Public board to use student census data

The Grand Erie District School Board offices are located on Erie Avenue in Brantford. Brian Thompson / Postmedia Network

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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 straight (including asexual, bisexual, gay, lesbian, or pansexual).

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

 

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