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New homework policy recognizes Internet access issues in Simcoe County

Recognizing not every student has a home computer or high-speed Internet access, the public board is updating its homework policy.

“One of the biggest changes (in the policy) has to do with technology,” Simcoe County District School Board programs and innovation superintendent Anita Simpson said.

The board created a homework policy in 1984 and it was last updated in 2012.

Simpson said technology has dramatically changed how teachers instruct their students.

“About 80 per-cent of our students have access to the Internet,” Simpson said. “Many of them have their own device — a laptop, tablet or cellphone. Teachers are leveraging that digital access in their work and students continue to work on things when they get home.”

However, within the board’s catchment area are students who live in rural areas, where access is limited, and others who don’t have the means to access technology at home.

The policy revision gives those students a chance to complete alternative assignments or access the technology during the school day.

Simpson noted the board just spent $1.5 million to buy iPads and tablets for their schools.

“I see a time in the very near future where most students will have access to technology, whether that’s through the home or the school (or) they can bring a device home,” she said.

The revision was one of a few tweaks to the homework policy on the agenda for approval at last night’s public board meeting.

Simpson said the changes are necessary to ensure the intent behind homework assignments is clear across the board.

As part of the homework debate, the question of how much is too much came up.

“What we’re seeing is if kids work for hours on end at night, it’s not improving student learning. That’s what the studies show,” Simpson said.

With that in mind, the board is asking teachers to minimize overnight homework.

It takes into account the fact families are busy, going from swimming to hockey and gymnastics, Simpson added.

“We’re asking teachers to be mindful that our world is happening so fast and people are doing so many things, to say it’s due tomorrow is creating unnecessary stress to young people,” Simpson said.

“It doesn’t mean they can’t do it, but if a student says they didn’t get their work done … there shouldn’t be any attitude.”

The Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board doesn’t have a specific homework policy, but has also invested in technology to improve learning.

“In September, we moved to the Google Apps For Education platform for the entire board, so every student has an account,” Catholic board spokesperson Pauline Stevenson said.

Grade 4, 5 and 6 classrooms received a new supply of iPads and tablets this year, with Grades 7 and 8 up slated for next year and Grades 1 to 3 classes in 2018.

In high school, math, religion, civics and careers was the focus, with the Grades 9 and 10 classrooms getting data projectors, iPads and Chromebooks for student use, Stevenson said.

Stayner Lions Club Donates $1,000 to the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Program

Claire Weston, Chairperson, Boys and Girls Committee with the Stayner Lions Club recently presented a
$1,000 donation to Kenn Voss, Wasaga Beach Canadian Tire store owner.

Voss accepted on behalf of the
Canadian Tire Jumpstart program as well as generously providing a matching grant. Last year marked the 10th year for Jumpstart to meet a benchmark of having served over 1 million kids nationwide.
The entire $2,000 donation will directly benefit the local community by providing children and youth an opportunity
in sport and recreation who otherwise would not be able to participate.
If you are a family or know of a family who may benefit from the Canadian Tire Jumpstart program, information
and applications forms are .

Barrie police looking for couple who they say stole a purse from vehicle

Barrie police are looking for two people they say broke into a vehicle parked at a south-end recreation centre and used stolen credits cards at a nearby variety store.

Police say a man and woman smashed a window of a vehicle parked at the Holly Recreation Centre last Wednesday (March 16) and took off with a purse from the inside.

According to police, the pair used credits cards in the purse at a Mac’s Convenience store near Dunlop Street East and Mulcaster Street.

Later that day, around 9:30 p.m., police say another purchase using the same cards was made at the Stag Shop on Bayfield Street.

The purchase was declined since the cards had already been cancelled, police say.

Police released a security camera image of the pair taken at the Mac’s store.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Const. Barkley at 705-725-7025, ext. 2609, [email protected] or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS, leave an anonymous tip at

Barrie cops seek Tim Hortons fraud suspect

A woman became a fraud victim after leaving her wallet on a table at the Essa Road Tim Hortons Friday afternoon.

Barrie Police believe another woman used a TD Visa card from the wallet at the same restaurant just after 1 p.m.

The suspect is described as Asian in her early 20s with black hair and glasses. She was wearing a blue sweater and a long, green jacket with fur around the hood.

If you have information, call police at 705-725-7025.