I began this past week at Raymore, joining students and staff in
grieving the loss of Phoenix Purdue, grade 10 student at Raymore School. Phoenix
was an outstanding young person with amazing talents in many areas, including art
and music. She was an extremely gifted violinist, yet somehow learned to play
the saxophone and piano as well as numerous other instruments. As difficult as
it was for students and adults alike, I was witness to significant acts of care
and kindness as people of every age helped one another cope with our unbelievable
loss. Shandar Mann (nee Gray) said it very well at the candlelight vigil Monday
night in Raymore, “Grief is the love you have left to give, but can’t”. I want
to thank the entire community of Raymore from the bottom of my heart for being
there for one another and helping each other through this trying time. I also
want to thank Horizon’s Traumatic Event Response Team for the incredible
support they provided to the school and the families of the Raymore School community.
Phoenix will be long remembered at Raymore School and across Horizon School
Division. In paraphrasing author Mitch Albom…we lose a life when we die, but we
certainly do not lose a relationship.
Back at the office on Tuesday afternoon, I met with Kenda Thimm of
Myers Norris Penny (MNP). MNP performed Horizon’s external audit on October
3-6. As we prepare our documentation and reporting of the external audit, I
want to take this opportunity to thank MNP for their work, as well as Horizon
staff, and especially our Finance Services team led by Superintendent and Chief
Financial Officer, Marilyn Flaman.
On Tuesday evening, I joined my fellow members of the Joint
Operations Committee (JOC) for a meeting in Horizon’s Board Room. The committee is made up in part, of trustees Linda Mattock
and Dave Holinaty as well as senior leaders from Horizon and Greater Saskatoon
Catholic. In June, Horizon’s Board of Education passed a motion to support and
direct the development of green space at HCI with a view to ensuring green
space was made available as quickly as possible for the students. As we head
into this week, the field is starting to take shape, due in large part to the efforts
of the city of Humboldt who have brought in topsoil and leveled the entire
space. The final steps will include irrigation and sod and once complete, will
provide opportunities for students to access grass within close proximity to
their school. Currently, the only green space available to the staff and
students is the ball field to the west of the school. It will certainly be
great to bring closure to this long-standing issue.
Wednesday, my morning began with a conference call meeting of the Educational
Governance Review (EGR): Organizational Staffing and Design Team. The biggest
discussion item continues to be out of province travel. I know most of you have
some understanding of the significance of this issue but to bring clarity,
school divisions will have a one to ten ratio (relative to the number of
professional staff in the system) for staff leaving the province for
professional growth opportunities. Separate but equally significant is the
number of staff (5) who can attend a PD opportunity out of province. In
Horizon, I don’t anticipate these numbers causing significant issue and, if
necessary, Directors are permitted to appeal to the Ministry when challenged to
meet these quotas.
Horizon’s Board of Education met for their regular monthly meeting
last Wednesday. Among the items discussed at their meeting were discussions of
the upcoming Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) AGM, the September
30 enrolments and the reports from the Board’s Audit Committee and JOC
Committee. The Board also passed a motion to accept the strategic plan for the
year developed to support the goals of Horizon School Division. It was just
another tremendously productive meeting with a great deal of insights shared by
On Thursday morning, I visited LeRoy School. A medical emergency
at the school on Wednesday afternoon required an ambulance call to the school
for a student to be transported to hospital. A second incident occurred on
Thursday, requiring the ambulance to be dispatched once again. In each of these
incidents, the staff at LeRoy school did a remarkable job of responding and
keeping caregivers informed of the situation. I want to thank them, the LeRoy
first responders and emergency services for their quick response to the
situation. I am so very grateful that the student involved in the incident is
on her way to a speedy recovery.
Later in the afternoon, I had the honour of signing the “Better
Learning = Better Health” partnership agreement between Saskatoon Regional
Health Authority, Saskatoon Public Schools, Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools,
Prairie Spirit School Division and Horizon School Division. Health and its
impact on education (and the corollary) is significant for our families. The aim of the agreement is to support and
strengthen the partnership Horizon and other school divisions enjoy with Health
and ensure that our students and staff continue to benefit from a collaborative
effort from our sectors.
I also met with Mike Ulriksen, Leisure Services Director with the
City of Humboldt to discuss a number of items including the development of
greenspace around HCI. As I stated earlier, I am grateful for the work
currently being done by the city and the opportunity to sit down with Mike and
discuss the next steps for moving the greenspace project forward.
I spent the better part of Friday morning and early afternoon meeting
with my executive assistant, Marni Sogge, working through a number of items
including a number of changes to administrative procedures before heading to
HCI to support their senior girls’ volleyball tournament as an official. I also
received information from the Deputy Minister of Education, Rob Currie,
regarding the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement
(CETA). CETA will have implications relating to school division procurement,
tariffs and the posting of tender notices going forward.
I am humbled and honored to share with you the same exciting news
I shared with the Board on Wednesday. Earlier this month, Kam Kiland, Manager
of Facility Services, received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University
of Regina. The prestigious award recognizes Kam’s work as Director of
Operations for the Faculty of Kinesiology and as Director of the Olympic Oval
and legacy speed skating facility at the University of Calgary as well as his
efforts to lead facility development at numerous world championships as well as
the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics! Congratulations, Kam, on this most
deserving and highly distinguished recognition. We are certainly proud to have
you contribute your amazing talents to the students, staff and facilities of
Horizon School Division.
Of course, this upcoming week is Education Week
The theme this year is “Building our Future by Learning Together”.
Collaboration is so critical for our success, both in and out of the classroom.
Lance Hiltz, Communication Services Officer is available for lending support to
the communication of your events so please connect with him as necessary. As we
typically do, we have asked that all schools submit their Education Week
highlights to my office (care of Lance) so that we support your work. There is
so much we can learn from each other and share from one another to build a
better future for all. I look forward to celebrating Education Week with each
of you, and seeing how you celebrate this week in each of our schools.
Have a good week, everyone.- KevinKevin C. Garinger, B.Ed, M.A.EdDirector of Education/CEOHorizon School Division No. 205