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The RCCDSB Believes in Me Student Demographic Census

Secondary Census Results

The Renfrew County Catholic District School Board would like to thank everyone who participated in our RCCDSB Believes in Me Student Census that was released in the fall of 2022. 

Mandated by the Ministry of Education and validated by Ontario’s Anti-Racism Act (2019) the goal of the student census was to gather demographic data about our student population so as to better understand their lived realities and accordingly to be able to identify and remove any barrier to their success and well-being. 

It is only through the voices of our students that we are able to truly ensure we provide safe school environments characterized by warmth, hospitality, good humour and joy. 

The secondary version of “RCCDSB Believes in Me was very well received with over a 70% participation rate by our high school students. 

This result is statistically sound and allows us to be able to publicly report on the student data, and to create action plans based on the areas that require improvement. 

Unfortunately, the two versions of the elementary census (K-4, 5-8) did not receive the participation rate that we had hoped for and while the data will still be examined internally, we cannot publicly report on the data due to the low participation rate. 

Hearing from our elementary students and parents is still very important to us as we can’t improve as a board if we don’t have the necessary data to better understand our students and to implement new and existing programs and supports to better assist our students.

That is why the RCCDSB will be re-launching the student census to our elementary students (K-8): RCCDSB Believes in Me! We’re doing this to guarantee that we have an accurate representation of our students’ school experiences. This will be helpful to all current and future students at RCCDSB! Stay tuned for more information.

Take a look at the video below to see the valuable information provided by our secondary students!

Frequently Asked Questions

The Demographic Student Census is mandated by the Ministry of Education. Every school Board in Ontario must complete a student census by 2023. This information will be used to ensure we are addressing any possible barriers to students’ education at RCCDSB.  Many of the questions on the census are mandated by the Ministry of Education. 

As a part of our Mission and Vision, we strive to recognize and remove barriers to student success. By completing the student census, we will be able to create action plans based on the responses from our school community. This information will help us overcome any potential barriers to student success at RCCDSB and maintain school environments characterized by warmth, hospitality, good humour and joy.

As a result of the Ontario Anti-Racism Act, 2017, S.O. 2017, c.15 and Ontario’s Education Equity Action Plan, School Boards received a mandate to collect and report on identity-based data (ethnic origin, race, Indigenous identity, and religion). The purpose of this collection of data is to identify and eliminate any discriminatory practices and barriers faced by students in our schools. The RCCDSB is committed to offering and sustaining safe school environments characterized by warmth, hospitality, good humour, and joy. We want to ensure that all students feel welcome and address any barriers that students face.

Once the census is complete, we will be reviewing the data collected and determine what barriers students are facing in our schools. This falls in line with our vision as we strive to recognize and remove barriers to create just and equal opportunities for all. Once we have critical information, the RCCDSB can begin working on action plans to eliminate discrimination and barriers to student success. This is one of the many steps our Board is taking to ensure safe school environments. We are continuously working to ensure all students feel safe and welcome at the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board. 

For students in grades K-8, a parent/guardian will complete the census with, or on behalf of, their child. Students in grades 9-12 will be given time in class to complete the census. If you are a parent/guardian of a secondary student, you will receive an Opt-Out Form for the census. This means your child will not receive a link to the census and will not complete it in class.

The collection of this information is critical to understanding our student population. If we do not know who makes up our community, it is more difficult to address these to eliminate inequalities in our schools. We know that systemic racism is prevalent in Ontario, and it is important for us to gather student demographic data to ensure that all students are treated equally and that bias and discrimination are eliminated in our schools. That is why we are encouraging all students to participate. We want to know how they feel in school and the areas where we can improve as a school system. By participating in the census, you can help us create equal and just opportunities for all RCCDSB students. 

The Student Census is confidential, but not anonymous. The students’ names will not be identifiable as each student will have a unique alphanumeric code that only key Board personnel would be able to link to the name. The information will be stored in a secure, safe database and will only be accessible to authorized researchers for the purpose of understanding our student populations and how we can better serve them in our schools. No data or names of individual students will be made public.

The questions on the census will include topics such as student identity, school climate, family characteristics, and student well-being. There will be three versions of the census: one for K-4, 5-8 and another for grades 9-12. This is because we want to ensure we follow the curriculum and only ask questions on topics that students would have discussed in class. 

No, you will not need to answer all of the questions. If there are questions you’d prefer not to answer, simply leave them blank and continue to the next question. 

It is not mandatory to complete this census, however, the more responses we receive the better we can evaluate any potential barriers to students and address them to ensure we provide students with the support they need. 

The Demographic Student Census will launch in November 2022. Students in grades 9-12 will have a chance to complete the Census in class during the first week of November.  Parents and guardians will receive an information package through the School Messenger system in October. The package will include an opt-out form for parents/guardians of secondary students. If you do not want your child to complete the Census, we ask that you complete the opt-out form. This means the student would not receive a link to the census through their RCCDSB email. Prior to the official launch of the Census, we will send notice to secondary students and their parent/guardians. Additionally, we hope to provide access to computers/reliable internet at Parent-Teacher conferences for parents who are completing the Census for students in K-8 and do not have reliable internet access at home. 

While many questions are mandated by the Government of Ontario and the Ministry of Education, there may be additional questions related to how your child feels at school, if they feel represented in their learning, as well as socioeconomic-related questions. The additional perceptual questions were decided upon by our Demographic Student Census Steering committee. The committee includes various different department leads, including Mental Health, Indigenous Education, Religious Education, and other experienced personnel to help determine the questions that we include. After many discussions, we decided upon the perceptual questions that we believe will assist us the best when trying to identify discrimination and inequalities in our School Board. It is also important to note that we have met with various stakeholder groups to make them aware of the Student Census and its purpose, and gathered feedback from each group to take into consideration when building the RCCDSB Believes in Me Student Census.

If you have any further questions, please contact [email protected]

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