Here I Am – Student Census
Here I Am – Student Census
Our first Here I Am – Student Census took place in January 2023. The student census is a confidential and voluntary survey that asks about students’ identities and school experiences. The information students and families shared will help us build on our efforts to support inclusion, well-being and success for students and provide a way to measure the impact of that work.
Why did we do a student census?
Every day, we work to nurture a Christ-centred environment. We want our schools to be places of respect and justice where all students, staff, families and community members feel welcome, valued and appreciated. By better understanding our students and their experiences in our schools, we can ensure our learning environments and opportunities meet their needs.
The Here I Am – Student Census findings will:
- Help us understand more about the students we serve.
- Help us identify any unfair differences or inequities in our school system.
- Support the work of the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Committee and inform the development of Student Achievement Plans.
The collection of this data is directed by the Ministry of Education as part of Ontario’s Education Equity Action Plan and is an important step forward in meeting the needs of students.
What were the questions on the census?
The Ministry of Education requires that ten categories be featured in the survey. The language in four of the questions is regulated by Anti-Racism Data Standards (ARDS) under the Anti-Racism Act, 2017. The categories are:
- Status in Canada
- First language
- Indigenous identity
- Ethnic origin
- Socio-economic status
- Sexual orientation (not included on the Kindergarten to Grade 6 census)
- Gender identity
2023 Here I Am – Student Census results
A report will be presented to the Board of Trustees in the spring of 2024, summarizing the key findings from the student census and workforce census. The data will be presented from a population level for the entire school board. The report will be shared on this page.
Questions and answers about the student census
Who can I contact about the survey?
Please send your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, and someone from our team will get back to you.
What’s the purpose of the survey?
The Here I Am Student Census:
- Collected identity and school experience data about the student population. Identity data includes Indigenous identity, race, ethnicity, languages, disability, sexual orientation, gender and more
- Supports the work of the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Committee
- Helps us to identify any unfair differences or inequities in our school system
- Support the development of Student Achievement Plans
The collection of identity data is outlined in Ontario’s education equity action plan. It states, “Comparing identity-based student data with data on program enrolment, suspensions and expulsions, and graduation rates may reveal more precisely how certain groups are being disadvantaged, how to identify and remove systemic barriers to success and, accordingly, where to target our resources.”
How were the questions developed?
The survey questions are adapted from a template provided by the Ministry of Education and based on the Ontario Anti-Racism Act and Anti-Racism Data Standards.
Why were the gender identity and sexual orientation questions open-ended?
The survey questions related to gender and sexual orientation are part of the template that was developed by the Ministry of Education to ensure compliance with the Ontario Human Rights Code, which protects individuals from discrimination based on gender identity or expression and sexual orientation.
The open-ended response area allowed individuals to identify as they wish. Respondents were able to skip any question on the survey.
Is the survey anonymous? How are you able to maintain confidentiality?
While the survey is confidential, it’s not anonymous. Students’ unique student numbers are tied to the responses. To use the information to help identify disparities in our system and evaluate programs, we need to look at the data alongside other data we already collect under the Education Act.
School and board staff do not have access to individual student information shared on the survey. Data will only be reviewed from a population level for the school board as a whole.
How are you securing the data?
Information collected is stored in a secure, confidential database in Canada and only be accessed by authorized data analysts. We’re committed to the highest levels of privacy and confidentiality in collecting information about students. We follow all privacy requirements outlined in the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA).
What are some examples of other data the results may be linked to?
The response rate on the elementary survey is too low to allow for further analysis. For the secondary student survey, we will analyze the data alongside other data to answer questions about:
- Achievement gaps – whether certain groups of students achieve at the same rate
- Suspension and expulsion rates – whether certain groups of students are suspended or expelled at a higher rate
- Streaming – whether certain groups of students are over or under-represented in particular programs or streams
- Students’ sense of belonging at school and whether they see themselves represented in materials
Can the data be used to evaluate individual student experiences or staff members’ practices?
No, the purpose of this data isn’t to evaluate individual experiences or situations. Board staff are unable to access individual student responses. We also won’t be reviewing data from the school level. Data will be aggregated for the entire school board together to support system-level planning and change.
Who to contact with questions
Please send your questions or comments to email@example.com and someone from our team will get back to you. You can also contact your school principal.