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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
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December 6, 2021 - A message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

December 06, 2021

Good morning, everyone. I hope and trust the weekend went well. I know many of us are disheartened by our beloved Riders loss to Winnipeg in the western conference final. But, for me, football in December in Saskatchewan is such an oddity. I mean, I would have been totally fine with one more game to watch this December, but just playing so close to Christmas doesn’t make sense when you’re so used to the Grey Cup being wrapped up before December. But then, when I think about it, what in the pandemic world we live in makes sense? Our parents, staff, and children have endured a lot again this year. And now, we are trying to make sense of the requirement for our oldest students who may be engaged in sport to wear masks. I know we are all grateful that our students had the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities for the first three-plus months of the school year. But, the Board and all of us desperately need to keep extracurricular going for the sake of our kids. I know our government has our best interests in mind, and they are considering a potential solution to this issue with our ministry of health partners. However, I do believe it was not the intent of the Public Health Order to impose law on these student-athletes. So, at this time, the letter that Administrator of Athletics Brian Grest sent out will be in force until we get a formal answer on the matter. More to come on this issue shortly, I hope.

 

Christmas Hampers

This project never stops amazing me. Over the week, our staff helped to wrap hundreds of gifts for our hampers. We also accepted many donations during the last few weeks, and I will have a list of donations in next week’s TWIH. I also want to thank the 13U girls’ volleyball team from Humboldt, who, led by their coach and Superintendent of Student Supports, Jason Neville, took time away from their volleyball practice to wrap gifts for our Christmas Hampers. After a coordinated effort, it appears we are set to parcel up the hampers on Tuesday and deliver them to schools in the last full week of school before the holidays. What an exciting time in Horizon!

 

Learning Improvement Plans

Superintendent Katherine Oviatt and either Superintendent Bryan McNabb or Jason Neville joined me again last week as we met with principals for the first of two Learning Improvement Plan (LIP) reviews of the school year. As mentioned in last week’s message, we review school data collection and results at these fall meetings, review plans to foster continuous student learning, examine and discuss supports for literacy and numeracy development, and discuss the SCC’s plan involvement.

 

We made it to an average of four schools each day this week, including Schell, Imperial, Winston School, Watrous Elementary, Sask Central Hutterian school, Wynyard Composite, Wynyard Elementary, Watson, Lanigan Central, Lanigan Elementary, Englefeld, Wadena Composite, Wadena Elementary, Lakeside Colony, Quill Lake, Wakaw, Cudworth, Bruno, and Viscount. While I was in Bruno, I had the opportunity to engage in some short discussions with our CUPE president, Marie Moore. I am grateful that we have an excellent relationship with our CUPE staff and our executive. I cannot thank Marie and the rest of the executive members enough for what they do for our children across Horizon and the membership.

 

As always, it was a pleasure to spend time in our schools and hear about all the innovative things happening around the division. Unfortunately, I do not get a chance to see every staff member while in a school, but I also am very appreciative of the conversations I get to have outside the LIP meetings. I want to thank those teachers and support staff members for giving me some of their time to have these wonderful conversations.   

 

Horizon Teacher’s Association Executive Meeting

On Tuesday evening, Deputy Director Randy MacLEAN and I joined the HTA for their Executive Meeting. This annual meeting with President Gerard Frison and the executive is always a significant opportunity to share information and ideas and build upon the excellent relationship we share with our staff members of the local association. Our discussion focused a great deal on the current calendar and our need to explore what teachers, support staff, and families think about the implemented changes. In the upcoming weeks, we will be working on a survey that each group will have an opportunity to provide direct feedback. If it is to become a lasting change, there is a need to do a transparent review for effectiveness, and we intend to do just that.

 

Governance Committee Meeting

On Thursday, we had a short meeting to review and confirm the Board’s Strategic Planning Session agenda, scheduled for December 16 and 17. I was joined at the meeting by Board Chair Jim Hack, Vice Chair Linda Mattock, Trustees Douglas Armbruster, Jenna Hale, Jennifer Lemky, Paul Crow-Buffalo, CFO Sandy Gessner, and Executive Assistant Marni Sogge. The meeting began with Jennifer accepting the role of governance committee chair for the next year before jumping directly into the plans for our strategic session. There is a great deal to plan with the Board over the next few years, and I look forward to the session and the impact the discussion will have on children and learning in Horizon.

 

Have a wonderful week, and stay safe, Horizon!

 

-Kevin