News Local

New homework policy unveiled

By Nathan Taylor, Orillia Packet & Times

A system-wide homework policy -- the first of its kind -- is now in effect at the Simcoe County District School Board.

The rationale, according to a staff report, is as follows:

"Given the growing amount of research on the effectiveness of homework in the learning process, and input from our school communities regarding the need for increased clarity and consistency in homework policies across schools, there was a need to develop a SCDSB policy on homework."

"This policy is overdue," said Peter Beacock, trustee for Oro-

Medonte and Springwater t ownships. "It's time that we had something that clarifies what homework is and when it's given."

Those are a couple of the

concerns addressed in the policy, which was adopted at a recent board meeting. It describes homework as being "purposefully planned and related to instruction and curriculum."

"Homework should not be new learning," said Jodi Lloyd, trustee for Ramara, Severn and Tay townships. "It should be a re-enforcement of work that's already been taught in the classroom."

Lloyd, who is supportive of the policy, said she's happy with the part of the policy that states "No homework shall be assigned immediately before a holiday that is due immediately following holidays, significant faith days, or lengthier school breaks (December or March break)."

One reason for the policy is to minimize next-day homework, and the policy calls for homework assignments to be "assigned over blocks of time so that families can best support homework completion."

When it comes to group work, it often becomes the responsibility of parents to get the students together outside of school.

"I've had lots of complaints about group work. It's always been an issue," Lloyd said.

It, too, is covered in the policy, which states "...sufficient time shall be provided within the instructional day(s) for students to meet the required learning outcome."

One trustee questioned the effectiveness and need for the policy.

"If the policy helps, that's great, but I think it's a sad commentary that we have to put a policy in place," said Orillia trustee Debra Edwards. "I see it as a commonsense issue."

"If you're a teacher worth your salt, with any kind of intuition about your students on an individual basis, you should know what type of homework to assign."

By developing such a policy, "we've probably insulted a whole bunch of teachers," Edwards said, adding if she were a teacher, it would seem to "insinuate that I don't have enough common sense to know what to assign for homework."

School communities, including school councils, were consulted ahead of the policy being developed, and "there was a lot of feedback," Lloyd said.

The policy, No. 4106, can be viewed online at www.scdsb.on.ca.



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