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

May 08, 2017

We began This Week, the first week of May, in a budget meeting with Horizon’s Board of Education. Joined by Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO, Marilyn Flaman, Superintendent of Operational Services/COO, Justin Arendt and Deputy Director, Randy MacLEAN, we presented options to the Board to consider in order to meet the 3 million dollar reduction in funding Horizon saw this year. The Board continues to review options to meet the funding shortfall with an understanding that school staffing needs will move forward based on the current plan. This is great news as it allows Human Resource Services to continue their planning and hiring in order to ensure our teacher and support staff needs are met in our schools. Our meetings will continue in the coming weeks prior to our Board presenting its finalized budget in June. More information will be shared about the 2017-18 budget as it is finalized through our on-going discussions.

Following our budget meeting, our Board Chair, Jim Hack, and Vice Chair, Wil Lengyel, joined us for a meeting to finalize the agenda for the Board’s regular monthly meeting on May 10. A number of delegations are planned with the Board, including the accountability report for Safe and Caring. 

On Tuesday, Horizon held a Pre-K/Kindergarten workshop in Humboldt as a consultation and professional development day for our Pre-K and K teachers. The day was also open to administrators from our schools with elementary in order to support their important work in leading our early learning programs. Horizon’s Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski and his team of Katherine Oviatt, Supervisor of Literacy and Early Learning and Kim Scharf, Early Learning Coach, spent the morning reviewing Horizon’s newly developed Early Learning Document. It is a compilation and a “one-stop-shop” for all early learning documentation developed in the province and in Horizon. In the afternoon, Debbie Pushor, professor of Curriculum Studies at the University of Saskatoon, lead a discussion on Family Engagement.

After welcoming our staff to the Pre-K/K workshop, I returned to our central office for a meeting with the property owner of our current north office building. As you are likely aware, Horizon currently leases our north office space from Olymel and the meeting between Olymel management and Marilyn Flaman and me was to determine the future of the lease. Last year Horizon began groundwork relative to the construction of an office building that our Board would own, an option that offers a variety of cost-saving opportunities. Due to our immediate financial situation in the province, however, the option for our central office has been on hold. Further information relative to the results of the meeting with Olymel will be shared with the Board at their May 10th meeting.  

Our central office came together to offer best wishes during the break as Executive Assistant, Melanie Gray, recently celebrated her birthday. The gathering was also a chance to celebrate the birthday of yours truly, although, I am trying to forget them! Although I greatly appreciate the gesture, the opportunity to spend this time with our central office staff is the greatest benefit of all.

On Wednesday, Horizon’s members of the Saskatchewan Association of School Business Officials (SASBO) travelled to Saskatoon for their annual convention and AGM. This group includes our Superintendents, Managers, Supervisors and officers who serve the education sector in a variety of roles. The convention provides PD opportunities and a chance for members to discuss and share ideas with colleagues from other Saskatchewan school divisions.

Back at the office, I joined a teleconference call with the Educational Governance Review “Organizational Staffing and Design” team. The teleconferences are scheduled to take place each week for the remainder of the school year, and I will continue to share what I can with staff and the Board during the meetings. Currently, the team has been working on establishing the processes that will see a contracted resource review compensation of managers and senior staff as well as to continue a review of Board member compensation. Most recently, the Ministry has requested that we also review out-of-province travel for staff and boards. An RFP  is currently in process in order to hire a contracted resource to review the HR components of the mandate.

On Wednesday afternoon, I met with Cory Popoff, Principal of Humboldt Collegiate Institute, and teachers in grades 4-6 who spent the afternoon reviewing the mathematics common assessments teachers developed. Cory has taken a leadership role relative to Horizon’s Assessment goal and a great deal of work that has gone into developing and reviewing the math assessments in advance of the province’s heightened focus on numerical literacy. In 2018-19, the province will undergo assessments relative to the number strand and Horizon is out in front of this initiative by establishing our own effective assessments. This work will lead to opportunities for teachers to share their instructional practices with colleagues from across our system and I am grateful for the teachers who have volunteered to spend time building and critically analyzing our assessments.

Members of the SLT met on Thursday morning and afternoon in order to review the current plan regarding the upcoming Director’s Leadership Team (DLT) professional development day on May 17. The team also reviewed the agenda for the DLT meeting on Monday morning and had some discussion regarding Horizon’s budget plan.

I had the pleasure of travelling to a number of schools on Friday in order to meet with principals from Lanigan Elementary, Wynyard Composite, Wadena Elementary, Bruno Central and St. Brieux. While on the road, I joined a conference call to finalize the agenda for an upcoming meeting of the Provincial Leadership Team (PLT).

Horizon held two more graduation ceremonies this past week, at Muenster School and Winston High School in Watrous, each occurring on Friday, May 5. Thank you to Mr. Mark Fedak, Trustee for Subdivision 4, and Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, who brought greetings at the Muenster graduation on behalf of the Board and my office, respectively. I also was to thank Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, who brought greetings at Winston High. Congratulations to the graduation classes at Muenster and Winston. As the final weeks of their high school careers draws near, it is important our grade 12 students know that their Board and staff from across Horizon wish them all the best in the challenges, opportunities and successes they will most certainly experience now and in the future.

I will end This Week with a quote that each of us can appreciate but is a great reminder to our graduates. It’s by Millard Fuller, the founder of Habitat for Humanity International, who stated, “It's not your blue blood, your pedigree or your college degree…it's what you do with your life that counts.”

Have a great week, everyone.

- Kevin

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