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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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January 12, 2018 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

January 15, 2018

I want to begin my first This Week in Horizon for 2018 by wishing each of you a Happy New Year. I trust, as I mentioned in a recent email, that this first week back with students has been even more positive than you hoped. I am excited for what the year will bring for our staff and for our system. I look forward to continuing the important work we have been engaged in to ultimately support the success of every Horizon student. As I look forward to the months ahead, I am reminded of the words of Edith Lovejoy Pierce, who once wrote: "We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day."

As I have mentioned in the past, this season is easily my most enjoyable and the opportunities I had to relax and enjoy my family and friends, was greatly appreciated. I spent the first three days of the break, including Christmas day, in Alberta with family. When I wasn't at work, the remainder of my holiday up to New Year's was spent in Humboldt with my three sons. I know it's a cliché, but it really does seem like yesterday that my own boys were going to public school and learning to read and write, skate and curl, ride bikes and play ball. For those of you who are fortunate to still have your children at home, my advice for you is simple…cherish the time you have, through all the stages of life. In the blink of an eye, those same kids will be leaving and living (successful) lives on their own. Along the same lines and recognizing an opportunity to spend time with my brother and his family, we travelled to my parents in Creighton for the last few days of the break. Of course, Mitch Albom, author of Tuesdays with Morrie (and one of my all-time favorites), put it this way about the importance of our families, "This is part of what a family is about, not just love. It's knowing that your family will be there watching out for you. Nothing else will give you that. Not money. Not fame. Not work."

This first week back was spent in and out of the north and south offices as a number of priority items needed to be addressed. Between meeting with members of the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation (STF) and preparing for meetings with numerous other organizations, it was nearly as busy a first week back as it was in our schools. Of course, I spent time with Marni Sogge (executive assistant) and Kim Loose (administrative assistant) reviewing and finalizing the 2018-19 school year calendar survey that each of you should have received on Friday afternoon. Your input into establishing the calendar options has been valued and that input has led to the consideration of two calendars. Voting will end on January 29th when, at their regular meeting in February, the Board will review the final choices, review the input from staff and stakeholders, and finalize a decision on the calendar. Over 170 staff and stakeholders have already voted for the calendars and it is my hope we can reach 500 before it is closed. I believe last year we got to a final tally of over 425 votes so 500 shouldn't be much of a stretch. I took some time this week to talk with Bolt FM about the possibility of recruiting international students to Horizon Schools. You may recall from my previous TWIH that Linda Mattock, Subdivision 2 Trustee, and I recently met with the Three Lakes School Community Council (SCC) to discuss their research into the possibility of recruiting international students to Three Lakes and Horizon, as a whole. Linda and I then had the opportunity to share with trustees what we heard during their December 20th regular meeting. Horizon's Board passed a motion in support of digging more deeply into this exciting initiative. You can read more about it in the article on discoverhumboldt.ca. As always, I would like to thank our friends at Bolt FM for helping us share this important work with our stakeholders.

In closing, I want to extend my heartfelt condolences to members of our Horizon family. It is with deepest sympathy and sorrow that I am sharing with you that Dan Junk, husband of Literacy Coach, Kim Junk, passed away after battling cancer these past months. Dan was an outstanding human being who epitomized the idea that if you wanted to be the best at anything in life, start with being the best person you can be. He was a kind father and supportive husband, a good friend and an incredible asset to the community of Annaheim where he lived and farmed. He is so very sadly missed by all who were lucky enough to know him. With the same depth of sympathy, I am also sharing that Coordinator of First Nation, Metis, and Inuit Services, Lester Gardiner, lost his father toward the end of the break. As challenging as it is to lose the people we love, Mitch Albom said it best in his book, For One More Day, when he said, "Sharing tales of those we've lost is how we keep from really losing them." I would ask that each of you please keep Kim and her family and Lester and his family in your thoughts and/or prayers during these extremely trying times.

As we look to our second week of 2018 with students, be sure you travel safely. 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