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Horizon School Division
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October 13, 2017 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

October 16, 2017

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.

On 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 all trustees.

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.

- Kevin

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

Kevin.garinger@horizonsd.ca