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Introducing We All Count: HWDSB Student Census 2021

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Introducing We All Count: HWDSB Student Census 2021

Dear families,

At Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB), we are committed to identifying and removing barriers so we can offer all students supportive, inclusive, and respectful learning environments.

To learn more about our students, we will conduct a voluntary and confidential census. On May 3, 2021, We All Count: HWDSB Student Census 2021 will ask questions about student identities (race, gender, etc.) to identify and address systemic barriers.

Many school boards have conducted a student census. In fact, the Anti-Racism Act, 2017 and Ontario’s Education Equity Action Plan require school boards to gather and report this data. It is also a priority project in HWDSB’s Equity Action Plan.

We know that asking about a person’s identity can be uncomfortable, and we will do so with sensitivity. We consulted students, families, staff, and community members so that this census helps HWDSB make evidence-informed decisions to support equity, student achievement and well-being.

How will it occur?

Students in Kindergarten to Grade 4: We will email families a secure link to the census form so they can complete the census form online on behalf of their child. Print copies are available by request to census@hwdsb.on.ca. Please only complete one census form per student (online or print).

Students in Grades 5 to 12: We will email a secure link to students in grades 5 to 12, so they can complete the census form online during class time, with teacher support. Print copies are available by request to census@hwdsb.on.ca. Please only complete one census form per student (online or print).

What does it ask?

Depending on a student’s age, questions on the census may ask about a student’s languages, Indigenous identity, ethnicity, race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, (dis)abilities, place of birth and citizenship/immigration status.

How will HWDSB protect students’ personal information?

HWDSB is committed to the highest levels of privacy and confidentiality when collecting information about students and families. Student census data is collected 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 complies with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. M.56.

The student census is confidential, but it is not anonymous. Individual student responses will be grouped together for analysis so that no individual student information is ever identifiable. Collected responses will be stored in a secure, confidential database and will only be accessed by authorized HWDSB Research & Analytics staff to identify and summarize trends among HWDSB students.

Is it mandatory?

Completing the census is voluntary. However, we ask students to participate so we get an accurate picture of our student population. A high response rate will help us identify barriers, create strategies, and address barriers to student achievement and well-being through our programs and resources. Families who do not want their child to participate can opt out by April 29, using a form on the Parent Portal.

Questions?

We are inviting and answering questions as we prepare for the census. Please learn more on our website www.hwdsb.on.ca/weallcount, where you will find translated documents as well as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the census. You can also contact our student census team at census@hwdsb.on.ca.

We also invite students, families and community members to attend one of our Student Census information sessions, which will be held on Microsoft Teams:

Student Census Information Sessions – for students, families & community members

  • Thursday, April 22, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Link to attend. For parents and community members.
  • Friday, April 23, 4 to 5:30 p.m. Link to attend. For students.
  • Saturday, April 24, 10 to 11:30 a.m. Link to attend. For parents and community members.
  • Wednesday, April 28, 4 to 5:30 p.m. Link to attend. For students.

We will invite our community partners to a dedicated information session, also on Microsoft Teams:

Student Census Information Session – for community partners

  • Thursday, April 29, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Link to attend. For community partners.

Thank you for helping HWDSB collect data in a responsible way, so that we can create more equitable outcomes in the education system.

Sincerely,

Manny Figueiredo
Director of Education

Updated on Tuesday, April 20, 2021.
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