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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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November 24, 2017 - A Message From Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

November 27, 2017

This past weekend saw the Boys Volleyball season wrapping up with the 2017 Provincial Championships. Our teams from Three Lakes School in Middle Lake and Annaheim School travelled to the 1A Boys competition in Roleau, while the Humboldt Collegiate Institute Boys hosted the 4A Championships in Humboldt. In a storybook ending, the HCI Mohawks had a fantastic tournament and won the provincial gold medal. Congratulations on a great season to HCI, Three Lakes, Annaheim, and all of our Horizon Central Athletics Association athletes. With games taking place in the gyms at both HCI and Humboldt Public, I want to thank the many staff and student volunteers at both schools who worked hard to make these events happen. I also want to thank the athletes, coaches, officials, and spectators for making the event such a success.  

Our Learning Improvement Plan (LIP) meetings continued this past week. Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw and myself travelled to Schell School in Holdfast, Imperial School, Watrous Elementary, and Winston High on Monday. This was another series of enlightening and rewarding meetings with administrators.

Following our LIP meetings in Watrous, I joined a Horizon Teachers' Association (HTA) Executive meeting at Watrous Elementary with Deputy Director, Randy MacLEAN. Our meeting and supper was a great opportunity to discuss key matters of interest for Horizon and its teachers who form the HTA. Of special note, discussion was held regarding the impending reporting in the number strand based on the Reading, Writing, and Math Outcome of the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP). I believe some of the work that teachers have already done to support this outcome have come in the form of creating common assessments that will be fully implemented across the system by next year. The assessments will allow for teachers to engage in conversation regarding instructional practices during collaborative opportunities both at the school level and the system level. At this time, we have not considered whether the need for a "numerical literacy coach" is in order but any supports necessary to aid teachers will be considered. A discussion on the Google Summit that is in the early stages of planning was also part of the conversation and more information will be provided to staff once the Teacher Workload and Efficacy Committee completes their processes. I want to thank the Executive, including HTA President Gerard Frison, for their collaboration and their partnership in support of Horizon teachers. 

On Tuesday, the Director's Leadership Team (DLT) met in Humboldt for professional development sessions with a large focus on instructional leadership and building this capacity within school administrators. Assessment tools, attendance, brain health awareness and exposure to trauma, and a number of other items were also part of the important time spent together. We also continued our book study, reviewing 7 Steps to Effective Instructional Leadership, by Elaine K. McEwan. Likely one of the most effective opportunities the DLT had was to listen to the "Good to Great" journey of Ituna School. Ituna has seen significant improvements in literacy rates and in their safe and caring and assessment data over the last three years. Those schools who see this level of improvement are not witnessing it by fluke. There is a strong, cohesive focus on Horizon's goals and the actions and deliverables found within their A3s are deliberate, directed, collaborative, and student-focused. Congratulations to Principal Ryan Bulych and Vice-Principal Brittany Frick and their staff for focusing on continuous improvement in their school.

On Tuesday evening, I travelled to Englefeld for the Englefeld Protestant Separate School Division Board meeting. The EPSSD Board had a chance to approve their 2016-17 Annual Report and their Audited Financial Statements, which will be submitted to the Ministry of Education for approval and eventually tabled in the legislature by the Minister of Education. We also had the chance to discuss other items such as the school safety plan, monthly financials for October and the Saskatchewan School Boards Association Fall General Assembly. As always, the meeting was very productive and we greatly appreciate the guidance of the EPSSD Board in support of Englefeld School. Of course, beginning in the 2018-19 school year, Englefeld will no longer exist as a separate school division and Englefeld School will become the most recent addition to Horizon as its 42nd school.

On Wednesday, we held the second Review of School Effectiveness (ROSE) event of the 2017-18 school year, this time at Muenster School. I would like to thank each of the organizers of this ROSE event, including Principal Dennis Gerwing and his staff, Horizon's Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, Coordinator of Learning Services, Jan Paproski, and Supervisor of Student Services, Jason Neville. I would also like to thank our visiting administrators for the event: Foam Lake Composite Vice Principal, Graham Farrell, Archerwill Principal, Loralei Hamel, Wakaw Vice Principal, Nadine Jennison, Lakeside Colony Principal, Lorelei Johnson, and Winston High Vice Principal, Doug Thomas. Of course, I want to send a huge thank-you to participants within the school and the community for sharing their feedback through this process. The data will help the staff of Muenster enhance their work as they journey from good to great.

LIP meetings continued Thursday, with Darrell, Crandall, and me travelling to Archerwill School, Rose Valley School, Kelvington High and Robert Melrose Elementary School. Following the LIP reviews, we stopped in at Quill Lake School for a site review meeting with principal, Michele Presber. In schools across Horizon, we have and will continue to work toward putting systems in place that can keep our main inside doors, where they exist, locked so access from the outside is better monitored. We also plan to continue our efforts to move school offices closer to these main entrance areas in hopes to enhance student and staff safety.

On Friday, I had the privilege of joining the opening ceremonies for the 4A Boys Volleyball Provincials at HCI and bring greetings to students, staff, and spectators. During the ceremony, a number of dignitaries spoke to the importance of sport in helping our young people learn and develop the skills that will make them good citizens in the years to come. During my greetings, I shared the following quote from Brazilian soccer star, Pélé, which I feel epitomizes the important lessons we learn through sport. It is also a great reminder that everything we do in education that is sustainable, happens with purpose. "Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do."

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