Getting parents/guardians and students more involved in the development of school programs designed to meet their needs is the objective behind an upcoming census initiative being undertaken by the Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB).
The UGDSB Counts Student Census will launch on September 19 and run until October 9, 2022.
“Our goal of this census is to be able to evaluate how we’re doing as an institution and more specifically, how are we meeting the needs of all Upper Grand students given the different identities that make up our diverse community,” said Blayne Primeau, Academic Achievement Data Analyst with the UGDSB.
By collecting identity-based student data the school board will have the tools to identify and name specific areas where bias and oppression are creating barriers to racialized and marginalized students.
“The Student Census will provide important information that will assist in realizing the board’s bold new vision,” said UGDSB Director of Education, Peter Sovran.
“The Student Census is one thing the school board is doing to create more equitable outcomes for all students,” said UGDSB Chair, Linda Busuttil. “This is one of our key priorities as a school board.”
Parents and students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 will be able to participate in the census, which will be made public starting September 19th.
Elementary students will have the census sent to their parent/ guardian to complete with them, or on their behalf. Secondary students will complete the census in class.
The main objective of the census is for the UGDSB to be able to evaluate their programs and services through the lens of specific identity categories, including race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation, to see if those groups are achieving at the same rates. The census is 100 percent voluntary and will be delivered via an email link. Families can request paper copies from their school if needed.
The UGSDB is hoping to drive pre-census awareness across the school community so parents can ask pertinent questions prior to taking the census. The census is confidential but is not anonymous. The data collected in the census will be joined with existing data and then analyzed with the single purpose of identifying areas where UGDSB’s policies and programs are creating barriers to the educational outcomes of students based on their identity.
Primeau says he’s excited for the census to launch in the Upper Grand.
“This is the first time we’ve completed this process as a board,” he said.
“Even though the census is voluntary, we hope to have as many people complete it as possible,” said Primeau.
The UGDSB has lots of information about the UGDSB Counts Student Census online, including Frequently Asked Questions, a preview of the census questions, and translated resources. Visit them online to learn more.
Parents, guardians, and students who have any questions they can email ResearchInnovation@ugdsb.on.ca or call 519-822-4420 ext. 871. Look for the survey arriving in September. If you don’t see it, please check your spam folder.