November 6, 2018

Peel board builds connections with first board-wide Student Census

In November, the Peel District School Board will launch its first board-wide Student Census to gain a better understanding of Peel students to help improve school programming and instruction. Students in grades 4 to 12 will be invited to participate in class during Student Census Weeks (Nov. 19 to 30), while parents/guardians of students in kindergarten to grade 3 will receive a questionnaire to fill out on behalf of their child(ren). 

“We are committed to providing the very best learning environments so that all students can achieve personal excellence. To do this, it’s important that we truly understand the needs of students and their families,” says Director of Education Peter Joshua. “The Student Census will provide invaluable insight on student experiences, identity and well-being to help us establish effective programs and reallocate resources to where they are needed most.” 

The Student Census questionnaire will take approximately one class period to complete for most students, and will include questions that ask students about themselves and their experiences in and outside of school. Families with students in kindergarten to grade 3 will receive a questionnaire to complete at home with their child(ren) in early November, to be returned by Nov. 30, 2018.

Questionnaires can be viewed at www.peelschools.org/studentcensus​. Additional copies of the questionnaires are available in the board’s top 20 languages as well as in adapted form for students with special education needs.

“Our goal is to hear from all students to paint a clearer picture of the communities we serve. The more Student Census responses we receive, the more comprehensive the data will be to help improve programming and instruction,” says Poleen Grewal, associate director of instructional and equity support services. “By learning more about the identity demographics of students and their families, we can better understand, identify and eliminate barriers to student achievement, well-being and inclusion.” 

A letter was sent home in mid-October to all Peel families informing them of the upcoming Student Census. Families who do not want their child to participate are asked to return the tear-off form on the letter to their child’s school. 

The Peel board is committed to the highest levels of privacy and confidentiality in collecting information about students and follows all privacy requirements outlined in the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA). The Student Census is voluntary and confidential, but it is not anonymous. Completed questionnaires won’t have the student’s name or identification number on it, and will be sealed in an individual envelope to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the responses. Census questionnaires will be labelled with a unique code linked to each student. Once a student completes their census, their responses will be scanned and linked to previously collected data (e.g. attendance, report card grades, graduation rates). Once this scanning has taken place, responses will be de-personalized so that they are no longer tied to a student’s name or identification number. 

All scanned responses will be stored in a secure, confidential database and will only be accessed by authorized Peel board research staff to identify and summarize group trends among Peel students. This database will be de-personalized, so individual students cannot be identified. In 2019, a series of reports will be made available to help inform board and school decision-making for programs and instruction.

To learn more and view the Student Census questionnaires, visit www.peelschools.org/studentcensus. Parents/guardians may also email studentcensus@peelsb.com or call 905-890-1010 ext. 3523 if they have any questions. 

Media contact: Poleen Grewal, Associate Director of Instructional and Equity Support Services, 905-890-1010 ext. 2232, poleen.grewal@peelsb.com 

Reference: Kayla Tishcoff, Senior Communications Officer, 905-890-1010 ext. 2239, kayla.tishcoff@peelsb.com 
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