This past week was Education Week in Saskatchewan. Education Week provides an opportunity to celebrate student success and recognize our dedicated professionals across the province. This year's theme, Building our Future by Learning Together, is about recognizing student achievement and teaching excellence that occurs each day in our Saskatchewan schools, while continuing to prepare our students for a brighter future before and after graduation. The week was also Saskatchewan Library Week. Across Horizon, many schools recognized this week by holding open houses, dances, book fairs and countless other activities for students and families. This Twitter Moment captures some of the highlights from activities held in schools across our division: https://twitter.com/i/moments/921495255903453184
. Thank you to our staff for organizing these events and activities to celebrate education in our province. In addition to these proclaimed weeks celebrating our schools and libraries, Monday, October 16 was also School Bus Driver Appreciation Day and I want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for our bus drivers for their critical work getting students safely to and from school each day. I want to say thank you; and to thank all of our incredible staff and Board for your dedication to our kids. As neuroscientist, Stuart Firestein
stated, "Persistence in the face of failure is of course important, but it is not the same thing as dedication or passion. Persistence is a discipline that you learn; devotion is a dedication you can't ignore."
Our first year administrators gathered on Monday for group discussions and professional development to assist them in their roles as school leaders. Randy MacLEAN, Deputy Director facilitated the learning opportunities and the administrators were also joined by a number of student services professional staff who shared the numerous ways they serve the needs of the staff and students across Horizon. Induction is an important aspect of our work in meeting the needs of new members of our Horizon team and I am grateful we are providing this worthwhile opportunity.
On Tuesday, most of my administrative team spent the morning at Bruno School for the Bruno School Youth Empowerment Team's annual community breakfast. The students at Bruno do a fantastic job of hosting this breakfast and although I was unable to attend, I understand it was a great event.
Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, and Curriculum Coach, Larry Mikulcik met with me to discuss the annual Holocaust Symposium for Grade 11 students and to bring clarity on a new direction for the event. As Larry has been feverishly planning, the event is going to take on an even larger role as we will expand its reach to incorporate other Human Rights issues in our history such as Truth and Reconciliation and Holodomor. As an unknown author stated and to which, our important work is defined, "It is not the future you are afraid of. It's repeating the past that makes you anxious."
On Tuesday evening, I travelled to Englefeld for the Englefeld Protestant Separate School Division's monthly Board meeting. During our meeting, we discussed updates to the Education Sector Strategic Plan, the development of our 2016-17 Annual Report, and September 30 enrolments, among other items. Englefeld's Board continues their work with a plan to amalgamate with Horizon School Division; a process that will come to fruition in June of 2018.
On Wednesday and Thursday last week, my Director's Leadership Team (DLT) of principals, vice principals and senior leaders, was in Humboldt for two days of professional development focused on educational leadership with a focus on literacy. I want to thank the DLT for their involvement and dedication to this important growth opportunity. I also want to thank Horizon's Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski and the entire Literacy Team for their work facilitating this PD session and sharing their expertise with our school and system leaders.
On Thursday morning, I met via teleconference with members of the City of Humboldt and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools as well as Superintendent of Operational Services, Justin Arendt and Manager of Facility Services, Kam Kiland, to discuss the establishment of green space at Humboldt Collegiate Institute. As some of you have noticed, the city has done a remarkable job of putting top soil down in preparation of sod, and our meeting was the next step toward finalizing this necessary process. On Thursday evening, I had the pleasure of travelling to Wynyard Elementary School for their annual open house. To give you an idea of the event, principal Jeff Fisher, his staff and his School Community Council gave away somewhere in the neighbourhood of 500 hot dogs and hamburgers to children and families of his school community. In the spirit of community spirit, Jeff had volunteers from his local Co-op attend the event and help with the preparations of the food just because they felt they wanted to help out. Community engagement is such an important part of the work of our schools and, as famed author Idowu Koyenikan
said, "There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals."
As you may have seen in a memo from my office last week, I am pleased to announce that Heidi Linford, teacher at George Gordon Education Centre has accepted the appointment to the Literacy Coach position with Horizon School Division. The position, which became available in late September, will be primarily supporting the communities of Punnichy, George Gordon, Wadena and Raymore. We are very happy to have Heidi join our Literacy Team and provide support for students and families in this new capacity.
I was in the office Friday morning, prior to travelling to Bulyea School for an open house and retirement celebration for Ms. Brenda Laliberte. I had the pleasure of attending this celebration with Subdivision 8 Trustee, Dr. Cheryl Vertefeuille. Ms. Laliberte has served as the Bulyea School librarian for ten years and, along with her time in Horizon, spent over 38 years in education. As I mentioned earlier, we celebrated Saskatchewan Library Appreciation this week, and like the other librarians in Horizon, Brenda is and has been a vital part of our children's literacy efforts and successes. Her retirement has left a huge void in our system and selfishly, I wish that people who make such a huge difference for children would never retire. That said, I am also aware that the time will come for each of us in education to pass the torch to those who can take up where we have left off in this "amazing race" we call learning. As the quote of Dr. Stephen Covey so aptly applies to Brenda and so many who have retired from our system, she certainly did, "Live, love, laugh, and leave a legacy."
Have a wonderful week, everyone.
Kevin C. Garinger, B.Ed, M.A.Ed
Director of Education/CEO
Horizon School Division No. 205Kevin.firstname.lastname@example.org