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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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June 2, 2017 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

June 05, 2017

As I was thinking about This Week, it was easy to focus on the important work we are doing in Horizon in support of our students. Our literacy results continue to improve as a system as our teachers and support staff examine the most effective practices necessary to support individual student needs. “Our School Survey” data also continues to improve as our schools provide effective assessments and ensure safe and caring school environments across our system. I am grateful that our children are receiving the supports they do and I am equally grateful that we will be able to continue similar supports in the year ahead. “Thank you” are only words but my hope is that they are heard in the minds and felt in the hearts of every staff member and parent across our system.

As we celebrate our successes, I am very aware that for some of our children, learning becomes secondary when they are experiencing significant challenges. One such example of a major challenge in our Horizon family comes from LeRoy. On Sunday, June 12, the community of LeRoy and area will host a supper in support of grade 8 student, Divine Cortez. Divine had open-heart surgery in Edmonton a little over a week ago and the funds raised will provide much needed support for her family. Having had a mother go through open-heart surgery, I somewhat understand the angst that she and her family have and are going through. I also know we are all experiencing this same level of angst and we hope for her speedy recovery. I have said it before that there is great strength that comes from our school division focusing positive thoughts and/or prayers on Divine and her family. I would graciously ask for each of us to keep her in our hearts as she fights to regain her strength. If you would like to attend the supper, please do not hesitate to contact my office and we can provide the information once again.  

Provincial track concluded on Saturday and Horizon shone once again. Our students competed incredibly well and place second only behind Saskatoon in total points, 18 points ahead of Regina. I think the easiest way to compare Horizon’s accomplishment is to look at the number of points we attained as a district per 1000’s of students. Considering there are nearly 40,000 students in the city of Saskatoon alone and approximately 7000 in Horizon Central Athletic Association, our athletes are by far part of the strongest district in the province. I want to congratulate our athletes and coaches who put in a significant amount of time and hard work to achieve such incredible individual and team success. Lastly, I want to thank our organizers and volunteers in the HCAA and SHSAA for delivering yet another excellent year of track and field in our Division and Province. The work you do in providing these opportunities for our students is exemplary.

On Monday, I met with Horizon’s Board in a special meeting at central office. Our meeting was held to continue discussions that we began during the regular meeting on May 10, and included a significant focus on the development of the 2017-18 budget. As we near the finalization of our budget, I want to, once again, thank my staff for their work in supporting the Board’s plans. Of course, I also want to thank our Board for their dedication to this process and the decisions they continue to make to guide and support our system. More information will be made available in the coming weeks and prior to the final budget being presented to the Ministry of Education. I want to provide a special thank you to Marilyn Flaman, Superintendent of Finance Services and Chief Financial Officer for Horizon. Marilyn does an incredible amount of work in preparation of the Horizon budget and I know the system greatly benefits from her expertise and professionalism.

Following the Board’s special meeting, I joined Deputy Director, Randy MacLEAN and Trustee, David Holinaty in interviews for the Cudworth School Principal position. Interviews continued the following evening and as was communicated through a memo from my office last week, the position was awarded to Ms. Amber Kraus. Amber is coming to us from Prairie Spirit School Division where she has spent eight years as a classroom teacher and was selected to be in the administrator pool for Prairie Spirit. Last June, Amber received her Master’s Degree in Curriculum Studies from the University of Saskatchewan. This will be a bit of a homecoming for Amber, as she was born and raised in Wakaw. I am certainly happy to welcome Amber back to the area, and I am excited for what I know will be outstanding contributions to the Cudworth School community and my Director’s Leadership Team (DLT).

On Tuesday, we began our final round of Learning Improvement Plan (LIP) review meetings with our schools. LIP meetings are a tremendous opportunity to sit down with school administrators and discuss their guiding documents in support of the work of the staff and the community. Horizon’s Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, and Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw joined me in these important discussions. Our first LIP reviews for this round of review took place at Ituna School, Wynyard Elementary and Wynyard Composite. In each school, a great deal of work has gone into these documents in order to ensure the work of the school team is able to meet the needs of our students. I want to thank our administrators and staff for engaging in this important effort.

As I mentioned, I returned to central office for the conclusion of the Cudworth School principal interviews and to conduct interviews for the position of principal of Viscount Central School. Randy, Dave and I were joined by Subdivision 3 Trustee, Jennifer Lemky for that exact purpose. As I indicated last week, it is my pleasure to share that the principal role at Viscount was awarded to Mr. Eric Anderson. Eric has been serving as the vice principal of William Derby School for the past 3 years. Later this spring, he will be convocating with a Master’s of Education in Educational Administration from the University of Saskatchewan. We are excited for Eric to assume his new role within the DLT, and to begin his work in the community of Viscount Central School. Throughout the two days, the committee interviewed a number of great candidates who expressed their interest for both principal positions and I want to thank each of these outstanding educators for being part of our process.

Our LIP review meetings continued on Wednesday, with Darrell, Crandall and I travelling to Punnichy Community High School, Punnichy Elementary Community School, George Gordon Education Centre, and Raymore School. During our meetings, I took a brief break to join my weekly conference call related to the Educational Governance Review (EGR) Organizational Staffing and Design Team meeting.

Darrell, Crandall and I were back on the road on Thursday, travelling to Schell School, Imperial School, Watrous Elementary, Winston High and Viscount School for more LIP reviews. During this busy time of year, I greatly appreciate that our administrators are so eager to take time and discuss the critical work of our schools. The planning and commitment that goes in to these LIPs in every school we visit speaks to the dedication of our staff to provide a high level of support for students and families across our system.

Members of Horizon’s Board met in Saskatoon on Thursday night and Friday for the Public Section General Meeting. The Public Section includes Boards from nearly all public school divisions across Saskatchewan. Although I was tied up dealing with a number of system matters, I know the Board had a very positive impression of the sessions offered. Of significant importance was the sessions related to the recent ruling by Judge Layh in the Separate School decision and the recent announcement by the Ministry of Education to allow flexibility in the governance budgets of boards. I returned to central office for a meeting with central office staff in order to provide an update on budget deliberations and the current state of our office building.

On Friday evening, I joined Jennifer Lemky, Subdivision 3 Trustee and parent of a graduate at Viscount Central School, at that school’s graduation ceremony. While I was in Viscount, Punnichy Community High School celebrated their grad, and our Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, was able to represent my office along with representation from our Board by trustees, Albert Pinacie, Paul Crow-Buffalo, Nathan Bitternose and Jolene Koopman. I was very pleased to have the Honourable Donna Harpauer in attendance at the Viscount graduation. Ms. Harpauer has been a strong advocate of education in our province, having previously served as the Minister of Education for our province. I want to thank everyone who made these celebrations special for our graduates and I want to congratulate the Viscount and Punnichy classes of 2017. 

Have a great week, everyone.

- Kevin

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