Last month, the HDSB began conducting a voluntary Student Census as required by the Anti-Racism Act, 2017 and Ontario’s Education Equity Action Plan to gather and report identity-based data. The HDSB Student Census confidentially will collect data about students’ identities such as their first language, ethnic and racial background, religion, and for students in Grade 7 and above, gender identity and sexual orientation. Students will also share their perceptions of school climate, sense of belonging and experiences with bullying. The Student Census questions are available for viewing on the HDSB Student Census webpage.
To date, 24 schools have launched the Census involving close to 26,000 Grade 4-12 students. Parents/guardians of Kindergarten to Grade 3 students in these schools have also received an email containing a link to complete the Student Census on behalf of their children.
Remaining HDSB schools will launch the Student Census over the coming weeks. If a child’s school has not yet launched the Census, updates will be posted in the school’s upcoming newsletter/blog. Students registered in HDSB schools after Jan. 4, 2021 will be provided with an opportunity to complete the Census when a final round is administered in early Spring 2021.
In a statement, HDSB notes, “It is important that the Student Census reflects the voices of all students, therefore the more responses we receive, the more effective the data will be to help inform and improve programming and learning environments. The Student Census is voluntary and students and parents/guardians can skip any question they do not want to answer. Students can also choose the ‘Do not know’ response option on the majority of questions. For parents with questions about the Student Census, or who wish to have their child opt-out of the Census, email firstname.lastname@example.org to initiate the opt-out process.