. Alec Couros delivered yet another presentation, this time to our parents/caregivers and community members. His talk was titled “Raising the Selfie Generation” and covered such topics as popular apps, online privacy, digital citizenship and how to help kids develop a positive digital identity. For anyone who was unable to attend this very informative presentation in-person, Horizon provided a livestream of the event, and a recording of the event can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ycj2SdYIS3Q.

On Wednesday morning, I was involved in an Educational Governance Review as the “Organizational Staffing and Design” team met via teleconference. I was able to join the meeting of Ministry personnel and education sector stakeholders, prior to joining our Board in their budget meeting.

The Horizon Board held a budget deliberation meeting on Wednesday. The full day meeting was very productive and a great deal of work has already gone into ensuring that this year’s budget will continue to meet the needs of our system within the challenging financial reality of our province. We will be sharing more about this work as details are finalized in the coming weeks. While our Board and members of my Senior Leadership Team were meeting, Cory Popoff, Principal of HCI and lead for the assessment goal in Horizon, met with a number of grade 7 to 9 math teachers from across Horizon to begin the review of common assessments focused on numerical literacy. I want to thank Cory and all the teachers who are contributing to such a critical part of our literacy and assessment work. The efforts of this committee as well as those of the grade 4-6 and grade 1-3 committees is designed to support our numeracy work in horizon. It will also serve as a precursor to the provincial assessments that will begin in 2018-19.

Following the Horizon budget meeting, I travelled to Englefeld on Wednesday evening for the Englefeld Protestant Separate School Division (EPSSD) Board of Education annual meeting of electors. I was joined at the meeting by our Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO, Marilyn Flaman, Superintendent of Operations/COO, Justin Arendt and Executive Assistant, Melanie Gray. It has been another successful year for EPSSD as defined in the report. Following our annual meeting, the EPSSD Board held their regular monthly meeting, which primarily focused on a discussion relative to the 2017-18 budget.

On Thursday, I joined a number of Horizon’s Trustees in Saskatoon for the Awasis Aboriginal Education Conference. The conference aims to improve Aboriginal knowledge and spirituality for all people. “Awasis” is a Cree term, meaning “child”, and this year’s conference theme was “Acceptance of Difference”. There are many important lessons to take away from the conference to ensure that we continue to meet the needs of all students in our system.  

I joined a meeting of Horizon’s Human Resource Services on Friday morning, along with Deputy Director, Randy MacLEAN, Superintendent of HR Services, Todd Gjevre and HR Officer, Monica Arendt. The main focus of the meeting was to discuss the staffing needs as outlined by each of our school’s as ascertained through staffing meetings in February and March.

On Friday afternoon, I had the pleasure of joining students and staff at Viscount School to celebrate the retirement of Ms. Joan Gress. Ms. Gress has had a remarkable career in service to children, staff and her community. On behalf of everyone across Horizon, thank you for spending your career supporting our students and best wishes for a long and happy retirement, Joan!

I finished my week in Lake Lenore, celebrating the Lake Lenore School Class of 2017in the first Horizon graduation of the year. I had the opportunity to join our Subdivision 2 Trustee, Linda Mattock, in bringing greetings and congratulations to the 14 students in grade 12 at Lake Lenore. I want to thank Principal, Ralph Viczko and his staff for the invitation to join our students at this important milestone event. As their theme for the evening indicated, “the future looks good.”

Finally, I want to congratulate former student of Bruno School student, Jason Leuschen, who has made the final 17 in his pursuit of becoming Canada’s next astronaut. He continues to make Bruno and all of Horizon, extremely proud.

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