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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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May 25, 2018 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

May 28, 2018

I hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend. I took some time to get away as I travelled to the National Volleyball championships in Edmonton. Many of our students are involved in athletics or the arts and I was able to see some of them and their parents involved in these championships.

On Tuesday evening, Englefeld Protestant Separate School Division (EPSSD) Board of Education gathered for their May meeting. I joined electronically with Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO, Marilyn Flaman, and Superintendent of Operational Services/COO, Justin Arendt in attendance. We had the opportunity to discuss some of the final requirements for the amalgamation process that will see Englefeld School join Horizon School Division following the end of this current school year. Of course, we also discussed the lovely sendoff of Ms. Patsy Knafelc, who is retiring as Englefeld School principal at the end of the year. As always, we had a very productive meeting and it was great to sit down with my trustees from EPSSD.

After celebrating the retirement of Ms. Patsy Knafelc earlier this month, we have now begun the process of filling the principal position at Englefeld School for next fall. Interviews were held at Horizon’s central office for the entire day on Wednesday. EPSSD Board Chair, Deanna Miskolczi, Deputy Director, Randy MacLEAN, and I conducted the interviews for Englefeld while Randy and I were joined by our Board Vice Chair and Trustee for Subdivision 7, Wil Lengyel for the interviews at Kelvington High. In each of our interviews last week, we met with very qualified and impressive educators, each of whom are very dedicated to their profession, their students, and their colleagues. Announcements will be made in the coming week regarding the successful candidates in the principal roles at Englefeld School and Kelvington High School.

Trustees, Christine Gradin (Subdivision 6), Linda Mattock (Subdivision 2), and Jim Hack (Board Chair, Subdivision 10) travelled to Lakeside Colony School on Wednesday to present the school with their Celebration Day lunch. Superintendent of Human Resource Services, Todd Gjevre, joined the lunch as a representative from my office, while I was occupied with principal interviews. I was happy to hear that the lunch was a great success and I want to thank Horizon’s Board for once again sharing this opportunity for celebration with our staff.

Each school in Horizon School Division has worked to develop a Learning Improvement Plan (LIP) to guide the work and achieve the goals of Horizon’s Strategic Plan, which, in turn, adheres with the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP). Members of my Senior Leadership Team meet with school administrators throughout the year to review these plans and ensure that they are as effective as possible. Last week, we began the latest round of these review meetings. I was joined in my travels by Superintendent of Learning Services, Crandall Hrynkiw, and Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski. On Thursday, we visited Ituna School, Foam Lake Composite, Foam Lake Elementary, Wynyard Elementary, and Wynyard Composite. On Friday, we made our way to Archerwill School, Rose Valley School, Kelvington High, and Robert Melrose Elementary. In each of our meetings, the passion, dedication, and attention to details were evident in the LIP documents that have been developed and improved upon throughout the year. Of course, the journey from good to great takes a great deal of time and our school staffs will continue to evolve their LIPs over the upcoming weeks.

Graduation ceremonies were held for a number of Horizon’s schools this past Friday for Foam Lake Composite School, Ituna School, Schell School, William Derby School, and Quill Lake School. Congratulations to all the students celebrating this milestone over the weekend. You worked hard for this achievement, and that work will provide the basis for continued success as you enter the next chapter of your lives. To all the teachers, staff, volunteers, family members, and parents/caregivers who support our students each day, I want to share a heartfelt thank you. High school graduation is the goal we all aim for, beginning with the first day of Kindergarten. We have reached the point in our year where that goal is being realized for another group of outstanding young people. Thank you and congratulations to all. 

Sunday was an amazing day to bring closure to a great week. A celebration was held in the afternoon for Rance Cardinal, the young man who completed his incredible 1200km journey, travelling from Sioux Lookout, ON to Humboldt in just 48 days. Rance is an inspiration to so many across the country and having had the chance to meet him in person, it is very clear why. He speaks directly from his heart and was and continues to be focused on one thing in his journey – to offer his strength and courage in order to help others heal. Victor Hugo said, “Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake”. I know that Rance’s walk was completed for a great sorrow but, like all of us, he is far from done the journey. His reminder that we must live every day like it could be our last is tremendous and wise advice from someone so young. Rance is planning to stick around the Humboldt area for three days or so before returning to his family and will be involved in a ball hockey game Monday night.

Sunday evening, I had the extremely humbling honour to join trustee Nathan Bitternose at George Gordon First Nation for a blanket ceremony. Elder Eddie Bitternose and Horizon outreach worker, Marcia Bitternose, organized a beautiful event that saw such things as 16 balloons being released for each of the members of the Broncos who lost their lives. The George Gordon drum group played and sang honour songs and everyone in attendance was involved in a meal afterward. The symbol of the blanket is, as Eddie explained, to wrap around those who may be in pain following a tragedy such as April 6, 2018. It was truly a wonderful way to be supported by our educational partners.

Have a great week, everyone. Remember to stay “Horizon Strong”.

- Kevin

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