Just the facts – NO alternative facts

When Swedish statistician Hans Rosling died recently, the world lost an incredible communicator – someone who brought to life the concept that decisions should not be based on hunch or instinct but on the facts. In this tradition, the TDSB wants to make the best possible decisions for our students so we are about to commence a massive census/survey. We need your help.

Educators want to remove systemic barriers to student success and develop more effective programs and services. Trustees want to allocate resources where there is most need and advocate for funding and resources for students, families and communities. In April 2017, the TDSB will launch its third Student & Parent Census for all Grade 4-12 students and all parents of JK-Grade 6 students, and we need everyone to participate.

Graph of Parent Involvement vs GradeThe first two rounds of the census (2006-2008 and 2011-12) were a resounding success with a very high participation rate from both students (nearly 90%) and parents (two-thirds). Since we are the largest school board in Canada and the fourth largest in North America, the statistical significance of the responses cannot be ignored and the census information has been shared with municipal, provincial and community organizations such as Toronto Public Health, the United Way and the YMCA – not only to strengthen our partnerships and collaboration with them, but also to help improve the programs and resources they offer to the community, which includes our TDSB families. The census is confidential but not anonymous so that the data can be linked to other board information sources and be tracked over time. With the hard data gathered from the 2006 census, the TDSB developed its Homework Policy; based on the 2011 Student Census findings on students’ emotional well-being, the board created its very first strategic plan for Children and Youth Mental Health and Well-being in 2013.

Graph of Emotional Wellbeing vs GradeIn addition, the board has used the census data to help allocate resources, and design such effective programs as Feeding Your Future (a student nutrition program) and Beyond 3:30 (a comprehensive after-school program) to ensure students’ health and well-being, essential for them to learn to their full potential.

In this upcoming third census, new questions are added to capture some current issues including ones such as social media. It is also the first time we will be asking students in Grades 4-6 to answer the survey questions.

Graph of Student Participation in Extracurriculars Vs GradeTo ensure the continued success of this important work, full cooperation of our parents in this third census is crucial. We would like to have as many TDSB parents as possible participate.

I have included just a few of the findings of previous years relating to Leaside vs. the rest of the TDSB. Very interesting and enlightening. Gerri Gershon is the Trustee, Don Valley West, for the TDSB.

About Gerri Gershon 17 Articles
Gerri Gershon is a retired TDSB Trustee, past president of the Canadian School Board Association, and a TNO board member.