Student Census

At the SCDSB we are committed to identifying and removing barriers within our system that impact equity, achievement and well-being of students, and to ensuring that all students are offered supportive, inclusive and respectful learning environments. To support these efforts, we must learn more about our students. 

In April 2021, the SCDSB will hold its first student census. The confidential SCDSB Student Census 2020-2021 will be used to collect identity-based student data so that systemic barriers can be identified. The results will guide our focus on programs, supports and resources to address inequities within our system.

The student census has been created to respect the topics covered as well as every student’s confidentiality and privacy rights. The census questions are provided under the Ontario Anti-Racism Data Standards established through the Ontario Anti-Racism Act. Information sessions for students, families and staff will be held prior to the release of the census. The conversations during consultation will help guide how the SCDSB uses the census results to make evidence-informed decisions which support all students’ achievement and well-being. 

Ontario school boards are required to conduct a student census to identify and address systemic barriers and discrimination. Under the Anti-Racism Act, 2017 and Ontario’s Education Equity Action Plan, school boards must collect data using a student census and report on the results. 

If you have questions regarding the SCDSB Student Census 2020-2021, please contact Lisa Newton, Manager of Research and Decision Support, at census@scdsb.on.ca

Questions and answers

Why is the SCDSB conducting a student census? 
Ontario school boards are required to conduct a student census, and under the Anti-Racism Act, 2017 and Ontario’s Education Equity Action Plan, boards are to collect and report on the data they collect. The collection of identity-based data collection is supported by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC); data collection can play an essential role in creating equitable outcomes and strong human rights strategies by helping organizations to identify gaps in services.

The SCDSB Student Census 2020-2021 is a tool that will help to identify and address systemic barriers and will help guide decisions that support more equitable outcomes for all students. 

What is the census and what does it ask?
The SCDSB Student Census 2020-2021 is a voluntary and confidential student survey that collects identity-based data to identify and address systemic barriers. Key questions on the census include gender identity, sexual orientation, language(s) a student speaks, Indigenous identity, ethnicity, race, religion and disabilities.  

The questions on the SCDSB Student Census 2020-2021 are provided under the Anti-Racism Data Standards established through the Anti-Racism Act. The census questions were developed to help boards identify and address inequities in student outcomes and opportunities. Following information sessions with students, parents/guardians and staff, the census will be posted on the SCDSB website. 

How will it be distributed to students and parents/guardians? 
In April 2021, students in Grade 7 to 12 will be emailed a secure link inviting them to complete their census. The census will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes of class time to complete. For students in Kindergarten to Grade 6, parents/guardians will complete the student census on behalf of their child or children. Parents/guardians of these students will receive an email invitation which includes a secure link to their child(ren)’s student census. The email used for parents/guardians will be the primary contact email on file at their child’s school.  Parents/guardians will be able to email census@scdsb.on.ca or contact Lisa Newton, Manager of Research and Decision Support, at 705-734-6363 x11731 if they are unable to access their child(ren)’s student census. 

How is the data used?
The data collected from the student census will be used to help us better understand the composition of the SCDSB student population as Simcoe County continues to grow. School boards also use census data to produce reports on student achievement, programs, supports and activities at our schools. School boards are responsible to use the student census data to see if there are any over- or under-representations of student groups in specific areas of programs or services. Student census data is used to reveal trends or gaps within our system leading to actions for improving school climate, enhancing learning environments and removing barriers for equal opportunities and outcomes. 

How will the SCDSB protect students’ personal information?
School boards must adhere to the strictest privacy and confidentiality standards when collecting information about students. We are collecting this information with strict adherence to, and under the authority of, the Anti-Racism Act, 2017, S.O. 2017, c. 15, the Education Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. E.2, and in compliance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. M.56.

The collection of information with the student census is confidential, but it is not anonymous. This means that although the census does collect the identity of a student, individual student responses will never be shared. The data is analyzed and results are reported only showing results from groups of students. Reporting results by groups of students ensures that a student’s identity remains confidential. The only staff to access the collected responses are those authorized within the Research and Decision Support Services department. The response data from the census is accessed by this group of staff to summarize results by census question or student group, and to explore trends within the data.

Is the SCDSB Student Census 2020-2021 mandatory?
The census is voluntary, meaning that students in Grade 7 to 12 or a parent/guardian of a student in Kindergarten to Grade 6 must choose to participate. If a student in Grade 7 to 12 or a parent/guardian of a student in Kindergarten to Grade 6 does not wish to participate there is no penalty, nor are there any consequences for choosing not to participate. It is important to note that a higher number of participants will produce a more accurate picture of the SCDSB student population. The more responses collected, the better able we are to identify and address inequities within the SCDSB. 

How was the SCDSB student census developed? 
The questions on the SCDSB Student Census 2020-2021 are provided under the Anti-Racism Data Standards established through the Anti-Racism Act. The census questions were developed to support school boards in their data collection and to ensure consistent practices across the province. 

When will I see results?
After the census is conducted in April 2021, the SCDSB’s research and decision support staff will analyze the data and publicly report during the 2021-22 school year. 

Student census information sessions

The SCDSB Student Census 2020-2021 is an important tool for identifying and addressing inequities. Knowing our students better is an essential step when exploring different school experiences of students.

The SCDSB will collect voluntary, identity-based student data in April 2021 through the SCDSB Student Census 2020-2021. School boards in Ontario are required to collect and analyze this data to identify and address systemic barriers and discrimination. The results from the student census will be used to support equity in our schools, student achievement and well-being. 

To support the delivery of the SCDSB student census in April 2021, the SCDSB hosted information sessions. The sessions were held in mid-March via Zoom and included the following information:  

  • why we are conducting a student census  
  • a review of the census questions (based on the draft version of the census) 
  • discussion regarding potential barriers to participation 
Glossary

The SCDSB has developed a glossary of terms for reference when completing the SCDSB Student Census 2020-21.

Open the SCDSB Student Census Glossary of Terms