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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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June 9, 2017 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

June 12, 2017

It is with an extremely heavy heart that I begin “This Week in Horizon”. Late Saturday night, one of our former graduates from Lanigan Central High School was accidentally killed while riding a side-by-side. I know my heart, like so many others, screams in agony, shock and pain as I think about a life cut far too short. As an unknown author once stated, “There are times when there are too few words left to heal us, when what we wish for is to be carried, when all we have left is the hope that tomorrow will be a more gentle place to land than today.” I know that the pain will never truly leave us; it will only get easier to tolerate one day. I ask that our thoughts and/or prayers remain with the family, friends, staff and community and any others who have been touched by this terrible tragedy.

Throughout this week, students from Nova Scotia were in LeRoy School, joining our own students in an exchange. I want to thank principal, Annette Zentner and her staff and students for supporting these tremendous learning opportunities.

This was certainly another busy week for Horizon School Division. As you saw in the media release sent from my office, Horizon’s Board is now accepting proposals for the construction of a central services facility to be built in Humboldt. As I have shared with the media, this project is great news for stakeholders in Horizon School Division, as it saves our system money and streamlines our services. Since we currently lease our office space, we will save significant dollars by owning our building. The money that we currently spend on a lease will be available to direct toward supporting our classrooms. The construction of a single office facility for Horizon has been under consideration by our Board since as far back as 2009 with a motion made to consolidate the offices in 2011. We are fortunate that we will fund the project through internally restricted reserves that have been directed toward capital projects. Since our current lease agreement for office space ends in February of 2019 with no possibility of extension; and since the recent Education Governance Review has determined that Horizon School Division will be in existence for many years to come, moving this project forward at this time is an investment in the future of our school division. It will ensure that we have an efficient, centralized space from which to provide critical supports for students, staff, schools, communities and families.    

We began this past week with a Skype meeting with my Director’s Leadership Team (DLT) of principals and vice principals, in order to share the news about the office building. I greatly appreciate that the DLT was able to meet on short notice to discuss this matter, as we had just received Ministry approval for the project on the Friday before the weekend.

I then met with Subdivision 4 Trustee, Mark Fedak, to prepare for the Muenster School Community Council (SCC) meeting we were able to attend later that evening.

Following my meeting with Mr. Fedak, I joined a meeting of the Board’s Audit Committee. This committee is made up of Trustees, David Holinaty (who serves as committee chair), Paul Crow-Buffalo, Mark Fedak and Wil Lengyel. As the work of our Audit Committee continues, I want to thank them for their ongoing efforts on this critical committee.

We then held an agenda meeting with Wil Lengyel (Vice Chair) and Board Chair, Jim Hack, to plan for the upcoming Board Meeting on June 14. As always, this was a very effective meeting and spoke to our Table Officer’s commitment to ensuring that our Board Meetings run smoothly and efficiently when we have our full Board around the table for monthly meetings.

On Monday afternoon, I had the opportunity to meet with Marie Moore, Secretary at Bruno School and President of CUPE Local 4799. Horizon enjoys a great relationship with CUPE built on collaboration and trust. I deeply appreciate the opportunities I get to speak with Ms. Moore and discuss the best interests of our CUPE members and our Board.

As I mentioned, I had the pleasure of joining the Muenster SCC meeting on Monday evening along with Trustee, Mark Fedak. Mark and I shared in the discussions that focused on how we could best meet the needs of students and staff in this school. The emphasis on facility renewal and on direction related to the goals of the school division were topics the SCC was very interested in and elicited a great deal of important conversation. I want to thank SCC chair, Jan Sylvester and the rest of the Muenster SCC, for the invitation for us to attend.

On Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, I was in Saskatoon for a meeting with my fellow Directors of Education. On Tuesday, I took stepped out of the Director’s meeting to have a teleconference with Horizon’s Subdivision 11 Trustee, Nathan Bitternose. Later that afternoon, I also had a phone call with Angela Chobanik. Ms. Chobanik is the Executive Director of the Ministry’s Education Finance Branch.

On Wednesday, the Provincial Leadership Team (PLT) held a year-end review, 2017-18 calendar review and data wall walk to compare data and results from across the sector. Later that afternoon, an orientation session was held for the PLT regarding the Education Sector Strategic Plan and Blackboard, which is a program used by the Ministry to share data and results.

During a break from the PLT sessions, I had the chance to speak with Bolt FM regarding our central office project. We truly have engaged media in our region who are willing to help us share news with stakeholders. Following my interview with Bolt FM, I had a phone meeting with Deepa Pawar, Early Resolution Officer with the Office of the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner regarding a change in some of Horizon’s practices related to LAFOIP.

Back at central office on Wednesday, our staff enjoyed a short presentation by Larry Mikulcik, Horizon’s Curriculum Coach, and a display of his impressive collection of artifacts from World War II. Mr. Mikulcik has been sharing his collection and knowledge with students in a number of Horizon schools and we jumped at the opportunity to have him share this information with our staff.

On Wednesday evening, Subdivision 3 Trustee, Jennifer Lemky and I joined students, staff and families at Winston High School for their annual awards night. It was great to take part in this event celebrating the excellence of our students at Winston High and Jenn and I were grateful for the invitation from principal, Terry Braman and teacher, Lori Bartko.

Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, and I continued our Learning Improvement Plan (LIP) review meetings this past week. These meetings saw us visit Archerewill School, Rose Valley School, Robert Melrose Elementary and Kelvington High on Thursday. As always, these meetings lead to a number of critical conversations about the work we do for students, and I greatly appreciate each school’s staff for their commitment to constantly utilize and improve these documents.

Also on Thursday, a number of Horizon schools and members of our Board of Education had the opportunity to join the “Celebrating Youth Pow Wow” at Muskowekwan First Nation. The event, which included a Bullying Prevention Round Dance, was geared towards students and an excellent opportunity for young people to engage in a celebration of culture and inclusion. I would like to thank the organizers of the Pow Wow for planning this incredible event and inviting our students, staff and trustees to take part.

On Thursday evening, I joined members of the Joint Operations Committee (JOC) for a committee meeting in Horizon’s central office Board Room. The committee is made up of trustees, Linda Mattock and Dave Holinaty as well as senior leadership from Horizon. Trustees and staff from Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools (GSCS) also make up the committee and joined us via telephone. The committee meets four times a year to discuss matters relating to our partnership in overseeing the operations of the Humboldt Collegiate Institute. The most significant work of the committee meeting involved the approval of the 2017-18 JOC budget, which allows Horizon and GSCS to approve their own budgets at their leisure. Meeting dates for the 2017-18 school year were also established.

Darrell, Crandall and I continued our LIP review meetings on Friday, travelling to Lakeside Colony School, Quill Lake School, Watson School, LeRoy School and Lanigan Elementary School. Thank you to the staff and administrators at these schools for your work in documenting your plans that ultimately realize student learning results.

A number of graduation ceremonies took place this past Friday, including Wynyard Composite High School, St. Brieux School, Bruno School, Imperial School, Lanigan Central High School, Kelvington High School, Raymore School, Wadena Composite High School and Englefeld School. I had the pleasure of joining the celebrations at Wynyard Composite to bring greetings and congratulate their graduating class. Horizon’s Subdivision 5 Trustee, Lori-Anne Proznick, was also in attendance for this grad, as a representative of the Board and as a parent celebrating the graduation of her daughter. I want to thank her and our other Trustees for ensuring that Horizon’s Board was well represented at each of our graduation ceremonies. I also want to thank members of my Senior Leadership Team and central office administration team for representing my office at these ceremonies. Also, thank you to our staff and volunteers in each of these communities for your hours of planning, decorating and organizing put in to ensure the fantastic celebrations I am routinely witness to. Lastly, I want to congratulate this latest group of 2017 graduating classes for reaching this milestone in their lives. As our students prepare for final exams and for opportunities that await them beyond our classrooms, we are all grateful to see the fine young people they have become.  

Have a great week, everyone.

- Kevin

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