The survey asks about students' experience and identity, so it would be great for you to complete the survey alongside your younger child/children.
We encourage older children who can read themselves, you may consider letting them do the survey on their own, and you can be there to answer questions and help if needed.
Can we skip questions on the survey?
While the survey is confidential, it’s not anonymous. 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. Each survey contains a unique identifier that will allow research staff to link survey responses to other data.
School and board staff won’t access individual student information shared on the survey. Data will only be reviewed from a population level – for example, the entire school population, a region of our school board, or the school board as a whole.
Information collected will be stored in a secure, confidential database 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).
All students and families will access the same survey link to open the survey. After reading the intro page, you will be asked to log in using ALCDSB student username and password. Once logged in, you will see the survey questions based on the grade level of the student. Each survey contains a unique identifier that will allow research staff to link survey responses to other student data that is already collected under the Education Act.
We will analyze the data alongside existing 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 (e.g., academic versus applied courses; English with Core French versus Elementary French Immersion);
Sense of belonging - whether certain groups of students feel more engaged/disengaged at school
Feeling safe at school – whether certain groups of students feel more or less safe at school
Any student and family may choose not to participate, stop participating or skip a question at any time. The survey for elementary students is completed by or with parents/guardians and so you can choose not to complete it. Parents/guardians of students in Grades 9 to 12 who are under 18 can ask that their child be exempt from participating in the census.
You may ask for an exemption by completing
this online form.
You’ll need your child’s ALCDSB login information, which your child uses regularly at school. Please ask your child for their login.
If you’re unable to get your child’s login information from your child, please contact the school administration to request an exemption.
Parents/guardians who would like their child to be exempted from participating in the
See Me in ALCDSB survey
may request an exemption until
October 18, 2023. If a parent/guardian does not submit a request to opt-out, all students are still free to choose not to participate in the student census.
What can parents/guardians do if they don’t have access to technology to complete the census?
Our schools will provide support to families that don’t have access to technology at home. Please contact your school principal.
Will the data and learning from the survey be shared publicly?
Yes, a preliminary report will be shared with the Board of Trustees. The report will be posted on the See Me in ALCDSB survey website page.
An essential part of any work to support equity is our individual and collective willingness to be open about our learning, and so we are committed to involving the community in discussions about the data and to sharing what we can, while always being mindful of confidentiality.
Why are there questions about gender?
For youth and adults who identify as a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth, evidence shows they are at higher risk of bullying and severe mental health concerns, among other challenges.
When we understand more about the population we are serving, we're better able to ensure our programs and supports are designed to meet all students' needs. The data will also help us evaluate our efforts to improve outcomes.
The fact that you’re thinking ahead about this is great. Children need to feel loved and supported. Feeling a sense of belonging at home is important. If your child shares with you that their wondering about their gender identity or sexuality, try to respond in an open way, for example, “Tell me more about how you’re feeling.” Your openness to being in conversation will go a long way to helping your child feel safe.
You can reach out to local organizations for support and resources. Here are some to consider:
And remember, your school and school board staff are here as partners in supporting your child. So reach out to your school principal if you need help.
Rainbow Caregivers Network - peer support group for people who care for individuals who identify within the LGBTQ+ community.
TransFamily Kingston – a diverse group of transgender people, family members, friends and allies in the Kingston Ontario area.
Youthab Quinte – a community based non-profit organization helping young people living in the Quinte area obtain and maintain safe and affordable housing, good mental health and employment.
Not all diversity is visible. We need to gather the data because it helps to make the invisible visible. We don’t want anyone in our community to face barriers or fall behind.
Equity-seeking groups in Canada are groups of people who continue to face barriers to equal participation and treatment in society. Barriers may be based on age, ethnicity, disability, economic status, gender, nationality, race, sexual orientation, transgender status, and more. Some folks are part of more than one group—for example, they may experience discrimination based on both race and sexual orientation or based on gender and age. This is called intersectionality and it can worsen the implications for individuals.
The causes of disparities can be very complex. For example, it's unlikely a difference in graduation rates among students is caused by just one factor, something that happened right before graduation, or even factors that are the education system's responsibility alone. Identifying the disparities locally is a critical step but doesn’t solve the issue. We will work together as school communities and with community partners to close any identified gaps.
There are already various reports pointing to improvements needed in school systems and beyond. We know systemic barriers exist and the See Me in ALCDSB survey data will help us identify barriers within our own school system.
Indeed, there are always examples of people who do very well despite systemic barriers that exist. But their success is not evidence that barriers don’t exist. That’s why we look at information from a population level, not at the individual level.
Yes—we are looking at ways to consolidate our surveys and data collection. We recognize we ask similar questions on different surveys, and providing the same information more than once can be frustrating.
As part of the implementation of the equity and strategic plans, school board staff have attended training sessions with diversity, equity and inclusion trainers. Currently, staff from various departments are completing training from the First Nations Information Governance Centre on the First Nations Principles of OCAP (ownership, control, access and possession). It asserts that First Nations have control over data collection processes and that they own and control how this information can be used.
In addition to training, our school board has evolved our practices over the last number of years—always looking to evidence-based approaches for supporting students. A recent example relates to the findings of the
Right to Read Inquiry from the Ontario Human Rights Commission that found students aren’t being served by early literacy practices in Ontario school boards.
Our board had recognized this issue a number of years ago by reviewing student literacy data—students weren’t achieving to the level we knew they could, and we considered this to be an equity issue. We pulled together a multidisciplinary team to review evidence-based approaches for early literacy and implemented a structured reading program. We are in year two of the five-year project. Structured reading is the evidence-based approach now being recommended in the inquiry’s report.
That’s great. Here are some book suggestions. Your local library will be able to provide recommendations as well.
21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out
Is Everyone Really Equal?: An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education
Me and White Supremacy
Seven Fallen Feathers
In addition to your own learning, introducing young readers to books with diverse characters promotes acceptance, respect and empathy for others. Reading can help children learn to appreciate the range of perspectives and identities in their classrooms and communities.