This Week in Horizon » May, 2024

May, 2024

A message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education
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Good morning, everyone.

This week is Mental Health Week in Canada, with the theme of “Compassion Connects”. For me, I can never use the word compassion without throwing in the word “care” as a lead. I am certain many of you use these words as a dynamic duo when we think about how our children and others should be supported. Regardless, this week is an important reminder that we always need to consider what people are experiencing in their personal lives, and a little “care and compassion” can be a small thing that has a huge impact. I know our schools will be doing important work around this theme, as you always do. 

Thinking about mental wellness and mental health in general, Superintendent of Student Wellness Terry Leibel and I met with members of the Project 11 team who have developed outstanding teaching resources on supporting mental health in K-12 education. It stems from the important care and compassion demonstrated by Mark Chipman, friend and owner of the Winnipeg Jets, who took the initiative to implement this project in support of Rick Rypien, former Regina Pat, Manitoba Moose, Vancouver Canuck, and Winnipeg Jet. 

Rick took his life before the inaugural restart of the 2011-12 Jets’ campaign as he was struggling with depression. Rick cared deeply about children and youth and talked about an opportunity to have a program that would help them through similar mental health struggles he found himself in when he was young. Rick believed that if he had a program in school when he was a kid, it may have helped him address some of the personal challenges that continued to challenge him until his untimely death. Mark made sure Rick’s ongoing passion for supporting children and youth with mental health challenges would live on through Project 11. We are excited to bring this well-researched curriculum support tool made by teachers for teachers and used across Manitoba and several American states and Canadian provinces to Saskatchewan and Horizon School Division. If you want to find out more, please visit or watch the video on Rick’s story and the development of Project 11.   

Provincial Directors’ Meeting

I again started the week by meeting with Directors from across Saskatchewan for our regular Monday check-in while the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation and Government Trustee Bargaining Committee bargaining process is underway. We continued to discuss preparations ahead of the STF members voting on the Government’s offer later this week. 

Board Facility Tours and Celebration Day Lunch

I joined trustees on a Horizon facilities tour on Monday as we visited with Annaheim School students and staff before joining Lake Lenore School staff for their Celebration Day lunch and facility tour. Following lunch, we stopped at Three Lakes School. Our trustees who were able to join were impressed with the students and staff and appreciated the chance to become more familiar with our school facilities. 

Wakaw School Community Council AGM & Regular Meeting to Follow

I attended Wakaw School’s SCC annual general meeting on Monday evening with Trustee Jenna Hale. Jenna and I shared that Wakaw School is on Horizon’s capital project list for a new build, similar to the way Lanigan was prior to its announcement. Of course, this does not mean that the community and Horizon will see a new school any time soon, but it is an old building and a new construction would serve the growing population very well. It was a great discussion and a great opportunity to see first-hand parents and community members engaged and contributing to Wakaw School. 

Provincial Education Plan Implementation Team (PEPIT) Meeting

The PEPIT team met on Tuesday for an implementation planning meeting where we continued to work on targets and measures for the provincial education plan. Superintendent of Learning Trish Maxwell and I joined the provincial team in Regina to continue the important discussion of how the plan would be implemented. 

2024-25 Budget

Wednesday was budget day in Horizon as our Board of Education met with me and CFO Sarah Reding to review and approve the 2024-25 operating budget. The Board had met in February to discuss the priorities for the system and it made the budgeting process much more streamlined and easier to understand. 

Directors’ Leadership Team 

Horizon’s administrators met for a virtual meeting on Thursday morning. We discussed the available Saskatchewan School Boards Association scholarships, the extended deadline for Public Schools of Saskatchewan Student Citizenship Awards where student groups and classes can win up to $1000, a review of safety guidelines for student activities, and an update on the upcoming Student Day. We also heard from the Senior Leadership Team with items from their areas. 

We are extremely excited about the agriculture-themed Student Day this year. We will have live animals, machinery, games, guest speakers, activities, and much more. The amount of support from our local agriculture businesses and organizations has been unbelievable, and we look forward to recognizing sponsors and supporters in the next days. 

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirited Peoples

On Friday, Division office staff wore red to raise awareness for the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ Peoples. The statistics around MMIWG2S+ are shocking, and we were glad to show our support and bring attention to this critical issue. It is important for us to acknowledge and address these serious challenges in our community. We encourage everyone to learn more and get involved in making a difference.

Have a great week, everyone.  


Kevin C. Garinger B.Ed., M.A.Ed., Ed.D. (Candidate)

Director of Education/CEO

Horizon School Division No. 205

[email protected]


Good morning, everyone!

I want to begin by congratulating Wynyard Elementary School on being selected for this year’s Mosaic School Nutrition Challenge! Wynyard Elementary will receive a $15,000 grant to support student nutrition with cooking classes, land-based learning, and renovations to their cooking lab. Thank you to Principal Michael Jordan and his staff and SCC for having the vision to put forward the application. I know nutrition is so important in our schools and every dollar we get goes to tremendous use in our schools. In comparison to other provinces, Saskatchewan spends some of the lowest dollars for school nutrition, and grants like this help out immensely.

As everyone is aware, 92 per cent of Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation members voted and approximately 90 per cent said “No” to the Government Trustee Bargaining Committee’s offer last week. I know everyone continues to hope for a return to the bargaining table this week and for efforts on both sides to be heightened so they can work toward a new provincial collective agreement. As always, we will continue to communicate any changes due to sanctions or other updates as we learn of them to our staff and families.

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Bargaining

We were elated last week to reach a tentative CUPE agreement after a final day of bargaining with CUPE Local 4799 President Marie Moore and the CUPE bargaining team. We will present the agreement for the Board’s review at their next regular meeting, while CUPE members will also review this agreement in due time with their bargaining committee. For background, the agreement between Horizon and CUPE expired on August 31, 2023. Representatives from Horizon and CUPE Local 4799 met on five dates between February and May using an interest-based bargaining process that reflected our collective commitment to high-quality education while ensuring the well-being and success of our staff. It has been an excellent process that focused on addressing issues while keeping relationships strong. I am proud of the work of both sides throughout the bargaining process. 

Directors’ Leadership Team Professional Learning

The DLT gathered in Humboldt on Tuesday, and we picked up with the Leading to Learn Signpost Three. Our thanks to Elder Stuart Bitternose who helped us begin our day in a good way, and also to Dr. Chris Scribe who spoke about relevant and respectful reconciliation for education leaders. He said, “The ones who have the ability to change the world are not wearing bonnets with the title of Chief or MLA. The ones with the power to change the world are in Kindergarten, and we have the responsibility to give them the tools to do it.” His message has inspired us to think deeply about our roles as educators. Let’s carry this inspiration forward and continue the important work of making a difference in our students’ lives.

The afternoon included a session on Building Thinking Classrooms, led by Instructional Coach Jocelyn Armbruster and Superintendent of Learning Trish Maxwell, followed by a focused MathUP overview for administrators that detailed specific instructional techniques, enhancing our math teaching framework. We wrapped up the day discussing emergent items that need addressing, such as transportation for guest riders, and the CUPE agreement.  

Kelvington Capital Project

Horizon held a meeting on Tuesday evening in Kelvington to gather input on the Kelvington minor capital project progress and impact. The project will include renovations of Kelvington High School to accommodate Robert Melrose Elementary School students in one building. The Ministry of Education added this project to its capital list in 2023, and just before Christmas of 2023, we finalized the budget with the Ministry of Education to meet the expectations of the project. We appreciate students, staff, and school community council members from Robert Melrose Elementary and Kelvington High for attending this information evening with representatives from Miners Construction and Trustee Jim Lissinna, Superintendent Justin Arendt, Manager Kam Kiland, and me. It was a great evening where apprehensions were short-lived and excitement spilt over. We look forward to the next set of drawings and sharing them with the group. In the meantime, Phases 1 and 2 were approved which will include a large parking lot for staff and visitors, relocation of the student parking lot, and a safe and accessible bus loop for our students. 

Celebration Day Lunch

I joined trustees Garth Anderson, Irma Anderson, Paul Crow-Buffalo, and Albert Pinacie at Ituna School for their Celebration Day lunch on Wednesday. Staff from my office supervised students while Ituna staff enjoyed lunch with us. Thank you to students, and staff including Principal Brittany Gent for the warm welcome and tour of the school. 

Human Resources

Much of Thursday and Friday were spent interviewing for upcoming principal and vice principal roles. Again, we met with several excellent candidates and look forward to sharing who the successful individuals are for these leadership positions within Horizon. I want to thank Superintendent Cory Popoff for his work in organizing these important interviews and preparing all the necessary materials. 

Badminton Provincials

Congratulations to Geri Lon Valdesimo (LeRoy School) and Lorenz Cabingan (Englefeld School) who competed in the Saskatchewan High School Athletics Association provincial championships in Nipawin this past weekend! Both students represented Horizon extremely well at their respective championships. 

Have a great week, everyone.  


Kevin C. Garinger B.Ed., M.A.Ed., Ed.D. (Candidate)

Director of Education/CEO

Horizon School Division No. 205

[email protected]