Pub­lic board to use stu­dent cen­sus data

Simcoe Reformer - - FRONT PAGE - Michelle ruby

Stu­dent cen­sus data re­cently col­lected from Grand Erie Dis­trict School Board schools will be used by prin­ci­pals and teach­ers to boost the suc­cess of marginal­ized pupils.

In Sep­tem­ber 2017, the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion re­leased its Ed­u­ca­tion Eq­uity Ac­tion Plan -- a three-year strat­egy that in­volves work­ing with par­ents, ed­u­ca­tors, prin­ci­pals, board staff, trus­tees and the com­mu­nity, to iden­tify and elim­i­nate dis­crim­i­na­tory prac­tices, sys­temic bar­ri­ers and bias from schools and class­rooms.

The goal is to bring new re­sources and ex­plore pro­gram op­tions, cre­ate new poli­cies and es­tab­lish re­al­is­tic goals to help bridge gaps and dis­par­i­ties in achieve­ment for all stu­dents across the prov­ince.

In a re­port to the board, Wayne Baker, su­per­in­ten­dent of ed­u­ca­tion, pre­sented find­ings of a vol­un­tary cen­sus made avail­able to all Grade 4 to 12 stu­dents in March. Eighty-three per cent of stu­dents (14,000) par­tic­i­pated. The data will be used to gain a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the stu­dent pop­u­la­tion, said Baker.

“The cen­sus find­ings pro­vide a more ac­cu­rate pic­ture of our stu­dent pop­u­la­tions and school com­mu­ni­ties, an un­der­stand­ing which is cru­cial to en­sur­ing eq­uity and ad­dress­ing sys­temic bar­ri­ers,” said Baker in a me­dia re­lease. “To help stu­dents suc­ceed, we need to un­der­stand who they are.”

Among the find­ings:

■ 12 per cent of re­spon­dents iden­ti­fied as Indige­nous. This dif­fers from en­rol­ment num­bers in which 7.5 per cent of stu­dents self-iden­tify as Indige­nous.

■ The large ma­jor­ity of Grand Erie stu­dents iden­tify as white (81 per cent). There is more racial di­ver­sity in Brant­ford where 29 per cent of re­spon­dents iden­tify as non-white, fol­lowed by Haldimand County (21 per cent), Brant County (13 per cent) and Nor­folk County (13 per cent).

■ Al­most two-thirds of re­spon­dents (60 per cent) do not iden­tify with any or­ga­nized re­li­gion.

■ 31 per cent of re­spon­dents in­di­cate that they had some form of dis­abil­ity (men­tal health, vi­sion, learn­ing).

■ Stu­dents in Grades 9 to 12 were asked their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion – 16 per cent of re­spon­dents in­di­cated they were some­thing other than het­ero­sex­ual (in­clud­ing asex­ual, bi­sex­ual, gay, les­bian, or pan­sex­ual).

■ 81 per cent of re­spon­dents iden­tify their eth­nic or cul­tural ori­gin as Cana­dian.

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