May 23-26, 2023
Good morning, Horizon!
I hope that everything and everyone is breathing a little easier now that we got some much-needed rain and some reprieve from the wildfire smoke. Having a son who is directly involved with fighting these terrible fires, I know how much they and the evacuated citizens in our country have appreciated the rain. It has also been so valuable to our farmers who have worked feverishly to get their seeds in the ground.
High school graduations are continuing with a number of schools celebrating their senior classes this past weekend. This is a significant achievement for our students — a culmination of their hard work, dedication, and resilience throughout their educational journey. As we applaud their accomplishments, let us also acknowledge the contributions of our educators and staff who have played a vital role in shaping their futures.
I had a wonderful weekend meeting my new granddaughter, who was born earlier this month. Her older sister and parents are so grateful to have her, and it is an exciting time for their young family and this old “papa”. It is moments like these that remind me of the joys and blessings that surround all of us, both personally and professionally.
Learning Improvement Plan meetings
Much of my week was spent connecting with administrators for the spring Learning Improvement Plan (LIP) meetings. In the late fall, we reviewed school data, plans to foster continuous student learning, supports for literacy development, and discussed SCC plan involvement. The focus for the spring meetings very much continue in that vein, with a significant focus on the celebrations of learning that are prevalent in each school.
I was joined throughout the week by Superintendents Bryan McNabb, Trish Maxwell, and Terry Leibel as I met with principals and vice principals in William Derby, Bulyea, Nokomis, Lanigan Elementary, George Gordon Education Centre, Punnichy Community High, Punnichy Elementary Community, Raymore, Drake, and Foam Lake Composite.
Humboldt Broncos Legacy Bursary
I met with Ed Tobin and Toby Boulet on Tuesday evening to finalize the recipients of this year’s Humboldt Broncos Legacy Bursary. Each year, the Humboldt Broncos Memorial Golf Tournament donates an amount of money for these bursaries, providing a tremendous opportunity for our Grade 12s across Horizon. As can be expected, the candidates were exceptional young people and selecting only two from a list of close to 20 was no easy task. Thank you to the principals and staff who help our Grade 12 students by submitting supporting documents for their applications.
First and Second Year Administrators
Superintendent Cory Popoff led the final meetings with Horizon’s first and second year administrators on Thursday afternoon, joined by Superintendents Jacquie Bergerman, Bryan McNabb, Terry Leibel, and Trish Maxwell. Throughout the year Cory has led administrators through a book study by Tod Whitaker entitled “What Great Principals do Differently: The 18 Things that Matter Most,” and engaged staff in discussions about their successes and challenges. I know that administrators are extremely grateful for these terrific learning opportunities.
Track & Field
Congratulations to athletes who competed in the Horizon Central Athletic Association’s District Championships in Saskatoon on Tuesday! Your hard work, and sportsmanship are truly commendable. Good luck to all who are headed to the SHSAA Provincial Championships on June 2 and 3 in Saskatoon.
Have a great week, everyone!
May 15-19, 2023
Good morning, and welcome back from the extended long weekend. I hope you enjoyed the break that was held due to Friday’s day in lieu for Parent Teacher Student Conferences, the Victoria Day holiday on Monday. Thursday also marked the last Personal Professional Day of the school year. Despite the effects of the devastating forest fires in northern Saskatchewan and both neighouring provinces, I do hope you got outside for some rest and relaxation. I spoke to my son who is a firefighter with the Yellow Head County Fire Department. He is currently in the role as Branch Director, so is actually involved in deploying all the services used to protect homes and people. Many of these resources are people and fire trucks, but there are others as well. I was happy to hear that the fires in the Edmonton have slowed significantly with the rain they received. I certainly hope for the same as our province and our neighbours continue to fight to save structures and lives.
Thank you to the schools who hosted pre-district track and field competitions last week, and thank you to Administrator of Student Activities Brian Grest for coordinating the season. Congratulations to our student athletes who competed, and as always, thank you to all who are coaching. Nelson Mandela said, "Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand." Sport can be a great unifier, and it’s always wonderful to watch Horizon schools advance through levels of competition until they are competing together as Horizon Central Athletic Association (HCAA) athletes. Good luck to all at the HCAA District Championships today.
May Board Meeting
The Board of Education met for its regular monthly meeting last Monday, and you can read about the details in the May From the Board report. As always, their strong commitment to student learning and the health and safety of children, staff, and families was loudly pronounced at their meeting.
Horizon Teachers’ Association Executive, Board, and Senior Leadership Team
Following the Board meeting on Monday, Trustees met with the HTA Executive, including President VernaLynn Gorrill, and Horizon’s SLT for an evening meeting and meal. We value this time with the HTA Executive and appreciate the excellent discussions that were had. It is always a great wrap up to the year to celebrate together and bring value to these successes.
Joint Administration Agreement
CFO Sandy Gessner and I met with Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools Director Francois Rivard as well as his CFO Joel Lloyd to discuss recommended changes to the Joint Administration Agreement which we use to oversee Humboldt Collegiate Institute. Over time, the practices change, yet the paper doesn’t. Having the ability to discuss this alignment is valuable to both systems.
Humboldt Broncos Legacy Bursary
I had the pleasure of reviewing the pool of candidates for this year’s Humboldt Broncos Legacy Bursary with Ed Tobin and Toby Boulet on Wednesday morning. We appreciate the Tobin and Boulet families as well as all the Bronco families for their involvement and support of this bursary. As always, there was a remarkable group of students to choose from and we will look to finalize the choices for the two $1500 bursaries this week.
Celebration Day Lunch
Humboldt Public School was the fourth and final Celebration Day lunch winner for 2022-23. Trustees Mark Fedak, Linda Mattock, and I enjoyed lunch with HPS staff while division office staff provided noon-hour supervision, followed by cake for all. Thanks to HPS students and staff for having us, and thank you to our Board for providing this opportunity!
Forum on Corporate Responsibility
As part of my role as Director of Education, I attended a meeting to discuss the Forum on Corporate Responsibility that was held on Monday, May 22. The actual forum is BHPs work to ensure that the needs of communities in the area are at the forefront of their organization as they expand their minesite. With increases in staffing levels, there will be a corresponding increase in the families and children who will be educated in our schools. The board who met with us was comprised of business and thought leaders outside BHP who will listen to community leaders to ensure recommendations to the CEO and Board of BHP understand what is necessary in the communities.
And finally, I want to congratulate our many Horizon students who were involved in the 2023 15U Canadian Volleyball Championship in Regina from Friday to Sunday. I had the honour of being part of the Referee Development Team (RDT) as an assignor. I was witness to our amazing young people enjoying the sport they love and getting to m know fellow peers from across Canada. Congratulations to the athletes, coaches, and officials for a tremendous wrap up to the season.
Have a great week!
May 8-12, 2023
Good morning, everyone!
It’s been wonderful to see a record number of student teachers in the halls of Horizon schools these past couple weeks. I believe at last count, there were going to be 85 student teachers in Horizon this spring. Thank you to all of our schools and staff who are hosting these future teachers and providing them with a kick start to their teaching career. We wish these new educators the very best in their future careers. As Aristotle famously said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” Thank you for helping our students and our student teachers, develop both their hearts and minds by supporting them in their formal education.
Congratulations to Annaheim School’s mixed doubles team, Ryder Knittig & Madison Junk, who competed in the SHSAA Provincial Badminton Championships in Unity this past weekend! What a great accomplishment. As always, thank you to all of the snack bringers, volunteer drivers, coaches, teammates, and cheering sections who supported these athletes along the way.
Congratulations again to all the schools who have been rehearsing, building props and sets, and advertising their drama productions. Drama offers students a unique set of skills and experiences that are difficult to find elsewhere. Thank you to the staff, families, and many community members who contribute to these productions and help students develop confidence, creativity, teamwork, empathy, and have a lot of fun in the process.
Wall of Fame Committee
The Wall of Fame Committee met on Monday morning to review nominations for this year’s honourees. James Lissinna was acclaimed as chair for the current term by committee members Irma Anderson, Mark Fedak, and Rhonda Kayseas. Ex officio committee members Jim Hack (Board Chair) and Linda Mattock (Vice-Chair) also joined the meeting. The committee certainly has an impressive group of nominees to review and shortlist, and I look very forward to highlighting some of our alumni’s accomplishments this fall at our opening day celebration.
Director’s Leadership Team Professional Development
Administrators from across the system gathered in Humboldt on Tuesday for a day of collaboration and learning. The day included a session on Horizon’s mission, vision, and values led by Superintendents Jacquie Bergerman and Terry Leibel; a presentation from BHP Billiton; collaboration on Learning Improvement Plans; and a presentation on Data Booklets led by Superintendent Trish Maxwell. It was a productive day, with a lot of meaningful ideas and insights shared.
We had an absolutely wonderful Student Day exploring the theme Making Mental Wellness Matter for Ourselves and Our Peers. Please read all about the day on the division website. I especially want to thank our students, both past and present, who were able to be part of the event. Special thanks go to Christine Kwon (Ituna), Anna Ingram (Quill Lake), Jacob Wassermann (Humboldt), and Codie Prevost (Archerwill/Rose Valley) for presenting and being a big part of the day! As well, thank you to Carla Julé (counsellor) for doing such a great job of presenting on the value of the Head Strong program. Last but not least, thank you to Marni, Kim, Shelley, and Jesse from my office for helping to organize such an incredible day for our students.
Educational Assistants’ Professional Learning
Superintendent of Inclusive Education Jacquie Bergerman developed an excellent day of learning and collaboration for EAs, in conjunction with Student Day. The day began with Superintendent of Student Wellness Terry Leibel leading a session on VTRA, specifically about noticing increases in baseline behavior and how to respond. Psychologist Daina Braun talked about ADHD and common misconceptions before Shelley Kolisnek from Autism Services presented on supporting self-regulation for students with autism. Finally, Counsellor Danny Hiscock talked all things self-care. We heard nothing but good things about this day of learning, and thank our Horizon staff for sharing their knowledge.
Walk Alongside International: Parent Engagement Think Tank
I joined trustees Jennifer Lemky, James Lissinna, and Albert Pinacie at this international conference in Saskatoon from Thursday to Saturday. We were joined by Superintendents Trish Maxwell, Bryan McNabb, and Jacquie Bergerman, as well as Early Years Family Resource Centre Program Designer Kelly McLarty. We were also joined by Early Learning and Literacy Coach Heidi Linford, who was a big part of the leadership team that put on the conference. I want to thank Dr Debbie Pushor, for having the passion and vision to put on such a great conference. The think tank was designed to bring together parents, educators, and educational leaders with the goal of reimagining education, and enacting a shift to family centric schools. Although we are doing a very good job, I look forward to bringing our learning back to administrators and staff with a view to realize even better engagement results with Horizon families.
Leading to Learn
Superintendent Bryan McNabb left the conference in Saskatoon early to join Superintendent of HR Cory Popoff in Yorkton for the final Leading to Learn event of the year. The culmination of the event is the signal that even more work will begin across the system next year. I want to thank Cory and Bryan and Instructional Coach Amanda Moosemay, who joined principals Justine Wheeler, Kalie Hendry, Terry Braman, Clayton Parobec, and Darryl Dickson for this intensive professional learning opportunity. The members of this team will present to our administrators beginning in the fall of the 2023-24 school year and we thank them for their willingness to do just that.
Have a great week, everyone!
May 1-5, 2023
Good morning, everyone! As Albert Einstein said, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” I have seen this joy in our classrooms and the joy of learning that our educators have ignited in our students, and it is what makes it such a privilege to be involved in this incredible profession.
Terry Fox Foundation
We are proud to share that together, Horizon schools raised just shy of $56,800 for the Terry Fox Foundation and cancer research. By involving our students in giving back to this worthwhile cause, we are not only helping to make a positive impact on the world around us but also instilling in them the values of empathy, compassion, and social responsibility. As a cancer survivor, I recognize first-hand the impact of research on saving lives. These dollars raised will continue to support cancer research and hopefully one day prevent the disease from being a life sentence. Thank you to each student, family, and staff member who contributed to this cause and made it such an enormous success.
Provincial Education Plan Implementation Team (PEPIT)
Provincial Education Plan (PEP) observers, project managers, support team, and membership met on Tuesday afternoon to review and further goals of the plan. Trish Maxwell, Superintendent of Learning represented my office as I dealt with other pressing matters, including meetings with school staff members.
Directors’ Leadership Team (DLT) Meeting
We met with Horizon’s principals and vice principals for a regular, online meeting on Wednesday morning. We covered a range of topics including preparations for the 2023-24 school year, Learning Improvement Plan review meetings, Student Day, and much more. Schools have received their staffing allocations from Superintendent of HR Cory Popoff, and principals have been actively involved with discussions related to these allocations.
Learning Resource Teacher Role Review
The Learning Resource Teacher (LRT) is an important role in any educational organization. They are responsible for providing targeted and specialized support in meeting the needs of students who may be struggling in their studies or require additional resources to reach their full potential. On Thursday afternoon, a number of Horizon administrators met to review this important role in collaboration with Jacquie Bergerman, Superintendent of Inclusive Education and members of the Senior Leadership Team.
Mental Health First Aid
Members of Horizon staff met at the Division office on Thursday and Friday to receive training in “Mental Health First Aid: Adults Who Interact with Youth”. Superintendent of Student Wellness Terry Leibel organized the event that was facilitated by Danny Hiscock, Counsellor for Horizon School Division. Providing these important professional learning opportunities is vital as we continue to work toward improving wellness in Horizon School Division. Thank you to Danny for his exceptional knowledge and abilities related to supporting mental health.
Strategic Planning - Humboldt and District Chamber of Commerce
I joined other board members of the Humboldt & District Chamber of Commerce for the annual strategic planning session on Thursday evening. It was an illuminating look at the potential for growth and improvement of services in our communities, and I was grateful to take part.
Grade 12 Graduation
I had the privilege of joining Trustee Jennifer Lemky, Principal Terry Braman,and the staff of Winston High at the first graduation of the year. Winston High School’s ceremony was held on Friday evening, and it was an honour to witness the culmination of years of hard work and dedication from the Winston grads. Our next grad is not until May 26, but we are officially in grad season! We wish all our graduating students success as they ready to embark on the next chapter of their lives, and we look forward to celebrating with them and their families in the weeks ahead.
Congratulations to our junior and senior badminton teams and individuals for a successful season. A number of our athletes competed in Yorkton at the Regional tournament this weekend. Congratulations to all of the HCAA District champs, as well. The provincial tournament is next weekend, and I want to thank the competition hosts, coaches, volunteers, and athletes for a wonderful season!
Have a great week, everyone!