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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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February 9, 2018 - A Message From Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

February 12, 2018

This upcoming week (February 11-17) marks Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week 2018. The theme this year is "Inspiration through Learning". I cannot say enough about the incredible people we have working within our Horizon family. Each of you makes an indelible mark on the lives of Horizon children, inspiring them with the desire to be lifelong learners and supporting them in their ongoing growth and success. As the late founder of Hewlett-Packard, Mr. David Packard states, "A group of people get together and exist as an institution we call a company so they are able to accomplish something collectively that they could not accomplish separately – they make a contribution to society, a phrase which sounds trite but is fundamental."

Horizon's Board of Education held their regular meeting the beginning of the week. As there was not a meeting scheduled for the month of January, this was the first regular Board meeting since just prior to the holiday break. Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, presented information regarding student and family supports and our Supervisor of Literacy and Early Learning, Katherine Oviatt, presented on our Early Years Evaluation (EYE) data and literacy data collated from the fall Fountas & Pinnell assessments and conducted with students in grades 1-8. She also presented on the Ontario Comprehensive Assessment (OCA), for students in grades 9-12. There is much to celebrate within Horizon's literacy data, thanks to the work of our staff and dedication of our students and families. Our literacy results continue to show significant gains in the fall over fall data and our children are continuing to see significant gains in their reading and writing abilities. The Board also heard from administrators at Humboldt Collegiate Institute (HCI) regarding their work following the Review of School Effectiveness (ROSE) event held there last year. Principal Cory Popoff and Vice Principals, David Millette and Shaun Gardiner shared about the great work happening at HCI thanks, in part, to the data gathered during their ROSE event. The Board also set the date of Horizon's Annual Meeting of Electors, which will be held on March 14 and approved the school year calendar for the 2018-19 school year (I have included a link to the calendar here). I want to thank the Board for their work, and our stakeholders and staff for their feedback throughout this year's development process. The consultative process we utilize ensures that the calendar meets the diverse needs of the students, families, communities, and staff in Horizon School Division.

I travelled to Regina for meetings with my fellow Directors of Education and was very pleased to be part of the announcement by Premier Scott Moe and Education Minister, Gordon Wyant that school divisions were receiving additional funding to be used towards staffing in schools. The funding for Horizon equates to $314,500 and will help us offset some of the in-year staffing costs related to the needs of our students.

I joined my fellow members of the Provincial Leadership Team (PLT) for a meeting and data wall walk at the offices of Prairie Valley School Division. Our wall walk events provide PLT members to review data from across the sector and recognize patterns of improvement or the areas where improvement could be amplified; all of which is critical to move the sector forward for students and families in Saskatchewan.

We held a Skype meeting with my Director's Leadership Team (DLT) of school administrators, senior leadership and central office staff, providing an opportunity to discuss important items like the school year calendar, budget and staffing plans, and education funding. Following the DLT meeting, my Senior Leadership Team (SLT) met to deepen our work on system-related matters.    

I also had the pleasure this week of meeting with Mr. Gerard Frison, teacher at William Derby School and President of the Horizon Teachers' Association. I value our meetings together as they are shared opportunities to discuss and deepen the important work of teachers across Horizon.

Horizon received some great news this past week as our Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, got word that our application for the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) grant for speech therapy services was approved. I want to thank Darrell and the Student Services team for their work in supporting the application. The grant will see $15,000 to support students. As well, our own Brian Grest, Coordinator of School Activities, was awarded the Canada 150 medal for his support of activities and people in the city of Humboldt. Brian is a wonderful educator who supports hundreds of students and staff across the system every year and the award is certainly very deserving.

Finally, in the aftermath of the court case in Battleford, I am aware that events such as these have a significant impact on our families, our staff, and our communities. As a school division, we will continue to embrace the values and teachings of Truth and Reconciliation and continue our most important work on providing safe and caring schools across Horizon School Division.

Have a great week, everyone.

- Kevin

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