School’s in for summer!

Many high school students use the summer break to spend time with friends, work a part-time job or check out the region’s attractions. It may be a surprise to some, but there are a growing number of students who are using their time to get ahead by taking summer school courses.

The structure of summer school has changed over the years; taking a course over the summer doesn’t necessarily mean sitting in a classroom. There are now a variety of ways that students can spend their time learning. Students can take a course online from the comfort of their home, or in a lab, learning about cosmetology or how to play guitar.

The many benefits of participating in summer school include:

  • learning a new skill and gaining a credit at the same time
  • smaller class sizes and more one-on-one time with the teacher
  • flexible learning options – can also take a selection of courses online
  • focused learning on one subject versus several at one time
  • getting ahead and earning credits before the school year starts
  • opportunities to retake a course and improve a mark
  • meeting students from other schools
  • completing fast-track preparation for college or university in just one month
  • earning missed credits

As well, there are opportunities for students to earn a credit and travel at the same time through the EduTravel program. Currently, there are 60 students in Fiji studying biology, 30 students in New York, Washington and Boston studying English, and 350 students travelling to Ottawa, Montreal and New York City studying Civics and Career Studies.

“We have 2,500 students registered in summer school this year, which is the largest number we’ve ever had,” says Tammy Rodaro, vice principal, Adult & Continuing Education. “I think the variety of courses and options for in-class and online has a lot to do with the growing popularity.”

Check out the recent news clip from CTV Barrie regarding the changing landscape of summer school:

CTV News Barrie – Summer school is in session

Want to learn more about summer school?  Visit

Top 10 sun and water safety tips

This post was written in partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

Keep your family safe this summer by following these tips on sun and water safety:

Girls playing outisde

1. Choose a high SPF sunscreen: Use sunscreen labelled “broad spectrum” and “water resistant” with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 on skin not covered by clothing. Apply sunscreen generously and reapply every two hours and after swimming.

2. Protect yourself: When the UV Index is three or higher, protect your skin as much as possible. Wear clothing and a wide-brimmed hat that covers as much skin as possible, as appropriate to the activity and weather. Wear sunglasses or prescription eyeglasses with UV-protective lenses. Seek shade or bring your own (ex. an umbrella).

3. Limit time in the sun: Try and limit your time out in the sun between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. (even on a cloudy day) when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest. When your shadow is shorter than you, the sun is very strong. Be sure to wear protective clothing and sunscreen, and stay in the shade when possible.

4. Never leave children alone: Even if it’s just for a moment, make sure you never leave children alone when in or around water. Close supervision by a responsible adult is the best way to ensure your children are safe.

5. Start swimming lessons: Children may be at a lower risk of drowning if they’ve had some formal swimming instructions. However, the decision to enrol a child in swimming lessons should be made by the parents based on the child’s developmental readiness and exposure to water. Swim programs should never be seen as “drown proofing” a child of any age.

6. Avoid fast moving water: Never let your child swim in canals or any fast moving water. Educate your children on rip currents, so they are prepared in the event they get caught in one.

7. Test for an allergic reaction: Before using any sunscreen on your child, check for an allergic reaction, especially if they have sensitive skin. Apply to a small patch of skin on the inner forearm for several days in a row. If the skin turns red or otherwise reacts, change products.

8. Look for “water resistant”: When buying sunscreen, look for claims on the label that the product stays on better in water (“water resistant”, “very water resistant”).

9. Keep rescue equipment nearby: When swimming, keep some type of rescue equipment (shepherd’s hook, a long pole, life preserver, etc.) and a cell phone with you. Make sure your rescue equipment is made of fibreglass or other materials that do not conduct electricity.

10. Use a life jacket: Blow-up water wings, “floaties”, toys, rafts and air mattresses should not be used as life jackets or personal flotation devices. They are not a substitute for approved life vests and can give children and parents a false sense of security. Remember to supervise your children closely even when they are wearing a life jacket.

Have a safe and happy summer!

Content from the following websites was used as resource material:

Keep your kids busy this summer with these fun activities

Are your kids getting bored already? Running out of ideas for things to do? Check out these ideas in and around Simcoe County.

1) Visit your local library for a wide variety of books for your children to discover as well as free summer programs! From arts and crafts to Lego and robotics, your community library has something for the whole family.

Barrie Public Library
Orillia Public Library
List of other libraries in Simcoe County

2) Take a hike! Visit your local conservation area, connect with nature and get some exercise. Some examples include:

Earl Rowe Provincial Park
Scanlon Creek Conservation Area
Minesing Wetlands Conservation Area
Tiffin Centre for Conservation
Edenvale Conservation Area
Nottawasaga Bluffs Conservation Area

3) If you live in Simcoe County, you aren’t far from the water! Plan a beach day, get some sun and enjoy the water (safely –wear sunscreen! Keep your eye out for our upcoming post on sun and water safety).

4) Get crafty! Check out some of these outdoor summer craft ideas and learn how to turn a walk in the forest into an adventure:

Summer craft ideas for kids
Discover – Woodland adventure booklet

5) Get out and enjoy what your community has to offer at a summer festival or event. Here’s a list of some events going on this summer:

Alliston Potato Festival
Carrot Fest
Downtown Orillia Summer Block Party
Canada 150 Celebrations – Rubber Duck Tour (Midland)
Movies By the Bay

6) Go to a local park for a picnic. Get the kids to help make and pack a healthy lunch for all to enjoy. Click the link below for ideas on what to pack:

What should I pack in my picnic basket this summer? 

7) Check out local museums and historical attractions in our area:

Centennial Museum & Archives – Penetanguishene
Huronia Museum
Leacock Museum and National Historic Site
MacLaren Art Centre
Museum on the Boyne
Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons
Simcoe County Museum

8) Try a new sport, get your bikes out or rent a boat/canoe for the day.

9) Go berry picking or visit a local farm/farmers’ market for fresh produce. Here’s a list of some local pick-your-own farms:

Barrie Hill Farms
R Family Farm
Murphy’s Farm Market
Ego’s Garden Centre
Fernwood Farms & Market

10) Make fun summer treats that are healthy and will keep the kids cool on a hot day:

More than just ice cream: The frozen treats of summer

Goodfellow PS students build Habitat for Humanity models

Goodfellow Public School in Innisfil recently partnered with Habitat for Humanity Huronia to build model homeless shelters that may be built for communities in the future.

Students in Mme. Bojmelgrin’s and Mme. Prim’s Grade 6 and 7 Extended French classes used skills learned in math, language and science to create three prototypes that were presented to Humanity Huronia’s Construction Manager, Robert Cikoja.

Cikoja was so impressed by the students’ ideas that he offered to work with the school to build models of the mobile homeless shelters. The models may eventually be built in large scale to help local communities.

Goodfellow PS students and the mini shelters they constructed.

Habitat for Humanity brings communities together to help families build strength, stability and independence through affordable home ownership. The organization’s simple premise is that no matter who we are or where we are from, we all deserve to have a decent life.


Five SCDSB schools achieve Healthy Schools status

Health and wellness in schools has been a priority of the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) for many years. From outdoor education to nutrition, health is a major component of daily school activities and learning. Students and staff are making a big impact in their school communities with their participation in Green Teams, mental health initiatives and more.

This past spring, five of our elementary schools were recognized for their efforts and given Healthy Schools certification as part of Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification program:

  • Brechin PS, Gold
  • Alliston Union PS, Silver
  • Goodfellow PS, Silver
  • Wyevale Central PS, Silver
  • Clearview Meadows ES, Bronze

The program involves an extensive amount of planning and implementation towards a six-step process, including assessing school community needs, identifying a priority health topic, developing an action plan and monitoring progress.

These five schools were dedicated to improving health and wellness, and focused on the following initiatives:

Brechin PS

  • Student Mental Health Team created a new, safe space called the Peace Place for students to enjoy and de-stress

Alliston Union PS  

  • Positive quotes shared during morning announcements
  • Pom Pom Pals: students created pals out of pom poms to share with classmates that are feeling down
  • Family Movie Night: families invited to watch ‘Inside Out’ and participate in button-making activities

Goodfellow PS

  • Build a Better Me Day: students participated in a day dedicated to mindful activities and learning about mental health
  • Mind Up Day: students rotated around stations to practice Mind Up strategies and learned how these can benefit their mental health
  • The Big Crunch: learning about nutrition positively impacting mental health in partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit

Wyevale Central PS

  • Extensive participation in the SCDSB’s Pedometer Project
  • Student leaders facilitated sports, games and more for the school community each day
  • Incorporated DPA (daily physical activity) in all school activities and events

Clearview Meadows ES 

  • Mindful Mondays: meditation in the library facilitated by Grade 8 students
  • Brain Gym, Free the Numb Bumb and GoNoodle activities for Grades 1-4
  • Calming music and videos on the main foyer TV
  • Class sets of yoga mats available for use
  • Grade 4-8 students participated in the Can You Feel It stress management program delivered by Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit

Congratulations to all of our Healthy Schools on a job well done!

Banting Memorial HS shows its artistic talents in celebration of Canada 150

Over the next few weeks, as we approach Canada’s 150th birthday on July 1, we’re highlighting some of the Canada 150 celebrations at schools across the SCDSB.

Students at Banting Memorial High School have been busy over the past two months using their artistic talents to commemorate Canada’s 150th birthday. Photography, digital media and visual arts students have created artwork that is on display throughout the school.

Art classes from Grades 9-12 also participated in the Town of New Tecumseth’s garbage can decorating contest. The contest, open to all students in the township, involved students painting Canadian-inspired artwork on garbage cans for local parks and communities.

The garbage cans will be displayed during the Canada Day festivities at Riverdale Park in Alliston on July 1st. At the celebration, residents are asked to donate a non-perishable food item and vote for their favourite can. The winning can/class will receive a $250 gift card to use toward supplies for their classroom. Following Canada Day, the garbage cans will be used in parks throughout New Tecumseth. Thanks to the spectacular work of our students, these garbage cans received quite a facelift!

“It’s been so nice to see the incredible work of our students throughout the halls in celebration of Canada’s 150th,” says Jo Shako, principal, Banting Memorial HS. “Their talent will now be present for the community to see in our local parks as well. I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Additional projects that the students have completed include:

  • Banting’s Great Canadian Bake Sale – hospitality
  • Sewing Canada flags and performing ‘This Land is Your Land’- life skills
  • Canadian poets media display – Grade 9 English
  • Canada 150 posters – Grade 9 geography
  • Canada 150: Historical Voices – Grade 10 history
  • Media representations: Chanie Wenjack & Canada’s Residential Schools – Grade 11 English

What a great way to celebrate Canada’s 150th. Keep your eyes peeled for our students’ talent on garbage cans in and around New Tecumseth this summer!

A season of celebrations in the SCDSB

The Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) experienced a flurry of celebrations this past spring, with six schools holding milestone events. From official grand openings to 50th anniversaries, students and staff, along with community members and dignitaries, were brought together to either commemorate a new school or take a trip down memory lane.

Events included:

  • Severn Shores PS grand opening: May 2
  • Orillia SS grand opening: May 9
  • Eastview SS 50th anniversary: May 12 & 13
  • Cameron Street PS 50th anniversary: May 13
  • Nottawasaga & Creemore PS 50th anniversary: June 8
  • Lake Simcoe PS grand opening: June 20

Each celebration highlighted the talent of students through musical performances and artwork. Students even played the role of Master of Ceremonies at one event! School spirit was evident in the halls and gymnasiums where people gathered to show their support and give congratulations to their school communities.

Here is a snapshot of the celebrations that took place:
(Eastview SS event photo credit: Brian Chisholm)

Congratulations to all school communities celebrating a milestone this year!