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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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November 17, 2017 - A Message From Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

November 20, 2017


For members of Horizon's Board, our CFO, Marilyn Flaman, and myself, this past week began Sunday late afternoon in Regina for the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) Fall General Assembly. The Board began the three-day event by engaging in a professional development session conducted by SSBA Lawyer, Geraldine Knudsen and focused mainly on "Conflict of Interest". Trustees in attendance then heard from a number of speakers, including a panel discussion with SUMA President, Dr. Gordon Barnhart, Member of Parliament, Kevin Waugh, and Chief of Cowessess First Nation, Cadmus Delorme. Later, trustees heard messages from Minister of Education, Bronwyn Eyre, and a forum made up of high school students from a few Saskatchewan school divisions discussing truth and reconciliation. As part of his role as LEADS' (League of Educational Administrators, Directors and Superintendents) president, Horizon's Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, brought greetings to the trustees during the assembly. Trustees also had the opportunity to learn about and discuss a number of important issues in Saskatchewan's education sector. They voted on a number of important resolutions that will guide the SSBA's work and advocacy efforts including a resolution Horizon's Board put forward related to the recent regulation change requiring a two-year hiatus for former employees wishing to run for office as a trustee. The current amendment is certainly an issue for Horizon and the resolution to change the regulations has been significantly supported by trustees from around the province.

As you may have seen on social media, or in the media release from my office, Mathieu Mihalicz, recent graduate from Raymore School, received this year's SSBA Technical/Trade Program Scholarship. On behalf of Horizon and its Board, I want to once again congratulate Mathieu, his family, his teachers, and his school for this outstanding recognition. The acknowledgement is an example of why we are so proud of Horizon's students, and is an excellent reminder that the hard work each of us puts into this incredible profession, pays off when our students succeed. Success comes in many forms and sometimes the greatest success is realized when a smile is on the face of a child who struggles to find value in life or in the words of student who achieves a passing grade on an assignment. Often, some of our most critical work involves celebrating the smallest of victories in the lives of our children knowing that, in the words of British historian, Sir Arthur Helps, "Nothing succeeds like success".  I also find it fitting that Helps said, "Wise sayings often fall on barren ground, but a kind word is never thrown away".

On Wednesday and Thursday of this past week, we began touring schools to review Learning Improvement Plans (LIPs) with administrators. Travelling with Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, and Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, we will review the development of LIPs in every school and discuss the work that goes into ensuring the goals, actions, and measures for each school are clear and align with Horizon's Strategic Plan (which, in turn, aligns with the ESSP). We began on Wednesday travelling to Sask Central Hutterian School, Raymore School, George Gordon Education Centre and Punnichy Elementary Community School. We continued on Thursday with tours to Ituna School, Foam Lake Composite School, Foam Lake Elementary School and Wynyard Composite High School. Since last year, we have been utilizing the A3 model of strategic planning for these LIP documents, and we have found that this is an efficient and effective way of organizing our goals. As these documents remain evergreen, staff and administrators put a lot of thought into ensuring that our LIPs reflect the latest data and objectives for their school. In discussing these documents with each school several times per year, I am always inspired by the passion and innovation I see at work on behalf of each of our schools' staffs.

On Friday, I spent much of the day in meetings at central office before heading to Wynyard with Deputy Director, Randy MacLEAN, to end the day. I planned to have a conversation with the Humboldt Journal to discuss Bullying Awareness Week (November 12-18) but meetings interfered with the opportunity. The week prompts students, staff, and families to continue conversations about bullying in schools, ensuring that our students feel safe and cared for and that they know there are resources available for them should they ever encounter bullying in their school or community. Resources such as those found through the I Am Stronger initiative (organized through a partnership between the Ministry of Education and SaskTel), and the Report Bullying SK - Student Online Reporting Tool give students tools to speak out against bullying. Conversations around bullying, cyberbullying and other types of negative social behaviour are critical to ensure a positive school culture for our next generation of responsible and responsive citizens. Thank you to our staff, students, and communities for your participation in and promotion of these important messages.

SHSAA Provincial Girls Volleyball Championships were held on Friday and Saturday. I am proud to share that Rose Valley are the 1A Champions, Englefeld School took home the second place medals, and Annaheim finished the championship having lost in the first round of playoffs. Muenster won the 2A title and Raymore made the playoff round before losing in a hard fought battle to Davidson. In the 3A Championship, the teams from Wakaw, Foam Lake, and Wynyard finished with Gold, Silver, and Bronze, respectively while Watrous lost to Foam Lake in the playoff round. In boys' regional competition, Three Lakes and Annaheim are headed to the provincial championships while 3A action saw St. Brieux lose a close match and narrowly miss out on the playoffs to vie for a provincial berth. Finally, in 4A boys' regionals in Humboldt, HCI won the regional, advancing as both the host and regional champions to provincials in Humboldt next weekend. Congratulations to these teams and to all students in competition over this weekend and throughout the first three months of our school year. A great number of sporting events have taken place and our students continue to make us proud as they represent their schools and Horizon in an extremely positive manner. And as always, a heartfelt thank-you goes out to all staff, parents, and volunteers involved in bringing these opportunities and others to our students. Each of you surely epitomizes the quote by Canadian entrepreneur and philosopher, Matshona Dhliwayo, "Be so warm that people mistake you for the sun, so bright that people mistake you for the stars, and so accommodating that people mistake you for the universe. The sun is never denied the light it gives; likewise, you are never denied the kindness you bestow." 

Have a great week, everyone.

- Kevin

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